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Trade Schools in New Mexico

Written By RWM Editors
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The Land of Enchantment is positioned to be a leader in several emerging job sectors, and students with the right training from career and technical schools in New Mexico are vital to its success. Key industries in the state include sustainable agriculture, green energy, advanced manufacturing, aerospace, film and television and more, and trade school training can prepare you for an entry-level job in nearly all of them.

Training in certain subjects might be especially valuable in the right regions of the state. Construction management expertise pays off big in the Farmington area, where average wages are nearly 15 percent higher than the state average for the position. Aerospace and defense skills are likely to carry extra weight around Las Cruces, Deming and Alamogordo -- the metro areas located closest to Spaceport America.

Why is New Mexico Good for Vocational/Career Schools?

Career technical education (CTE) is on the rise all over the country, and students throughout New Mexico are realizing that a trade school education can have several advantages over earning a bachelor's degree at a university. Cost is one major factor -- the basic annual attendance costs for New Mexico university students were over $6,700 in 2018, roughly four times what the average trade school student pays in tuition and fees for a year.

Earning a CTE certification in New Mexico can also help you find a foothold in the workforce much faster than a traditional four-year bachelor's degree. Associate degrees from career and technical schools in New Mexico typically require around two years of full-time study, and numerous certificate plans throughout the state can be completed in a year or less.

Check out our state rankings of two-year schools below, and read on for some helpful tips on how to apply for financial aid in New Mexico.

Highest-Paying and Fastest-Growing Careers in New Mexico

Source: 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2018-19, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

How to Apply for Trade School Financial Aid in New Mexico

Even though tuition at trade and vocational schools in New Mexico tends to be lower than it is at four-year universities, financial aid can still make a big difference to a student who's on the fence about whether or not they can afford to pay for college. If you're wondering how to apply for trade school financial aid in New Mexico and you haven't about the FAFSA, now's the time to get familiar.

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it's the only way to qualify for federal programs like low-interest Stafford Loans and the need-based Pell Grant. Even if you're not planning to seek federal aid, state-based New Mexico scholarships and grants typically require a completed FAFSA along with any other application materials you're asked to submit.

You can get more detail about the FAFSA and pick up some other general tips on how to apply for financial aid in New Mexico by visiting the official RWM guide to financial aid. Here's a short list of New Mexico scholarships that you might qualify for.

Check out these state-based New Mexico scholarships and grants that might be able to help you pay for school:

  • New Mexico Legislative Lottery Scholarship Program - Trade school students enrolled in at least 12 credit hours per semester can apply for this state scholarship, which awards up to 100 percent of the cost of tuition.
  • Kiwanis Club of Albuquerque Scholarship - Students who graduate from high schools in the Albuquerque metro area with a strong record of service and academic performance can apply to receive up to $1,000 through this program.
  • James Ledwith Memorial Scholarship - This program awards up to $2,000 to a qualifying student pursuing a life dream or professional goal despite facing extraordinary personal adversity.

Resources for Vocational Students and Vocational Job Seekers in New Mexico

  • The higher education section of New Mexico's state government Web portal has information about trade schools in the state for both students and parents.
  • Find out more about New Mexico's scholarships for high school and community college students at the Albuquerque Community Foundation's student aid page.
  • Accreditation is a way to know that your training will meet accepted employer standards, so it's important to make sure that your chosen school has earned it. Public two-year schools in New Mexico are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Individual programs typically earn their accreditation from independent industry groups, such as the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ABCSP).

Take a look at the state page on Advance CTE for more information about the impact that CTE certification can have in New Mexico, and visit the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) for a wealth of information about trade school news, programs and outcomes in New Mexico and across the country.

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