How to Become an RN in New Mexico – A Simple Guide

How to Become an RN in New Mexico - A Simple Guide

If you want to become a registered nurse in New Mexico, then you’ve come to the right place! 

We’re here to help you out because we think you’ve made an excellent choice!

There’s a high demand for registered nurses in New Mexico, and RNs enjoy a lot of career opportunities in the state!

But we all know that becoming a registered nurse takes time and effort… you need to study, take an exam, and apply for a license. 

However, even if this seems like a long journey, if you follow our steps in this article, you won’t find it so overwhelming or confusing. 

So, are you ready to get a license? 

Read on for the step-by-step guide on how to become an RN in New Mexico, as well as some FAQs connected to this. 

How to Become a Registered Nurse in New Mexico in 4 Steps

To be honest, the road to becoming a registered nurse is not as complicated as others put it. Here are the steps you need to take to become an RN:

  1. Graduate from a Nursing Education Program
  2. Pass a Criminal Background Check
  3. Apply for a License Online
  4. Pass the NCLEX-RN

Let’s begin. 

How to Become an RN in New Mexico Step #1: Graduate from a Nursing Education Program

Every aspiring registered nurse in the state has to complete a nursing education program from an approved school by the New Mexico Board of Nursing. 

There are two routes you can take for this requirement – ADN or BSN. 

ADN vs. BSN: What’s the Difference?

The ADN is short for an Associate Degree in Nursing. It’s a two-year program that teaches you the technical skills to become a registered nurse. 

By ‘technical,’ we mean that you will be taught how to record findings, update charts, monitor patients, and do basic health procedures. This program does not have a lot of laboratory courses, research-based requirements, and specialization options. 

And while the ADN is ideal for those who want to get started with their nursing career right away, it can be limiting if you are planning to apply to hospitals. The main reason is that hospitals often hire BSN graduates. 

BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a four-year program covering all ADN courses plus research-based practices and more laboratory classes. Because of the length of time you get to study, BSN graduates are taught more in-depth procedures plus general management knowledge. 

This is the reason why most hospitals hire BSN graduates. This is also why we recommend you to take BSN if you are not in a hurry to start your RN career. 

Another significant difference between ADN and BSN is the chance to take management roles. Only BSN graduates are given management roles or can apply for said roles. 

If you’re an ADN graduate aspiring to be a manager in your current department, you might consider taking an RN to BSN bridge program that will allow you to gain a BSN degree. 

Choose an Approved or Accredited School

Whether you choose to enroll in an ADN or BSN program is really up to you. Both are great options!

But you need to make sure that the school you choose is approved or accredited by the New Mexico Board of Nursing. 

Here is a list of approved programs.

How to Become an RN in New Mexico Step #2: Pass a Criminal Background Check

Once you’re a few weeks from graduation, the next thing you need to do is pass a criminal background check. 

A criminal background check is required for anyone applying for an RN license in New Mexico. This is where you need to give a record of any convictions, sentencings, and dismissals recorded by criminal justice offices. 

Part of the criminal background check is to give a copy of your fingerprints taken with Gemalto. 

The New Mexico Board of Nursing only allows fingerprints taken by Gemalto, so it’s important that you just take it from them and not from other companies offering the same service. 

To get a criminal background check, register online at the Gemalto website. Pay for the application fee and pick a date and venue to take your fingerprints. 

Your criminal background record and fingerprints can take 2-12 weeks, so check your mail and email for the results. 

How to Become an RN in New Mexico Step #3: Apply for a License Online

Next up, you have to apply for your RN license online. Go to the New Mexico Board of Nursing portal and create an account if you don’t have one yet. 

Once you verify your account, you may now apply for an RN license. Follow the steps and fill in the required fields.

During this application process, request your school to send the transcript of your records to the Board of Nursing. This can be done by mail or email.

After applying online, pay the application fee of $150. Wait for all your documents to be sent and verified before getting your license.

How to Become an RN in New Mexico Step #4: Pass the NCLEX-RN

While waiting for your criminal background check, you may already apply for your NCLEX-RN. This exam is a nationwide exam that tests your readiness and knowledge of the responsibilities of a registered nurse. 

To apply for the NCLEX, follow these steps: 

  1. Apply for a test schedule at the PearsonVue NCLEX website
  2. Complete an NCLEX application
  3. Pay the exam fee of $200 online; credit card or debit card is accepted
  4. Choose your venue and exam date and get your ATT (authorization to test)
  5. Take the exam on your testing date and venue

After taking the exam, wait for 4-6 weeks to get your results. You will be emailed or mailed the results. 

If you pass, proceed to Step 4. If you don’t, you can retake the exam after 45 days. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Registered Nurse in New Mexico

How much does it cost to become an RN in New Mexico?

The application fee is $150, while the NCLEX-RN fee is $200. 

As for the ADN or BSN programs, they could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to complete the program.

How long is the nursing program in New Mexico?

The ADN program takes two years, but it can take longer if you’re only studying part-time. 

For BSN programs, the regular curriculum is four years, but it may also take longer if you’re studying part-time or if you choose to take a specialization after you graduate.

How long does it take to get a New Mexico nursing license?

It may take a minimum of two years and a few months if you’re taking the ADN track. This includes the weeks to get your criminal background check and NCLEX results. 

On the other hand, BSN graduates may take four years and a few months. 

How much do RNs in New Mexico earn?

On average, RNs in New Mexico earn $77,590 per year. That’s $37.31 per hour. 

Helpful Resources for New Mexico RNs

List of Associate Degree Programs (ADNs) in New Mexico

Here’s a list of ADN programs approved by the New Mexico BON:

Carrington College
1001 Menaul Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87107
(505) 314-3951

Central New Mexico Community College (CNM)
525 Buena Vista SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
(505) 224-4000 ext. 50953

Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell
PO Box 6000
Roswell, NM 88202
(575) 624-7460

Luna Community College
366 Luna Dr.
Las Vegas, NM 87701
(505) 454-2523

Mesalands Community College
911 South Tenth Street
Tucumcari, NM 884015
(575) 461-4413

Navajo Technical University
PO Box 849
Lowerpoint Rd., State Hwy 371 Crownpoint, NM 87313
(505) 387-7401

San Juan College
4601 College Blvd.
Farmington, NM 87402
(505) 566-3224

Santa Fe Community College
6401 Richards Ave.
Santa Fe, NM 87508
(505) 428-1897

University of New Mexico-Gallup
200 College Rd.
Gallup, NM 87301
(505) 863-7669

University of New Mexico-Taos
1157 CR #110
Ranchos de Taos, NM 87557
(575) 737-3743

University of New MexicoValencia
280 La Entrada
Los Lunas, NM 87031
(505) 925-8872

Visit the New Mexico BON website for updates.

List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in New Mexico

Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the New Mexico BON:

Brookline College
4201 Central Ave. NW, Suite J
Albuquerque, NM 87105
(505) 880-2877

New Mexico State University
MSC 3185 Box 30001
Las Cruces, NM 88003
(575) 646-4685

University of New Mexico
College of Nursing
MSC09 5350
Albuquerque, NM 87131
(505) 272-9603

Western New Mexico University
PO Box 680
Silver City, NM 88062
(575) 538-6960

Visit the New Mexico BON website for updates.

In Summary

Becoming a registered nurse in New Mexico is a great track if you want to pursue a career in the medical field. And just like any career in the medical field, you must study and take an exam. 

But don’t worry; even if it takes a few years, the road to becoming an RN is not complicated. 

We hope you found the steps we gave you helpful!

If you have any more questions, just leave us a comment. 

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