Best Nursing Schools in New Mexico
Selecting the best nursing school in New Mexico can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 10 nursing schools in New Mexico by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 21 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN Degree.
For more information on our top nursing school rankings, see our Methodology Page (https://www.registerednursing.org/rn-ranking-methodology/).
The southwestern state of New Mexico has placed great emphasis on healthcare employment in recent years. In fact, the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions reports that employment of registered nurses is the highest amongst healthcare practitioners and technical occupations in the state, making it one of the fastest growing occupations. It also offers great salary opportunities, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average RN salary in New Mexico at $66,030.
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If you're not quite sure where to start, look into earning an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN). This is one of the fastest ways to become an RN, as the program is just 2 years in length. It's also highly accessible as it's usually offered at smaller colleges like junior and/or technical schools.
The state of New Mexico has more than 10 schools with ADN programs to choose from. These schools are scattered all throughout the state.
What to Look For in an ADN Program in New Mexico
Once you decide on getting your ADN, you'll need to start researching schools and programs. While there are many factors to choosing the right school for your particular situation, a few of the main things to look for include:
Choosing a school with proper accreditation is huge. This is an easy way to ensure that you will receive a quality nursing education. National organizations like the Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and/or the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) are two big ones to look for, but there are others out there as well. You'll also want to check with the New Mexico State Board of Nursing to be sure that your desired program is approved locally by them.
Upon completion of your ADN program, you'll need to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Once you pass this test, the New Mexico Board of Nursing can issue you a nursing license. It's a good idea to take a look at a prospective school's curriculum, and maybe even speak to some faculty, to be sure that their program will prepare you for this important exam. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that in 2015, 83% of new nurse grads in New Mexico who took the NCLEX received a license.
Most schools provide statistics on how recent graduates of their program have fared. This is a great way to see how successful a prospective school's program is. Be sure to look for outcomes on things like:
- Graduation rates
- Licensure exam pass rates
- Graduate satisfaction
- Employment rates
Santa Fe Community College is one school in the region that offers an accredited ADN program.
ADN Program Admission Requirements in New Mexico
Program entrance requirements tend to vary, so it's a good idea to check with any colleges you are considering to make sure you fully understand what's required. Generally speaking, you can expect to find something similar to the following:
- Supply official transcripts of all schools attended
- Complete all pre-requisite courses with minimum 2.75 GPA
- Complete the ATI TEAS for nursing exam and submit scores
- Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in New Mexico
Cost is one of the biggest things to consider when deciding on an ADN program. Tuition is the main cost, and can vary drastically depending on the school. Then you'll have to remember to factor in additional mandatory fees, like lab fees, equipment, uniforms and things of that nature. There are other indirect costs as well, such as transportation, room and board, and parking.
For example, the tuition per semester for the ADN program at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, NM, has a maximum cost of $420.00 for 12 credit hours or more for in-district residents, not including special fees.
Advantages of ADN Programs
If you are looking for a nursing program that's relatively quick, readily accessible, and affordable, an ADN is a perfect choice. The 2-year length suits many students who want to begin their nursing careers as soon as possible, and the fact that they are found in many small, community colleges makes it easy to find one throughout the state. They also tend to be cheaper than longer, more advanced programs, so budget-conscious students have an option to suit their needs.
When Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) wish to advance their careers, they have the option of enrolling in specialized LPN to RN bridge programs. These programs allow the LPNs to build upon their prior education and experience to earn a registered nursing degree, often inexpensively and quickly. These programs are ideal for practical nurses who wish to continue working while they pursue an RN degree.
LPN to ADN/BSN Programs
The fastest route to an RN degree is via an LPN to ADN program. These programs can often be completed in just 1-2 years of study. Central New Mexico Community College, for example, offers an LPN to ADN mobility option which admits 16 students each term. For students willing to endure a little more education, the LPN to BSN option culminates in the coveted bachelor's degree in nursing, leading to more employment opportunities and higher pay. New Mexico students may wish to select one of the many national online LPN to BSN programs.
For those who want a traditional college experience paired with a more advanced nursing degree, a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) is an excellent route to becoming an RN. At 4 years in length, it's slightly longer than an ADN program, but the job advancement and salary opportunities will grow exponentially with this degree. In fact, many management positions in nursing require at least a BSN degree. There are also BSN options for those who already hold a Bachelor's degree in a different subject (called an accelerated BSN) and for RNs who want to advance with a BSN (called an RN to BSN program).
