Registered Nurse Certification in How to Become an RN in New Mexico: Nursing License Application and Renewal Guide

Registered nurse certification in New Mexico advances the quality and affordable healthcare in the state. The New Mexico Board of Nursing issues the certification which primarily aims at safeguarding the health of the citizens by providing licenses to nurses and regulating nursing practice.

Licensure serves as the validation of demonstrated skills, experience, and knowledge of RNs. There are many accredited schools that offer each type of nursing degree, including:

  • Associate’s degrees in nursing (ADN);
  • Bachelor’s degrees in nursing (BSN);
  • Licensed practical nursing degrees (LPN);
  • Registered nurse (RN);
  • Master’s of Science in nursing degrees (MSN);
  • Doctor of nursing practice degrees (DNP).

Based on 2018 estimates, RNs in New Mexico earned an average of $67,989 annually, which is less than the national average salary for RNs.

New Mexico Licensing Board, Office, or Authority

The New Mexico Board of Nursing makes it their mission “to protect the citizens of the State of New Mexico by licensing Nurses and Lactation Care Providers; certifying Hemodialysis Technicians and Medication Aides; regulating education programs for licensees and certificate holders; regulating practice; taking complaints and disciplining licensees and certificate holders who violate the law and rules.” The Board can be contacted at:

6301 Indian School Rd NE Suite 710
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
Phone: 505-841-8340
Fax: 505-841-8347.

Registered Nurse Education Requirements

The national certification standards for an RN require that prospective students obtain a degree from an accredited agency and/or nursing school that the New Mexico State Board approves, whether the school is one of New Mexico’s in-state institutions or otherwise. To qualify for these state-approved programs, applicants must complete the application for licensure (by examination or endorsement).

  • Complete the corresponding nursing school’s application;
  • Declare their nursing major;
  • Send in their ACT or SAT scores and high school transcript to their ideal university;
  • Successfully finish courses in an undergraduate program of study.

It is important to keep in mind that each school may have its own requirements that must be met prior to admittance — applicants will want to research these requirements to make sure they have met each one.

RN Licensure by Examination

Obtaining a nursing license by examination is just one way students are able to get their license. To do so, students must complete the following examination requirements:

  • Complete a fingerprinting and background check;
  • Request that official transcripts be sent to the New Mexico Board of Nursing;
  • Register with Pearson VUE and pay the $200 required fee;
  • Submit an exam application;
  • International applicants must complete an approved English competency exam and complete an international examination application.

Fingerprinting and Background Checks

All applicants will need to complete fingerprinting and a background check. This needs to be done by:

  • In-state applicants only:
    • Register online or by phone (1-877-996-6277);
    • Pay $44 for the criminal background check;
    • Select a fingerprint location nearest you;
  • Out-of-state applicants only:
    • Obtain two fingerprint cards or go to online services fingerprint cards request;
    • Register online or by phone (1-877-996-6277);
    • Pay the required fee of $44 (may be made online at this time or sent with the fingerprint cards when completed);
    • Get fingerprinted;
    • Write the registration ID on the back of the fingerprint cards;
    • Mail fingerprint cards to:

GEMALTO Cogent APS Department #165
2964 Bradley Street
Pasadena, CA 91107.

Approved Exams

The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) is an exam used by Nursing Regulatory Bodies to test the competence of entry-level nursing candidates. The NCLEX exam is an exclusive computerized adaptive test.

When taking the exam, you must answer a minimum of 75 questions. Your level of understanding of those 75 questions will determine whether you will be required to answer more questions. You can access practice questions for the test for free ahead of time to help you prepare.

Applying to Take a Certification Exam

When registering to take the NCLEX-RN exam, you will need to:

  • Submit an application for licensure/registration to the Nursing Regulatory Body where you wish to be licensed/registered;
  • Meet all of the Nursing Regulatory Body’s eligibility requirements to take the NCLEX Examination;
  • Register and pay for the NCLEX examination with Pearson VUE;
  • Receive eligibility from your Nursing Regulatory Body.

Testing Vendors and Proctors

There is one testing location in New Mexico:

Pearson Professional Centers-Albuquerque NM
7300 Menaul Blvd NE
Suite 22
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110.

Applying for Licensure

To apply for a license, you will fill out an application that consists of the following categories:

  • License type;
  • Education;
  • Exam and temporary permits;
  • Regulatory questions.

After filling out these sections, you will be prompted to preview the application to check it for errors. After verifying that everything is indeed correct, you may then submit the application with the appropriate fees attached.

RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out-of-State Applicants)

All candidates applying for RN licensure by endorsement must follow the below procedure:

  • Submit the application form through the New Mexico Nurse portal including all the required details;
  • Provide fingerprint cards for a criminal background check;
  • Provide proof of graduation from a state-approved nursing program;
  • Hold a current license in another U.S. state or territory;
  • Must have obtained an original license by examination in English;
  • All Canadian applicants must have passed the Canadian nursing exam or NCLEX-RN exam in English;
  • Submit the requisite fee of $110 in the form of U.S. money order, demand draft or cashier’s check made payable to the “NM Board of Nursing”;
  • The applicants may apply for a temporary license which is valid for 60 days. An appropriate fee of $50 is charged in addition to the application fee;
  • In the case of a name change, submit the legal documents verifying the change;
  • Provide your fixed or permanent address;
  • Request your nursing school to provide verification of your licensure directly to the New Mexico Board.

New Mexico is also a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), allowing licensed nurses from member states to hold licenses in other member states:

ArkansasNew Hampshire
ColoradoNew Jersey
DelawareNew Mexico
FloridaNorth Carolina
GeorgiaNorth Dakota
IndianaSouth Carolina
IowaSouth Dakota
MarylandWest Virginia

RN License Renewal

All RNs in New Mexico need to renew their license in time every two years. They are required to complete 30 contact hours of continuing education (CE) during these two years. To do so applicants must:

Continuing Education Requirements

In New Mexico, registered nurses must complete continuing education (CE) credits in order to renew their license. To do so they must abide by the following requirements:

  • Complete the continuing education during your licensure period;
  • Obtain and keep the evidence of attending the continuing education for two years after reporting the continuing education.

New Mexico Nursing License Verification

To verify your RN license in New Mexico, you may use any of the following online methods:

quick RN guide links