How to Get a CDL in New Mexico

Community Colleges provide the perfect opportunities to obtain Commercial Driver's License (CDL) training specialized program to help a student to earn a CDL to pursue a career as a truck driver in the United States.
Commercial Driver's License (CDL) training is a specialized program designed to help a student to earn a CDL, which is a requirement for those looking to pursue a career as a truck driver in the United States. In this guide, we will help you understand everything there is to know about a CDL and how community colleges provide the perfect opportunities to obtain one.
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Although the trucking industry is one of the most extensively regulated industries in the United States, these regulations play an extremely important role in ensuring the safety motorists on New Mexico’s highways.

Community colleges in New Mexico provide truck drivers with the education and training required to receive their CDL by helping them learn the necessary skills in a short period of time, allowing them to start work as soon as possible.

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Requirements to become get a CDL

Before we begin, let’s go over the requirements that need to be fulfilled to get your CDL.

  • Pass the written test(s) pertaining to the class of CDL and any endorsements applied for. CDL applicants can take CDL written tests up to twice a week. There is no limit to the number of times they can take the test annually.
  • Receive a CDL learner’s permit.
  • Pass a skills test administered by an approved CDL examiner.
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence status in the United States
  • Two (2) proofs of physical residency in New Mexico.
  • Proof of identity (including date of birth).
  • Commercial Driver Medical Certificate and/or any medical waiver issued.
  • A non-commercial (regular, Class D) New Mexico driver license or a valid out-of-state commercial driver license (CDL) is required.
  • Certify that you are in agreement with state motor carrier safety regulations.

Physical Requirements For Getting A New Mexico CDL

  • Vision in both eyes as well as each eye individually needs to be 20/40, with visual improvement devices, such as glasses or contacts allowed.
  • Needs to be able to distinguish colors found on traffic signals.
  • Should be able to perceive a forced whisper at a distance of at least 5 feet.
  • Maximum allowable blood pressure is 160/100. Use of prescription medication to achieve this threshold is permitted.
  • An applicant can have diabetes which is controlled through diet or medication. Diabetes which is controlled though insulin injections is not permitted.
  • Blood sugar may not be higher than 200.
  • No use of a Schedule 1 drug, amphetamine, narcotic or any habit forming drug is permitted.

New Mexico Disqualifications

  • A result of .04% or higher on a blood or breath test for alcohol while driving a CMV.
  • A result of .08% or higher on a blood or breath test for alcohol while driving any other type of vehicle.
  • The driver refuses to take a breath or blood sample for alcohol testing when directed by an officer of the law.
  • The failure to report any road accident that the CDL driver has caused.
  • The failure to stop any road accident that the CDL is involved.
  • Dangerous or negligent driving that leads to a fatality.
  • The use of a commercial vehicle in any crime not related to vehicle crime.
  • When the driver has had CDL privileges removed through cancelation, revocation or suspension and continues to drive their CMV.

A commercial driver driving
Photo by Lê Minh from Pexels


CDL Classes

Class A:

Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight of 26,001 pounds or more, with trailer(s) weighing 10,000 pounds or more.

Class B:

Any single vehicle having a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or more, or any such vehicle towing another weighing 10,000 pounds or less.

Class C:

Any vehicle or combination of vehicles not meeting the definition of Class A or Class B, designed to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver), or any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded to carry hazardous material:

Class D:

Many states issue a "Class D" license, which is not part of the FMCSA standards. Some use it to classify regular, passenger car drivers licenses, while some use it to classify specific weights or types of vehicles. This varies from state-to-state.

CDL drivers
Photo by Mitchell Luo on Unsplash


How to get a CDL in New Mexico

The following are some community colleges in New Mexico that offer CDL courses/certifications.

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Central New Mexico Community College

Highlights:

CNM Ingenuity has corporate partnerships with many employers to help with job placement.

Students will receive theory instruction to prepare them for the written exams at the MVD. Once you have received your permit, you will attend three weeks of  behind the wheel training with a CNM Ingenuity CDL instructor.

Program details 

The CNM truck driving program offers basic instruction required to become a professional truck driver and to obtain a Class A Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Obtaining a Class A license permits you to drive a Class B vehicle as well. This program meets federal regulation requirements for entry-level drivers.

Fact

CNM Ingenuity is designated as a Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) Eligible Training Provider (ETP) in the Central Region of New Mexico. This is an approved program, and WIOA funding is available to eligible individuals.

Campus location

The Central New Mexico Community College campus is located at 900 University Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA.

Cost and financial aid

Average annual cost 

The average annual cost of studying at CNM is $3,429, as of 2021. Cost includes tuition, living costs, books and supplies, and fees (not including the average grants and scholarships for federal financial aid recipients). The program costs $5,196.79. 

Financial Aid 

CNM offers many financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Click here to find out more!

