Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in New Mexico [2022 Guide]

Updated October 4, 2022 • 6 Min Read

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The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports there were more than 20,000 licensed registered nurses and almost 1,650 advanced practice RNs in New Mexico in 2014. While some reports indicate that the nursing shortage may not be as severe in New Mexico as other states, some experts argue that the concern isn't necessarily the employment outlook but rather the number of qualified nursing candidates, which means that nurses with the right experience should find promising opportunities in the state. To ensure you have the best chance of landing employment, the following guide walks you through licensing requirements and allows you to browse nursing schools in New Mexico to find the proper education and training.

Top Nursing Schools in New Mexico

#1 Northern New Mexico College Española, NM
#2 New Mexico State University Las Cruces, NM
#3 University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM
#4 Western New Mexico University Silver City, NM
#5 New Mexico Highlands University Las Vegas, NV
#6 Eastern New Mexico University Portales, NM is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Top Nursing Schools in New Mexico


Methodology +


The top nursing programs listed in this state's ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including

  • Student-to-faculty ration
  • In-state tuition
  • Graduation rate

Additional details for each school were included:

  • Count of programs available
  • Public and not-for-profit schools
  • Normalized on a 100 percent curve

The methodology used for tie-break is as follows...

  • Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships).
  • If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break

2-Year Schools

  1. Northern New Mexico College

    Española, NM

  2. New Mexico State University

    Las Cruces, NM

  3. University of New Mexico

    Albuquerque, NM

  4. Western New Mexico University

    Silver City, NM

  5. New Mexico Highlands University

    Las Vegas, NV

  6. Eastern New Mexico University

    Portales, NM

4-Year Schools

  1. Luna Community College

    Las Vegas, NM

  2. New Mexico Junior College

    Hobbs, NM

  3. Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell

    Roswell, NM

  4. Clovis Community College

    Clovis, NM

  5. Santa Fe Community College

    Santa Fe, NM

  6. San Juan College

    Farmington, NM

  7. New Mexico State University - Alamogordo

    Alamogordo, NM

  8. New Mexico State University - Carlsbad

    Carlsbad, NM

  9. Central New Mexico Community College

    Albuquerque, NM

  10. University of New Mexico - Taos

    Ranchos de Taos, NM

Searching New Mexico Nursing Schools

In 2014, 1,185 undergraduate and graduate students were enrolled in nursing schools across New Mexico, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. More than half were in baccalaureate programs, but several were also working towards their master's or doctorate degrees. As the state continues to face challenges finding experienced RNs, nursing schools have begun working on ways to better educate the state's future nurses. Use the search tool below to explore nursing schools in New Mexico and take the first step towards your nursing career or take it to the next level.

Licensing Steps in New Mexico

To become a nurse in New Mexico, applicants must meet a list of qualifications to ensure they have the seat time and practicum experience. The New Mexico Board of Nursing issues licenses and approves all pre-licensure nursing education programs. The Board also sets the parameters for licensure to ensure the safety of the public and to make certain that a high quality of service is maintained. Below is a list of the requirements to obtain a license for registered nursing, as well as renewal guidelines.

License Requirements

  • Show proof of completion of a Board-approved course of study for registered nurses. Send official transcripts directly from the school to the Board.
  • Register to take the NCLEX-RN with Pearson Vue and pay the appropriate fees. Residents of other Compact states must apply for licensure with their home state Board of Nursing.
  • Complete a criminal background check with 3M Cogent: In-state applicants need to obtain fingerprints at one of the approved locations. Out-of-state applicants must obtain two fingerprint cards from a Cogent-approved facility.
  • Complete the licensure application and submit to the Board of Nursing with a non-refundable $110 application fee
  • International applicants are subject to additional requirements such as proof of English competency

Residents of Compact states should apply for their license in their home state. The license is good in all Compact states. Residents of non-Compact states who wish to practice in New Mexico should apply for a single-state New Mexico license.

Keeping Your License Active

Nurses in New Mexico can renew their license online, but must first complete 30 hours of approved continuing education within the two years preceding the license's expiration date. To verify renewal, it is recommended that RNs visit the NM Board of Nursing Website. Renewal costs $93 and the online process is not open to anyone whose state of residence is not New Mexico or if the license has lapsed or become inactive.

Earning Advanced Practice Nurse Status in NM

Many nurses become advanced practice nurses and work as nurse practitioners or in other specialty fields. APRNs must meet the requirements for RN licensure, but must also take additional steps such as:

  • Complete a master's level degree or above from an accredited program in the desired specialty
  • Earn national board certification in that specialty
  • If you're seeking prescriptive authority, verify 400 hours of clinical experience in the two years preceding the application date
  • Pay the required fee
  • Submit a completed application for APRN status

NM Nursing by the Numbers

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that New Mexico will need 14 percent more nurses in 2022 than it had in 2012. And the need for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners is even greater. New Mexico has a low concentration of nurses to residents, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. This may mean increased wages for nurses in certain metropolitan areas, as outlined below.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in New Mexico

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Santa Fe$31.45$65,410
North and West Central New Mexico nonmetropolitan area$30.53$63,490
Las Cruces$30.38$63,190
Southwestern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area$30.22$62,850
Los Alamos County New Mexico nonmetropolitan area$30.00$62,390
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area$28.80$59,910

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

New Mexico vs. National Numbers

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New Mexico Board of Nursing

The New Mexico Board of Nursing issues nursing licenses and is charged with regulating the education programs for licensees and certificate holders. Practicing nurses and the patients they serve can review the laws and rules for nurses as set forth by the Board of Nursing.

New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence

The New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence works toward advanced results in nursing education and helps to support nurses throughout their careers. It provides professional development and local events for nurses.

New Mexico Emergency Nurses Association

Dedicated to the advancement of emergency nurses, the New Mexico Emergency Nurses Association is a membership organization that also provides membership to the national association.

New Mexico Nurse Association

The New Mexico Nurse Association is a membership-based organization that offers nurse advocacy, continuing education, community resources and programs to support nurses in the state.

New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council

This non-profit group serves the professional interests of nurse practitioners in New Mexico and works to meet the needs of both members and non-members. It promotes communication, advocacy and continuing education.

New Mexico School Nurse's Association

The New Mexico School Nurse's Association promotes the health and well-being of children through the advancement of the school nursing profession. It provides opportunities for school nurses to further their education and develop higher professional standards.

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See All Posts is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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