How to Become an Electrician in New Mexico
If you are interested in a job that is stable, requires hands-on work as well as logical thinking and duties that vary from day to day, you may be interested in becoming an electrician. Electricians are responsible for the installation, repair and maintenance of electrical wiring systems. However, their job responsibilities also include such things as cable splicing, studying blueprints and working with power tools to diagnose and repair systems. In 2017, there were 4,030 electricians operating in the state of New Mexico, as reported by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That amount is anticipated to increase by 11.9 percent over the next six years. [En Español]
In New Mexico, you must first work as an apprentice and go on to take the exam to become licensed as a journeyman electrician and then as an electrical contractor. Before you get started, it is important to be familiar with the apprenticeship programs, training schools and licensing requirements within the state.
Requirements for Becoming an Electrician in New Mexico
Licensing requirements in New Mexico are handled by the New Mexico Electrical Bureau. The first electrician license you can apply for in New Mexico is a journeyman license. This license will allow you to do electrical work in residential and commercial settings and work on electrical distribution systems as well as transmission lines. To take the journeyman license exam, you must work as an apprentice under a licensed electrician for a minimum of four years. You can also get a limited license, which will allow you to work on residential wiring, electrical signs, electrical systems that are 50 volts or less and install water well pumps. You only need to show proof of two years’ work experience to get this license. You must renew your journeyman license every three years to keep working as an electrician. You will need to take 16 hours of continued education classes to renew your license as well.
To get an electrical contractor’s license in New Mexico, you will need two to four years of work experience as a journeyman. You will also need to take two exams for this license: The Business and Law exam and the Electrical Inspector exam. You will be able to use the National Electrical Code (NEC) and the New Mexico Electrical Code for reference on both exams. A score of 75 is needed on both exams to pass. This license must be renewed annually.
The following states have a reciprocal license agreement with New Mexico for journeyman licenses: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.
Apprenticeship Programs in New Mexico
The best way to gain the needed work experience to become a licensed electrician is to join an apprenticeship program. Through an apprenticeship program, you can work and be paid while also taking educational training courses. Many union apprenticeship programs help their members find jobs upon completion of the program. New Mexico has both union and non-union apprenticeship programs.
The New Mexico Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC) is the main union apprenticeship program in New Mexico. The New Mexico JATC works with the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to sponsor apprenticeships. These programs are five years long and give students the minimum 8,000 hours of work experience they need to take the journeyman license exam. Apprentices are taught to follow the NEC, study blueprints, local and state regulations, and install and maintain electrical systems in commercial and industrial settings. Apprentices also attend six hours of classes each week. Some examples of coursework they learn include: electrical theory, heating and air conditioning, correct usage of power tools, and first aid and safety.
If you wish to go the non-union apprenticeship route, consider the Northern New Mexico Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), the Southern New Mexico IEC or the Northern New Mexico IEC. The IEC programs generally take four years to complete and are recognized by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training as well as the Veterans Affairs. Eight thousand hours of work training and 150 hours of classroom instruction are provided.
New Mexico Electrician Programs
Whether you take an educational training program instead of doing an apprenticeship or you just want to further your education in the field, several colleges in New Mexico have electrical training certificate and degree programs. These programs usually take one to two years to complete and may cover coursework such as: electrical basics and tools, grounding and wiring, electrical wiring protection devices and electrical circuits and systems. Here are some programs to consider:
- Central New Mexico Community College. Central Mexico Community College offers an electrical trades certificate program that consists of 42 credit hours spread out over three semesters. This program counts as two of the four years of work experience needed to become licensed as a journeyman. Coursework ranges from personal safety, electrical formulas and identifying materials in the first semester to blueprint reading, technical skills and cable installation by the third semester.
- Luna Community College. At Luna, you can aim to get an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Electronics Engineering Technology. Students receive instructional learning as well as hands-on learning in labs. The labs allow students to work with modern diagnostic equipment and simulation software to simulate real life work experiences. This program consists of 62 credit hours. These hours are a combination of general education courses, electives and program specific courses. This program takes two years to complete.
- Northern New Mexico College. Northern New Mexico College also offers an AAS in electrical technology. This two-year program prepares students to work in the electrical field by covering residential and commercial wiring, industrial maintenance, troubleshooting techniques and more. Coursework consists of 33 program requirement credits and 27 general education credits to be taken over the two years that students are at Northern.
Outlook and Salary Expectations
The BLS has predicted an 11.9 percent increase in the number of electricians employed in the state of New Mexico by the year 2024. This will add approximately 450 electrician jobs within the state. With 1,970 electricians working there, the city of Albuquerque employs more than half of the state’s electricians.
