Vocational Trade Schools in New Mexico [2022 Guide]


Updated October 25, 2022

Fully online trade schools let professionals go to school while keeping their jobs. Explore our list of the best trade schools in New Mexico.

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Why Choose Trade School?

Trade schools in New Mexico serve students who want to quickly master specialized skills and begin making more money. Learners can choose from trades like plumbing systems, surgical technology, automotive technology, and welding technology.

Students can begin trade school straight after high school or after working in a career for several years. Working professionals can continue earning a paycheck while they enroll in flexible programs that offer full-time or part-time study and online coursework.

Vocational schools in New Mexico allow students to earn diplomas, certifications, and degrees within two years. Each program's length depends on each student's educational goals. Certifications and diplomas take months to complete, while associate degrees can take up to two years.

To support the growing number of employers seeking a trained workforce in New Mexico, the state created the Job Training Incentive Program, which reimburses wages up to 75% for students enrolled in eligible programs.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, earning an associate degree in an occupational field gives workers an approximately 85% chance of employment. Graduates with an academic associate degree have an approximately 73% chance of employment.

Use this guide to learn more about vocational schools in New Mexico and the careers and salaries available to graduates.


What is trade school?

Trade schools in New Mexico teach students career skills that directly translate to specialized occupations. Trade schools award certificates, diplomas, and degrees.

Can I go to trade school online?

Yes. Fully online trade schools let professionals go to school while keeping their jobs.

Can trade school credits transfer?

Yes. Credits earned from an accredited trade school in New Mexico can generally transfer to another accredited school. However, students may have difficulty transferring credits from non-accredited tech schools in New Mexico.

When can I apply to trade school?

Most admissions departments accept applications year-round.

Accreditation and Licensing for Trade Schools

Vocational schools in New Mexico offer workforce training geared toward students who want to quickly begin trades while fulfilling their work and family obligations. Students should only attend accredited trade schools.

During the accreditation process, independent accrediting agencies evaluate a school's educational outcomes, faculty, and curriculum. Vocational schools in New Mexico generally receive national accreditation. State community colleges often hold regional accreditation, the more prestigious designation.

Online programs also receive accreditation from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. Learn how to compare online vocational programs using this page.

Programmatic accreditation from agencies such as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology offers a stamp of approval for technical certifications and degrees.

States also require by law that trade schools receive state licensure to ensure that they meet standards that benefit a student's education. Attending a licensed school protects a student should a school close.

AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org 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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Vocational Trade Schools in New Mexico

The following list ranks the best vocational schools in New Mexico for students seeking the quickest pathway to a fulfilling and lucrative career.

  1. Central New Mexico Community College

    Albuquerque, NM



    Founded in 1964 and formerly known as the Technical Vocational Institute, CNM in Albuquerque offers dozens of associate degree, certificate, and training programs for students seeking vocational careers or continuing education.

    Associate programs typically entail about 61 credits and take four semesters to finish. Credit requirements for certificate programs depend on certificate level. For example, a certificate of completion requires 16-59 credits, a certificate of achievement requires 1-15 credits, and a post-degree certificate of completion requires 16-59 credits. CNM also offers a few non-degree, non-certificate programs.

    CNM's associate of arts and associate of science programs typically serve students seeking transfer to four-year programs. Associate of applied science degree and certificate programs prepare enrollees for skilled occupations. CNM also provides classroom training for students pursuing registered training agency apprenticeships.

    Like many other vocational schools in New Mexico, CNM's courses and programs may feature various prerequisites and corequisites, including standardized test scores or successful prior coursework. Qualified students receive financial aid.

  2. San Juan College

    Farmington, NM



    A public community college founded in 1956, SJC features associate degree and certificate programs designed for degree transfer and occupational training. Students hoping to transfer to four-year schools usually pursue AA or AS degrees, which include general education courses. AAS and certificate programs offer specialized coursework to prepare graduates for immediate employment.

    Associate programs usually take two years to complete and require 60-64 credits. Certificates require 34-37 credits and one year to finish. SJC provides 11 online courses and programs for distance learners. Students can pursue an online AA in psychology, liberal arts, marketing, and business administration. Meanwhile AAS students choose between occupational safety, information technology, veterinary technology, and physical therapy assisting. SJC also offers online certificates in medical coding and billing and surgical first assistant.

