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Top RN to MSN Programs in New Mexico

NurseJournal Staff
Updated October 3, 2023
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses (RNs) in New Mexico earn, on average, just under $70,000 per year. Nurses with an advanced degree, however, command significantly higher salaries. For example, the average nurse practitioner in New...
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    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses (RNs) in New Mexico earn, on average, just under $70,000 per year. Nurses with an advanced degree, however, command significantly higher salaries. For example, the average nurse practitioner in New Mexico earned just over $109,000 in 2017, while the average nurse anesthetist made close to $151,000 in that same year. Both of these positions require at least a master’s of science in nursing (MSN).

    RN-to-MSN programs allow students to quickly earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree, preparing them for specialized and supervisory roles. Depending on your prior education and the learning format you choose, you may potentially earn your MSN in as few as three years.

    This page offers an overview of RN-to-MSN programs in New Mexico, including information on admission and licensure requirements, employment outlook for advanced practice nurses, and resources specifically for nursing professionals working in the state. Our guide also features a ranking of the best RN-to-MSN programs in New Mexico.

    Requirements for RN-to-MSN Programs in New Mexico

    To enter an RN-to-MSN program, you must hold an RN license. To become an RN in New Mexico, you must complete a state-approved diploma or associate program in nursing, submit to a criminal background check, and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). RNs must renew their license every two years and complete at least 30 hours of professional development to qualify for renewal.

    Educational requirements vary by program. Some RN-to-MSN programs admit students with just a diploma in nursing, while others specifically require students to possess an associate degree. In addition, programs may require prospective students to hold a bachelor’s, though they do not require it to be a bachelor’s in nursing. Make sure to contact an individual school’s admissions office for specific information. Generally, online programs do not require any sort of entrance exam for admission.

    In addition to postsecondary training, some schools require applicants to possess a certain amount of professional or clinical experience. Students often meet these requirements while working to earn their RN license, but some programs may prefer to admit candidates with at least two years of experience as a licensed practical nurse or RN.

    After entering an RN-to-MSN program, you may need to maintain a minimum GPA in your bachelor’s-level courses to receive approval to take graduate-level classes. Many programs require students to earn a 3.5 GPA to continue on an accelerated track.

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    Nursing Licensure Requirements in New Mexico

    As mentioned above, RN licensure in New Mexico requires completing a diploma or associate program in nursing and passing both a criminal background check and the NCLEX-RN. More advanced levels of nursing licensure feature additional requirements.

    For example, in addition to serving as a licensed RN, advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) candidates in the state must also complete a graduate-level program in nursing. These programs must hold accreditation from either the Accreditation Commission For Education in Nursing or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. Instead of earning a graduate degree, you can meet APRN education requirements through training and experience in the armed forces.

    APRN candidates require national certification. To receive national certification as a nurse practitioner, you must pass an exam administered by either the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Aspiring nurse anesthetists need to instead pass an exam offered by the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists. The content and nature of these tests varies by your area of specialization, but all require significant preparation.

    Out-of-state applicants can apply for an APRN license in New Mexico if they prove they possess at least two years of previous experience as a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife in another jurisdiction. All APRNs must renew their license every two years and complete at least 50 hours of professional development prior to renewal. APRNs who hope to prescribe medicine must meet additional clinical experience requirements and submit a separate application requesting prescriptive authority.

    Employment Outlook For MSN Graduates in New Mexico

    After completing an RN-to-MSN program in New Mexico, you can pursue licensure as a nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, or nurse midwife. The increasing demand for healthcare services and the more central role played by APRNs in providing primary care translate to exceptional job prospects for graduates of these programs.

    The BLS projects that national employment for nurse practitioners will grow by 36% through 2026, or more than five times faster than the economy as a whole. About 960 nurse practitioners work in New Mexico, earning an average salary of approximately $109,000. By comparison, the annual mean wage for all occupations in the state approaches only $45,000 per year.

    While the BLS projects a more moderate rate of 16% growth for nurse anesthetists through 2026, these positions pay significantly more. In 2017, about 40 nurse anesthetists worked in New Mexico, commanding salaries in excess of $150,000.

    Finally, the BLS projects that employment for nurse midwives will increase by 21% in the coming years, with New Mexico offering the second-highest concentration of nurse midwife jobs in the entire country. On average, nurse midwives in the state earn $99,870 per year, slightly below the national median salary for these roles.

    The Largest Hospitals in New Mexico

    University of New Mexico Hospital

    The University of New Mexico Hospital acts as the state’s only academic medical center. The hospital employs roughly 900 physicians and more than 2,700 registered nurses, housing 13 specialized pediatric departments.

