New Mexico RN Requirements and Training Programs

Given the likelihood that demand for registered nurses will not decline, it’s a great time to enroll in a nursing education program and become a nurse. As a multitude of existing nurses retire or move up to other positions, the labor market will depend on new graduates to assume those positions. Although foreign educated nurses help to curb the nation’s shortage of nurses, new graduates from U.S. nursing education programs help to relieve more than 87 percent of the industry demands. The capacity of the educational system to accommodate prospective nurses limits the growth in the number of new RNs in New Mexico. For those fortunate ones who manage to enroll in and complete nursing programs, the future looks bright. Throughout the nation, there will be a 26 percent increase in demand for new nurses, which will equate to 712,000 new jobs between the years 2010 and 2020. Graduates of BSN programs have a better chance of employment due to the Institute of Medicine’s “The Future of Nursing” report. In the report, the IOM calls for the number of nurses who hold BSNs to increase to 80 percent by 2020. Today, hospitals prefer nurses with a BSN degree or higher who can help meet the needs of patients in the more complex healthcare environment.

Education Requirements

There is more than 20 nursing program in New Mexico. Local colleges such as Luna Community College, NM Junior College, and Clovis Community College facilitate courses for students to earn an associate or baccalaureate degree. The nursing curriculum is designed with the entry-level student in mind, preparing graduates for patient care from start to finish. Apart from spending time in the classroom, students gain hands-on experience through supervised clinical experiences. As such, it is important to review the school’s affiliate partners (hospitals and clinics) before you enroll. Graduates are eligible to apply to the New Mexico Board of Nursing to take the NCLEX-RN. The Board will determine the candidate’s eligibility to take the exam based on the results of a criminal background history and nursing education, and issue a license in accordance with state laws.

Associate degree students can complete the nursing education requirements with two years of full-time attendance. Since the focus of nursing is shifting towards care in the community, the program will highlight aspects of community care. BSN students will receive a greater exposure to community nursing and the clinical and leadership skills for working in this non-traditional setting. The two-year curriculum will include general education courses followed by upper-level nursing courses, such as mental health concepts, the fundamentals of nursing, introduction to sociology and psychology, medical surgical nursing, maternal child nursing, family nursing, trends in nursing, gerontology, health deviations, and multiple patient care. Students must complete all courses with a grade C or better.

During the clinical experience, students will apply their knowledge to assist patients, promote, maintain, and restore health, develop nursing diagnoses, and evaluate patient outcomes. The entire program centers on the patient and the role of the registered nurse as a provider of care as a member of the multidisciplinary health team. Graduates work under the supervision of another registered nurse with a baccalaureate or higher degree in nursing. They may also continue their education by pursuing higher degrees in nursing.

Eligibility Criteria

Students must complete the general education requirements before gaining admission to the nursing program. The other criteria for admission will depend on the school and nursing program’s policies. A high school diploma or GED and a minimum grade C on college preparatory courses are standard requirements for admission. The school will administer an admissions exam, for example, the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) exam. There are approximately 20 programs in New Mexico, so enrollment is a highly competitive process. Make sure to review the school’s requirements and submit all your documents on time.

During the initial application, you must:

  • Schedule and attend an information session. Dates will be available on the school’s website or at the admissions’ office.
  • Take an entrance exam.
  • Complete the prerequisite courses, including microbiology, anatomy and physiology, lifespan development psychology, nutrition, and statistics.
  • Maintain a GPA of 2.5 or above in all college-level courses.
  • Submit a completed application, fee, and official transcripts.

After receiving notification of conditional acceptance to the program, the nursing department will require you to:

  • Complete a criminal history check before participation in the clinical experience.
  • Demonstrate your physical and emotional ability to meet your responsibilities as a registered nurse.
  • Submit documentation of required immunization and TB clearance.
  • Obtain and maintain CPR for Healthcare Providers and insurance throughout the program.

Duration and Cost

Financial requirements of the two-year full-time ADN program are approximately $16,885 for tuition, entry requirements, fees, and textbooks. The final cost of completing the program will depend on the number of courses completed each semester. Repeating courses to obtain a passing grade and prerequisite course requirements will increase the final cost. You can reduce your out-of-pocket expenses by using grants, scholarships, financial aid, and personal loans.

