How to Become a Physical Education Teacher in New Mexico

To become a PE Teacher in New Mexico you will need to demonstrate professional competence in both the fields of health and fitness and teaching. The New Mexico Public Education Department supervises the application process for prospective PE teachers through its Professional Licensure Bureau. Located on Don Gaspar Avenue in Santa Fe, this Bureau is the primary agency you will be dealing with as you navigate the licensing process and submit your application.

The following steps will explain how to become a physical education teacher in New Mexico with the appropriate endorsement:

Step 1. Complete a PE Degree and Educator Program
Pass the Required Tests
Apply for a New Mexico PE Teaching License
Renew Your New Mexico PE Teaching License



Step 1. Complete a PE Degree and Preparation Program

A degree specifically designed for teaching physical education includes a student teaching component and results in at least a bachelor’s degree. The minimum PE education requirements you must meet for K-12 licensure in New Mexico are as follows:

  • At least 24 semester credits in the field of physical education
  • 12 of these credits must be from upper-division courses

You can expect to take courses such as these as part of your physical educator curriculum:

  • Kinesiology
  • Motor skill development
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Human biology
  • Sports psychology
  • Diet, nutrition, and exercise
  • Conditioning and the musculo-skeletal system

The teaching courses you take will include subjects such as:

  • Learning styles of different age groups
  • Child and teen psychology
  • Pedagogical fundamentals
  • Learning, behavioral, and psychological disorders
  • Childhood and teen development

Your teaching program must be at least 24 semester credits in total, and include at least three semester credits specific to the techniques of teaching reading.

During the final semesters of your education program you will complete a student teaching assignment where you will be able to put into practice the PE educational theory you have been studying for years. Student teaching takes place in a supervised environment where you will have an increasingly active role in the physical education setting while being observed and guided by an experienced PE teacher.

Alternative Route to a PE Teaching License

If you have not completed a pre K-12 education program but you have at least a bachelor’s degree, you will still need to complete an approved post-bachelor’s educator preparation program but may be able to do this while teaching PE. The minimum semester credits your teaching program must include depends on the degree you already hold:

  • Bachelor’s degree – educator program must be at least 30 semester hours
  • Master’s degree – educator program must be at least 12 graduate semester hours
  • Any doctoral degree in the teaching field will be acceptable

Out-of-State Teachers

If you are already a licensed PE teacher in a different state, you can have your license recognized by the New Mexico Public Education Department if you have already completed a standard or alternative educator prep program.

You must provide copies of your exam results to become a certified PE teacher in your home state and show evidence that you have experience working as a PE teacher.

National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)

It should be noted that anyone who has National Board Certification in PE is automatically eligible to apply for an Initial teaching license in New Mexico. To become certified by the NBPTS you will need to already be employed as a PE teacher and undergo a thorough evaluation of your teaching effectiveness. This involves submitting a portfolio of examples of your PE teaching successes that you have collected over the course of at least one year.

Sponsored Content


Step 2. Pass the Required Tests

As a new prospective PE teacher, you will need to pass several tests known as New Mexico Teacher Assessments. These are as follows with accompanying study guides:

Assessment of Basic Skills

This assessment will ensure you meet the minimum communication and mathematical skills required for physical education teacher jobs in New Mexico. The test will evaluate the following three primary areas of your knowledge and is comprised of 100 multiple-choice questions, as well as one constructed response questions to be answered in writing on two pages, front and back:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Written communication
  • Mathematics

Assessment of Teacher Competency (Elementary or Secondary)

For this assessment you should choose which portion to take according to which PE grade levels you plan to teach. Elementary is considered to be grades K-8 while the secondary exam focuses on grades 7-12. However since you will be able to teach either level with your New Mexico Pre K-12 PE teaching license, you have the option of choosing either test.

