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Fingerprinting for Background Check

Fingerprinting is required for initial licensure
All applicants for initial educator licensure are required to be fingerprinted in order to establish positive identification for a state and federal (FBI) criminal history background check.

How are my fingerprints used?
Your fingerprints will be used to access FBI criminal history records. A license may be denied if the background check reveals a criminal history of convictions or felonies or misdemeanors of moral turpitude or other documented evidence of improper behavior that could establish unfitness for working in proximity of children and youth.

Who can perform the fingerprinting?
Fingerprints should be taken by a public law enforcement official or other agency staff trained by the New Mexico Department of Public Safety (DPS) or equivalent state agency in another state.

Public law enforcement agencies include the Department of Public Safety, county sheriff, as well as state, municipal, campus, military and tribal police. In some locations it may be possible to find other agencies with staff trained by DPS to take fingerprints, including some local school districts. It is advisable to call law enforcement agencies prior to going to their offices in order to get information about the location of the fingerprinting operation and office hours.

How do I obtain a fingerprint card?
Cards can be obtained by calling 505-827-6649 or by emailing the Educator Ethics Bureau

Submit your fingerprints with your application
Licensure applicants are encouraged to submit fingerprint cards at the same time as the application form for licensure, although they may be submitted separately.

How long does the background check take?
The background check process at the Public Education Department takes about 2 weeks if everything is submitted correctly by the applicant, and if the fingerprints are clear and classifiable. Errors or unclassifiable fingerprints can more than triple the time required to complete the criminal history background check.

Rules provide that the Department will not issue an educator license, even a temporary one, prior to the completion of the background check process.

I've had a background check before. Can it be used in lieu of fingerprinting?
The Educator Ethics Bureau will accept background check clearances from other agencies in lieu of fingerprinting if 3 conditions are met:

1. the clearance was based on fingerprint identification of the applicant;
2. the other agency will provide a copy of the FBI report; and
3. the date of the FBI report is not more than two years old.

Submit the correct fee with your fingerprint cards
All fingerprint cards submitted to the Public Education Department (PED) require a background check fee of $29.25.

Take care when mailing the fingerprint cards
Do not fold or bend the fingerprint cards.
Use an envelope large enough to accommodate the cards.
Folded or damaged cards will be returned, causing delay in the processing of your application.