New Mexico RN Licensure Requirements

New Mexico’s registered nurses receive a multistate license as part of the state’s compact agreement. To qualify for the multistate license, applicants for licensure must declare New Mexico as their primary state of residence and provide supporting documentation. Applicants, whose primary residence is a non-compact state, will receive a single state license that allows them to practice in New Mexico only. Registered nurses with a license from another compact state may work in New Mexico as long as their license from the compact state remains in good standing. However, the RN working under multistate privileges should apply for licensure by endorsement within 90 days of declaring NM as the primary state of residence.

Licensure By Examination

Nursing graduates with an Associate Degree or Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing should submit an application for the licensure exam only after completing the nursing program. Submitting the application before completing the program will cause delays in processing the application. Applicants, who list another compact state as their primary residence, must apply to take the NCLEX in their primary (compact) state of residence.

Submit the following documents for the Board of Nursing to determine your eligibility to take the exam:

  • A completed online or paper Keep a copy of the application for your records. The application must be signed before submission.
  • The non-refundable application fee of $110. Fees are accepted in the form of U.S. money order, cashier’s check, demand draft, and credit cards. Cash (exact amount only) is accepted at the Board’s office.
  • Fingerprints for the criminal background history. In-state applicants can register with 3M Cogent ​online or by phone and pay $44 for the background check. Fingerprints can be submitted at an approved fingerprinting location – additional fees will apply. Out-of-state applicants should request fingerprint cards from the Board, register with 3M Cogent for the background history, complete the fingerprint cards, and mail completed cards to 3M Cogent. The Board will not process the application without proof of results of the required state and criminal background history.
  • Proper documentation of a name change if applicable. Use the same name and address on all documents and enter your name exactly as it appears on the picture identification.
  • Certificate of eligibility for graduation or a final transcript of your nursing education. The transcript should indicate the degree awarded and date of graduation. The registrar’s office must mail the information directly to the Board’s office.
  • A request for the Graduate Nurse Permit if applicable. The request should be submitted and received by the Board within 12 weeks of graduation. To qualify for the permit, a prospective employer must submit a letter of verification of intent to hire and include the supervising RN’s name and license number.
  • Certified copies of legal documents and an explanation of charges to any YES responses to questions on disciplinary actions.
  • A declaration of your primary state of residence.
  • Registration for the NCLEX using the same name used on the application to the Board. Request special accommodations for the exam if you have a qualifying disability as defined by the American with Disability Act.

International Graduates:

Nurses educated in a foreign country must submit proof of graduating from a nursing program that is comparable to an approved program in the U.S. A qualified credentials evaluator must evaluate the transcripts and submit the results to the Board of Nursing.

  • Request the nursing course-by-course credentials review and pay the applicable fee.
  • Request your original educational documents from the nursing education program to be sent to the credentialing agency.
  • Forward the evaluation of your educational documents. The credentialing agency must send the documents directly to the New Mexico Board of Nursing.
  • Provide verification of English competency with the application.
  • Approved agencies for the course-by-course credentials review are:
  1. Educational Records Evaluation Service Inc.
  2. Josef Sliny & Associates
  3. International Education Research
  4. Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools

Applications are processed in the order in which they’re received. Name and address changes must be submitted immediately to the Board of Nursing while your application is in process. Incomplete applications will become null and void one year after receipt. Permits to practice are issued directly to the employer. You must sign the permit prior to employment as a graduate nurse. The permit is valid for 6 months from the date of application or until the Board issues examination results. It becomes void immediately if you fail the exam or fail to take the exam within 6 months of graduation. The processing time for graduate permits is approximately three weeks.

NCLEX-RN Registration: In addition to submitting an application to the Board of Nursing, candidates must register with Pearson Vue by telephone (866-496-2539) or by the internet and use a valid credit card to pay the $200 registration fee. Failure to register for the examination will cause delays in the Board’s issuance of the authorization to test. Pearson Vue will mail the ATT after the Board approves the request. Allow up to four weeks to receive the ATT by mail or email. Once received, review the form for the ATT dates for testing, correct spelling of your name, correct email or other contact information, and correct address. Schedule the test within 90 days of receiving the ATT, at a time and place that is most convenient for you. There’s a registration fee of $200 to take the NCLEX each time you take the exam.