This exam will evaluate you on your basic pedagogical knowledge with a focus on whichever grade levels you select. It will be comprised of:

  • 75 multiple-choice questions
  • 3 short-answer questions, for which you will able to write your response on a single page of paper for each
  • 1 extended-response answer, for which you will have two sheets of paper to write your response, including both the front and back sides

The assessment itself will include subject material from three key areas of pedagogy:

  • Student development and learning
  • Instruction, assessment, and the learning environment
  • The professional environment

Content Knowledge Assessment in Physical Education

This assessment will evaluate your knowledge in the specific field of physical education. The exam will be comprised of 100 multiple-choice questions in the following categories:

  • Motor development, movement concepts, and forms
  • Foundations for building a physically fit lifestyle
  • Social, personal, and cognitive dimensions of physical activity
  • The PE program



Step 3. Apply for a New Mexico PE Teaching License

If you are applying for a PE teaching license based on a traditional pathway by completing a PE educator degree program, or as an experienced out-of-state PE teacher, you will fill out an Application for Initial Licensure.

If you are taking an alternative route to becoming licensed or are an inexperienced teacher from out-of-state, you will fill out an Application for an Internship License. The official type of license you will apply for is a Pre K-12 Teaching License with an endorsement in Physical Education.

When submitting your application to the Professional Licensure Bureau, make sure to include:

  • $125 processing fee
  • A fully-completed Initial or Internship License application
  • Official transcripts from all the post-secondary schools you have attended
  • Proof that you have completed a background check and been fingerprinted
  • Copies of any out-of-state teaching exams or licenses, if applicable

If you receive an Internship License, you will be expected to complete any remaining requirements – such as an alternate educator prep program or a certain amount of classroom teaching time and pedagogy courses – in order to obtain an Initial License within three years. At this point the Internship License will expire and may not be renewed.

If you submit your application between May and September you will need to wait 8-12 weeks to receive your license. If you submit your application between October and April you will need to wait 1-4 weeks. Once you receive your license you will have met all the requirements for PE teacher jobs in New Mexico and you can begin searching for vacant PE teaching positions across the state.



Step 4. Renew Your New Mexico PE Teaching License

All new PE teachers in New Mexico start at what is known as the Level I license level. Your license at this level is valid for three years, and you can upgrade your license to a Level II after you have submitted a Professional Development Dossier and completed your district’s new teacher mentoring program.

Once you have moved to a Level II license, after three additional years you can submit another PDD and, if approved, you can move to a level III license upon completing either of the following:

  • A master’s degree or higher
  • Advanced PE certification from the NBPTS

Your Level II license is valid for nine years. Your base salary is calculated according to your teaching level at the following rates:

  • Level I – $30,000
  • Level II – $40,000
  • Level III – $50,000

Professional Development Dossier (PDD)

To advance your teaching license to the next level you will need to compile a Professional Development Dossier (PDD). This is a collection of data from your PE classroom such as:

  • Lesson plans and descriptions
  • Student assessments
  • Student work
  • Video and audio recordings of you teaching

You will provide explanations of these examples of your work, and your job performance will be evaluated on three basic areas of criteria:

  • Instruction
  • Student learning
  • Professional learning

The superintendent will verify the experience you submit with your PDD and then proceed to evaluate this information to determine if you are qualified to move to the next level of certification.

Phys Ed Teacher Salary in New Mexico

According to the New Mexico Workforce Connection, which is sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, there is a median PE teacher salary in New Mexico of $42,928. At the entry-level, there is an average salary of $22,625.

Sponsored Content

For tenured physical education teachers with many years of experience, however, the average salary is roughly 25% above the statewide median at $57,079.

Another way in which to understand salary is to look at how physical education teachers are paid locally. Below is an overview of the salary structure within the Albuquerque Public School District:

Bachelor’s Degree

Step 1: $30,000
Step 5: $30,469
Step 10: $32,112
Step 15: $33,198
Step 20: $37,453
Step 25: $38,317
Step 30: $41,693
Step 35: $48,984
Step 38: $48,984
Bachelor’s Degree Plus 45 Units or Master’s Degree

Step 1: $30,002
Step 5: $30,470
Step 10: $32,525
Step 15: $33,730
Step 20: $38,146
Step 25: $40,229
Step 30: $44,058
Step 35: $49,241
Step 38: $52,353
Master’s Degree Plus 15 Units

Step 1: $30,004
Step 5: $30,473
Step 10: $32,733
Step 15: $33,942
Step 20: $39,085
Step 25: $41,979
Step 30: $45,771
Step 35: $50,957
Step 38: $54,092

Back to Top