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Best Nursing Schools in New Mexico for 2024: Online & Campus Programs

Have you been dreaming about a nursing career, one that leads to both a profitable and meaningful future? We’ve created a guide to the best nursing schools in New Mexico to help further your education.

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WRITTEN BY: Marcella Ellsworth
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REVIEWED BY: Edumed Editing Staff

Last Updated: 09/06/2023

Editorial Values and Practices

Now may be the best time to pursue your nursing degree in New Mexico. The state has been combating nursing shortages for years — recently experiencing a shortage of more than 6,000 nurses — and is currently working to attract more, especially to rural areas.

If you have that inner calling to help others through a career in nursing, there’s no doubt you’re more likely to find a job and get better pay by furthering your education. To that end, we’ve put together a guide to walk you through finding the top nursing programs in New Mexico. We’ve also compiled information on various online programs, provided insights on financial aid, and developed a list of resources to help you earn your degree. Get started by seeing who got top honors for the 2023-2024 school year:

or
About the ranking

X

Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

Two: Assign Weighting

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Student/Faculty Ratio

About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

# School Name Type Tuition Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 New Mexico Highlands UniversityLas Vegas, NM Public $ 1

New Mexico Highlands University offers an accelerated online BSN. It's designed for students who are already registered nurses and are interested in getting their BSN to further their careers. Because many students are also working nurses, the degree is designed for maximum flexibility. All courses are hosted online in eight-week terms, allowing students to adjust their schedules more often. While the program is 120 credits, students can transfer up to 95 credits to graduate faster.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: 14 months
  • Cost: $325/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
11/1
Online
Student %
88%
2 New Mexico State University-Main CampusLas Cruces, NM Public $ 2

Nurses who want to get their MSN while working full time should consider the online degree from the New Mexico State University. This MSN was designed for those who want to learn more about successful nursing leadership and administration in a variety of healthcare settings. For added flexibility, students can choose either a full-time or part-time option, which allows them to graduate in two or three years, respectively.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 32
  • Length: 2-3 years
  • Cost: $444.40/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
15/1
Online
Student %
76%
3 Western New Mexico UniversitySilver City, NM Public $ 1

Western New Mexico University offers a fully online Master of Science in Nursing that can be completed in as little as two years. A successful applicant should already be a licensed nurse with their BSN and have an interest in rural and frontier nursing, which is the focus of the program. The curriculum builds students' leadership skills, knowledge of epidemiology, and preparedness to serve in rural hospital and healthcare settings.

Program Highlights:

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 33
  • Length: About 2 years
  • Cost: $300.19/credit
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
12/1
Online
Student %
82%
4 Eastern New Mexico University-Main CampusPortales, NM Public $ 2

Eastern New Mexico University houses two hybrid nursing programs on its main campus -- one for RNs pursing a BSN degree and the other for RNs pursuing an MSN who are interested in becoming nurse educators. The mixture of fully in-person, fully online, and some blended learning classes makes the degree customizable to a student's work schedule and learning preferences.

Program Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 120
  • Length: About 4 years
  • Cost: $174.75/credit
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing

  • Credits: 36
  • Length: About 2 years
  • Cost: $303/credit
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
16/1
Online
Student %
82%
or
About the ranking

X

Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

Two: Assign Weighting

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Student/Faculty Ratio

About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

# School Name Type Tuition Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell CampusRoswell, NM Public $ 1

Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell offers programs that can help you earn your nursing assistant certificate or an associate degree in nursing. The university's nursing program takes about three years to complete and includes a year of prerequisite courses and two years of nursing courses. The first year consists of academic courses such as biology and anatomy and physiology, which prepare students to move on to core nursing courses. Students can later transfer their credits into the BSN program.

Program Highlights:

Nursing Program

  • Credits: 80-83
  • Length: 2-3 years
  • Cost: $936/year (full-time resident), $2,616 (full-time nonresident),
  • Mode: Hybrid
  • Accreditation: ACEN
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
16/1
Online
Student %
71%

Popular Nursing Programs in New Mexico

It can be hard to know which program is the best for you and your needs, so we spotlighted a popular program below so you can see what students just like you look for in a school.

University of New Mexico College of Nursing

The University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Nursing offers many nursing programs, giving students more options when choosing their career path:

  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Post-Master’s Certificate
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing

UNM is diverse — with a 57% minority population — and is a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution. This means it has an enrollment of full-time undergraduate students that is at least 25% Hispanic.

About 79 percent of UNM students receive financial aid, and tuition varies depending on the program. For example, if you’re an RN working toward a BSN degree, the program would cost $362.16 per credit, with total tuition estimated at $10,864.80. If you don’t hold a license but are pursuing your BSN degree, then tuition would cost $520.10 per credit or $43,346.

Types of Nursing Programs Available in New Mexico

You’ll find an assortment of high-quality nursing schools in New Mexico designed with your needs in mind — from traditional BSN programs to online RN to BSN bridge programs. That also includes accelerated programs, MSN programs and even Doctor of Nurse Practitioner (DNP) programs, many designed for working professionals looking to advance their careers in leadership roles.