Licensure By Endorsement

A registered nurse who is licensed to practice in another state should apply for a license to practice in New Mexico before taking up employment. The nurse’s license should be unencumbered and active.

Submit the following to the Board’s office:

  • A completed online or paper application for endorsement. Keep a copy of the application for your records. The application must be signed before submission.
  • The non-refundable application fee of $110. Fees are accepted in the form of U.S. money order, cashier’s check, demand draft, and credit cards. Cash (exact amount only) is accepted at the Board’s office.
  • Fingerprints for the criminal background history. In-state applicants can register with 3M Cogent ​online or by phone and pay $44 for the background check. Fingerprints can be submitted at an approved fingerprinting location – additional fees will apply. Out-of-state applicants should request fingerprint cards from the Board, register with 3M Cogent for the background history, complete the fingerprint cards, and mail completed cards to 3M Cogent. The Board will not process the application without proof of results of the required state and criminal background history.
  • Proper documentation of a name change if applicable. Use the same name and address on all documents and enter your name exactly as it appears on the picture identification.
  • Indication of the endorsement license type and a request for a temporary license. Check the endorsement license type on the application. There’s an additional fee of $50 for the temporary license. The license expires six months after the date of application and is not renewable.
  • Documentation of educational history, including information on the highest degree held and your basic nursing educational preparation.
  • Certified copies of legal documents and an explanation of charges to any YES responses to questions on disciplinary actions.
  • A declaration of your primary state of residence.
  • Documentation of your original state of license, dates, and any other states of license. All verification should be submitted to the New Mexico Board of Nursing directly from the licensing authority. The verification can be completed online if the current state of licensure utilizes NURSYS. Otherwise, you must complete the Endorsement Request Form and send to the licensing authority with the appropriate fee. The licensing state should send official verification in writing to the Board of Nursing.

Continuing education requirements are not required for initial endorsement. Requests are processed in the order in which they’re received. RNs with a multistate license from another compact state can practice in New Mexico without applying for a license. However, they must submit an application for endorsement within 90 days of making NM their primary state of residence.

Renewal Requirements

Working on an expired license is a violation of the NM Nurse Practice Act. Registered nurses can renew their license up to 60 days before the expiration date. Renewals can be initiated online, or a completed paper renewal application can be submitted by fax or postal mail.

If using online renewal, you can submit payment using a credit card and update your demographic information during the process. The renewal fee is $93 if renewing on time. The reactivation fee for a lapsed license would be $110 and $200 for late renewals – if the license was current within the previous two years.

Nurses whose primary state of residence is a compact state other than New Mexico cannot renew online. RNs with a lapsed or inactive license must submit their renewal requests using the paper application.

All licensees must complete the Declaration of Primary Residence, respond to the Criminal Background and Disciplinary Action questions, and complete 30 hours of continuing education during the 2-year period preceding the license renewal.

Continuing Education Requirements for New Mexico RNs

Continuing education is an essential part of the renewal requirements. The participation period is within the 2-year interval prior to the license expiration. Registered nurses must participate in 30 contact hours of continuing education. The requirements may be fulfilled in one or three ways:

  • The acquisition of a nursing specialty certificate
  • Participation in continuing education activities from an approved provider
  • Participation in professional activities.

All records for continuing education must be maintained for two years after the license renewal. The Board selects licensees at random for an audit of continuing education records. If selected for an audit, you must submit proof of having met the continuing education requirements. If you cannot supply the written information the unverified contact hours will be assigned to the next reporting period. Failure to supply documentation of continuing education may be grounds for disciplinary action.

New Mexico Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Labor Market Information from New Mexico, the employment rate is 6.8% – lower than it has been in the past and lower than the national average. As the state hires and lets workers go, there will be strong growth in the health sector, especially for registered nurses, pharmacists, physician assistants, cardiovascular techs, and physical therapists. The demand for registered nurses will see a 37 percent increase, which will translate to approximately 7,100 nurses for new posts and to replace those who retire or leave the field.

