7 Best ADN Programs in New Mexico – (2-Year RN Programs)

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

Eager to get to work as a registered nurse in New Mexico? ADN programs in New Mexico are the quickest way to prepare for a career as an RN in the Land of Enchantment. You’ll learn basic patient care skills and then put those skills into action during clinical rotations under the supervision of a nursing instructor. With an associate degree in nursing, you’ll qualify to take the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for New Mexico RN licensure. ADN-prepared RNs earn $85,580 in New Mexico, and their employment opportunities will increase by 14 percent in the next decade. Want to find out more? Read the guide below to the 7 best ADN programs in New Mexico.


Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 7 best nursing schools for ADN programs in New Mexico. You can complete most of these programs in 2 years.

1. San Juan College - Farmington

Program Details: Like most of the other 2-year RN programs in New Mexico, San Juan College is affiliated with the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium (NMNEC), a program connected by a common nursing curriculum devised to address New Mexico’s nursing shortage. SJC’s 72-credit curriculum includes core nursing classes like “Principles of Nursing Practice,” “Pathophysiology,” and “Health and Illness Concepts I, II, & III.” The fourth semester culminates with an ADN capstone during which students work with an RN preceptor in an acute, long-term, or community setting.

SJC’s Health Sciences Simulation Center is equipped with replicas of common hospital environments, including an emergency room, an intensive care unit, and a labor and delivery suite. You’ll perfect the hands-on skills you learn in the simulation lab by participating in clinical experiences throughout Farmington and nearby communities.

Why Choose This Program

• San Juan College partners with the University of New Mexico to provide its students with a convenient pathway toward earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree concurrently with their ADN degree.
• Graduates of this ADN program in New Mexico have consistently earned pass rates of 98 percent and above on the NCLEX-RN exam.
• Nursing students who successfully complete their second semester of classes can enroll in a 144-hour clinical externship the summer between their first and second years of nursing classes.

2. Santa Fe Community College - Santa Fe

Program Details: Between prerequisites and core nursing coursework, it will take you three years to graduate from Santa Fe Community College’s ADN program in New Mexico. Your nursing curriculum (which is standardized throughout most ADN programs in the Land of Enchantment) focuses on the principles of assessment, communication, patient safety, and nursing-specific interventions. It includes coursework like “The Health Care Participant,” “Professional Nursing I & II,” and “Care of Patients With Chronic Conditions.” You’ll attend classes approximately two or two and a half days a week and participate in clinicals one full day a week.

The college’s Medical Simulation lab—a 4000-square-foot area with EKG machines, respirators, IV lines, hospital beds, and lifelike manikins—is where you’ll learn and develop your practical skills. This facility is so state-of-the-art that community healthcare practitioners like registered nurses and physicians regularly use it to brush up on hands-on skills! Once you’re confident in your abilities, you’ll take part in supervised patient care experiences at St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and other healthcare facilities and community agencies in the Greater Santa Fe Metropolitan Area.

Why Choose This Program

• Santa Fe Community College has been offering its high-quality associate nursing degree since 1986.
• This ADN has two entry dates each year: fall and spring.
• If you have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, SFCC will waive many of the general education requirements for this associate degree.

3. New Mexico Junior College - Hobbs

Program Details: New Mexico Junior College admits as many as 50 qualified applicants into its 2-year RN program in New Mexico each August. The program’s nursing curriculum includes classroom studies, laboratory learning exercises, and clinical experiences, aligning with the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium’s recommendations. You’ll enroll in courses like “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Community Health in Nursing,” and Pharmacology in Nursing.”

Clinical experiences take place in hospitals, clinics, community agencies, and other healthcare facilities in Hobbs and various communities throughout Lea County. Though New Mexico Junior College has discontinued its dual ADN/BSN major with the University of New Mexico, students who want to continue their nursing education will find it easy to transfer their NMJC credits to UNM’s nursing bachelor’s program.

Why Choose This Program

• After your third semester of classes, you’ll have the option of earning an LPN certificate, qualifying you to take the NCLEX-PN examination.
• Except for the year when the college had to make accommodations for COVID-19 precautions, New Mexico Junior College’s NCLEX-RN pass rates have consistently exceeded 90 percent.
• New Mexico Junior College’s 23,000-square-foot Allied Health Building includes classrooms, labs, and simulation facilities.

