Albuquerque, New Mexico is home to over 555,000 residents and is spread over 188.8 square miles. Additionally, over 44,000 businesses operate within the city and its surrounding metro area. The city is known for its beautiful desert landscapes as well as the affordable cost of labor and housing. Additionally, the workforce is considered high-quality, with a large amount of the population with college and university level educations.
The area is also known for offering a high quality of life, making it a choice destination for individuals, families, and retirees from across the country. The robust economy is well supported by local educational opportunities as well as significant research and development operations.
The economy in Albuquerque is diverse, though much of it is support by large-scale laboratory and research facilities found throughout the area. The state offers generous tax credits to businesses interested in locating, relocating, or expanding in the local area, helping to provide opportunities for job growth for those interested in working in the area. Additionally, the Albuquerque Economic Development program helps interested business access the information they need to make a transition to the area successful.
Albuquerque also has significant transportation resources to help residents and businesses travel with ease. Albuquerque International Sunport provides international travelers with simplified traveling options when going to or coming from international destinations while Double Eagle II Airport helps support the growing aviation industry. Commercial rail service is available through the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and Amtrak, while commuters can enjoy the New Mexico Rail Runner. A comprehensive highway system and other strong public transit options help round out the area.
Research and development have helped cement Albuquerque as a go-to city for science and technology. Opportunities exist in areas such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace, alternative energy, biomedicine, computing, and more.
Aerospace and Aviation
The aerospace and aviation sector is well established in the Albuquerque area. Over 100 companies operate in the larger metro area, including those supporting operations in Kirtland Air Force Base and the national space program. Some of the major companies associated with the field are:
- Eclipse Aerospace
- Goodrich Corp. Space Flight Systems Division
- Honeywell Aerospace
- Lockheed Martin Corp.
- Northrop Grumman Information Technology
Operations associated with the Air Force Research Laboratory are also located at Kirtland AFB, and the primary site of Sandia National Laboratories are also in the city.
Solar technology research is also conducted in the area, including through Sandia National Laboratories. The local climate supports solar installations on home and business properties, and the area is also home to some of the longest standing alternative energy corporations in the country. The first commercial solar building in the nation was actually constructed in Albuquerque, led by engineer Frank Bridges and built in 1956. Zomeworks, a passive energy products producer, opened its doors here in 1969. And other alternative energy companies operating in the area include:
Intelligent Energy (the former MesoFuel site acquired by Intelligent Energy in 2004)
Activity in the solar technology industry is bolstered by generous tax credits for the installation of qualifying systems that were approved by the state Legislature in 2006.
Microsystems and Nanotechnology
With significant resources spread across government organizations, local universities and private businesses, the microsystems and nanotechnology industry has experienced notable growth. Sandia National Laboratories also dedicates facilities to research in this area, along with Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of New Mexico’s Center for High Technology Materials.
The Micro and Nanotechnology Commercialization Education Foundation, based in Albuquerque, also promotes activities in this sector.
Semiconductors and Electronics
Albuquerque has multiple manufacturers operating in the semiconductors and electronics industry, including one of the major players, Intel. Approximately 50 other smaller businesses fill out the rest of the sector within the city metro area.
Some of the activities that take place in the city include the manufacturing of computer chips and silicon wafers. Various forms of electronic components and equipment, and semiconductor measurement tools and training equipment are also produced in the area.
Aside from Intel, some of the other companies operating in Albuquerque include:
- SUMCO PhoenixCorp.
- Sennheiser Electronics GmbH
- Innovasic Semiconductor
Many of these operations are supported by local educational opportunities that provide programs focused on the skill sets associated with the industry at large.
Directed Energy and Optics
A byproduct of the significant military and laboratory presence in the area, the directed energy and optic industry provides significant support to the aerospace industry. Some of the activities in this arena include production and manufacturing of lasers, sensors, components, and instruments used in optic and photonic developments. Some of the major manufacturers operating in the area include:
- AMO Wavefront
- Applied Technology Associates Corp.
- CVI Melles Griot
- InLight Solutions
Additional development takes place at the Air Force Research Laboratory facilities as well as the University of New Mexico’s Center for High Technology Materials. The university also provides access to associated degree programs for those interested in entering the field.
The bioscience industry includes both the biotech and BioMed sectors within the city. A variety of products are produced and designed ranging from surgical supplies to high-tech medical devices. Many of the companies working in the industry are small. However, Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon Endosurgery, Heel Inc., and Oso Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing all call the Albuquerque area home.
Some of the major facilities associated with development in the industry include:
- Sandia National Laboratories
- The University of Mexico’s Health Sciences Center
- Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute
- The Mind Research Network
Educational opportunities are also available in the city for those interested in pursuing careers in these fields.
Information Technology and Software
One of the larger industries in the Albuquerque metro area is information technology and software development. Products and services associated with computers, software, telecommunications, and the Internet are based in the area.
Some of the larger companies operating in the sector include:
- ABBA Technologies
- Commercial Data Systems
- Northrup Grumman
- QinetiQ North America
Research and development are also supported by the Center for Advanced Research Computing and Sandia National Laboratories.