Demand for registered nurses will be high for a number of reasons, including a growing elderly population, the imbalance between demand and supply, and the need to replace retiring nurses. As a new graduate seeking employment in New Mexico, you should channel your search in populous cities, such as Santa Fe and Albuquerque where there are numerous opportunities and excellent pay. Despite the positive outlook for nurses, you should improve your chances of success by boosting your clinical and administrative skills. Your ability to speak another language, particularly Navajo, Spanish, or Vietnamese would help you to stand out from the competition is the culturally diverse state.

Median annual earnings for registered nurses in New Mexico were $64,650 in 2014. The top 10 percent earned 72,480 and up.

Contact the Board of Nursing
New Mexico State Board of Nursing

6301 Indian School Rd NE #710,
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Phone: (505) 841-9094
Fax: (505) 841-8347

New Mexico Registered Nursing Programs and NCLEX-RN Pass Rates:

Alamogordo, NM ADN Programs:
New Mexico State University
2400 North Scenic Drive, Alamogordo, NM 88310
575-439-3600
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 75.00%

Albuquerque, NM ADN Programs:
Breckinridge School of Nursing and Health Sciences
5100 Masthead Street Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87109
505-828-1114
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 83.30%

Brown Mackie College
10500 Copper Avenue Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87123
505-559-5200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

PIMA Medical Institute
4400 Cutler Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110
1 800-477-7462
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 60.40%

University of New Mexico – Albuquerque
Albuquerque, NM 87131
505-277-0111
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 72.60%

Carrington College
1001 Menaul Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87107
505-634-5236
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 72.30%

Central New Mexico Community College
525 Buena Vista Drive Southeast, Albuquerque, NM 87106
505-224-3000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84.20%

Carlsbad, NM ADN Programs:
New Mexico State University – Carlsbad
1500 University Dr, Carlsbad, NM 88220
575-234-9200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 84.00%

Clovis, NM ADN Programs:
Clovis Community College
417 Schepps Blvd, Clovis, NM 88101
575-769-2811
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100.00%

Crownpoint, NM ADN Programs:
Navajo Technical College
Lower Point Road, Crownpoint, NM 87313
505-786-4101
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 42.90%

Espanola, NM ADN Programs:
Northern New Mexico College
921 N Paseo De Onate, Española, NM 87532
505-747-2100
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 52.4%

Farmington, NM ADN Programs:
San Juan College
4601 College Boulevard, Farmington, NM 87402
505-326-3311
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 92.50%

Gallup, NM ADN Programs:
University of New Mexico – Gallup
705 Gurley Avenue, Gallup, NM 87301
505-863-7500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 72.60%

Hobbs, NM ADN Programs:
New Mexico Junior College
5317 N Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, NM 88240
575-392-4510
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 67.70%

Las Cruces, NM ADN Programs:
Dona Ana Community College
3400 S Espina St, Las Cruces, NM 88003
575-527-7500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.00%

New Mexico State University – Las Cruces
1780 E University Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88003
575-646-0111
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 82.60%

Las Vegas, NM ADN Programs:
366 Luna Dr, Las Vegas, NM 87701
505-454-2500
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 69.20%

Ranchos De Taos, NM ADN Programs:
University of New Mexico – Taos
1157 Co Rd 110, Ranchos De Taos, NM 87557
575-737-6200
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A

Roswell, NM ADN Programs:
Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell
PO Box 6000, Roswell, NM 88202-6000
575-624-7000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.40%

Santa Fe, NM ADN Programs:
Santa Fe Community College
6401 Richards Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87508
505-428-1000
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.30%

Santa Teresa, NM ADN Programs:
Anamarc College
Address: 2660 Airport Road, Suite 780, Santa Teresa, NM 88008
575-589-3158
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 75.00%

Silver City, NM ADN Programs:
Western New Mexico University
P.O. Box 680, Silver City, NM 88061
575-538-6960
NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 57.10%

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