How to Become a Nurse Administrator in New Mexico

Nurse administrators occupy an exalted position on the chain of command in the healthcare institutions that employ them. These skilled and highly trained professionals supervise the nursing staff at hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, research institutions and other busy locations where medical professionals provide superior-quality healthcare services.

In their position as the primary coordinator of nursing services, nurse administrators are responsible for hiring and training new nurses, managing the work schedules of the nurses under their supervision, monitoring record keeping and compliance with medical regulations, and acting as a liaison between the nursing staff and doctors and hospital or clinic management. They also participate in the policy development and implementation process, manage budgets, interact with supervisors in various medical departments, and perform other assorted duties generally associated with administrative positions. As highly knowledgeable healthcare experts, their advice carries significant weight among healthcare facility staff members and administrators.

New Mexico has an ongoing need for more properly trained and experienced nurse administrators. You could be a top candidate at medical care facilities throughout the state if you choose the right educational and experiential path.

Salaries and Job Prospects for Nurse Administrators in New Mexico

Nurse administrators are classified as Medical and Health Services Managers by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Future prospects for people seeking employment in this category are bullish, with the demand for nurse administrators and other health services managers expected to grow by 32% between 2020 and 2030.

People who ascend in the nursing administration profession will be handsomely compensated for their hard work and achievements. The average annual salary for Medical and Health Services Managers in 2021 was $119,840. For those who ranked among the top 10% in compensation rates, the annual average was an impressive $205,620.

In New Mexico, the average yearly salary for individuals in this category was $118,670, a number that is nearly identical to the national figure. Of those who do find employment as nurse administrators, about 50% will secure jobs in Albuquerque and its surrounding metropolitan area, which is home to a large number of prestigious medical institutions. Those who work as nurse administrators there will enjoy especially good compensation since the average annual wage for Medical and Health Services Managers in Albuquerque is $125,470.

Requirements to Become a Nurse Administrator in New Mexico

You cannot study to become a nurse administrator at the undergraduate level in New Mexico or anywhere else. You can enroll in an academic program at a four-year or two-year college that will train you to become a registered nurse. However, that’s a status you’ll have to achieve if you plan to become a nurse administrator.

Before you can be employed as a registered nurse (RN) in New Mexico, you must complete a bachelor’s degree program in nursing at an accredited university. While it is possible to find employment as a nurse with an associate’s degree, should you aspire to a position as a nurse administrator, you’ll likely need to possess a more advanced degree.

After completing your undergraduate degree program, you’ll next need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), which you’ll be able to take either remotely or in-person at the nearest Pearson VUE testing center. Once you’ve gotten a passing score on this mandatory licensing exam, you can apply for a license as a registered nurse (RN) in New Mexico through the state’s Board of Nursing. In addition to submitting your NCLEX score, you’ll have to upload official copies of your college transcripts, pay all applicable fees, and pass a criminal background check to receive your license.

Your career as a working RN will help prepare you for your future career as a nurse administrator. You’ll want to gain as much practical experience handling administrative-related tasks as possible, perhaps on a volunteer basis, if there is no other opportunity to get your foot in the door.

While those who hire people in this category may not mention a formal requirement for graduate study, your chances of getting hired as a nurse administrator will be substantially enhanced if you pursue a Master’s Degree in Nursing with a specialization in management or administration. Having that degree, plus several years of hands-on experience working as a nurse in a hospital, clinic or specialized medical facility, will allow you to submit a resume that is both complete and impressive.

Should you attempt to make the jump to nurse administration without completing graduate-level academic work, you will absolutely have to demonstrate that you have relevant experience and a lot of it. Interestingly, you might have an advantage if you’ve held a position as a nurse at a healthcare facility located in a small town or rural area since these types of hospitals and clinics usually have limited numbers of trained professionals on staff and may ask qualified RNs to assume a wider range of duties as a result. Nevertheless, if you’ve had experience managing administrative affairs at a large hospital and have done well enough to be asked to take on more responsibility over time, this will also count as an excellent qualification to become a nurse administrator in New Mexico.

Top Nurse Administrator Schools in New Mexico

If you plan to seek a Master of Science in Nursing in New Mexico, with the idea of using it as a springboard for your career as a nurse administrator, you’ll have two schools to choose from: the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Other colleges in New Mexico offer master’s degree options in nursing, but only at the state’s two most prominent institutions will you be able to specialize in nurse administration specifically.

1. University of New Mexico

The University of New Mexico is the largest university in the state. It is also located in the state’s largest city, Albuquerque, with a population of more than 600,000.

However, if you decide to enroll in the school’s Master of Science in Nursing program with a special concentration in Nursing Administration (one of several concentrations they offer), you’ll be studying entirely online.

The university’s master’s program takes two years to complete and is comprised of a series of eight-week courses spread out over two semesters (part-time options are available to those who plan to keep working as nurses while they study). At least 450 clinical hours will also be required as a part of the degree program, and the University of New Mexico will help all nurse administrator candidates find placements in healthcare institutions that provide medical services to rural and underserved communities. Preparing nurse administrators to work in the latter setting is the program’s top priority, and if it is yours as well, the fit could be excellent.

2. New Mexico State University

Located in the mid-size city of Las Cruces in southern New Mexico, New Mexico State University is a major institution of higher learning that serves more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students in its various degree programs.

While the University of New Mexico offers a master’s degree in nursing with a nursing administration concentration, their counterparts at New Mexico State offer a specific Master of Nursing Administration that is designed to provide maximum preparation for those planning to enter the field. The program is 100% online, although internship-style placements will be offered that give you the opportunity to gain real-world practical experience.

The capstone of the two-year master’s program at New Mexico State is a special project that all nurse administrator students are required to develop and complete. Degree candidates must design a program that can be implemented in a real-life healthcare setting, with the goal of improving access to medical care or performance at that institution. Successful completion of this mission will verify that you’re ready to begin your career as a nurse administrator.

Finding Employment as a Nurse Administrator in New Mexico

The best nurse administrator candidates have a work and academic record that testifies to their deep interest in the profession.

To increase the quality of your credentials, you have the option of seeking two certifications that are available for aspiring or practicing nurse administrators. You can sign up to take the Nurse Executive certificate exam through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and/or the Executive Nursing Practice certificate exam offered by the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL). When you are officially certified by the ANCC or the AONL, it will demonstrate to current and future employers that you have gained extensive knowledge of the nursing profession and the healthcare field in general.

In New Mexico, there is a clear need for people who have the experience and educational background necessary to function effectively as a nurse administrator. Competition for these positions will be intense, as many nurses aspire to reach the pinnacle represented by a nurse administrator position. But if you are dedicated to the nursing profession and have a strong track record of performance, you’ll have a legitimate chance of finding employment as a nurse administrator somewhere in cities or villages of the Land of Enchantment.