A high number of available jobs and reports of comfortable average salaries make New Mexico one of the best states for working nurses, according to a 2018 study conducted by personal finance site WalletHub. Despite the wealth of opportunity in the Land of Enchantment, however, there are still not enough candidates to meet the growing need for nurses in hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, outpatient centers and other care settings in the state.

If you’re hoping to become a nurse in response to this growing demand, NursingDegrees.com may be able to help you get started. This page features information on how to become a nurse in New Mexico, details about nursing certification and licensing, and a rundown of professional associations that may be able to help advance your career.

Best Nursing Schools in New Mexico

NewMexico Badge ImageChoosing which nursing college to attend can be one of the most important decisions facing an aspiring nurse. In order to help you make the most informed choice possible, we took a close look at the 26 nursing schools in the state and created two lists of the best nursing programs in New Mexico — one for undergraduate study and one for advanced degrees.

Our rankings are based on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), weighted to reflect the qualities that matter most to students. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a rundown of the metrics we used to calculate the scores, and read on below for our lists of the best nursing schools in New Mexico.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Undergraduate tuition
$1,896
Undergraduate graduation rate
15%
Undergraduate retention rate
59%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
87%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$3,661
Undergraduate graduation rate
33%
Undergraduate retention rate
63%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$3,260
Undergraduate graduation rate
23%
Undergraduate retention rate
58%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$1,296
Undergraduate graduation rate
47%
Undergraduate retention rate
68%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
83%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$1,776
Undergraduate graduation rate
13%
Undergraduate retention rate
49%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
85%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$3,927
Undergraduate graduation rate
27%
Undergraduate retention rate
63%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$1,104
Undergraduate graduation rate
24%
Undergraduate retention rate
61%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
86%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$1,344
Undergraduate graduation rate
33%
Undergraduate retention rate
52%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
76%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$5,961
Undergraduate graduation rate
49%
Undergraduate retention rate
78%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
97%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$1,296
Undergraduate graduation rate
24%
Undergraduate retention rate
62%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
84%

Nursing Accreditation in New Mexico

No matter what you’re looking for in a New Mexico nursing school, it’s important be sure that you only consider accredited institutions. When a nursing college has earned accreditation, it means that the quality of the education it offers has been certified by an independent accrediting body. Accredited schools typically offer higher-quality instruction, access to federal financial aid and a host of other benefits for their students, making accreditation an important quality to be on the lookout for.

Here’s a list of agencies that issue official nursing accreditation in New Mexico:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education
  • New Mexico State Board of Nursing
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

New Mexico Nursing Licensure

Graduating from one of the best nursing programs in New Mexico is certainly an accomplishment, but it’s not the only thing that nurses need to do in order to practice in the state. Depending on the type of nurse you want to become, you’ll have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) or for practical nurses (NCLEX-PN) before applying for a license. In addition, new nurses must submit to a background check and pay an application fee of $150.

If you are looking to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) of a given specialty, the process is a little more complicated. You must first earn an RN license and a graduate degree relevant to your specialty. Nurse practitioners (NPs), nurse anesthetists and clinical nurse specialists should then go through the New Mexico Board of Nursing for licensure. Nurse midwives, meanwhile, are licensed through the New Mexico Department of Health.

New Mexico Nursing organizations

Joining a nursing organization can be a way for working nurses to continue learning about and improving within their career field. Nursing organizations can offer their members many benefits, such as continuing education classes, seminars and networking events where nurses can share ideas, offer support and get to know one another.

The following are examples of some of the nursing associations in New Mexico:

  • New Mexico – American Psychiatric Nurses Association:

    The New Mexico chapter of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association offers access to local events, career resources and journal articles. In addition, the APNA provides a resource center where members can learn about scholarships, peruse the latest research and keep up on current laws and regulations.

  • New Mexico Native American Indian Nurses Association:

    Since 1986, this association has been serving the needs of Native American RNs, LPNs and nursing students in New Mexico. The group’s work includes providing community education about the healthcare needs of Native Americans in the state; organizing workshops and seminars for professionals; and funding scholarships for members enrolled in nursing school.

  • New Mexico Nurses Association:

    The NMNA uses its education and advocacy work to improve the overall state of the nursing profession. Member benefits include access to insurance, travel discounts and a mentorship program. The organization also publishes industry journals, including American Nurse Today and the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing.

  • New Mexico Organization of Nurse Leaders:

    This organization promotes nursing excellence by supporting those who take leadership roles in the field. In pursuit of its goal, the association hosts professional development services, networking events, advocacy and forums that allow members to develop professional relationships with other leaders and practitioners.

