Top CNA Programs in New Mexico

Are you considering a career as an entry-level, direct healthcare worker? If so, one of the fastest growing fields of employment in the U.S. is entry-level positions in the nursing assistant field. Because of the aging baby boomer population, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has suggested that jobs in the CNA sector will increase 17 percent between 2014 and 2024-a rate that's substantially faster than the average rate of growth for the vast majority of other occupational fields.

As a Certified Nursing Assistant, you will work alongside other healthcare professionals to provide effective, direct patient care. CNAs work in a wide variety of settings which include hospitals, rehabilitation centers, transitional care settings, private homes, and long-term care centers.

How to Choose a Top CNA Program in New Mexico

If you're considering a career as a CNA, you should attempt to find the top CNA programs in your state. Prospective CNA students should research the following when looking for top programs to attend:

  • Program accreditation
  • Accolades awarded to the program
  • Success rate of the program
  • State and Federal standards the program adheres to
  • Tuition cost
  • State certification pass rate
  • Student to faculty ratio
  • Partnerships the program maintains with local healthcare facilities
  • Credentials of the instructors
  • Ease of procuring scholarships or financial aid
  • Number of campuses the program can be taken at

Testing and Certification

The initial step in becoming a CNA in New Mexico is to enroll in a state approved nursing assistant program. New Mexico standards dictate that approved programs must be at least 75 hours at a minimum. This is also the minimum requirement set forth by federal standards.

Once an approved program has been successfully completed, students can then sit for the Nurse Aide Competency Exam. Like most other states, New Mexico's CNA competency exam is comprised of two sections: written/oral and skills. The written or oral test assesses a student's knowledge base, whereas the skills test assesses the application of that knowledge in a simulated clinical environment. During the skills test, students are tested on 5 skills that are integral to working as a CNA.

List of Top CNA Classes and Programs in New Mexico

New Mexico State University—Carlsbad

Located in the small city of Carlsbad, New Mexico State University—Carlsbad is a 2-year community college that has been around since 1950. The nursing assistant program at NMSU—Carlsbad is made up of a total of 16 credit hours. The program looks to teach future CNAs how to tend to matters having to do with the personal hygiene, nutrition, exercise and comfort of the patient. The CNA program at NMSU—Carlsbad is made up of the following courses:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Intro to Anatomy and Physiology
  • CNA Fundamentals with Lab
  • Nursing Assistant Clinicals
  • CPR for Health Professionals

Healthcare facilities near Carlsbad currently hiring CNAs

  • Encompass Health
  • Community Health Assistant
  • Addus Homecare


In-county residents who wish to enroll in NMSU-C’s CNA program will be required to pay approximately $638, plus additional fees. Students coming from in-state but outside of the county can count on paying $1,034, plus fees. Out-of-state residents will need to pay an approximate tuition cost of $2,054.

San Juan College

Located in the city of Farmington, in the northwest corner of the state, San Juan College is a public community college that was founded in 1956. SJC’s 6 credit Nurse Aide Certification course (PNUR 110) can be completed in just 8 weeks. In compliance with both federal and state requirements, the course is composed of 45 classroom lecture hours and 90 lab/clinical hours. Classes meet 3 times during the week for 4 hours a day. PNUR 110 seeks to equip students with the appropriate skills needed to care for patients from a wide variety of backgrounds. The program is offered year-round.

Healthcare facilities near Farmington currently hiring CNAs

  • Life Care Center of Farmington
  • San Juan Center – Genesis Healthcare
  • Good Samaritan Society


Students coming from inside New Mexico who wish to enroll in SJC’s CNA course can expect to pay around $295, plus additional fees. Students coming from outside of the state can expect to pay an amount of $930, plus additional fees.

Doño Ana Community College

Doño Ana Community College is an institution with various campus locations throughout Doña Ana County. The college was first established in 1973. DACC represents a branch of New Mexico State University. Its main campus is located in the city of Las Cruces, but there are satellite locations in East Mesa, Sunland Park, Chaparral, White Sands, Anthony and Hatch.