    SJC runs various internship and apprenticeship programs, including some virtual apprenticeship options for distance learners.

  3. Santa Fe Community College

    Santa Fe, NM



    Established in 1984, SFCC offers over 100 degree and certificate programs in diverse areas including sustainable technologies, architectural and interior design, and business administration. SFCC also features programs in American Sign Language, bilingual education, health, and business science and construction.

    SFCC's AA, AS, and AAS degrees usually require 61-70 credits that students complete over four semesters. Certificates typically require 17-47 credits. Many AAS students attend classes at SFCC's cutting-edge, award-winning Trades and Advanced Technology Center.

    SFCC provides many online learning resources, including tutoring, academic advising, and counseling. The Builders Association of North Central Florida sponsors apprenticeships for SFCC students in carpentry, electrical, HVAC, and plumbing.

    Tuition prices vary by term and residency status. SFCC also offers financial aid options, including scholarships and loans.

  4. Clovis Community College

    Clovis, NM



    Created in 1964 as a branch of Eastern New Mexico University, CCC offers associate degrees and certificates in fields including computer information systems, cosmetology, fine art, and early childhood education. CCC also features health-related programs in nursing, radiologic technology/physical therapy, and emergency medical technology. CCC's career and technical certificate programs usually require about two semesters of coursework, while associate degrees take 4-5 semesters to finish.

    CCC students may enroll in distance-learning courses, including interactive television courses. Enrollees can complete eight degrees online, including legal assistant studies, behavioral science, computer information systems, and general studies.

    CCC offers various career services, including career planning, training, and placement. The Career and Development Center and the Center for Student Success provide resources and services such as tutoring, interview and resume help, and internship programming. Food safety students can benefit from CCC's apprenticeship program.

  5. Eastern New Mexico University-Ruidoso Campus

    Ruidoso, NM



    ENMU-Ruidoso, an associate degree-granting branch of ENMU, offers an array of career and technical programs. This vocational school in New Mexico provides certificate programs and AA, AS, and AAS programs for students seeking continuing education or career preparation.

    ENMU-Ruidoso provides certificates of completion and certificates of occupational training. Credit requirements vary by program, but enrollees can usually complete certificates in 1-2 semesters. Meanwhile, associate degrees often take up to two years to finish. AA and AS graduates often transfer to ENMU's main campus to complete four-year degrees, while AAS graduates typically pursue employment in vocational and technical fields.

    This school's open admissions policy accepts high school or GED graduates or Early College Program enrollees into degree-seeking programs. Students lacking these credentials may complete non-degree programs or courses. ENMU-Ruidoso is currently developing new workforce programs in fermentation science, wind energy, and construction trades.

  6. University of New Mexico-Gallup Campus

    Gallup, NM



    UNM-Gallup, a UNM branch campus, runs 29 associate programs and 16 certificate programs in various academic and vocational subjects. AA programs include business administration, criminal justice law enforcement, early childhood education, and environmental planning and design. AS program topics include emergency medical services, health information technology, science, and elementary teacher education. AA and AS graduates often transfer to four-year programs.

    UNM-Gallup also provides AAS and certificate programs for students seeking immediate employment before or after graduation. AAS enrollees choose from automotive, construction, and welding technology programs. Some of these programs also offer certification options in areas such as cosmetology and barbering, dental assisting, and organizational management and public administration. UNM-Gallup offers some courses online through Blackboard LEARN.

    The school's open admissions policy considers applicants with high school or GED diplomas. Enrollees can apply for financial aid.

  7. New Mexico State University-Alamogordo

    Alamogordo, NM



    A public community college established in 1958 as a branch campus of New Mexico State University, NMSU-Alamogordo offers many degrees and certificates through its arts and sciences, allied health, and career and technology divisions.

    Certificates typically require 21-30 credits of focused curriculum over two semesters. AAS, AS, and AA degrees usually require about 60 credits. These degrees include general education courses and take about two years to finish. Following graduation, many AA and AS graduates transfer to NMSU's main campus, while AAS and certificate graduates usually enter the workforce.

    Career and technology fields include renewable energy, information technology, social services, and business. Arts and sciences offerings include biology, ceramics, computer science, and criminal justice.

    NMSU's online students may access services including tutoring, technical support, academic and career advising, and counseling. Interested engineering technology students may participate in the electrical apprenticeship program.

