Steps to Becoming an Accountant in New Mexico

Those who wish to become certified public accountants in New Mexico must apply to the New Mexico Public Accountancy Board after earning 150 total hours of college education (within a bachelor’s degree program or higher), achieving passing scores on the Uniform CPA Exam, and earning one year of supervised work experience.

With traditional bachelor’s programs including only about 120 semester hours of college credit, online master’s degrees in accounting provide a clear path to earning the 30 additional semester hours required for CPA licensure. Once certified, CPAs go on to establish independent practices, work for existing accounting firms, and pursue work as auditors and managerial accountants for private sector corporations.

Accounting firms located in New Mexico include Big Four CPA firm, KPMG, and nationally recognized firms, Clifton Gunderson and Moss Adams, all three of which have offices located in Albuquerque. CPAs also work in academia as professors at universities such as Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. The CPA credential is diverse, so these licensees are found working across all sectors, from the corporate headquarters of Yates Petroleum Company in Artesia to the offices of nonprofits like SKIP (Supporting Kids in Peru), which is located in Trujillo.

According to the New Mexico Workforce Investment Board, most of the jobs in the state are within the government sector and in the service-providing industries. The state houses two national defense laboratories (Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory) and three Air Force bases (Kirkland Air Force Base, Holloman Air Force Base, and Cannon Air Force Base), all of which are major employers of many in the state—accountants included.

Accountants are also employed within non-military government departments and agencies, such as the City of Albuquerque’s Budget Office, and federal agencies, such as the Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement Bureau, also in Albuquerque.

Find out more about CPA requirements in our step-by-step guide on how to become a CPA in New Mexico.

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New Mexico Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts

In 2018, New Mexico posted the largest job growth rate in 12 years according to the Albuquerque Journal, adding more than 20,000 positions year over year from 2017. That expansion is also helping to drive strong growth in the field of accounting as corporations compete for the most skilled internal auditors, financial controllers, and other related positions.

According to the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the number of accounting jobs in the state is expected to increase by 6.7% between 2018 and 2028. During this ten-year period ending in 2028, New Mexico should see about 680 annual job openings due to a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors in New Mexico earned a median salary of $61,290 as of May 2020.

Salaries for Accountants in New Mexico Working in Different Specialized Roles

The BLS also provides a deeper dive into what accountants and auditors are earning in New Mexico, as of May 2020, according to experience level, role, job title, and more. Note that the following base salaries do not include salary incentives, such as bonuses and stock options, which can significantly boost an accountant’s salary, particularly among those in leadership and executive positions.

Corporate Staff Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Accounting Clerks

Corporate staff accountants enjoy strong salaries, whether they’re new to the profession or among the most seasoned in the field. In New Mexico, corporate staff accountants with just a year or two of experience earn about $29,760, which represents the 25th percentile. Earn a few more years of experience and you can expect to earn a salary that’s closer to the median level here, or about $38,110.

Those with significant experience and senior titles earn closer to the top of the pay range here (75th – 90thpercentile), which is about $48,080 – $57,110.

Forensic Accountants

Forensic accountants bridge the practice of accounting with investigative work and lend their talents to the legal field. Salaries for these professionals are impressive throughout the nation, including New Mexico, where they earn about $80,140, which represents the 75th percentile among all accountants and auditors in the state.

In larger metro areas, their salaries are often higher. For example, in Albuquerque, they earn about $82,480.

Controllers and Other Financial Managers

Controllers bring a unique skillset to the practice of accounting, which includes ensuring companies adhere to internal controls that relate to everything from the financial records they maintain internally to compliance with state and federal regulations. In New Mexico, they earn about $97,170 at the median level. Those at the upper end of the pay scale (75th-90th percentile) earn between $132,330 and $170,000 here.

CPAs and Auditors

The field of public accounting calls for experts with advanced experience and the credentials to match—namely, the esteemed CPA designation. These pros enjoy some of the strongest salaries in the profession, and those in director-level positions can earn even more.

In New Mexico, CPAs earn about $102,290, which represents some of highest earners (90th percent) in the profession. CPAs in Albuquerque earn about $103,110, while those in the Farmington metro area earn even more, at $109,510.

Accountants in Executive Roles

The CFO job title represents the pinnacle of achievement among accounting professionals. Vital to the operations of any major organization and respected members of the executive team, they’re also the ones who earn the big bucks. Salaries in New Mexico for these professionals exceed $208,000 at most levels.

Accounting Salaries in New Mexico’s Cities and Non-Metro Areas

Even at the median level, salaries for New Mexico’s accountants hover in the upper $50,000s to lower $60,000s. Those at the top of the pay scale enjoy salaries that easily exceed $100,000, in most cases.

(This broad classification includes accounting professionals in different areas of specialty, with different credentials, and with varying levels of experience.)

Area Name
Annual median wage
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
Las Cruces
Northern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
Santa Fe

Tax Preparer Salaries in New Mexico

There’s little consistency among tax preparer salaries in New Mexico. Even at the median level, salaries here vary as much as $40,000 from one metro area to the next.

Area Name
Annual median wage
Eastern New Mexico nonmetropolitan area
Las Cruces


May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job growth data for Accountants and AuditorsFinancial ManagersBookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks, and Chief Executives. Figures represent national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2021.

Job growth projections sourced from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions and reported in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database –

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