    Presbyterian Hospital

    Also located in Albuquerque, Presbyterian Hospital employs close to 600 physicians and just over 1,800 registered nurses. The nonprofit hospital offers a variety of specialized services, including cardiology, oncology, and radiology.

    Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center

    Part of the New Mexico VA Health Care System, the Raymond G. Murphy Medical Center operates both in Albuquerque and through community-based outpatient clinics across the state. In total, the center employs approximately 2,700 full-time staff members.

    Sacred Heart University
    LocationFairfield, CT

    This program is designed for those who hold an associate’s degree in nursing and who want to fast track their career opportunities. One of the things that makes this school so popular is that they offer graduate classes at near undergraduate tuition, making it a very affordable option. Additionally, they offer a number of different specializations.

    • Campus: Fairfield, CT
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    • Tuition: $530 per credit hour for the BSN portion and $635 per credit hour for the MSN portion
    • Degree requirements: RN license, ADN or Nursing Diploma, GPA of 3.0 minimum, resume, statement of goals, two letters of recommendation, malpractice insurance
    • Minimum time commitment: Varies depending on chosen pathway. All specializations require completion of a practicum.
    • Programs: RN to BSN to MSN – Clinical Nurse Leader, Patient Care Services Administration, Nursing Education
    • School Site:Tuition and Financial Aid
    American Sentinel University
    LocationAurora, CO

    The RN to BSN/MSN program offered by American Sentinel University is fully accredited by CCNE and delivered completely online. It is perfect for those nurses who want to improve their career opportunities and the influence they have on the world of health care. Nurses are expected to hold an associate’s degree, which they can apply to this program by earning a BSN before continuing on to their MSN within one single program. The school also prides itself on offering some of the country’s most affordable tuition costs.

    • Campus: Aurora, CO
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    • Tuition: $375 per credit hour
    • Degree requirements: Resume, RN license, transcripts, GPA of 3.0 minimum
    • Minimum time commitment: Varies depending on chosen pathway
    • Programs: RN to BSN/MSN – Case Management, Infection Prevention and Control, Nursing Education, Nursing Informatics and Nursing Management and Organizational Leadership.
    • School Site:Tuition | Financial Aid
    Vanderbilt University
    LocationNashville, TN

    Those who want to further their career by achieving an MSN degree can find what they are looking for with Vanderbilt. It offers an accelerated, flexible ASN to MSN program. This allows students to achieve all their goals in as little as two years. The school has achieved this through distributed course delivery formats and modified class schedules. This means students are able to improve their knowledge and skills without having to stop working or relocate.

    • Campus: Nashville, TN
    • Type: Private
    • Accreditation: ACEN
    • Tuition: $1,195 per credit hour
    • Degree requirements: Transcripts, GRE, three letters of reference, writing samples, prerequisite course, RN license
    • Minimum time commitment: Two years
    • Programs: RN to MSN – Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (with Hospital or Intensivist focus), Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Emergency Nurse Practitioner (Family Nurse Practitioner/Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Dual Focus), Family Nurse Practitioner, Healthcare leadership, Neonatal nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, Nurse-Midwifery/Family Nurse Practitioner – Dual Focus, Nursing Informatics, Palliative Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Lifespan), Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner /Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner – Dual Focus
    • School Site:Tuition | Financial Aid
    University of Arizona
    LocationTucson, AZ

    The University of Arizona offers an online ADN to MSN program that takes just two years to complete. It is a 100% online program, with no residencies to attend.

    • Campus: Tucson, AZ
    • Type: Public
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    • Tuition: $37,628
    • Degree requirements: RN license, ADN, GPA of 3.0 minimum, work experience, transcripts
    • Minimum time commitment: 44 credits
    • Programs: ADN to MSN
    • School Site:Tuition | Financial Aid

    Nursing Resources in New Mexico

    • New Mexico Nurses Association: NMNA represents nurses in the state and works to advance the practice of nursing. The association hosts networking events, advertises job openings, and provides scholarships for continuing education and degree programs.
    • American Psychiatric Nurses Association: The New Mexico branch of the APNA serves mental health nurses in the state. Along with career listings, the chapter connects its members through regional events and online affinity groups.
    • New Mexico Nurse Practitioner Council: NMNPC offers a variety of resources to its members, including a career center, continuing education workshops, and policy briefs on relevant legislation in the state. The council also features guidance on becoming a nurse practitioner in New Mexico.
    • New Mexico School Nurses Association: Catering specifically to school nurses in New Mexico, NMSNA hosts an annual conference and advocates to improve the quality of school health services. The association also gives awards to recognize exemplary school nursing professionals.
    • New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence: NMCNE aims to promote excellence among New Mexico’s nursing community. To do so, the center provides scholarships, hosts a conference for nursing educators, and organizes a lecture series. NMCNE also provides prospective students with resources on how to choose the right nursing program.