New Mexico

Overall Policy Lever Score


Child care licensing minimally requires that directors have one of eight different certificates or credentials (e.g., CDA, CCP, NAC, New Mexico Child Development Certificate) and two years of experience in an early childhood setting. New Mexico accepts National Administrator’s Credential from NICCM. Elementary principal licensure requires a master’s degree with teaching experience. Certification in pre-K is available and requires pre-K coursework; however pre-K work experience is not required. Principal licensure is required for school-based State pre-K programs and preschool program administrators must hold one of four credentials offered in New Mexico. New Mexico’s QRIS program, FOCUS, is state-wide. All New Mexico public education preschool programs (PreK, Special Education 619, and Title I) will participate in the FOCUS QRIS. All PreK-funded school districts and charter schools must be in full compliance with, achieve and maintain a 5 star rating on PED’s FOCUS:QRIS in every PreK classroom.  FOCUS includes the PreK program requirements, but all public school preschool programs, including special education and Title1, must implement FOCUS.  Programs will have up to two years from the start of FOCUS implementation to meet the 5 Star Criteria. There is one early childhood leadership degree program and one online early childhood leadership academy in New Mexico.

Interesting Facts: New Mexico

  • The pay differential between child care directors and elementary school principals is less than in many other states.

  • Central New Mexico Community College offers an associate degree in early childhood program administration.

  • New Mexico provides the web-based FOCUS Leadership Academy to support early childhood administrators.