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Technical Trades

Northern New Mexico College offers two enhanced programs in our newly-established Department of Technical Trades — Plumbing and Electrical Technology.

Northern offers certificate and associate degree programs in Plumbing and Electrical Technology. Both programs are approved by the Higher Learning Commission and the New Mexico Higher Education Department, and provide students with college credit while they learn highly marketable skills in these fields.

The plumbing program was developed in collaboration with the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters local union 412. Northern’s Electrical Technology program has been offered for many years, but the curriculum has been updated and enhanced in collaboration with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local union 611.

Learn more about Northern’s Technical Trade programs from the faculty and students participating in hands-on Electrical Technology and Plumbing & Pipefitting lab classes happening now on the El Rito campus in this 5-minute video.

NOW ENROLLING for Spring 2024

Degree Programs

Associate of Applied Science, Technical Trades


Tuition: $110 per credit hour, no fees
Financial aid, scholarships, and technology support available.

Eligible students can apply state and federal financial aid toward the cost of these programs, including the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship, available to students pursuing certificate and associate programs. Current high school students can take all classes in either program free of charge as part of Northern’s dual credit offerings. 

Plumbing & Electrical Job Outlook:

These two programs provide the core skills required for positions in residential and commercial construction, building maintenance, municipal governments operations, and quasi government utility entities such as power companies, water organizations, and marine vessel operations. Additionally, these programs incorporate the fundamental training and education needed to start a business in these trades.

New Mexico Workforce Connection has forecast more than an 11% growth in industry positions in the next few years in New Mexico alone, with over 6600 jobs directly related to these trades. Learn more: https://www.jobs.state.nm.us/)

The Tech Trades @ Northern New Mexico College

Frank Loera, DBA
Chair & Instructor
Department of Technical Trades
(575) 581-4108

Dr. Loera has a Doctorate of Business Administration (Specialization in Criminal Justice) from Northcentral University (Prescott, Arizona), a Master in Education in Education Curriculum and Instruction Leadership, a Bachelor in Science, in Administration of Criminal Justice, and coursework in Career and Technology Education.  He has experience in post-secondary education in the trades field, as the Chair of Applied Technology at the University of New Mexico, Gallup, NM, and recently worked at St. John's College, Santa Fe, as the Director of Public Safety.

His parents were originally from Mexico and emigrated to the USA. Dr. Loera is the first in his family to obtain a college degree. Originally from Arizona, he has lived in New Mexico since 2012 with his wife while his youngest daughter is attending college in Arizona. He loves the trails of New Mexico and spends a lot of his spare time hiking. He likes Sci Fi movies and recently started re-writing traditional folk stories.

Stephen Skelton
NM Master Mechanical MM-1, MM-2, LP-4
NM JPG Journeyman Plumber, Gas Fitter
Plumbing Instructor
(575) 581-4104

Stephen Skelton graduated from Northern New Mexico college with honors with a certificate in plumbing in 1985, and has been a journeyman plumber for almost 30 years, with his own plumbing and heating contracting business. He lives in the beautiful Pecos River Valley near a little village called Ribera, and built his a straw bale house 2001 with his wife Susan and son Adam. The house is solar heated and has a recycled graywater system to irrigate the landscaping. He enjoys fishing, golf, and taking hikes with my wife Susan and my dog Trixie. They often look for medicinal herbs are hikes in the mountains. He has two grandchildren in the Netherlands and one grandchild in Santa Fe.

Marvin Romero
(575) 581-4117

 Mr. Marvin Romero is our new instructor for the Technical Trades Electrical Technology program. Mr. Romero grew up in New Mexico and has lived in Española and Albuquerque. He has been working in the electrical field for 16 years as an inside wireman journeyman/apprentice for Local Union 611, and was also a student of the old El Rito Electrical program after graduating from Española Valley High School in the year 2000. He looks forward to meeting the team and also to continue his learning as he passes on his knowledge. He is engaged and has three awesome children. His hobbies include reading, biking, hiking, and anything to do with sports, including coaching.

Northern offers over 50 bachelor's, associate and certificate programs in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math); Nursing and Health Sciences; Liberal Arts and Humanities; Arts, Film & Media; Business Administration; Teacher Education and Technical Trades.
Northern New Mexico College is the most affordable 4-year college in the Southwestern US. Choose us for our value, our quality degree and continuing education programs in diverse areas of study, and our experienced faculty. We provide students with unique opportunities for academic, personal, and professional growth, small class sizes, personalized attention, and strong hands-on experiences from day one.
The Northern Foundation remains committed to stimulate leadership, promote equity, and grow resources and philanthropy in the Española Valley and surrounding rural areas. Over the past twenty years, we have granted $1.3 million to support over 1,250 NNMC students.