CNM Launches New Explosives Technician Program

Explosives Technicians are in high demand across a variety of industries including defense, mining, and engineering
July 05, 2022

Sometimes it can take a month, or longer, to set up an explosive test at a location like Sandia National Laboratories. The explosion itself lasts one-millionth of a second and a large array of important data has to be recorded in that infinitely small amount of time.

Explosive Technicians are responsible for not only setting up these explosive tests, but also for detonating the explosion and recording/reporting the data collected. It’s an exciting, multifaceted job and one that’s currently in high demand across the country. 

That’s why CNM, in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories, will be launching an Explosives Technician program for the Fall Term. 

“This new program is a great opportunity to provide our students with a pathway to an important and meaningful career they’ll love. It is also an important opportunity to partner with community STEM employers, like Sandia, and support their workforce needs,” says Phil Lister, the Dean of CNM’s School of Math, Science & Engineering, where the program will be housed. 

Students in the Explosives Technician program can earn a 34 credit hour certificate, a qualifying credential for an internship at Sandia. This certificate feeds directly into CNM’s Engineering associate degree. Once students complete both the certificate and the degree, they’re eligible to apply for full-time Explosives Technician positions at Sandia. 

In the Explosives Technician program, students study a wide range of subjects to prepare them for their career. Welding and fabrication courses provide future Explosives Technicians with the skills to build structures that are used during the testing. Chemistry foundations are important for Explosive Technicians to understand the dynamics of the explosion itself. Math and physics courses prepare the future Explosive Technicians to understand the effects of the explosions, and composition/technical writing courses prepare them to effectively share the data and significance of their observations.

Right now, Sandia and Los Alamos National labs have the capacity to hire 40-60 Explosives Technician positions each year. Other career opportunities may be available within the mining, oil and gas, demolition, and defense industries. Some important current research endeavors in this field are focused on how to create safer explosives that only detonate when commanded. There’s also ongoing research focused on how to make explosives more efficient and more targeted. This research is critical for a variety of applications, including controlled demolitions, as shown in the photo above.  Explosives Technicians will play a key part in these ongoing developments. 

“We’re excited for the launch of this new Explosives Technician program, the career opportunities it will provide for our students, and the collaboration that has developed with Sandia to support a critical workforce need in our community. The development of this certificate program is a great example of how agile CNM can be in leveraging curriculum across our different schools to efficiently develop multidisciplinary programs to meet the needs of our students and community partners,” Phil says. 

The request for the creation of this new program and its viability were vetted through CNM’s College-wide Integrated Program Review (CIPR) new program intake process.

Students who want to learn more about the Explosives Technician program should contact:

Nora Mendoza

Academic Affairs Program Manager

School of Math Science and Engineering 

505-224-4000 (Extension 52158)