New Mexico is one of the most rural states, but it is also one with a lot of opportunity. While Albuquerque is the largest city, most of the state is made up of rural, isolated communities with populations of less than 50,000. Density-wise, New Mexico is in the lowest five states in the country. This means that most people living in the state drive for hours to get to basic services such as healthcare and shopping.
Suppose you’re thinking of choosing one of the many nursing schools in New Mexico. In that case, it’s essential to think ahead to the rest of the steps required to earn your RN license and begin working as a nurse in New Mexico. Those seeking a career in nursing can get a New Mexico registered nurse license using a few different paths. More good news is that there is also plenty of assistance available to help people seeking a New Mexico registered nurse license.
HOW DO YOU BECOME A NURSE IN NEW MEXICO?
If you want to become a licensed nurse in New Mexico, you need to take the following steps:
- Earn a High School Diploma: The first thing you want to do to pursue a registered nurse license in New Mexico is to earn a high school diploma or GED.
- Apply for College: After you graduate from high school or earn your GED, you need to apply to college. Take time to search for all the colleges that offer the best nursing programs in New Mexico. The New Mexico Board of Nursing (NMBON) requires graduation from an approved course of study for Registered Nurses. So make sure the program is accredited and approved by the NMBON.
- Get Your Degree: Next you need to earn a degree in nursing. Students must complete and be eligible for graduation from a board-approved course of study. The program should be for the preparation of registered nurses or practical nurses.
- Obtaining a Nursing License: After graduating from an approved RN education program, you will be eligible to apply for a nursing license.
- Submit Official Transcripts: Upon completing a Nursing Program, you will need to submit your official transcripts to the New Mexico Board of Nursing (NMBON). A Certificate of Eligibility or official transcripts is needed before gaining permission to take the NCLEX exam. Applicants that received an education in New Mexico may have their education verified through the Affidavit of Graduation Portal. The NMBON accepts electronic transcripts and prefers Parchment and E-Scrip Safe.
- Complete a Criminal Background Check. A criminal background check with fingerprints must be to be submitted with a fee. In-state applicants will travel to chosen fingerprint location to complete the fingerprinting. Out-of-state and international applicants should request fingerprint cards online and follow the directions for submitting them.
- Register for the NCLEX with Pearson Vue. Applicants must take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The exam must be taken within six months of graduation. If you do not pass the exam, it can be retaken a maximum of three times within three years of first being eligible to sit for the examination. You may register by telephone or by Internet (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex) by using a valid credit card. Reminders are not sent out. The fee for this exam is $200.
- Submit a License Application and fee. Submit your online application through the New Mexico Board of Nursing (BON). Once the file is reviewed and determined to be complete by the Board, you will receive your Authorization To Test (ATT) from Pearson. Your ATT will be sent from Pearson VUE by email and will allow you to schedule a day and time for your exam. All correspondence from Pearson VUE will arrive only by email.
- Maintain Certification and Renew as Necessary: If you want to be a licensed registered nurse in New Mexico, you will need to maintain your certification and renew it as necessary.
Regardless of the route chosen, becoming a nurse in New Mexico will require some schooling, and choosing the right school can go a long way in determining your success. This process begins with finding those nursing and nursing programs that are approved and accredited by the New Mexico Board of Nursing (NMBON). If you have chosen to pursue a career in nursing, then the earlier planning and preparation begins, the easier the path to becoming a nurse will be.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT NURSING SCHOOL IN NEW MEXICO
Accreditation and NMBON approval is without question the most vital aspect of choosing the right nursing school or nursing program. Nothing else is of greater importance when choosing a school because only those programs will qualify hopeful nurses for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). That also leads to other important considerations when choosing the right med school or program.
Does the nursing school or nursing program offer preparation, pretesting, or any special assistance like tutoring for the NCLEX? This is another question to ask about the schools and programs under consideration. It is also important to find a program that aligns with your nursing goals. In most cases, those seeking to become an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) can attend an approved and accredited trade school or community college. These courses are typically less than a year to complete and often help students prepare for their nursing exams.
Others with aspirations of a career in nursing may choose to earn an RN (Registered Nurse) degree from a four-year institution such as a college or university. These are a couple of ways to become a nurse and meet the New Mexico nursing license requirements as mandated by the nursing board.
A few of the other considerations when choosing among the best nursing programs in New Mexico will depend on more personal considerations. We all come into the world of nursing from different walks of life, different backgrounds, and having unique and individual circumstances. Some students are straight out of high school. Others students choose to go back to school after a break. There are many other scenarios will help determine the best path to becoming a nurse in New Mexico for you.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT NURSING PROGRAM IN NEW MEXICO
We have narrowed the pool of nursing schools and programs down to those that are accredited and approved. Now, we need to evaluate the curriculum, course work, and ensured it was the right program. Once we have chosen a few good schools, we must look at our situations.
This might mean that evening classes or remote learning options would be more beneficial for some students. These considerations may involve common factors such as tuition and financial assistance availability. When choosing the right nursing program or medical school remember that it begins with the program and it ends with you.
NEW MEXICO IS NOW A PART OF THE NURSE LICENSURE COMPACT (NLC)
The NLC increases the access to available nurse professionals for those member states of the NLC. The NLC is available to only participating states. These states are outlined on the Nurse Licensure Compact website. The Nurse Licensure Compact increases employment access to care while maintaining public protection at the state level. Under the NLC, nurses can practice in other NLC states without having to obtain additional licenses.
JOB OUTLOOK IN THE NURSING PROFESSION IN NEW MEXICO
The majority of hospitals and clinics located outside of the major cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe are constantly looking for qualified healthcare professionals such as nurses. While many of these clinics are in remote areas, they offer high salaries in comparison with national average salaries. When compared with the low cost of living in these areas, many nurses find that they are able to afford a very comfortable lifestyle in New Mexico. Over the next several years, the advent of the new federal healthcare law will mean that many low-income residents of New Mexico will have health insurance and be seeking healthcare services. Because of this large expected increase in patients, many clinics are planning to expand their staff. Nurses who speak Spanish will be in very high demand.
State Based Financial Aid in New Mexico
Compared to other states, there is very little state educational aid in New Mexico, but there are several scholarships designed to help graduating high school students. Many of these scholarships require students to keep high GPAs and complete several hours of volunteering.
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.
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. In addition, it will require learning about New Mexico nursing license requirements and understanding the steps necessary to obtain a State of New Mexico nursing license.
The road to becoming a nurse will test your skills, your intellect, and demand a lot of effort, study, and time. This is an easy road but is one that ends with the rewards of being a nurse. Those rewards come in many ways too, like compensation traditionally higher than most other professions and job security. Recent reports from the New Mexico Health Care Workforce Committee project growth in the nursing market through 2024.
Good luck in your efforts and on your road to becoming a nurse. Getting that New Mexico registered nurse license will be worth all that hard work and effort. Those New Mexico nursing license requirements aren’t meant to be easy, and not everyone makes it, but those who do – we call nurses.