4. Dona Ana Community College - Las Cruces

Program Details: Doña Ana Community College offers its 2-year nursing program in New Mexico at both its Espina and Sunland Park campuses. Lecture classes are scheduled Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., while clinical rotations typically occur on Thursdays, Fridays, and weekends. DACC’s simulation lab, with its hospital equipment and lifelike manikins, is an ideal place to learn the fundamentals of nursing care. Once you’ve perfected your hands-on skills, you’ll have ample opportunities to practice them during clinical rotations at healthcare facilities in Las Cruces, New Mexico, or El Paso, Texas.

The 70-credit associate nursing degree consists of general education courses, prerequisites, and core nursing classes like “Foundation of Nursing Skills and Assessment,” “Care of the Geriatric Patient,” and “Nursing Leadership and Management.” Your final course will allow you to work one-on-one with a nurse preceptor in an inpatient or outpatient healthcare setting.

Why Choose This Program

• Dona Ana Community College is one of the few ADN programs in New Mexico that offers full-time and part-time enrollment options.
• At the end of the first two semesters of the ADN program, you’ll have the chance to earn an LPN certificate, which will qualify you to take the NCLEX-PN exam.
• In the fifth semester, DACC offers a course dedicated to helping you pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

5. Central New Mexico Community College - Albuquerque

Program Details: If you’re interested in holistic healthcare, Central New Mexico Community College’s 68-credit associate nursing degree may be one of the best ADN programs in New Mexico because it focuses on far more than the medical care of patients. In fact, its nursing department is called the School of Nursing & Patient Support. You’ll take classes like “Introduction to Nursing Concepts,” “The Health Care Participant,” and “Assessment and Health Promotion.”

Clinical experiences build upon curriculum content and are integrated into lecture classes from the time you first begin taking core nursing courses. CNM’s Simulation Center for Advanced Training and Education is a cutting-edge learning environment equipped with manikins that can be programmed to replicate a variety of ages and disease processes. Clinical rotations occur at hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and community agencies throughout the Major Metropolitan Albuquerque Area.

Why Choose This Program

• Central New Mexico Community College has the largest undergraduate enrollment of any institution of higher learning in the Land of Enchantment and typically awards more than 250 associate nursing degrees each year.
• CNM offers an LPN to RN Mobility Option that starts in the summer, fall, and spring.
• CNM offers a dual ADN/BSN degree in conjunction with the University of New Mexico

6. Northern New Mexico College - Espanola

Program Details: Northern New Mexico College is another one of the ADN programs in New Mexico that offers an LPN step-out option at the end of its second semester of core nursing classes. Students who complete all four semesters of core nursing coursework will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Nursing degree and be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

The 68-credit curriculum, modeled after NMNEC guidelines, includes general education courses, prerequisites, corequisites, and nursing courses. NNMC’s newly constructed Maley Simulation Lab is a state-of-the-art facility with access to replicas of hospital environments that will help you gain the confidence and skills to practice direct patient care. You’ll also participate in clinical experiences at healthcare facilities in Espanola and other parts of Rio Arriba, Taos, and Los Alamos Counties.

Why Choose This Program

• Northern New Mexico College is the largest educator of associate degree nurses north of Santa Fe and south of the Colorado border.
• Northern New Mexico College offers an online RN-to-BSN program for ADN graduates who wish to continue their nursing education.
• Within nine months of graduation, more than 92 percent of the graduates from this ADN program in New Mexico find employment as a registered nurse.

7. Carrington College - Albuquerque

Program Details: Carrington College’s ADN program in New Mexico is the only two-year associate nursing program whose curriculum isn’t mandated by the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium. This gives Carrington’s program flexibility other New Mexico ADN programs may not have because Carrington may be able to accept transfer credits that those other colleges can’t consider.

Core nursing coursework includes classes like “Medical-Surgical Nursing I-IV,” “Community and Mental Health Nursing,” and “Maternal Child Nursing.” Carrington’s simulation lab features state-of-the-art hospital equipment, computerized human patient simulators, and custom-designed scenarios. You’ll gain your first experiences with direct patient care at healthcare facilities throughout the Albuquerque Metropolitan Area.

Why Choose This Program

• Carrington College has a 100 percent acceptance rate into its ADN program in Albuquerque.
• Carrington College offers a dedicated “NCLEX-RN Review” course in your final semester to help you pass this all-important exam and qualify for RN licensure.
• If you’re interested in continuing your nursing education after you earn your ADN, Carrington College offers an online RN-to-BSN program.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

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