Being a nurse isn’t just a job, it is also a great responsibility, an honor, and a rewarding career. Becoming a nurse, however, like any worthwhile undertaking, requires planning and preparation. It will require learning about New Mexico nursing license requirements, and understanding the steps necessary to obtain a State of New Mexico nursing license.
When considering a nursing school or nursing program in New Mexico, it begins with finding a good school to help students meet the New Mexico nursing license requirements. That is only where the road to becoming a nurse begins, however, because there are many other factors to consider.
HOW WE RANKED THE BEST NURSING PROGRAMS IN NEW MEXICO
Nursing School Hub’s editors know prospective nurses want their degree to pay off, so we feature only accredited, trusted institutions. Programs are ranked according to data from IPEDS and Niche, including cost, potential salary, and student reviews.
1. New Mexico State University – Las Cruces
The School of Nursing at New Mexico State University – Las Cruces offers undergraduate and graduate programs for nursing students who are beginning their education and students that want to continue their education. Degree programs include BSN, MSN, post-graduate APRN certificate, and DNP. The BSN program is designed to accommodate students who are working on their first bachelors degree and students who have a bachelor’s in another field. Graduates of the BSN program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. The school is also developing a new DNP degree concentration in Nurse Anesthesiology.
New Mexico State University (NMSU or NM State) is one of two flagship universities in the public university system. It has a Carnegie Classification of R2: Doctoral Universities — High research activity and has a space-grant affiliation. The school offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and enrolls about 14,000 students each academic year. Its athletics teams participate at the NCAA Division I level and compete in the Western Athletic Conference.
Programs: BSN, MSN, DNP
2. University of New Mexico – Albuquerque
The College of Nursing at the University of New Mexico – Albuquerque offers educational degree opportunities that include an RN-to-BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD programs. The nursing education program is focused on teaching students how to serve rural and underserved populations, is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution, and offers research opportunities. The program also finds clinical placements for students. Students learn in a state-of-the-art simulation center in order to get the best possible experience with the latest technology.
The University of New Mexico — Albuquerque (UNM) is the flagship university in Arizona’s public university system. It features a space-grant affiliation and has a Carnegie Classification of R1: Doctoral Universities — Very high research activity. UNM offers over 215 degree and certificate programs that include 91 bachelors, 71 masters, and 37 doctoral degrees. The school’s sports teams participate at the NCAA Division I level in the Mountain West Conference.
Programs: RN-BSN, BSN, MSN, DNP, PhD
3. Carrington College
Carrington College offers an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) program that prepares students to become competent nurses and be capable of performing healthcare duties that include drawing blood, giving injections, obtaining baseline vital signs, counseling patients, and more. The degree program offers a mix of learning settings in the form of classroom lectures, clinical exercises, practical training, and medical-surgical nursing. Students who complete the ADN program are qualified to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam after graduation.
Carrington College is a private college network that has a for-profit status. It enrolls over 5,200 students each academic year who are in pursuit of a degree in the fields of criminal justice, medical, dental and veterinary. The school was founded in 1967 and has accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.
4. New Mexico Junior College
The Nursing Program at New Mexico Junior College offers students the opportunity to earn their associate of applied science in nursing and sit for the NCLEX-RN in order to gain licensure as a registered nurse. The program is designed to train students to become successful nurses that are capable of providing patient-centered, high quality and safe nursing care for any given patient population. Students in the program take classes that include classroom and lab instruction along with supervised clinical instruction in simulated and actual environments. The nursing program is accredited by ACEN.
New Mexico Junior College (NMJC) is the first independent junior college in the state of New Mexico. It enrolls about 3,000 students each academic year and offers certificates and associate degrees. Over 640 areas of study are available in the Arts and Sciences, and Business and Technology. The school’s athletic teams participate at the NJCAA Division I level.
5. Clovis Community College
The Nursing Program at Clovis Community College offers an associate degree in nursing that requires four semesters for completion. The program is designed to engage students who are interested in becoming a nurse by showing them how to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Classes include Human Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, Medical Technology, and more. Clinical rotations take place in settings that include OB/GYN, pediatrics, long term care, acute care, and more. The program is accredited by ACEN and is approved by the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium.
Clovis Community College (CCC) began as a branch campus of Eastern New Mexico University, and separated to become an independent public college in 1991. The college serves a rural population with on-campus and virtual classes. The school has grown to offer a high-quality education to underserved areas of the state, and focuses on providing affordable higher education for residents while serving the local community at large.
6. New Mexico State University – Carlsbad
New Mexico State University at Carlsbad Nursing Department teaches and trains students to become competent and compassionate nurses. The curriculum focuses on preparing students to work in a variety of healthcare settings and how to work with patients from different age groups and racial backgrounds. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and gain licensure as a registered nurse. The nursing program is accredited by ACEN. The school also offers an RN-to-BSN program that’s coordinated through the Las Cruces campus and is 100% online.
New Mexico State University (NMSU Carlsbad) is a public community college and serves as a branch campus of New Mexico State University — Las Cruces. It enrolls about 2,000 students each academic semester and offers certificate programs and associate degrees. It also offers community services and continuing education programs. Students who earn their associate degree at NMSU Carlsbad can transfer their credits to New Mexico State University schools.
7. San Juan College
The Department of Nursing at San Juan College is designed to make it easy for students to engage in their education and become a qualified CNA or RN. Students have the option to earn their Certified Nursing Assistant certification and start employment as a CNA, then return to school to earn their ADN. The school offers two educational pathways that include an ADN – licensure program and a BSN in partnership with the University of New Mexico. Students are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN upon successful completion of the program, or can continue on to earn their BSN. The Department of Nursing is a full member of the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium.