As stated in the 2017 BLS data, electricians in New Mexico were averaging $24.37 hourly and $50,680 annually at that time. The top earners in the state can potentially make as much as $75,800 a year. While the city of Albuquerque employs the most electricians within the state, the eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area pays the most. Electricians in this area make an average $25.90 hourly and $53,860 annually.
Salaries in New Mexico by Occupation
|Occupation||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile||Mean Annual Salary||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Commercial and Industrial Equipment||290||$27.47||$17.00||$21.21||$31.51||$41.41||$57,130||$35,360||$44,110||$65,530||$86,130|
|Electrical and Electronics Repairers, Powerhouse, Substation, and Relay||120||$38.43||$31.55||$34.07||$44.16||$48.11||$79,930||$65,630||$70,870||$91,850||$100,080|
|Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers||690||$31.56||$21.06||$26.15||$37.15||$40.79||$65,650||$43,800||$54,380||$77,270||$84,840|
Electrician Salaries in New Mexico by Region
|Area||Total Employment||Mean Hourly Wage||Hourly Wage 10th Percentile||Hourly Wage 25th Percentile||Hourly Wage 75th Percentile||Hourly Wage 90th Percentile||Mean Annual Salary||Annual Salary 10th Percentile||Annual Salary 25th Percentile||Annual Salary 75th Percentile||Annual Salary 90th Percentile|
|Las Cruces, NM||250||$19.76||$11.97||$14.54||$24.33||$28.37||$41,100||$24,900||$30,250||$50,600||$59,010|
|Santa Fe, NM||130||$24.41||$16.10||$17.34||$29.21||$43.66||$50,770||$33,480||$36,070||$60,750||$90,810|
Working as an Electrician in New Mexico
The construction industry is currently booming in New Mexico, meaning plenty of opportunities for electricians. Electricians are also needed to repair and maintain current electrical systems. Employers will specify any licensure or certification that is required or preferred. Most employers will require at least a high school diploma and a valid driver’s license.
Albuquerque is a great place to look for work. Some of the major contractors in and around that area include: Corbins Electric, Rogers Electric and Tradesmen International, Inc. You may also look for work with independent contractors and in places like medical centers, hotels and resorts throughout the state. If you are considering becoming an electrician in New Mexico, now is the time.
- Albuquerque, NM
- Eastern New Mexico Nonmetropolitan Area
- North and West Central New Mexico Nonmetropolitan Area
Central New Mexico Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Albuquerque. The majority of of the school’s 25,760 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $1,578 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $7,170 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,392, although this will vary with the program.
1500 University Drive, Carlsbad, New Mexico 88220
Electrical Engineering – Certificate Program
New Mexico State University offers various Certificate program options for future professionals. All programs are offered at their Carlsbad campus in Carlsbad in Eddy County, New Mexico. This public college has around 1,931 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The university is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is roughly in the order of $1,276 and are $2,068 and $4,108 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,250, although this will vary with the program.
336 Luna Drive, Las Vegas, New Mexico 87701
Electrical Wiring Technology – Certificate Program
The Certificate program in Electrical Wiring Technology at Luna Community College is taught at their campus in Las Vegas in San Miguel County, New Mexico. This public college has about 1,481 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-district students are generally around $962 and are $1,298 and $2,426 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,250, although this will depend on the program.
Lower Point Road, State Road 371, Crownpoint, New Mexico 87313-0849
Electrical Trades – Certificate Program
Navajo Technical University’s Certificate-level Electrical Trades program is offered at their campus in Crownpoint in Mckinley County. This is a full, 4-year public college with 1,686 students, of which 100% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are around $4,070 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,600, depending on the program.
New Mexico State University offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their Grants campus in the town of Grants, NM. The college has round 824 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The university is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $2,064 and are $2,280 and $4,104 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,250, depending on the program chosen.
Northern New Mexico College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the town of Espanola, NM. The college has approximately 923 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-state students are in the order of $4,765 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $13,619 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $900, although this varies from program to program.
705 Gurley Ave., Gallup, New Mexico 87301
Electrical Trades – Certificate Program
The University of New Mexico-Gallup Campus’s Certificate program in Electrical Trades is offered at their Gallup campus in the town of Gallup. The college has around 2,454 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The University of New Mexico-Gallup Campus has institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $1,932 and for out-of-state students approximately $4,708 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,102, although this will depend on the program.
* College accredition status and tuition fees and are, to our best knowledge, correct at the time of writing, and sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Check all details directly with college before applying.