New Mexico has roughly 5 schools that offer a BSN program.
What To Look For in a BSN Program in New Mexico
There are a lot of things to consider as you research BSN programs in the state. You'll want to ensure that your program of choice is properly accredited, in a good location for you, and has favorable outcomes. If you are looking for an accelerated BSN program, or an RN to BSN, you'll need to make sure that these are program options your school provides, as not all schools offer these specialized BSNs.
As an example, New Mexico State University in Las Cruces is one school in the state that offers a properly accredited BSN program.
BSN Program Length in New Mexico
If you are looking to enter a traditional BSN program, you can expect it to take 4 years to complete. Your training will consist of general education courses, as well as more specific nursing training. If you already have a Bachelor's degree or higher and are interested in an accelerated program, they typically take about 15 months from start to finish. Those looking into RN to BSN programs can expect it to take between 1-2 years to finish.
BSN Program Admission Requirements in New Mexico
BSN programs can be competitive. While programs vary, you'll want to be sure you have something similar to the following completed before you apply:
- Completed pre-requisite courses with grade of C or better
- Competency in basic computer skills including: general computer knowledge, word processing, data inquiry (databases and search engines), communication (e-mail), and searching the World Wide Web using the Internet
- Pass each section (reading comprehension, vocabulary & general knowledge, grammar, basic math skills, biology, and chemistry) of the HESI A2 exam with 75% or higher
Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in New Mexico
You can expect a few things in regards to the cost of your BSN degree. First is tuition; this is typically the largest cost associated with your degree. Next are extra miscellaneous expenses which are mandatory, indirect costs. These include things like textbooks, lab fees, transportation, and more. Make sure you understand all the costs of your program of choice before you settle on a school.
To give you an example on cost, the tuition and fees for the BSN program at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque is approximately $6,250.20 per semester for up to 18 credits for in-state residents.
Advantages of BSN Programs
BSN programs are fantastic route to earn your RN license. They are more in-depth than shorter nursing programs, and upon completion will give you the opportunity to apply to more advanced nursing jobs and potentially earn more money. The availability of accelerated programs and RN to BSN options make it one of the most versatile nursing degrees you can earn, and something that's accessible no matter where you are in life.
If you're interested in a nursing education with maximum potential, a Master's of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) might be for you. Although you must already hold a BSN before you can enter this program, advanced careers such as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Nurse Midwife, Nurse Practitioner, and more await you upon completion of the degree. Registered nurses with an MSN also have the potential for higher salaries.
A handful of schools throughout New Mexico offer accredited MSN degrees.
MSN Program Length in New Mexico
An MSN will take you approximately 2-3 years to complete from start to finish. This can fluctuate a bit based on the school you choose and the type of MSN specialty are interested in, as some specialty programs require a few more credits. MSN programs are usually fairly flexible, as they are designed for busy working nurses. Evening and online classes are commonly offered for this type of degree. An MSN will build upon the courses you took during your BSN education.
MSN Admission Requirements in New Mexico
Each school will have their own admission guidelines, but below is a sampling of common requirements for MSN programs in the state:
- Minimum GPA of 3.0
- Three letters of reference
- Letter of intent
- Registered nurse in the state of New Mexico with at least one year of work experience in the field
Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in New Mexico
While tuition will most likely be the biggest cost you'll face with an MSN, you'll also need to account for other mandatory fees. Textbooks, lab fees, equipment and uniforms are all normal costs that aren't always included in the tuition price. To provide an example, the cost of tuition for an MSN at the University of New Mexico is $573.18 per credit for New Mexico residents (out of state tuition tends to be more; check with your school of choice for details).
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New Mexico Board of Nursing regulations for licensure under examination or by endorsement require candidates to submit certain supporting documentation.
If applying via examination, submit your application and include:
- Certificate of Eligibility or official transcript - sent directly to the board from the school
- Complete Criminal Background Check paperwork for both federal and state
- Completed fingerprint card
- Register for the NCLEX - complete with passing score
If applying by endorsement you must submit an application and include the following information:
- Graduate from a state approved education institution
- Completed Criminal Background Check
- Completed fingerprint cards
- Verification of licensure from originating state - sent directly from state to the Board or via NURSYS
The benefits of holding a degree in nursing is being sought after by employers because of the proven track record of BSN or MSN nursing candidates. BSN or MSN nurses are said to be preferred when hiring for new job opportunities. Take one of the 12 to 18 month accelerated programs and become a preferred nurse. Gaining entrance into this program is dependent upon meeting the entrance criteria, which could mean completing various prerequisite courses. Meeting the criteria could mean taking extra time to finish the program, and can also add to the cost of tuition. Tuition costs for every program are different, so get in touch with the college and inquire about the fees.
Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell campus is home to an acclaimed associate's degree in nursing (ADN) pathway. Students complete their first year of requirements, followed by a minimum of 4 semesters of undergrad nursing courses. Ethical, experienced nurse educators form undergraduate nursing philosophy with great care, resulting in strong and responsible graduates who are a credit to their profession.
San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico has flexible offerings to assist every nurse and pre-licensure nursing student in fulfilling their career aspirations. In addition to a traditional ADN program, San Juan College also offers a BSN program in partnership with the University of New Mexico (taken on the San Juan College campus). The school prides itself on student-centered learning, utilizing didactic, laboratory, simulated, and clinical experiences.
The Carlsbad campus of New Mexico State University fosters undergrad nursing students through its exceptional ADN program. With no waitlist, and a suggested plan of study that takes just 2 years to complete, students have a quick and efficient route to a nursing career. The curriculum includes courses in Medication and Dosage Calculation, Health Deviations, and more.
New Mexico State University - Albuquerque offers a pre-licensure BSN degree program that combines on-campus classroom learning with experiential clinical courses in medical settings. This four-year program requires roughly 29-32 credit hours per academic year. Graduates are well prepared to provide evidence-based nursing care across various populations.
Hobbs' New Mexico Junior College is located in the southeast corner of the state, offering an innovative ADN program for prospective RNs. Up to 50 students are accepted into the program each August. With classroom, lab, and clinical rotation, NMJC graduates have been achieving professional success in the nursing vocation since 1965.
The University of New Mexico – Valencia, located in Los Lunas, offers an ADN pathway for aspiring registered nurses. Enrolled students are prepared to provide nursing services for rural populations, and the curriculum is student-centered, quality, and diverse. This ACEN-accredited program boasts an 80%-100% completion rate within six semesters.
Albuquerque's Carrington College offers an ADN program that trains students to care for patients in differing clinical settings. Enrolled students enjoy the benefits of fixed tuition, tutoring and study groups, and career services. Externships, clinical rotations and fieldwork are included in the expansive curriculum.
Clovis Community College is located in Clovis, New Mexico. The college's nursing department is a Full Member of the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC) and is home to a renowned ADN degree program. The 2-semester program covers topics such as human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, and much more.
Those searching for a quality ADN program can enroll in Santa Fe Community College's offering. This program teaches students the concepts of nursing practice, to include pharmacology, emergency medicine, and how to care for those with chronic conditions. SFCC is also a "Dual Degree" partner with the University of Mexico, giving students the opportunity to earn a BSN degree right on the Santa Fe campus.
Luna Community College of Las Vegas, NM, offers a quality ADN pathway using the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC) State Wide Curriculum Model. The minimum 68-credit hour program includes courses in Medical Microbiology, Health and Illness Concepts, Assessment and Health Promotion, and much more.
Continued List of All RN Programs in New Mexico
Central New Mexico Community College
525 Buena Vista Dr SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Programs: Associate in Nursing
University of New Mexico - Gallup
705 Gurley Ave, Gallup, NM 87301
Programs: Associate in Nursing
Dona Ana Community College
2800 Sonoma Ranch Blvd, Las Cruces, NM 88011
Programs: Associate in Nursing
4201 Central Avenue N.W., Suite J, Albuquerque, NM 87105
New Mexico State University - Las Cruces
1780 E University Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88003
Grand Canyon University
6700 Jefferson St. NE, Suite D-2, Albuquerque, NM 87109
Western New Mexico University
1000 W College Ave, Silver City, NM 88062
Northern New Mexico College
921 N Paseo De Onate, Espanola, NM 87532
Programs: Associate in Nursing
University of New Mexico - Taos
1157 County Road 110, Ranchos De Taos, NM 87557
Programs: Associate in Nursing
PIMA Medical Institute
4400 Cutler Ave N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87110
Programs: Associate in Nursing
National American University
4775 Indian School Rd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110
Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.
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