(found 9 schools, updated in December 2017)
The New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) is responsible for certifying nurse aide programs and maintaining the Nurse Aide Registry (NAR). In most cases, becoming a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) requires completing a state-approved training program and/or passing a state exam. There are other possible routes, so it is important to review all options to determine the best course of action. The CNA in New Mexico works under the direction of a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse while providing basic nursing care services to residents and patients in various healthcare settings. Certified Nurse Aides are instrumental in helping clients maintain the highest quality of life.
- 6 Steps to Becoming a CNA in New Mexico
- Renew CNA Certification
- Job Outlook and Salary for CNAs in New Mexico
- Becoming a CNA in Bordering States
6 Steps to Becoming a CNA in New Mexico
The following steps serve as a guide to the process for achieving CNA certification in the State. A nurse aide is also called a nursing assistant in many states.
Step 1: Review the Routes to CNA Certification
The most common route to becoming a Certified Nurse Aide in New Mexico is to complete a state-approved training program followed by taking the state CNA exam. However, New Mexico offers other eligibility routes to certification for people with prior training and/or nurse aide certification. There are nine routes to meeting certification requirements.
Route 1 for New Nurse Aide
This route requires an individual to complete a training program approved by the state of New Mexico and to pass the Competency Evaluation test (state exam).
Route 2 for Military Trained
Individuals who completed military healthcare training that is similar to nurse aide training can apply to the DOH to take the state exam without additional training. Training completion must have been within the previous 24 months.
Route 3 for RN/LPN Graduates
Individuals who completed a nursing program for Registered Nurses (RNs) or Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), but are not licensed, can apply to the DOH to take the state exam. To get training credit under this route, the nursing program must be one approved by the state of New Mexico.
Route 4 for out of State Nurse Assistants with an Expired Certification
An individual who has been listed on a nurse aide registry in another state, but allowed certification to expire in the prior 24 months, can apply to the DOH to take the state exam without additional training.
Route 5 for Foreign Trained and out of State Trained RN, LPN or Nurse Aide
An individual who trained as an RN, LPN or Nurse Aide in another country or state can apply to DOH to take the state exam without additional training. The license or certification must be valid and the person must be in good standing on the appropriate registry.
Route 6 for RN or LPN Nursing Students
Nursing students who have completed the basic course work and clinical training in a New Mexico state-approved RN or LPN program can apply to the DOH to take the state CNA exam. The training must have been completed within the previous two years (24 months).
Route 7 for New Mexico CNA Certification That Expired Less Than 24 Months Ago
An individual who is listed on the New Mexico Nurse Aide Registry, but certification expired in the previous 24 months, can apply to the DOH to take the state exam without retraining. The testing needs to be completed within six months of the date of application.
Route 8 for New Mexico CNA Certification That Expired More Than 24 Months Ago and the Individual Worked
If an individual has a New Mexico Nurse Aide certification that expired more than 24 months ago, and has been working in a relevant nursing-related field, she or he can apply to the DOH to retest without retraining. CNA Testing must be completed within six months of application.
Route 9 for New Mexico CNA Certification That Expired More Than 24 Months Ago and the Individual Did Not Work
If an individual has a New Mexico certification that expired more than 24 months ago and has not been working in a relevant nursing-related field, it is necessary retrain and retest. The retesting must be completed within 24 months of completion of a state-approved Nurse Aide training program.
Step 2: Select a CNA Training Program and Assess Program Costs
If it is necessary to complete a state-approved CNA training program in New Mexico, the next step is choosing a program that meets individual needs in terms of location, program length, start dates, etc.
CNA programs in New Mexico are offered at community colleges, junior colleges and universities. Each program determines how long it takes to complete CNA classes in New Mexico and the tuition, fees and supply program costs. The training length and costs will vary from program to program.
Find Local CNA Classes in New Mexico
|CNA Program Provider
|Central New Mexico Community College
|525 Buena Vista Drive SE
|Clovis Community College
|417 Schepps Boulevard
|San Juan College
|4601 College Boulevard
|New Mexico Junior College
|1 Thunderbird Circle
|New Mexico State University Doña Ana Community College
|2800 North Sonoma Ranch Boulevard
|Ranchos de Taos
|The University of New Mexico
|1157 County Road 110
|Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell
|52 University Boulevard
|Eastern New Mexico University Ruidoso Branch Community College
|709 Mechem Drive
|Santa Fe Community College
|6401 Richards Avenue
For example, Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque offers a certified nursing assistant program that takes one semester to complete. It requires taking four courses that lead to earning seven credit hours. It is not eligible for financial aid because it is a certificate program. At $287 per credit, students will pay $2,009 plus a clinical prep fee ($39), a nursing assistant lab fee ($193) and purchase a textbook. The course fees include supplies, scrubs and various costs for items like a drug screen and background checks.
