Nursing Credentials
Search Nursing By State
Search Nursing By Career
Search CNA by Category
Spotlight Schools


RN Nursing Programs in New Mexico - NM

Registered Nurses are in high demand in New Mexico. The largest group of health care professionals in the state, RN’s earn $63,000 per year (according to on average—not bad for a license that can be obtained after two years of study. This is not to say that working as a Registered Nurse is an easy pursuit, however. Indeed, RN’s in New Mexico often work irregular hours, such as weekends, nights, and holidays, and are responsible for a wide variety of tasks from management of Licensed Practical Nurses and Certified Nurse Assistants, to complicated decision making procedures and critical patient care. In addition, the projected need for Registered Nurses in coming years is high, with a current shortage and an aging population requiring ever more attention. For those looking for a challenging and rewarding career in health care, working as a Registered Nurse in New Mexico is certainly an attractive option.

Sponsored Schools

*Featured Nursing Degree Programs

* (USC) University of Southern California - Master of Science in Nursing

* Simmons School of Nursing - Nursing@Simmons's online Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) programs

* Georgetown University - M.S. in Nursing, FNP Family Nurse Practitioner program

The quickest way to become an RN in New Mexico is via a two-year Associate Degree, Nursing program (ADN). ADN’s are widely available and, although they take two years, typically involve general admission to a college or university and subsequent application to a nursing department. Around ten courses, spread out over two semesters, in math, English, psychology, biology and chemistry, with a minimum of a C average, are generally necessary to apply for a nursing program. With competitive entry based highly on grades, the minimum will not always guarantee entry, so it is advisable to achieve exceptional grades before application.

Once accepted to an ADN program, a range of courses from communication to psychology, math, physiology and microbiology are part of the curriculum. However, the main focus is targeted nursing courses that cover everything from emotional support and theory to clinical practice. In a nutshell, an ADN provides the knowledge and skills required to successfully take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). To take the examination, students must first apply to the New Mexico Board of Nursing and provide evidence of successful completion of a state approved RN program or equivalent within the US, as well as submit to a criminal background check and fingerprinting—it is important to note that one must not have a criminal record to become an RN in New Mexico.

The NCLEX-RN is administered by Pearson Vue and designed in conjunction with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN).  It is a complex test administered via sophisticated Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT), which primarily relies on multiple choice questions, but can also provide fill in the blank, multiple response, drag and drop, hotspot, and chart/exhibit based questions. Due to the sophisticated technology, no one test is the same. The NCLEX-RN is not a test to be taken lightly—it is an intensive examination that ensures prospective RN’s are well prepared to serve the needs of their patients. Certainly, the NCLEX-RN is complicated business—for more on the complexities of the test, visit the NCSBN. Rest assured that good grades and dedicated study leading up to the test should prepare one sufficiently for the test—the pass rate in 2009 was around 89 percent for first time candidates.

It is a computer-administered examination and, at a cost of $200, is the last step towards licensure as an RN. The New Mexico Board of Nursing charges a $110 examination fee and $110 endorsement fee upon application for examination and places successful applicants on the their registry, at which time RN’s are eligible to work in the state.

RN’s with an ADN are prepared to work as an entry-level nurse in everything from hospitals, which employ 59 percent of RN’s nationwide, to clinics, long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, and even public health education programs and beyond. In all these settings, RN’s are expected to think critically when devising patient care plans and advising lesser skilled nurses such as Licensed Practical Nurses and Certified Nursing assistants. RN’s may also work under the supervision of physicians in emergency rooms, operating rooms and beyond. Indeed, the skill set possessed by a Registered Nurse in New Mexico is diverse and can be applied to many different settings. However, there is one more path to an RN that affords even greater specialization and opportunity: a Bachelor of Science, Nursing (BSN), a degree held by 50 percent of RN’s in New Mexico.

A BSN in New Mexico can be pursued after completing training as an LPN (insert links for these), after an ADN, or immediately upon entry into a nursing program. A four year bachelor’s degree, the first two years are pretty much the same as an ADN. However, in the final two years, courses go beyond the skills and theories learned during the first two years to focus on such specialized topics as pathophysiology, child care, caring for older adults, populations and communities, leadership, advanced theory, nursing research and more. Additionally, a BSN includes a practicum component, ensuring that nursing students gain experience while they move through the program.

Essentially, students in a BSN in New Mexico study specialized topics and take their critical thinking to the next level, preparing them for a leadership role in a health care setting. They leave the program not only prepared for the NCLEX-RN and work as a RN, but also with critical thinking skills, research experience, and exposure to an array of specialized knowledge that can open doors towards a chosen career path. Indeed, a BSN provides further opportunity for choice when entering the workforce—one thing to consider when choosing between an ADN and a BSN.