Here are some of the most common options:

Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in New Mexico

ADN Programs

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) programs are designed to help you gain the experience you’ll need to work as a registered nurse in a hospital, nursing home, clinic, outpatient facility, or home health nurse.

NM nursing programs offering an ADN usually take two years to complete and can help prepare you for the NCLEX-RN. This type of program is ideal for aspiring RNs who want to enter the workforce as soon as possible.

Examples of New Mexico Nursing Schools with this Program

Northern New Mexico College

University of New Mexico-Taos Nursing Program

Traditional BSN Programs

If you’re a high school graduate looking for a traditional college experience, you might want to consider applying to a four-year BSN program. This type of program is meant for students who are earning their initial bachelor’s degree. Generally, you’ll attend classes in person and on campus.

Examples of New Mexico Nursing Schools with this Program

New Mexico State University School of Nursing

Western New Mexico University’s School of Nursing & Kinesiology

Accelerated BSN Programs

An accelerated BSN program can help you earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree faster than in a traditional program — usually, accelerated programs take about 12 to 18 months of full-time study to complete, depending on the school and the program. Most accelerated programs are year-round and offer fewer breaks.

Examples of New Mexico Nursing Schools with this Program

Brookline College

New Mexico State University

Nursing Bridge Programs in New Mexico for Current Nurses

LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

Bridge programs help working nursing students, such as licensed practical nurses (LPNs), advance their careers. LPN to RN programs, for example, can help prepare you to take the NCLEX exam so you can practice as an RN. Furthermore, some programs can even earn you a degree, such as a BSN. These programs build upon your LPN experience and education.

Example of New Mexico Nursing School with this Program

Central New Mexico Community College

RN to BSN Programs

RN to BSN programs are designed for working RNs who want to earn their bachelor’s degree in nursing. Many colleges and universities offer these programs online or as a hybrid, which can take up to two years to complete. Many programs require students to transfer a certain number of credits, showing they’ve completed prerequisite coursework.

Examples of New Mexico Nursing Schools with this Program

University of New Mexico College of Nursing

New Mexico Highlands University

RN to MSN Programs

RN to MSN bridge programs are meant for registered nurses who want to earn their Master of Science in Nursing degree but don’t yet hold a BSN. Additionally, some programs are designed for RNs who hold a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field.

This type of program essentially bridges a gap in nursing knowledge, and many allow students to earn their BSN while completing the program. Unfortunately, no nursing schools in New Mexico offered an RN to MSN bridge program.

Advanced Nursing Programs in New Mexico

MSN Programs

This type of NM nursing program provides graduate-level training so you can obtain your master’s degree and pursue various leadership roles within your field of nursing. Many MSN programs offer students specialty tracks such as leadership, administration, or higher education. However, you’ll need a BSN degree to enroll.

Examples of New Mexico Nursing Schools with This Program

New Mexico State University School of Nursing

University of New Mexico College of Nursing

DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

In general, there are three types of doctoral degrees in nursing: a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), a research-based PhD, and a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) degree. These programs are designed for those who already hold a BSN and MSN degree and want to advance their education to the highest level, often in preparation for teaching and leadership roles.

Examples of New Mexico Nursing Schools with This Program

University of New Mexico College of Nursing

New Mexico State University School of Nursing

Nursing schools in Alaska have yet to offer a PhD program in nursing.

Post-Graduate Certificates

A post-graduate certificate program is meant for nurses who’ve earned a master’s degree but still want to gain specialized knowledge. Although, it could add another year or two of graduate study, a post-graduate certificate can give you an opportunity to grow your career by allowing you to specialize in a certain field within nursing.

Examples of New Mexico Nursing Schools with This Program

University of New Mexico College of Nursing

New Mexico State University School of Nursing

Flexible Path to Success: Online Nursing Education in New Mexico

Enrolling in and completing an online nursing program has become the new norm for many college and university nursing students pursuing an associate degree, BSN, MSN, or doctorate.

Online nursing programs in New Mexico are usually more flexible with courses, giving you the freedom to manage your own schedule — particularly if you’re balancing both work and school. Many online programs offer students a chance to enroll at any time: spring, summer, or fall. Additionally, most online programs offer students the ability to complete coursework at any time from the comfort of their own homes and even connect with their instructors and peers online.

The best part? You won’t need to attend in-person classes — unless, of course, you’re enrolled in a hybrid program. Some programs also allow students to complete clinical hours or practicums within their own communities.

Choosing an online program may also be financially beneficial. Most programs have a capped tuition rate, and schools usually won’t charge you any extra student fees if you’re not on campus. Tuition costs are also typically the same whether you’re a resident or an out-of-state student.

Brookline College

Some online nursing programs in New Mexico cater to graduate students. At Brookline College, for example, you can earn your MSN in less than a year full-time or two years part-time in their online BSN to MSN program. You’ll complete a 90-hour practicum in your own community and learn advanced nursing skills from an experienced nurse leader. Nurses who hold a master’s degree often find work in settings like teaching hospitals, nursing schools, community colleges, technical schools, or academic research locations; many become nurse educators in academic or healthcare settings.

