Special Education Teacher Training (SETT)

The Special Education Teacher Training (SETT) program is a collaboration between Albuquerque Public Schools (APS), Central New Mexico Community College (CNM), and the Albuquerque Teachers Federation (ATF) to provide a supported alternative licensure pathway to attract and retain high-quality special education teachers in APS.

CNM black Special Education Teacher Training.jpg

Application for 2023-24 Term is Open

Class Begins: Fall 2023
Best consideration: January 17, 2023
Early Acceptance: February 15, 2023
Application closing date: June 30, 2023

Early acceptance is available for TRs who are willing to commit to APS Zones One and Two, speak multiple languages, or have a preference for working with people with disabilities. 

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Become a Cooperating Teacher

APS teachers who hold a Level 2 or 3 license in Special Education can earn extra income and provide much-needed guidance to TRs by becoming Cooperating Teachers. Learn more about APS Cooperating Teachers or send us an email today.

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About the SETT Program

Learn more at a SETT Information Session

The SETT alternative teacher licensure program provides Teacher Residents (TRs) with the opportunity to co-teach with a Cooperating Teacher in a K-12 special education setting for a full year, learning the art of lesson planning, effective and appropriate pedagogy, classroom management strategies, and special education case management.

Being a special education teacher is a highly rewarding and meaningful profession in high need in our community. Our program is looking for diverse community members who want to give back and make a difference in the lives of students who are too often left behind.

Our program has five core values:

  • Critically Reflective Practice
  • Professionalism
  • Diversity
  • Multicultural Perspective
  • Collaboration

Program Details

TRs will apply for placement in the program by completing:

  • A CNM application,
  • A SETT program application
  • Transcript analysis, and
  • An interview.

Classes begin in the Fall 2023 semester. TRs will apprentice Monday-Wednesday and Fridays with their Cooperating Teachers. Thursday will be a release day from APS, which will allow students to take their CNM teacher preparation classes during the school day.

This is a cohort program and students will move through the classes and training together, creating strong teaching relationships. The coursework is a rigorous study of the foundations of special education, curriculum and assessment, classroom and individual behavior management, and literacy instruction.

After co-teaching for a full year, TRs will also complete coursework for the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) endorsement over the following summer. The next fall, successful candidates will run their own classrooms but will receive ongoing supervision from CNM faculty and APS Cooperating Teachers.

More details about the program timeline can be found on the Program Timeline and Application page.

Roles of the Collaboration

The Special Education Teacher Training supported pathway is possible through the collaborative relationship between APS, CNM, and ATF.

Image of Albuquerque Public Schools logo. APS oversees the implementation of the SETT program in alignment with the partner agreements.

Image of CNM’s Special Education Teacher training logo. CNM facilitates the placement and education of Teacher Candidates.

Image of Albuquerque Teachers Federation logo. ATF sustains the partnership work in conjunction with the APS Board of Education. 

All three entities work closely to support each other and the Teacher Candidate to ensure the recruitment and placement of high-quality educators who will bring skill, caring, and passion to complex, special education classrooms.


  • Earn Level-1 APS salary with full benefits
  • Assistance in applying for grants/scholarships to pay for special education licensure and TESOL endorsement coursework
  • Layered levels of support and mentorship for two years
  • Guaranteed employment with successful completion of the program


To qualify for the SETT program, teacher candidates must:

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university
  • Be legally authorized to work in the United States
  • Successfully complete APS and NMPED background checks 
  • Agree to work as a special education teacher in APS for three years

Information Sessions

Learn about the advantages of our program, how to sign up, and how to get financial aid during virtual Information Sessions, which typically last one hour. 

Upcoming 2023 SETT Information Session Dates

Date: June 7, 2023
Time: 6 - 7 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting

: June 20, 2023
Time: 6 - 7 p.m.
Join Zoom Meeting