San Juan College in Farmington also offers a nurse aide certification course. It takes eight weeks to complete and students earn six credit hours consisting of 45 class hours and 90 clinical and lab hours. Tuition and fees are $232.50 per credit hour for a total of $1,395. Students also pay $75 for lab and background check fees, $80 for the textbook and $160 for uniforms, TB test and immunizations.
The New Mexico State University nursing assistant program in Las Cruces is a 16 credit course that takes one year to complete. Tuition, books and supplies cost $1,488 (subject to change), but students also must pay a $150 course fee, up to $80 for uniforms and shoes and additional fees for the background check and drug screen.
There are a several ways to get free CNA training. One is to qualify for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) training funds. Another path to free training is to work at a long-term nursing home or other state approved healthcare facility while training to become a Certified Nurse Aide. The employer is required by law to pay for all training costs. Federal and state laws also require an employer to reimburse the CNA on a prorated basis for training costs, if the individual is hired within 12 months of completing training.
Step 3: Meet CNA School and Program Prerequisites
Each program has prerequisites to meet before a student begins nurse aide training. They include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Meet age requirements
- Pass a health examination
- Pass a fingerprinting background check for the New Mexico Caregiver Criminal History screening
- Pass a 7-10 panel drug screen
- Show proof of required immunizations for MMR, Varicella, Hepatitis B and Tdap
- Show proof of negative TB test within the last year
- Show proof of annual flu shot
- Meet requirements of assigned clinical site
- May need current CPR certification before registration (some programs allow students to earn their CPR card during CNA training)
- Demonstrate English proficiency through completed coursework or by taking an assessment test
- Show proof of health insurance
Step 4: Complete a CNA Training Program
Federal and state law requires a CNA training program to consist of at least 75 hours of classroom and lab/clinical training. Many nurse aide programs require more than the minimum hours. However, every state-approved training program teaches the basic nursing information and skills a nursing assistant is likely to need or use in a healthcare setting. The CNA skills include:
- Infection control
- Communicating with clients, family members and healthcare team members
- Safety of residents and personal safety
- Promoting resident functioning
- Assisting residents with personal grooming and hygiene
- Basic anatomy and disease progression
- Taking and recording vital signs
- Managing emergency situations
- Using various devices for safety, transport and physical positioning
- Understanding the aging process
- Providing specialized care experiencing health changes
This is just a sample of the topics the training program addresses. Nurse aide students will attend classes and complete lab work. They also do hands-on training in a nursing facility under the supervision of the responsible RN or LPN.
Step 5: Take the New Mexico Nurse Aide Competency Examination
Prometric administers the New Mexico CNA state exam. Individuals required to take the CNA test will first submit a New Mexico Nurse Aide Registry Application to the DOH, requesting an Approval Letter.
The state exam is made up of two parts.
The Written Test is computerized and consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. The questions are based on the nurse aide knowledge gained during training. This part of the exam can also be administered as an Oral Test.
Clinical Skills Test
The Clinical Skills Test requires individuals to demonstrate five skills. While completing three of the five skills, the person is also scored on Indirect Care and Handwashing. To pass this part of the test requires passing all five skills.
Step 6: Get Name Placed on the New Mexico Nurse Aide Registry
Prometric reports CNA exam results to the DOH. Upon successfully passing both parts of the exam, the individual’s name is placed on the New Mexico Nurse Aide Registry.
Renew CNA Certification
The CNA certification in New Mexico is active for 24 months. Recertification requires working as a paid nurse aide for a minimum of eight (8) hours during the certification period. The employer provides verification of employment when the applicant completes the Registry Renewal Form.
Job Outlook and Salary for CNAs in New Mexico
The New Mexico Certified Nurse Aide can work in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and in hospitals. They can also provide home health care services.
The average CNA salary in the state of New Mexico is $27,280 which is very close to the national average of $27,650. The projection for nurse aide jobs growth is 9.1 percent for the period 2014-2024. | See Job Openings
CNA Salaries in New Mexico
|NM CNA Salaries
|Hourly mean wage
|Annual mean wage
|Wage percent relative std. error
|Hourly 10th % wage
|Hourly median wage
|Hourly 90th % wage
|Annual 10th % wage
|Annual median wage
|Annual 90th % wage
|Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
|Las Cruces, NM
|North and West Central New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
|Santa Fe, NM
|Southwestern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
Becoming a CNA in Bordering States
if you want to become a CNA in 2018 in another state, click the following links to explore how to become, salary and job outlook in your desired state: