Becoming a Correctional Officer in New Mexico

The state Department of Corrections in New Mexico has a mandate to "do the right thing always" in the interest of justice and corrections in order to best serve the state, the surrounding communities and incarcerated offenders. The state funds and controls prison facilities at the county and state levels but at this time there is no federal penitentiary. County jails like Santa Fe County Jail and the Doña Ana County Detention Center exist for intake of offenders and short-term incarcerations. State prisons in New Mexico fall into to categories: about 50% are state-run like the Penitentiary of New Mexico and the Roswell Correctional Center, whereas facilities like the Northeastern New Mexico Detention Facility and the Guadalupe County Correctional Facility are operated by private contractors. As the corrections field focuses more on prevention of re-offense, and contracts are outsourced to third-party contractors, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the 1,653 male and female correctional officer roles will grow to more than 1,735 by 2022. If a challenging career with good advancement opportunities interests you, read on for more information regarding the corrections industry in New Mexico.

Schools Analyzed
Schools Ranked

Top Schools Supporting Careers in Criminal Justice & Corrections

The following rankings are based on student data, published surveys, and other school and career data collected from several sources which include the following government agencies:

Data Sources

  • National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS)

By obtaining our base data set from the above data sources, schools were ranked using the criteria below:

  • Schools with less than 10 total graduates per year were omitted in order to maintain statistical integrity
  • Schools must have at least 1 graduate in the field of criminal justice
  • Only 4-year, 2-year, and technical public and private non-profit schools were included

Schools were sorted in order of the highest percentage of total students graduating with a degree in the field of criminal justice (CIPCODES: 43.0102, 43.0110, 43.0113, 43.0103, 43.0104, 43.0107, 43.0109, 43.0111, 43.0112, 43.0199).


New Mexico State University-Grants

1500 N. Third Street, Grants, NM 87020

New Mexico State University-Grants Campus is located in the city of Grants, New Mexico, approximately 75 miles from Albuquerque. NMSU-Grants is a public 2-year community college that offers both certification programs and associate's degrees to its students. Students may choose to enrol in either the Criminal Justice Corrections Associate's degree program, or the shorter certificate program. Both programs are interdisciplinary to ensure that students receive the best education toward their future career goals.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 9.78%
  • Program Graduates: 27
  • Total Graduates: 276
  • Programs:
    • Corrections
    • Criminal Justice

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 2-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: Less than 1,000

Western New Mexico University

1000 W. College Ave, Silver City, NM 88061

Western New Mexico University ranks second in our latest rankings with 51 students completing programs in criminal justice and criminal justice out of a total 1,126 graduates from the 2012-2013 school year.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 4.53%
  • Program Graduates: 51
  • Total Graduates: 1,126
  • Programs:
    • Criminal Justice
    • Police Science

School Details


Luna Community College

Hot Springs Blvd, Las Vegas, NM 87701

Luna Community College ranks 3rd in our latest rankings with twelve students graduating from programs in criminal justice and criminal justice out of a total 432 students in the 2012-2013 school year.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 2.78%
  • Program Graduates: 12
  • Total Graduates: 432
  • Programs:
    • Corrections
    • Criminal Justice
    • Police Science

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 2-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 1,000 - 5,000

New Mexico Junior College

5317 Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, NM 88240

New Mexico Junior College ranks 4th in our rankings with eighteen students graduating from programs in criminal justice and corrections out of a total 680 students.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 2.65%
  • Program Graduates: 18
  • Total Graduates: 680
  • Programs:
    • Corrections
    • Police Science

School Details

  • School Type: Public, 2-year
  • Website:
  • School Size: 1,000 - 5,000

University of New Mexico-Valencia County

280 La Entrada, Los Lunas, NM 87031-7633

The Valencia County Campus of the University of New Mexico is located on the banks of the Rio Grande, in Los Lunas, New Mexico. The campus was established in 1978 with the intent to provide access to UNM's excellent academic and career programs. UNM-Valencia County offers certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree programs in the criminal justice field. UNM's criminal justice degree program is specifically for students seeking further education in the criminal justice field or those who want to pursue employment opportunities in corrections.

Ranking Details

  • Percent of Graduates: 2.61%
  • Program Graduates: 14
  • Total Graduates: 536

School Details

Continued List of All Criminal Jusitice Programs in New Mexico


Mesalands Community College

911 S Tenth Street, Tucumcari, NM 88401-3352
Phone: (575) 461-4413

University of the Southwest

6610 North Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, NM 88240
Phone: (575) 392-6561

Northern New Mexico College

921 Paseo de Onate, Espanola, NM 87532
Phone: (505) 747-2100

Eastern New Mexico University-Main Campus

1500 S Ave K, Portales, NM 88130
Phone: (575) 562-1011

New Mexico Highlands University

University Ave, Las Vegas, NM 87701
Phone: (505) 425-7511

Santa Fe Community College

6401 Richards Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87508-4887
Phone: (505) 428-1000

Central New Mexico Community College

525 Buena Vista SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Phone: (505) 224-3000

Clovis Community College

417 Schepps Blvd, Clovis, NM 88101-8381
Phone: (800) 769-2811

San Juan College

4601 College Blvd, Farmington, NM 87402-4699
Phone: (505) 326-3311

New Mexico Correctional Officer Certification Requirements

The State Department of Corrections in New Mexico currently has a high need for professional and motivated applicants interested in the role of corrections officer. In this challenging environment however, the state is committed to ensuring that only the most fit candidates become corrections officers. Read on for eligibility criteria, assessments, and general information about the hiring process. Candidates are eligible to apply for the job of corrections officer if they provide proof of the following:

  • Proof of age (18+) and U.S. citizenship
  • High School Graduate or GED Certificate
  • Valid New Mexico driver's license
  • No Felony or domestic violence convictions
  • If applicable, military honorable discharge (DD-214)
  • A complete and accurate application form

Applicants who have successfully met the eligibility requirements are then eligible for the entry screening tests which are held every week at the New Mexico Training Academy. These consist of:

  • Written examination
  • Fingerprinting
  • Initiation of an extensive background check
  • Urinalysis
  • Medical assessment
  • Mental health assessment
  • Fitness test

If the above assessment scores are meet the department standard, candidates will be contacted to enrol in basic training at the New Mexico Training Academy. Only candidates who are successful in this final phase of training will be posted to job vacancies within the state.

New Mexico Corrections Department

4337 NM 14
Santa Fe, NM 87508
Phone: (505) 827-8645

New Mexico Correctional Officer Employment & Outlook

Correctional Officer Salary: New Mexico vs National Salary Comparison

Source: BLS State Cross-Industry Estimates 2011

One of the ways that the state of New Mexico serves and supports correctional officers is through strong working and competitive salaries throughout the state. At this time, the median income for front-line correctional officers throughout the state is slightly lower at $35,200 than the median national income at $39,800. According to the occupational profile for the state of New Mexico found at and published by, state and national trends predict a 18% and 5% increase in correctional officer jobs by 2022 respectively, indicating that state growth is much stronger than national growth. For residents of New Mexico this rate translates into 200 job vacancies per year.

Occupational Employment Statistics for Correctional Officers (

New Mexico Correctional Officer Salaries By Area

The table below lists career information retrieved from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for correctional officers in New Mexico. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Santa Fe440$15.80$32,860