  8. Northern New Mexico College

    Española, NM



    A public college with campuses in Española and El Rito, NNMC runs many degree- and certificate-granting academic and vocational programs. Students at this four-year college can earn certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor's degrees.

    Unique certification offerings include sUas (drone) technology, special education, and project management. AAS degree choices include allied health, radiation protection, office administration, and cosmetology. NNMC offers AA programs in Pueblo Indian studies, education, criminal justice, and film. The also offers AS programs in mathematics, environmental science, biology, and chemistry. Learners can pursue a bachelor's degree in fields such as psychology, humanities, accounting, and education.

    NNMC provides tech support, tutoring, veterans resources, and scholarships. Enrollees may also participate in NNMC's student clubs and organizations. NNMC offers distance learning options for students who cannot attend on-campus classes.

    Applicants submit transcripts and standardized test or placement examination results, if available. NNMC encourages prospective students to apply for financial aid such as grants, loans, and scholarships.

  9. Doña Ana Community College

    Las Cruces, NM



    A New Mexico State University branch with six campuses in Doña Ana County, DACC offers associate degrees and certificates in dozens of diverse fields, including aerospace and public health. Other program offerings include film crew training, game development and design, and CISCO networking. Associate degrees often require 60-70 credits, while certificates typically entail 24-30 credits.

    NMSU offers over 60 online and hybrid programs for distance learners. Some online programs require orientation sessions or proctored testing at approved testing sites. DACC offers a one-year, pre-apprenticeship certificate program in electrical line-working.

    DACC enrollees' financial aid options include grants, scholarships, work study, and loans. Some students qualify for alternative funding sources, such as workforce or vocational rehabilitation programs. Through its open admissions policy and recruitment efforts, DACC endeavors to serve diverse students across the county and beyond.

  10. Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Campus

    Roswell, NM



    Serving over 3,000 credit-earning students per semester, ENMU-Roswell offers over 80 associate degree and certificate programs. To accommodate students juggling various external obligations, ENMU-Roswell offers over 150 courses online each semester.

    Students interested in transferring to four-year programs often pursue AA or AS degrees in topics such as criminal justice, early childhood education, human services, or nursing. Other associate degree types include AAS programs in occupational safety engineering, pilot training, media arts, and aviation maintenance technology. Associate degrees require about two years of full-time study.

    This vocational school in New Mexico also offers certificates of achievement or certificates of employability. Achievement certificates typically require 15-20 credits, while employability certificates often require at least 40 credits. ENMU-Roswell offers a robust array of student services, including advising, special services, student outreach programs, and a success center.

Find Vocational and Trade Schools in New Mexico

High schools, early college high schools, charter schools, and workforce readiness programs all provide career and technical education (CTE) to high school students across New Mexico.

Postsecondary students can receive CTE through New Mexico's community college system and four-year schools that offer associate degrees.

Students looking for vocational and trade schools in New Mexico can use this search tool to find a school that fits their needs.

Career and Salary Outlook for Trade School Graduates

The salaries that trade school graduates earn depend on location, experience, and field. Salaries also differ depending on if a student earns a certification, diploma, or associate degree.

Students can research salary potential prior to choosing a trade by searching the job title or field on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website.

Job growth rates also vary among different trades. According to the BLS, the top 10% of hairstylists and cosmetologists earn more than $27 per hour. In 2019, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters earned a median annual salary of $55,160, with a projected employment growth rate of 14% between 2018 and 2028.

According to the BLS, the average annual salary is $55,270 for all technical and trade school occupations.

What Kinds of Trade School Programs Are Available?

At trade schools in New Mexico, students can prepare for careers in construction, cosmetology, business, and healthcare. Graduates can quickly boost their earning potential or transfer credits toward an associate degree.

Construction Management Schools

Earning an associate degree in construction management takes up to two years. Vocational schools in New Mexico also offer certifications in construction management that often take one year to complete.

Construction management programs prepare graduates to work as operations managers, government property inspectors, and cost estimators. Students take courses in commercial and residential building codes, construction estimating and scheduling, and land surveying.

Employment and salaries vary depending on the specific position. Construction and building inspectors made a median annual salary of $60,710 in 2019 with a 7% projected growth rate between 2018 and 2028.

Visit this page to learn more about construction management programs.

