New Mexico Junior College (Hobbs)
Founded in 1965, New Mexico Junior College is an NMICC member institution in the southeastern corner of the state that educates approximately 2.250 students each year. As a comprehensive community college, NMJC offers academic majors as well as professional development training and career-focused certificate programs.
The catalog of associate degree programs at NMJC leans heavily toward Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) plans, but Associate of Arts (A.A.) and Associate of Science (A.S.) programs are also available. Certificate programs in subjects like accounting, criminal justice, welding and early childhood education can take anywhere from one to four full-time semesters to complete.
The city of Hobbs has a population of around 37,000 — a great size for a college town. Gaming enthusiasts can place their bets at Zia Park Casino Hotel and Racetrack, which also features some of the area's top restaurants.
Santa Fe Community College (Santa Fe)
Known for being a military-friendly school, Santa Fe Community College serves more than 15,000 students each year across all its credit, non-credit and adult education programs. These students come from diverse backgrounds, and the school provides them with quality academics and exceptional support services at an affordable tuition rate.
The degrees and certificates at SFCC cover more than 60 areas of interest. There are programs in popular subjects such as business, plumbing and teacher education in addition to more specialized fields of study. For instance, the college has an adobe construction program as well as an algae cultivation certificate.
Courses for some programs such as the business administration certificate and nutrition certificate are available online, in the evenings or on the weekends.
Central New Mexico Community College (Albuquerque)
Central New Mexico Community College isn't just the largest institution by enrollment among the best New Mexico community colleges, it's one of the largest two-year schools in the country as well. Total enrollment at CNM was more than 23,500 students in 2018, with about three out of every five students coming from the standard college age range of younger than 25.
Distance education is a big part of the mission at CNM, and participation in online programs is on the rise. More than 40 percent of students at the Albuquerque institution take some or all of their classes online. The college has three fast-track associate degree programs that allow students to complete their education in 15 months by taking evening or online courses.
CNM offers more than 200 associate degree and certificate programs from nearly 90 areas of study. Recently added degree programs include electroneurodiagnostic technology, health services management and a pre-professional program in architecture.
San Juan College (Farmington)
San Juan College began its life as a small branch of New Mexico State University, serving just 25 students in its first year. It became an independent community college in 1981 and today educates more than 15,000 students annually — the fifth-largest enrollment figure among all colleges and universities in the state.
The six academic divisions at this Farmington institution — business, energy, trades and technology, humanities and science, health sciences and math and engineering — provide students with nearly 60 degree and certificate programs to choose from. Select bachelor's degree programs are also available, including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) offered in partnership with the University of New Mexico.
Online programs here focus primarily on health science professions, and not just for humans. Pet lovers can earn an A.A.S. in veterinary technology completely online.
Luna Community College (Las Vegas)
As the only community college in northeastern New Mexico, Luna Community College features affordable tuition, small class sizes and high-caliber faculty. With a student population of approximately 1,000 people, LCC is small enough to provide highly personalized instruction.
The college offers more than 35 degree and certificate programs in seven areas of study. These include transfer degree programs in the humanities as well as vocational education. Business, science, allied health, nursing and education round out the other fields covered by LCC programs. Online courses are available in many subjects, and the school has a fully online associate degree in business administration.
LCC was founded in 1969 and is named for Maximiliano Luna, a captain of the Rough Riders and the 1899 Speaker of the House for the Territory of New Mexico.
Clovis Community College (Clovis)
Founded in 1969 as a branch campus of Eastern New Mexico University, Clovis Community College separated from its parent institution and began offering courses independently in 1991. It's a medium-sized school, reporting total enrollment of just over 3,100 students, and the student-faculty ratio is 18:1.
Degree and certificate programs at CCC run the gamut, from academically oriented offerings to career-focused degree and certificate programs in health care, tech, education and trades. A group of nearly ten degrees can be earned through online courses, including an A.A. in liberal arts designed for transfer students.
CCC also reaches out to kids in the community to help encourage lifelong learning. Kids College is a summertime program during which children and families can take courses in creative arts, sports and fitness, business, astronomy and more.
Eastern New Mexico University Ruidoso Branch Community College (Ruidoso)
With a name like Eastern New Mexico University Ruidoso Branch Community College, it's not surprisingly most people refer to this school simply as ENMU-Ruidoso. The school has been offering academic degree programs and vocational training to area residents since 1991.
ENMU-Ruidoso has associate degree programs in nearly 20 majors. There are also a dozen certificates of completion degrees and five certificate degrees of occupational training available. The school's Cybersecurity Center for Excellence has received accolades from government agencies and has degrees and certificates that can be earned entirely online.
Regardless of which program they choose, students at ENMU-Ruidoso receive personalized instruction thanks to the school's small, safe environment. Classes average only 20 students. What's more, ENMU-Ruidoso is an affordable education choice, boasting the second-lowest tuition rate among two-year schools in the state.
Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell (Roswell)
Specialized facilities at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell allow the institution to offer a few degree programs that can't be found at any other institution in the area. For one, ENMU-Roswell is home to the only Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved aviation maintenance technology associate program in all of southeastern New Mexico.
Health sciences students at ENMU-Roswell enjoy a few uncommon technological advantages as well. The Roswell campus is home to the only high-fidelity medical simulation center in the region, and the school's health science center is equipped with the latest in healthcare tech.
A total of more than 80 associate degree and certificate programs can be earned at ENMU-Roswell. Students who want to live on campus can do so here, as well — the Sierra Vista Village apartment complex offers prospective resident students a variety of floor plans.
University of New Mexico-Valencia County Campus (Los Lunas)
From general education degrees to pre-professional programs, the University of New Mexico - Valencia County Campus offers educational options for practically any career goal. Its location makes it accessible to students across the county, but for those who can't make it to campus, online courses are available as well.
The degree and certificate programs at UNM-Valencia are divided into six divisions. In addition to popular programs such as nursing and business, the school has more unique offerings in fields such as game design and simulation and 3D printing.
UNM-Valencia offers a number of support programs and resources to meet the needs of its students. For instance, Upward Bound is intended to help eligible high school students prepare for and successfully transition to college while the Adult Education Center caters to the needs for career changers.
New Mexico State University Alamogordo (Alamogordo)
New Mexico State University at Alamogordo has a history that goes back more than 60 years, opening its doors to its first class of students during the Eisenhower administration. Around 1,700 students attend classes at this relatively small school, and the student-faculty ratio is 18:1 in 2017.
Programs for veterans and military servicemenbers are a high-priority part of the student services portfolio at NMSU-A. A cushy veteran's lounge is available on campus, and several courses each semester are taught on base at nearby Holloman AFB.
Its focus on serving the military may have contributed to NMSU-A taking a spot among the best online community colleges in New Mexico. Students can earn close to ten degrees and certificates online, including a pre-business associate degree that can shift seamlessly into an online bachelor's program from NMSU's main Las Cruces campus.