Higher Education, Scholarships, and Career Pathways 

The State of New Mexico offers an array of educational supports to New Mexicans seeking credentials in early childhood education. ECECD works in close collaboration with New Mexico’s Higher Education Department, New Mexico Institutes of Higher Learning, and the New Mexico Early Childhood Higher Education Taskforce to help ensure that early childhood degree programs are accessible and meet the needs of current and future early educators. 

Wave pattern

Scholarships and Wage Supplement Program

ECECD, in partnership with CNM-Ingenuity, provides scholarship opportunities to make it possible for early childhood professionals to complete coursework leading to advanced credentials and degrees. 

Programs include:  

  • A one-time incentive payment of $1,500 if early childhood educators hold a bilingual certification. 
  • Education-based supplemental wages to early childhood educators  who earn less than $16/hr 
  • PreK pay parity to early childhood educators who work as teachers or directors in a community-based and Tribal PreK settings or Head Start settings 

As of December, 2023, ECECD has awarded over 7,000 scholarships, and over 1500 Wage Supplements

The Early Childhood Mentor Networks

The Early Childhood Mentor Network (ECMN), under the guidance of Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), is a collaborative group of experienced early childhood teachers serving as mentors to those new in their career. The Early Childhood Mentor Networks supports early childhood teachers, infant and toddler teachers, and directors with opportunities to engage in professional development and reflective practice with other colleagues in the field.

This includes the:  

  • Early Childhood Mentor Network 
  • Director Network 
  • Infant Toddler Network 

As of September2023, ECECD’s Early Childhood Mentor Networks include over 200 individuals receiving support and guidance from 87 mentors.

Explore Careers in Early Childhood

Explore career opportunities in early childhood

Developing Futures offers resources to job seekers including a personalized quiz with detailed results. The results provide information about careers of interest, including the newest scholarships, grants, and wage supplements that are available in New Mexico. Careers results include jobs in child care, home visiting, early intervention, and PreK.

New Mexico Higher Education Department (NMHED) 

In 2005, NMHED was established as a cabinet agency in the executive branch as “a single, unified department to administer laws and exercise functions formerly administered and exercised by the commission on higher education.”  


To provide financial, academic, and policy oversight and support to the New Mexico public higher education institutions and our formal community partners for the purpose of promoting efficiency, accountability, and student success. 


To foster and guide a system of higher education that best meets the needs of people in our state.  We do so by providing financing to, oversight of, and support for all of the state’s public universities, colleges, and state-sponsored adult education programs; regulating the state’s private, for-profit institutions of higher education, and by offering programs in which both public and private institutions may participate. 

New Mexico Early Childhood Higher Education Task Force 

The New Mexico Early Childhood Higher Education Task Force was created as a voluntary, statewide, stakeholder group in 1995 to oversee the competencies, impact, and growth of higher education licensure and preparatory programs for early care and early childhood providers. The purpose of the Task Force is to extend the invitation of dialogue regarding the availability of quality higher education early childhood programs throughout New Mexico for professionals working in early care, early education, and family support in a variety of settings. 

The Task Force and the New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) partner together for the purposes of conducting business related to the New Mexico early care and early childhood education workforce. The partnership is a mutually beneficial, ongoing, and supportive arrangement between both parties, to provide expanded opportunities that enhance student success in higher education licensure and preparatory programs for early care and early childhood providers.  

Membership of the task force is solely related to faculty, staff, and stakeholders that oversee or support higher education licensure and preparatory programs for early care and early childhood providers of New Mexico. 

Early Childhood Career Pathway Guide

The levels Early Childhood Common Core Content and Competencies in New Mexico correspond to levels of certification and licensure available. Altogether, this system is referred to as the New Mexico Early Care, Education, and Family Support Career Lattice. 

The New Mexico Early Childhood Education and Care Department (ECECD) released the professional development career pathway guide, which outlines steps, options, and financial supports for continuing education to better prepare individuals for multiple career options in early childhood. 

New Mexico Early Childhood Higher Education Articulation

New Mexico has an established articulation agreement among all Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) offering Early Childhood coursework, degrees, or certificate programs. The articulation provides: core competencies, common course numbering, and transferable credited coursework among IHEs.