A Look at Nurses in New Mexico

Nurses and nurse salaries in New Mexico

With more than three million licensed nurses, the United States Department of Labor cites nursing as one of the nation’s fastest-growing occupations. The sheer size of such a workforce coupled with a number of geographic variances means that educational requirements, licensure guidelines and salaries are likely to vary from state to state. Here is a look at what nurses in New Mexico can expect in each of these areas.

New Mexico Nursing Statistics

According to the New Mexico State Board of Nursing, there was a total of 26,010 active nursing licenses and certificates as of March 2016. Of those, 20,971 nurses lived in-state, and 5,039 lived outside of New Mexico.

The data collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics offers a detailed view of nursing in New Mexico. Consider the following state-specific statistics for licensed nurses:

  • For every 1,000 jobs in the state, approximately 19 were licensed nurse positions.
  • The average hourly wage is $31.74.
  • The average annual salary is $66,030.
  • Albuquerque has the highest rate of employment in the state with more than 8,800 nurses and an annual average wage of $67,740.

Nurses work in a variety of settings throughout the state including hospitals, physician offices, outpatient centers, home health and hospice.

Becoming a Nurse in New Mexico

Completing mandatory educational requirements is the first step to becoming a nurse in New Mexico. Students seeking licensure should enroll in a state-approved, nationally accredited nursing program. There are two common educational paths from which to choose — an associate or a bachelor’s degree.

Students in New Mexico are also encouraged to find a program that participates in the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC), a collaborative of every state-funded nursing program across the state. . Their mission is to “prepare nurses for entry and educational advancement through developing and sustaining a resource-efficient and unified system of accessible, innovative, and state-of-the-art nursing education.” The Consortium has developed a statewide curriculum in nursing that allows for the seamless transfer of nursing credits. Students participating in NMNEC have the ability to complete a baccalaureate degree in nursing through their hometown community college or their local university.

Upon completion of the educational requirements, the student submits an application to the New Mexico Board of Nursing requesting to take the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Nurses must pass this exam to obtain a nursing license in the state.

Regardless of the educational path chosen, students should select a program with a proven track record of preparing students for the exam. It is important to remember that both paths can result in licensure; however, there may be professional and patient care limitations placed upon nurses based on their level of education. Many nurses who initially pursue a two-year degree later elect to enroll in an RN to BSN degree program to expand their career options.

Continuing Education

Following licensure, nurses in New Mexico are required to complete continuing education for the entire length of their nursing careers. Current guidelines state that nurses must complete a minimum of 30 hours every two years for license renewal. Hours can be achieved through several means including online courses and in-person events and conferences. While the path to earning and maintaining a nursing license may seem long, the opportunities gained from successful completion are significant.

Learn about the UNM online RN to BSN program.


About NMNEC. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nmnec.org/about-nmnec.aspx

Active Licenses / Certificates / Facilities. (2016, March). Retrieved from http://nmbon.sks.com/active-licenses-certificates-facilities.aspx

Choosing an RN Program in New Mexico. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nursinglicensure.org/rn-programs/new-mexico-rn-programs.html#context/api/listings/prefilter

Continuing Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nmna.org/Main-Menu-Category/Continuing-EducationContinuing-Education

New Mexico May 2015 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates. (2016, March 30). Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nm.htm#31-0000

Nursing Licensure Requirements in New Mexico. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.nursinglicensure.org/state/nursing-license-new-mexico.html

Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2015. (2016, March 30). Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm

Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.

Request Information
*All fields required

or call 844-515-9099