With fixed tuition currently at $13,950 for the entire program, you’ll know exactly what your education will cost from start to finish. Brookline can also help you find financial aid resources in the form of a scholarship, grant, or loan.

Financial Aid Opportunities for RN Students in New Mexico

If you need financial aid, the best way to start is by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and contacting your school’s financial aid representative or department.

Several schools also offer scholarship opportunities to their students. For example, Brookline College offers Practical Nursing program graduates a $3,500 scholarship— as long as they meet certain requirements.

Several scholarships are dedicated to specific nursing programs in New Mexico, including the Meliora Scholarship. This UNM scholarship awards first-generation graduate students pursuing an MSN, DNP, or PhD with financial aid up to $1,000. Students must be members of an under-represented population or are dedicated to serving an underserved community in New Mexico.

You can also check to see if any state organizations offer scholarship opportunities. For example, the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence offers the Nightingale Scholarship to nursing students throughout the state.

For more information on student aid or scholarships, visit our nursing scholarship guide and our main financial aid guide.

Guide to Becoming an RN in New Mexico: Licensing Requirements and Info

Every state has a set of requirements — outlined by the state board of nursing — that potential nurses need to meet to practice in their fields.

Many of those requirements are pretty similar, with most states requiring future nurses to obtain certification or earn a degree from an accredited nursing program before taking their NCLEX. A passing grade will then earn you a license to practice as a nurse in that particular state. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what you need to do to practice as a registered nurse in New Mexico:

Step #1: Earn your degree from an accredited nursing program.

In order to obtain a license, you’ll first need to complete a nursing program and graduate with a certification or degree. Of course, each school and program have its own set of requirements for future nursing students.

Regardless of any individual program requirements, all nursing programs need to earn and maintain approval by the New Mexico Board of Nursing — ensuring the nursing program has met the minimum requirements approved by the board and is in good standing.

Step #2: Send official transcripts.

Once you’ve graduated from a nursing program, you’ll need to request official transcripts and send them to the Board of Nursing. You’ll also need to have your education verified through the Affidavit of Graduation Portal as part of the application process.

Although it’s not required in New Mexico, you should still make sure that the school and program of your choice are both accredited.

Step #3: Complete a background check.

A criminal background check, which includes information concerning any arrests, indictments, or other formal criminal charges, is required for those who are seeking licensure as one of the following:

  • Lactation Care Provider
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

A criminal background check is not required for APRN licenses or certifications for hemodialysis technicians and medication aides.

Step #4: Submit an examination application.

To take the NCLEX exam, you’ll need first to submit an application and pay a fee. The state Board of Nursing only accepts online applications, according to the agency’s website.

You’ll need to register for Pearson VUE, a provider of global computer-based tests. You can either register online or by calling 1-866-496-2539.

Step #5: Take and pass the NCLEX exam.

According to the state Board of Nursing website, you’re only eligible to take the exam if you’ve graduated from a nursing program within the last three years.

Furthermore, applications for the exam are only valid for six months from the time the initial application is submitted. If you take the exam after that timeframe, the test results will be held until you submit another application.

Keep in mind: You can’t test for the NCLEX exam more than three times.

Once you pass the exam, you can obtain your license to practice as either a practical nurse or a registered nurse in New Mexico.

For more information on what you can specifically expect on exam day, visit the National Council of State Boards for Nursing.

Demand for RNs in New Mexico: Job Outlook

Nurses are in high demand in New Mexico and throughout the country. A local independent news organization, Searchlight New Mexico, reported that New Mexico faces a nursing shortage, prompting hospitals to recruit traveling nurses for around $100 an hour. Additionally, a 2020 report from New Mexico’s Legislative Finance Committee found that the state would need between 600 and 3,700 more nurses to fill in vacancies from a nursing shortage. Either way, nurses are in high demand in New Mexico, meaning you’re more likely to find a job there.

Employment Projections for RNs in New Mexico

New Jobs
(2020-2030)
Job Growth Rate
(2020-2030)
Average Annual Openings
(2020-2030)
New Mexico21,35013.9%1,300
United States371,50012.1%210,400

Source: Projections Central

What’s the Average New Mexico RN Salary?

Not only are you more likely to find a job as a nurse in New Mexico, but you’ll also receive better pay. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses in New Mexico earn a median annual salary of $78,340 — that’s about $740 above the national median average.

Generally, registered nurses in New Mexico can make anywhere between $60,320 and $98,660. A top-paying location in New Mexico is Albuquerque, where registered nurses typically make between $62,950 to $98,660, with a median annual salary of $78,930.

Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in New Mexico

10th Percentile50th Percentile
(Median)
90th Percentile
New Mexico$60,320$78,340$98,660
Albuquerque, New Mexico$62,950$78,930$98,660
Farmington, New Mexico$60,550$75,350$98,030
Las Cruces, New Mexico$58,640$73,720$92,660
Santa Fe, New Mexico$59,640$77,030$94,690
United States$59,450$77,600$120,250

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021

New Mexico Nursing Resources