San Juan College is an independent community college that provides two-year higher education to about 10,000 students each academic year. It offers over 130 associate degree and certificate programs. It also provides workforce training and non-credit community learning. The school has five campuses that serve the populations of the northwestern region of New Mexico.
Programs: CNA, ADN, BSN
8. Santa Fe Community College
The School of Sciences, Health, Engineering, and Math at Santa Fe Community College offers a fully accredited nursing program with multiple degree options. Students can earn their practical nursing certificate as they earn their associate degree in nursing or through the dual credit pathway. The school’s ADN program is a three-semester program that enables students to earn their ADN more quickly and pass the NCLEX-PN to become a practical nurse or licensed practical nurse. Those students who wish to earn their BSN can transfer their credits to University of New Mexico to continue their education and earn an undergraduate degree in nursing.
Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) is a public community college and belongs to the Santa Fe Community College District and covers most of Santa Fe County. The school offers continuing education, certificates, job training, associate degrees, and has a credit transfer agreement with University of New Mexico for students who want to earn their undergraduate degree.
Programs: CNA, ADN, BSN
9. University of New Mexico – Gallup
The Nursing Program at University of New Mexico – Gallup offers a Certified Nurse Assistant certificate and an Associates Degree in Nursing program. The nursing program is designed to teach students how to become competent and culturally sensitive nurses who can perform their duties in rural healthcare settings. Some of the classes offered include Intro to Psychology, Human Growth & Development, Pathophysiology, and Professional Nursing Concepts. Students who complete the ADN program at University of New Mexico — Gallup can go on to earn a BSN from the University of New Mexico.
The University of New Mexico — Gallup (UNM Gallup) is a community college that operates as a branch campus of the UNM. It’s a two-year college that operates the Middle College High School, Community Education Center, Center for Career and Technical Education, and the Adult Education Center all located in Gallup. The school offers open enrollment and has programs in vocational and academic disciplines.
Programs: CNA, ADN, BSN (on campus through UNM partnership)
10. Central New Mexico Community College
The School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety at Central New Mexico Community College offers programs for CNA and Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AASN) program with a focus on holistic care. Students learn how to engage in critical thinking, provide clear communication, and always be compassionate to their patients. The school offers the New Mexico Nursing Education Curriculum and has a transfer program agreement with University of New Mexico to allow graduates to earn their BSN. .
Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) is a public community college that has the largest undergraduate enrollment in the state of New Mexico. It enrolls around 23,000 students each academic year, and students attend one of five campuses in Albuquerque or one in Rio Rancho. CNM offers professional certificates, associate degrees, and continuing education for working adults. The school ranks number 1 in the state for the number of associates degrees and certificates earned by Native Americans.
Programs: CNA, ADN, BSN (through UNM partnership)
How Do I Choose a Nursing School in New Mexico?
The best nursing schools in New Mexico offer a wide variety of courses and options for students. With distance learning, you can make a lot of progress towards a degree online. There will be an internship and some practical training, so you will have to attend nursing schools in New Mexico to some extent.
It is a good idea to visit more than one school when choosing among the best nursing schools in New Mexico. Take a list of questions with you to make sure you get all the information you need. Does the school offer distance learning? Does it offer practical training? A big part of is also finding a place where you feel good about the programs. The school also needs to fit your lifestyle. Distance-learning would be more important, for instance, if you were working and intended to work toward your nursing degree at the same time.
Make sure the school is accredited as most employers expect that. It is also required for when you take your state nursing exam, which is required after graduation to get your nursing license. Check out the reputation and the curriculum. When you visit a school seek out a nursing school administrator and ask your questions. It is also a good idea to research the school as much as possible.
How is the Job Market for Nurses in New Mexico?
In 2018 there were 12,227 job postings for nurse jobs in New Mexico. The outlook for jobs is basically good. Some states are expecting a nursing shortage, but New Mexico may have more Registered Nurses than it needs in a few years. Nearby states like California are expecting huge shortages. Even so, rural areas may have greater needs for nurses and other medical personnel than larger cities. Even so there should be an 11 percent increase in healthcare jobs in New Mexico through 2028.
New Mexico travel nurse jobs could be plentiful if enough are not found in rural or small-town areas. Travel nurses fill in where needed like a temporary agency.
The New Mexico Department of Health also sees a need for nursing jobs in New Mexico. Any area involving public health will be having New Mexico nursing jobs available.
New Mexico nurse jobs may fluctuate, but there will always be a need for medical personnel. A person could start out as a nurse assistant or an LPN, and work their way up as far as they like. Degrees build on each other even beyond a registered nurse to a nurse practitioner.
While the job outlook for Registered Nurses is not great, there should be a lot of jobs available in other areas of the medical field. Nurses with specialties are always in demand. Specialties, like school nursing, public health nurse, and many others require some extra training along with the regular RN requirements.
How Much Do Nurses Make in New Mexico?
The good news for nursing salaries in New Mexico is that Registered nurses are paid well, and the cost of living is lower in this state than in many states. Nursing salaries in New Mexico
The degree and level of experience determine how much does a nurse makes in New Mexico. Nursing jobs also often require experience. There is generally some practical training, and perhaps an internship, which will count as experience when looking for a job. If you start as a nurse’s assistant and work your way up, internships there will also count as experience.
The average New Mexico nursing salary for registered nurses is $75,000.That is about at the national average, but it could buy more since the cost of living is lower. The top 10 percent of nurses nationally make $106,000. Nurses also get regular raises and with more experience, you could make more.
LPN’s average $50,000. Pharmacy technicians average $36,000. Physical Therapists average $90,000. Travel nurses would make a little more, and specialties also affect how much do nurses make in New Mexico.
Larger cities pay better than rural areas, but it is in rural areas where the most nurses are needed. Nurse practitioners average $117,000 for how much do nurse practitioners make in New Mexico.