DACC’s nursing assistant program prepares students for future work as a CNA by arming them with the appropriate knowledge and skills that are needed to adequately care for patients in long-term healthcare settings. The CNA program is composed of 16 credit hours (6 courses in total). The courses included in the program are as follows:

  • Basic Life Support (OEEM 101)
  • Medical Terminology (AHS 120)
  • Anatomy and Physiology (BIOL 154)
  • Nursing Assistant Fundamentals (NA 104)
  • Nursing Assistant Skills Lab (NA 104L) & Nursing Assistant Clinicals (NA 105)

Healthcare facilities near Doña Ana County currently hiring CNAs

  • The Village of Northrise—Genesis Healthcare
  • Good Samaritan Society
  • Community Health Systems


Students coming from inside of Doña Ana County can expect to pay around $888, plus additional fees to enroll in DACC’s CNA program. Those coming from other counties can count on paying approximately $1080, plus additional fees. Students from out of state will be required to pay around $2,832, plus additional fees.

University of New Mexico—Valencia Campus

The University of New Mexico—Valencia is a branch of the UNM public research university system that’s based out of Albuquerque. UNM—Valencia is located in Tomé, a city halfway between the two main cities in Valencia county: Los Lunas and Belen.

UNM—Valencia’s 8-credit, 1 semester long CNA program is made up of a total of 128 clock hours—96 hours of in-class lecture and laboratory skills practice, and 32 hours of clinical training which is supervised by an RN. During the theoretical portion of the program, students will delve into topics which include anatomy and physiology, patient safety, the aging process, cultural competency, communication skills and others. During the supervised clinical portion of the course, students will apply the knowledge and skills that they’ve gained in the first part of the class to real world patients.

Healthcare facilities near Tomé currently hiring CNAs

  • Comfort Keepers—Valencia County
  • Kindred Healthcare
  • Belen Meadows Healthcare and Rehab Center


Students with residency status in New Mexico who wish to enroll in UNM-V’s CNA program can expect to pay around $626, plus fees. Students coming from outside of state should expect to pay around $1,710, plus additional fees.

Santa Fe Community College

Santa Fe Community College is a 2-year post-secondary institution that’s located in the state’s capital, Santa Fe. SFCC boasts over 100 certificate and degree programs.

SFCC’s 5.5 credit nursing assistant program seeks to prepare students for future employment in the healthcare sector as entry-level CNAs. The CNA program at SFCC complies with both federal and state certification standards. Included in the program’s curriculum is a 0.5 credit Basic Life Support class (AHAC 151) and a 5 credit Nurse Aide class (HLCR 125). HLCR 125 comprises a mixture of in-class, didactic lecture, lab skills practice and clinical experience at a local healthcare facility.

Healthcare facilities near Santa Fe currently hiring CNAs

  • Christus Health
  • Campassus
  • Presbyterian Medical Services


In-state students who enroll in SFCC’s CNA program will need to pay around $330, plus additional fees, while out-of-state students will be required to pay $787, plus additional fees.

University of New Mexico—Los Alamos

University of New Mexico--Los Alamos is a satellite campus of UNM that was established in 1980. The college is located in Los Alamos and offers students 18 associate degree programs and 14 certificate programs. UNM-LA is particularly well known for the various STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs that it offers.

UNM-LA’s one semester long, 8-credit hour nursing assistant course (CNA 101) is made up of 32 hours of clinical training and 96 hours of theoretical in-class instruction and lab practice. Throughout the program’s duration, students will learn to administer CPR and first aid, monitor vital signs, perform range of motion exercises, and more. Other aspects that CNA students will study during the program include fall prevention, infection prevention, chronic and acute conditions that are commonly encountered on the job as well as hospice and hospital care.

Healthcare facilities near Los Alamos currently hiring CNAs

  • Vista Living Care
  • OnPointe
  • Community Health Systems


For UNM-LA’s CNA program, New Mexico residents will be expected to pay approximately $656, plus fees, and out-of-state residents will be expected to pay $1,820.