Beauty and Cosmetology Schools

Beauty and cosmetology programs prepare students to become barbers, manicurists, and cosmetologists. An associate degree in cosmetology takes about two years to complete.

Coursework and internships give students on-the-job experience working in salons. Learners gain the skills and training needed to take state licensure exams. An associate degree in barbering often includes courses in hairstyling, sterilization and sanitation, and salon business. An associate degree in cosmetology may include courses in manicuring and pedicuring, hairstyling, and a clinical practicum.

According to the BLS, barbers and cosmetologists made a median annual salary of $26,270 in 2019 with an 8% projected growth rate between 2018 and 2028.

Visit this page to browse the top beauty and cosmetology trade schools.

Occupational Therapy Schools

Occupational therapists work with patients struggling to cope with physical and mental injuries. Occupational therapy assistants and aides work under the supervision of therapists to teach patients therapeutic exercises and how to use devices and equipment.

To work in the field, occupational therapists need at least a bachelor's degree. Occupational therapy assistants and aides need an associate degree.

Most states require that occupational therapy assistants also obtain a license. Programs at vocational schools in New Mexico prepare graduates to take the licensure exam.

Find some of the best ranked occupational therapy programs on this page.

Radiology Technician Schools

Becoming a radiology technician requires an associate degree. Students must devote up to two years to complete online associate degrees in radiologic science, radiation therapy, and imaging sciences.

In most states, radiologic technologists, MRI technologists, and magnetic resonance imaging technologists also need to become licensed. The majority of radiology technicians work in state, local, and private hospitals.

Radiologic technicians work with physicians to conduct and evaluate imaging exams. They prepare patients for procedures by covering patients in shielding aprons and recording their medical history.

According to the BLS, radiologic technicians made a median annual salary of $60,510 in 2019. MRI technologists earned a median salary of $73,410 in 2019.

Use this link to find the top-ranked accredited radiology technicians schools.

Financial Aid for Trade School Students

Students can expect to pay less at vocational schools than four-year institutions. Nevertheless, many individuals need additional financial aid to pay for their tuition and fees. To receive federal financial aid, students must first complete a FAFSA form online.

Accredited tech schools in New Mexico can receive federal financial aid. Financial aid includes loans, grants, and funds for work-study programs.

However, students enrolled in programs that last fewer than 15 weeks may only qualify for Direct Loan funds. Students can find out if their schools are eligible to receive federal financial aid by contacting the financial aid office. Keep in mind that federal loans and grants come with strings attached, including interest rates and terms of repayment.

Students should also consult their prospective school's financial aid advisor to learn about any scholarships.

Visit this page to learn how to apply for financial aid. Read on to learn more about scholarship opportunities.

Scholarship for Trade School Students

Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment. See below for five scholarships for students attending vocational schools in New Mexico.

Andrew Piech Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports high school seniors or college students earning a certification or degree in automotive technology or another applied technology field.
Amount: $2,200

Apply for Scholarship

David R. Woodling Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Stocker Foundation offers this award to students earning a certification or degree in metals technology with a specialty in welding or machine tool technology. Eligible candidates include part-time or full-time college students who are legal New Mexico residents.
Amount: $4,600

Apply for Scholarship

New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports students residing in New Mexico, including those enrolled full time at a public community college. Eligible students need a 2.5 GPA.
Amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship

Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractor National Association Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Students pursuing a career in plumbing or enrolled in an HVAC program at a two-year college or trade school can apply.
Amount: Varies

Apply for Scholarship

2020 Thrive Multi-Year Scholarship Initiative

Who Can Apply: The Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce offers numerous scholarships to graduating high school seniors and adult learners currently earning degrees or certifications. Applicants receive awards based on their essays, financial need, and academic achievement.
Amount: Up to $5,500

Apply for Scholarship

Additional Education and Career Resources

New Mexico - Advance CTE

Provides an overview of New Mexico's career and technical education programs, including its mission, areas of study and enrollment data.

New Mexico Association for Career and Technical Education

An association for the support, promotion, and development of CTE in New Mexico. Includes CTE news, legislation, and informational articles.

New Mexico Workforce Connection

Assistance for New Mexico residents to find jobs, create resumes, learn about the labor market and attend job fairs.

New Mexico Public Education Department – College and Career Readiness Bureau

Provides information and resources regarding college and career readiness programs throughout the state, including information on high schools that work, dual credit, and CTE funding.

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