Graduation rate & salary

Graduation Rate 

Out of 20,456 students:

  • 25% graduated
  • 44% withdrew
  • 29% transferred
  • 2% still enrolled

Salary 

The average starting salary is $40k, and there are thousands of jobs available in this growing industry.

Student Body

There are over 18,120 undergraduate students at Central New Mexico Community College, with 33% of them being full-time students and 67% being part-time. 

Dona Ana Community College

Highlights:

DACC WDCR Truck Driving Academy prepares participants to drive semi tractor-trailers (Class A). Students prepare for the written exam and the driving skills portion as well as topics such as defensive driving, managing resources, trip planning and vehicle maintenance. The program assists students with employment skills, including resumes, applications, job search, and job placement.

Program details

The program assists students with employment skills, including resumes, applications, job search, and job placement.  A maximum of 4 students per course.

6-week course

44 hours of BTW driving for each participant

Medical exam, drug screen, driving record, and skills exam included

Fact

Doña Ana Community College (DACC) is the fourth-largest higher education institution in New Mexico.

Campus location

The Doña Ana Community College campus is located on 1780 E University Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88003, United States.

Cost and financial aid

Average annual cost 

The average annual cost of studying at Doña Ana Community College is $5,539, as of 2021. Cost includes tuition, living costs, books and supplies, and fees (not including the average grants and scholarships for federal financial aid recipients).

Financial Aid 

Doña Ana Community College offers four major categories of financial aid: Grants, Loans, Work-study, and Scholarships. Click here for more information. 

Graduation rate & salary

Graduation Rate 

Out of 5,270 students:

  • 23% graduated
  • 59% withdrew
  • 15% transferred
  • 2% still enrolled

Salary 

The average starting salary is $40k, and there are thousands of jobs available in this growing industry.

Student Body

There are over 5,407 undergraduate students at Doña Ana Community College, with 58% of them being full-time students and 42% being part-time. 

San Juan College

Highlights:

The School of Energy’s CDL program is the best in the state. Students are taught how to maneuver large trucks, as well as how to inspect and load trucks to comply with regulations. In addition, students receive instruction on endorsements and log books.

Class A, B, and passenger training vehicles are available.

Program details

San Juan College eight-week Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program provides the training and skills necessary for individuals to pass the three-part CDL exam. Students learn in a online setting as well as in a truck on the training course and on the highway.

The CDL Class A is an eight-week class, start to finish, 14-credit hour program. Refresher upgrade and Class B programs are also offered. State-certified CDL examiners offer the CDL test, which is conducted on a 30- acre paved lot with 10 backing ranges

Fact

San Juan College is now a member of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). CAEL has been championing adult learning for more than 40 years. CAEL engages with educators, employers and community leaders to align learning and work so that adults achieve academic and career success and their communities benefit from broad economic growth.

Campus location

The College has five campuses: the main Farmington Campus on College Blvd; the 30th Street Campus, in Farmington;

the Hutton Street Center in Farmington; San Juan College East in Aztec; and San Juan College West, in Kirtland, New Mexico.

The Doña Ana Community College campus is located on 1780 E University Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88003, United States.

Cost and financial aid

Average annual cost 

Average Annual Cost 

Cost includes tuition, living costs, books and supplies, and fees minus the average grants and scholarships for federal financial aid recipients.

$6,115

Financial Aid 

They offer financial aid, scholarships and loans. Check out their website for the different types. https://www.sanjuancollege.edu/student-services/financial-aid/ 

Graduation rate & salary

Graduation Rate 

Out of 4,722 students...

  • 28% graduated
  • 45% withdrew
  • 22% transferred
  • 4% still enrolled

Salary 

The average starting salary is $40k, and there are thousands of jobs available in this growing industry.

Student Body

There are over 4,762 undergraduate students at San Juan College, with 45% of them being full-time students and 55% being part-time. 

Job outlook

Salaries by years of experience in New Mexico

Years of experience                     Per year

Less than 1 year                             $ 72,294 

1 to 2 years                                             -

3 to 5 years                                             -

6 to 9 years                                     $ 82,205

More than 10 years                     $ 86,937

Top companies for Truck Drivers in New Mexico

  • U.S. Xpress - $169,141
  • Arepet Express - $152,867
  • Dart - $144,395
  • XPO Logistics - $132,341
  • Western Express - $130,000

Highest paying cities for Truck Drivers in New Mexico

Lovington, NM - $86,404 per year

Hobbs, NM - $84,164 per year

Artesia, NM - $81,494 per year

Carlsbad, NM - $77,373 per year

Jal, NM - $76,688 per year

Las Cruces, NM - $76,395 per year

Albuquerque, NM - $73,832 per year

Roswell, NM - $73,821 per year

Los Lunas, NM - $72,160 per year

Final Word

If you are looking to get your CDL in New Mexico, community colleges are your best option. In this guide we not only explained what the job requires and what the job outlook is but we also shared various community colleges that will help you get your license.

At the moment there is high demand for someone with a Commercial Driver’s License and if this is something that interests you then you need to start applying to a community college now.

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