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New Mexico Art Teacher Certification and Job Requirements

New Mexico has made a commitment to visual arts education as a component of the core curriculum and established standards that encourage basic visual arts literacy at all grade levels. Arts teachers make a positive impact on students lives, and research shows that students engaged in the arts tend to do better in all areas of academic achievement.

The Professional Licensure bureau is the New Mexico teacher licensing agency. To become an arts teacher in the state, complete the following steps, although note that the state is currently undergoing a review of their licensing information and details may chance. For the latest information, consult the bureau’s website.

Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program
Complete Testing
Apply for a Certificate/License
Maintain and Upgrade Your License
Pursue Graduate Work

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Bachelor Degree and Teacher Prep Program

The first step to becoming an art teacher in New Mexico is to earn a bachelors degree from a regionally accredited college or university and complete a teacher training program that includes student teaching. A listing of bachelor degree programs may be found here.

Your degree must include a minimum of 24 semester hours in a visual or performing arts, 3 semester hours of credit in the teaching of reading, and a minimum of 24 semester hours in at least one teaching field such as mathematics, science, language arts, reading or history, 12 semester hours of which must be in upper division courses. Visual arts coursework may include drawing, painting, sculpture, art history, art appreciation, photography, visual art design, basics of line, shape, form, color texture, art and culture, art of the southwest, computer graphic design, or other topics.

Some alternative pathways that don’t require a teacher prep program exist; consult the licensure department’s website for details on the requirements for alternative programs.

 


 

Step 2. Complete Testing

As a future art teacher in New Mexico, you are required to pass the following three New Mexico Teacher Assessment tests:

  1. New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Basic Skills
  2. New Mexico Assessment of Teacher Competency (Elementary, Secondary or Early Childhood)
  3. Visual Arts Content Knowledge test

The Basic Skills test consists of 100 selected-response questions and 1 constructed-response assignment, designed to test reading comprehension, written communication, and mathematics.

The Teacher Competency tests consist of 75 selected-response questions, 3 restricted-response assignments, and 1 extended-response assignment. There are three versions of this assessment, depending on the grade you’ll be focused on teaching Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary. Arts teachers should choose elementary or secondary.

The Visual Arts content knowledge test includes 100 selected-response questions.

The passing score for each section of the NMTA and the Content Knowledge Assessments is 240. Two sections may be taken in one day; the remaining section must be taken on a subsequent testing date. For tests sites closest to you and dates, consult the NMTA site. Also note that a transition to computerized National Evaluation Series tests is currently underway, so testing information may change.

 


 

Step 3. Apply for Your License

The first license to apply for is a Level I license with a K-12 arts endorsement, which is valid for three years.

A first-time license application can be downloaded from Public Education Department here. Note that you will need to pass a background check as part of your application. Fingerprint scans are conducted by a company called 3M; detailed guidelines on the fingerprinting process are available here.

A non-refundable fee of $125 for processing and $75 for fingerprint processing applies. Send a cashier’s check or money order made out to the Public Education Department (PED) alongside an application package to the Professional Licensure Bureau at the address below:

Professional Licensure Bureau
300 Don Gaspar (Rm. 101)
Santa Fe, NM 87501

If you already have a bachelor’s degree or higher, you may be able to earn your license through a fast-track alternative pathways and begin teaching on an intern license.

 


 

Step 4. Maintain and Upgrade Your License

State regulations have established a three-tier system of licensure for New Mexico: Levels I, II, and III.

At the end of three years of successful teaching at Level I, you must submit a Professional Development Dossier (PDD) in order to advance to Level II. After three years of successful teaching at Level II, you may submit an additional PDD to advance to Level III licensure.

The PPD is a focused collection of documents that you prepare with the help of your school district to show that your skills have advanced to the next level. Documents may include items such as lesson descriptions, handouts, student work, video and audio recordings, or photos, with explanations you prepare and that are accompanied by verification and recommendation by the district superintendent. The PPD is organized into five strands:

Strand A. Instruction (Competencies I, II and V)

Strand B. Student Learning (Competencies III, IV, VI and VII)

Strand C. Professional Learning (Competencies VIII and IX)

Strand D. Verification

Strand E. Evaluation

Detailed information on these strands and other information is available from the PDD website here.

Level One licenses are not renewable. If you are renewing a level two or three license at the same level, you can renew online using the Same Level Licensure Renewal system. Submit the following:

  • Completed application for continuing licensure
  • $95 fee, cashier’s check or money order
  • Superintendent’s Recommendation Form for Teachers & Administrators signed by an Administrator at school/district where most recently employed.

 


 

Step 5. Pursue Graduate Work

Graduate work can expand your skills as an art teacher, nurture your practice, and renew your commitment. Post-baccalaureate programs in the state include the following:

  • Master of Arts in Art Education
  • Master of Arts in Teaching
  • Specialist in Education (Ed.S.) in School Psychology
  • Master of Arts in Educational Administration
  • Master of Arts in Educational Leadership
  • Doctor of Education
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Masters of Arts Degree in Communication Disorders
  • Masters of Arts Degree in Department of Curriculum & Instruction
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Doctor of Education or Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership
  • Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning
  • Master of Arts in Education (Emphasis in Learning Technologies)
  • Master of Arts in Education with a Focus in Gifted Education


 




 


New Mexico Art Teacher Salaries

According to the National Education Association, the average starting salary for teachers in New Mexico (as of the 2012-2013 school year) is $31,960, somewhat lower than the national average of $36,141.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide data on art teacher salaries as a separate unit, but tracks salaries for elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers as larger categories. The department reports the following annual mean wages and employment numbers as of May 2013:

Occupation Title Employment Annual Mean Salary
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 9,210 $51,470
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 3,690 $48,640
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 5,820 $50,380

However, teacher salaries can vary significantly by location. A sample of the median salaries and employment figures as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for some major cities appears below:

Occupation Title Employment Annual Mean Salary
Albuquerque, NM
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 3,260 $45,170
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 1,470 $45,050
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 2,670 $46,600
Career/Technical Education Teachers, Secondary School 60 $57,920
 

 

Farmington, NM
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 740 $47,560
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 250 $47,330
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 330 $49,350
 

 

Santa Fe, NM
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 610 $56,580
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 160 $54,430
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 220 $48,540
 

 

North and West Central New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 610 $56,580
Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 160 $54,430
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education 220 $48,540

Salary schedules vary by school district and are developed after negotiations with the union. A breakdown of salary schedules by district for New Mexico is available here.

Information on postsecondary art, music, and drama teacher salaries in various areas of the state can be found in the following table provided by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area Name
Employment
Annual Median Salary
North and West Central New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
30
40450
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
50
52650

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