How to Become a Nurse in New Mexico

Pursuing a nursing career in New Mexico is a rewarding path for those interested in a healthcare profession. The state is experiencing a shortage of nurses, particularly in rural areas. As such, the state of New Mexico has relaxed minimum requirements for nursing professionals so that recent graduates can obtain a short-term permit to practice under the supervision of a licensed nurse or nurse practitioner.

The New Mexico Board of Nursing is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing most types of nursing professionals, with the New Mexico Department of Health also having some responsibility. Read the sections below to learn about how to become a CNA, LPN, RN, or APRN in New Mexico.

How to Get Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Certification in New Mexico

The New Mexico Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) registry is handled by the New Mexico Department of Health. Prospective CNAs must pass the New Mexico Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP). The competency exam for the New Mexico CNA certificate is administered by Prometric. New Mexico CNA training must be at least 75 hours and cover the following subject areas:

  • Infection control
  • Communicating with patients
  • Taking vital signs
  • Basic nursing skills
  • Safety and emergency procedures
  • Activities of daily living, including bathing, dressing, using the bathroom and eating

The following documents are required to apply for New Mexico CNA certification :

  • Social security card
  • Photo ID or driver’s license
  • An official mailing address
  • Proof of completion of NATCEP
  • Criminal background check

CNAs must renew their certification every two years. Applicants must furnish proof of employment each time they renew, and they must also pay a $21 renewal fee. Only money orders made out to Prometric are accepted for the renewal fee.

How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in New Mexico

To apply for a New Mexico LPN license, applicants must complete a practical nursing program. Practical nursing programs are often offered at high school, vocational schools and colleges. Coursework covers the basics of nursing, including helping with activities of daily living, communicating with patients and learning how to take vital signs.

Upon completing the educational requirements, applicants must successfully pass the NCLEX-PN. Applicants must register through Pearson Vue, and that process costs $200. Applicants for a New Mexico nursing license must also submit fingerprints for the criminal background check, which costs $44.00 to complete. Official transcripts from the accepted nursing education program must also be furnished by the applicant to the New Mexico Board of Nursing.

The renewal process for a New Mexico LPN license occurs every two years. If applicants allow their New Mexico LPN license to expire, they must fill out an Expired/Lapsed Attestation (ELA) form within five business days of submitting the renewal application.

How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in New Mexico

To get a New Mexico RN license, applicants must complete an educational program approved by the New Mexico Board of Nursing. Once completed, applicants must submit the following documents to complete their application:

  • Fingerprints and a criminal background check, which costs $44.00
  • An application fee of $110
  • Register to take the nursing licensure exam (NCLEX-RN). Applicants must register through Pearson, which costs $200.00.

Once the application for examination is approved, applicants may take the NCLEX-RN. After passing, they will receive their RN licenses.

Applicants who apply immediately after graduating from their nursing program may be eligible for a practicing permit. A current employer must submit proof of employment on the applicant’s behalf. The application for the permit must arrive within 12 weeks of the graduation date. Upon passing the NCLEX-RN, applicants can receive a full New Mexico RN license.

New Mexico RN licenses are valid for two years before needing renewal. Per regulations from the New Mexico Board of Nursing, all New Mexico nursing license holders must complete continuing education competency in order to renew their credentials. Examples of potential continuing education courses include:

  • Infection control
  • Pharmacology
  • Recognizing child abuse in practice
  • Caring for patients with HIV/AIDS

How to Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) License in New Mexico

Advanced practice registered nurses in New Mexico must first have their New Mexico RN license. APRNs in New Mexico must earn a graduate degree (master’s level or higher) with a specialty. Specialties can include any of the following areas of nursing:

  • Nurse practitioner (NP)
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)

Applicants for a New Mexico APRN license must submit the following to the New Mexico Board of Nursing:

  • Proof of New Mexico nursing license (RN)
  • An application fee of $100
  • Evidence of national certification
  • Extra documentation if the applicant wishes to have the authority to prescribe controlled substances

New Mexico APRN licenses last for two years, at which point they must be renewed. Renewal is granted if the applicant completes continuing education hours and maintains national certification. APRNs with the authority to prescribe controlled substances will need to complete extra continuing education in that subject area.