New Mexico-Specific Continuing Education

In order to keep their nursing credentials current, registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) must renew their license every two years. One of the criteria for RN license renewal is to complete 30 hours of continuing education classes, which helps to ensure that you’re keeping abreast of developments in the field. Continuing education classes can cover a myriad of topics, including geriatric care, utilization management, nursing ethics, child abuse reporting and alternative medicine.

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) have different CE requirements depending on their specialty. For example, nurse practitioners (NPs) must earn the same 30 contact hours as an RN, but they must also fulfill 20 additional contact hours, at least 15 of which must be related to pharmacology. Check the CE requirements for your specialty of choice at the New Mexico Board of Nursing’s Continuing Education FAQs.

Hospitals in New Mexico

In addition to being sources of clinical experiences for nursing students, hospitals are among the largest employers of nurses in New Mexico. Knowing the basics about major medical centers in the state may help you determine where you’d like to work after graduation.

Here’s some information about three of the largest hospitals in New Mexico:

  • Presbyterian Hospital (Albuquerque): As the largest hospital in New Mexico, Presbyterian Hospital is dedicated to delivering a wide range of comprehensive care, including cardiology, plastic surgery, obstetric, pediatric and neurosurgery treatments. This facility also provides certain services for free to disadvantaged patients, such as flu shots and healthy meals for children.
  • University of New Mexico Hospital (Albuquerque): When UNMH opened in 1954, it was groundbreaking for being the only hospital in the area that served Native Americans. Since that time, UNMH has become an award-winning center of excellence that educates students attending the university’s medical school while providing hundreds of thousands of treatments.
  • Lovelace Medical Center (Albuquerque): Lovelace Medical Center is an esteemed facility that specializes in state-of-the-art surgical services in the areas of gynecology, podiatry, gastroenterology and neurosurgery. The hospital’s expertise also includes an assortment of radiology services, such as ultrasound, digital X-ray and advanced MRI imaging.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • American Hospital Directory, Accessed October 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  • New Mexico makes top five for this industry on the rise, The Business Journals, Accessed October 2018, https://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2018/05/04/new-mexico-makes-top-5-for-this-industry-on-the.html
  • Eye on New Mexico: Where have all the nurses gone?, KOB 4, Accessed October 2018, https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/eye-on-new-mexico-where-have-all-the-nurses-gone/4558757/
  • A Look at Nurses in New Mexico, University of New Mexico, Accessed October 2018, https://rnbsnonline.unm.edu/articles/a-look-at-nurses-in-new-mexico.aspx
  • College of Nursing, The University of New Mexico, Accessed October 2018, https://hsc.unm.edu/college-of-nursing/about/accreditation.html
  • The School of Nursing, New Mexico State University, Accessed October 2018, https://schoolofnursing.nmsu.edu/
  • Nursing, Central New Mexico Community College, Accessed October 2018, https://www.cnm.edu/programs-of-study/programs-a-z/nursing
  • Accreditation Information, Western New Mexico University, Accessed October 2018, https://wnmu.edu/accreditation-information/
  • Nursing, Eastern New Mexico University, Accessed October 2018, https://www.roswell.enmu.edu/nursing-2/
  • Initial Exam / ReExam, New Mexico Board of Nursing, Accessed October 2018, http://nmbon.sks.com/initial-exam.aspx
  • Obtaining Your New Mexico Nursing License, Fastaff Travel Nursing, Accessed October 2018, https://www.fastaff.com/traveling-nurse-resources/travel-nursing-licenses/obtaining-your-new-mexico-nursing-license
  • CE Requirements, New Mexico Board of Nursing, Accessed October 2018, https://www.nurse.com/state-nurse-ce-requirements/new-mexico
  • New Mexico Nursing Continuing Education Requirements, CE Express, Accessed October 2018, https://www.ce-express.com/Nursing-CE-Requirements/New-Mexico-Nurses
  • Continuing Nursing Education, New Mexico Board of Nursing, Accessed October 2018, http://nmbon.sks.com/continuing-nursing-education.aspx
  • New Mexico Nurses Association, Accessed October 2018, https://nmna.nursingnetwork.com/
  • New Mexico Native American Indian Nurses Association, Accessed October 2018, http://www.nmnaina.org/
  • New Mexico Organization of Nurse Leaders, Accessed October 2018, https://nmonl.wildapricot.org/
  • New Mexico – American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Accessed October 2018, https://www.apna.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3920
  • Presbyterian Hospital, Accessed October 2018, https://presbyterian-hospital.phs.org/Pages/default.aspx
  • UNM Hospital – UNM Health System, Accessed October 2018, https://hsc.unm.edu/health/locations/unm-hospital.html
  • Lovelace Medical Center, WV Center For Nursing, Accessed October 2018, https://lovelace.com/lmc

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