Film and Digital Media
The state of New Mexico offers significant incentives to those operating in the entertainment industry, bringing a number of film and television projects into the area. Additionally, local production facilities are also available including:
- Albuquerque Studios
- Sony Pictures Imageworks
- Lion’s Gate Films
Video and interactive game development have also found a foothold in the city. Additional support for the industry is provided by Sandia National Laboratory and the University of New Mexico’s Art, Research, Technology and Science (ARTS) Laboratory. Local educational opportunities also support careers associated with the film and digital media industry, providing opportunities for those interested in working in these fields.
Educational opportunities are available throughout the city of Albuquerque, ranging from certificate and diploma programs to Masters and doctoral degrees. Many of the schools have programs designed to allow graduates to pursue careers in some of the leading industries within the city, as well as opportunities elsewhere.
University of New Mexico
The largest educational institution in the city of Albuquerque is the University of Mexico. This four-year, public university has over 20,000 undergraduates and almost 7,000 graduate students pursuing their studies throughout the year.
The University of New Mexico offers a range of unique facilities including:
- Meteoritics Institute
- Optoelectronics Facilities
- Research Facilities
- Space Nuclear Power Facilities
- Teaching Hospital
Students can pursue degree and certificate programs depending on their educational goals. Some of the available programs include:
- Computer Engineering
- Environmental Science
- Film & Digital Media
- Operations Management
- Radiologic Sciences
The university is located near downtown, making it highly accessible to local students and convenient for those interested in living on campus.
Central New Mexico Community College
A large, two-year, public community college and technical school, Central New Mexico Community College offers certificate and associate degree opportunities to interested students. Over 25,000 students attended classes at the school, choosing from a wide variety of subjects including, but not limited to:
- Aviation Technology
- Computer Information Systems
- Film Technician
- Machine Tool Technology
- Optical Sciences
- Rapid Prototyping and Innovative Design
Many of the two-year degree programs are transferable to four-year educational institutions, allowing students to apply their previous coursework towards a higher degree if they choose.
Career & Job Opportunities
As with many larger cities, career opportunities are available in almost any field. Here are some examples of the area’s largest employers as well as the employment opportunities that may be available.
Kirtland Air Force Base
One of the largest employers in the area is Kirtland Air Force Base. While many people assume the majority of those working on military installations are active duty military, that is often not the case. Civilian employees hold positions throughout these facilities, ranging from entry-level office support to high-tech security, research, and support positions. Most positions within a military base are through the Federal government, which provides strong benefits including medical, dental, retirement, and (at times) educational options.
The University of New Mexico
The University of New Mexico offers employment opportunities for those interested in teaching as well as administration. Additionally, the research and development facilities provide job options for those interested in specific fields related to science, technology, engineering, and medicine. Some of the research facilities support other government and business objectives, including work managed in conjunction with Kirtland AFB and nearby Sandia National Laboratories. Positions require varying amounts of experience and education. In some cases, employment and educational opportunities work hand-in-hand, allowing students to also meet their financial needs during their studies. Other jobs may allow employees to make the pursuit their education more affordable based on provided employee benefits programs.
Albuquerque Public Schools
Most large cities have notable needs for public school teachers and administration staff. This includes opportunities for those interested in becoming educators at the K-12 level as well as those who prefer to focus on office and management functions. Many workers in the public schools are considered government employees, which can come with a strong benefits package. Additionally, paid holiday offerings and time off when school is not in session are common.
Sandia National Laboratories
Sandia National Laboratory is a government-funded organization focused on research and development. Often, the work done here helps advance technology and science in many of the top industries operating in the Albuquerque metro area and beyond. Positions are available in a range of scientific fields including:
- Aerospace Engineering
- Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
- Computer Science and Cyber Security
- Electrical Engineering
- Materials Science
- Mechanical Engineering
- Nuclear Engineering
- Systems Engineering
Administrative, operations and business support staff can also find opportunities with Sandia National Laboratories, providing options for those who do not have a specific interest in performing scientific research.
Presbyterian Healthcare Services
Another in-demand career area within large metro areas include healthcare, and Albuquerque is no exception. Presbyterian Healthcare Services is the largest healthcare provider in the area, employing a range of medical personnel and support staff. Opportunities can range from entry-level to professional, including, but not limited to:
- Certified Nursing Assistants
- Imaging Technologists
- Medical Assistants
- Mental Health Professionals
- Family Practice Physicians
- Physical Therapists
- Registered Nurses
Opportunities for advancement may also be available depending on your level of education and experience.
The city of Albuquerque provides opportunities for a high quality of life. The area sits under the Sandia Mountains and is adjacent to the Rio Grande River Valley. With around 310 days of sunshine every year, the destination is popular for those who enjoy an outdoor lifestyle or simply prefer living in an area with ample sun. The area also embraces its cultural origins with its continuing Native American influence while also welcoming new technology and modernization. A vibrant arts community lives alongside history museums and historical points of interest, and the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum offers a look into the history of one of the areas favorite activities: hot air ballooning.
With all of the educational, employment, and recreational opportunities available, many people decide that Albuquerque is the city they want to call home. And, if you have similar interests, it could be the right home for you too.
Resources for Alburquerque, NM