Becoming an RN in Colorado
In order to be licensed as an RN, a Colorado resident must complete a state-approved program and then take the NCLEX-RN, a national certifying exam. The program may be at the associate’s or bachelor’s level.
Whichever course you pursue, you can expect to take some prerequisites before you begin formal nursing training. The pre-nursing program will be heavy in science courses, but will also include composition or English. A bachelor’s program will include more humanities and electives, and also give you more preparation in advanced nursing concepts like leadership.
Colorado is a Nurse Compact state. Colorado licensure allows you to practice in any of the other twenty-four member states.
- Earn your RN-to-BSN online from Capella University
- Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees and Postgraduate Certificates in Nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing for the Registered Nurse
RN Career and Educational Pathways
Your education and life experiences may qualify you for special programs. Students who hold a bachelor’s in another field may apply for an accelerated BSN course. Sometimes, these are completed in as little as twelve months. Some Colorado schools offer BSN completion programs to students who have either an associate’s or a bachelor’s in another field; these take approximately a year and a half. Students should realize that the stated time assumes prerequisites have been completed in areas like human growth and development and anatomy & physiology.
If you are currently a practical nurse, you’ll also see a shortened path to licensure as an RN. Multiple in-state schools offer LPN to ADN programs. There is currently one in-state LPN to BSN program, at the University of Phoenix.
Experience as a CNA can be valuable, as some schools credit the experience when making admissions decisions. Some people choose to finance their education by working as a CNA, or certified nursing assistant. According to the Colorado Board of Nursing, a nursing student is eligible to take the CNA certifying exam after completing five semester hours in nursing fundamentals.
Registered Nursing Career Outlook in Colorado
Long term prospects should be excellent. In fact, Colorado is concerned about having enough nurses over the coming years and decades. 32% of the state’s nursing workforce is above the age of 55. This means that many are expected to retire during the next decade. According to the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence, in 2007 – 2008, the number of graduates was 900 below what was needed. The trend could actually worsen. A 2010 workforce report noted that the recession had caused some healthcare workers to put off retirement, but that it was expected that many would retire within a short time frame. Indeed, the report described the situation as a retirement cliff.
Changing demographics will also contribute to an increased need for healthcare workers. It is expected that the state’s population will grow by 1,000,000 over a decade’s time. The growth will not be spread evenly among demographic groups. Instead, there will be huge growth in the number of residents over 65.
While jobs do tend to go to experienced candidates during lean times, a majority of the jobs are still finding employment. The rate is slightly higher for those entering with BSNs than those at the ADN level. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing conducted a 2010 survey. They concluded that 72% of recent Colorado nursing graduates at the BSN level or higher had a job offer at graduation; this number rose to 86% four to six months after graduation.
The Application Process
Nursing programs haven’t expanded quickly enough to meet need. Who determines who gets in? The process is very different depending on where you apply. At the Colorado Community College System, slots go on a first come first serve basis to qualified candidates. In order to be considered qualified, students must have completed prerequisite courses, earned acceptable grades, and passed a background check. One downside is that there is a wait list.
Some other schools have a competitive selection process as opposed to a wait list. These schools typically consider GPA, test scores, and life experiences.
Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Programs Approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing
CollegeAmerica – Denver, CO
The CollegeAmerica Associate Degree in Nursing program is approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing. Graduates are eligible to take the Colorado Registered Nurse Licensure Exam – NCLEX-RN.
Programs Offered: Associate Degree in Nursing
CollegeAmerica – Denver, 1385 S. Colorado Boulevard 5th Floor, Denver, CO 80222-3304
Colorado Technical University – Pueblo, CO
The Colorado Technical University Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program is approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing. Graduates are eligible to take the Colorado Registered Nurse Licensure Exam – NCLEX-RN.
Programs Offered: Associate of Science in Nursing
Colorado Technical University – Pueblo, 1025 West Sixth St., Pueblo, CO 81003
Concorde Career College – Aurora, CO
Offering an AAS in Nursing and and LPN program. Programs are approved by the Colorado BON.
National American University – Denver, CO
NAU offers an Associate’s in Nursing. This program has interim approval by the Colorado BON and is a candidate for NLNAC accreditation. Graduates are eligible to take the licensing exam.
Aims Community College
Arapahoe Community College
Colorado Mountain College
Colorado Northwestern Community College
|Community College of Denver |
1070 Alton Way Bldg 849
Denver, CO 80230
|Concorde Career College |
Director 111 North Havana
Aurora, CO 80010
Denver School of Nursing
Front Range Community College—Boulder
Front Range Community College—Larimer
Front Range Community College—Westminster
Lamar Community College
Mesa State College, LPN to ADN; ADN
Morgan Community College
|Northeastern Junior College |
100 College Ave.
Sterling, CO 80751
|Otero Junior College |
1802 Colorado Ave
La Junta, CO 81050
Pikes Peak Community College- Rampart
Pueblo Community College
|Pueblo Community College |
710 Camino del Rio
Durango, CO 81301
|Pueblo Community College |
51320 W. Highway 50
Canon City, CO 81212
Trinidad State Junior College
Trinidad State Junior College- Valley Campus
BSN Programs Approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing
The BSN program is approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing.
Programs Offered: BSN
Regis University – Loretto Heights School of Nursing (LHSON)
The BSN programs are approved by the Colorado State Board of Nursing, which allows graduates to sit for national and state exams, including the NCLEX-RN. The BSN programs are offered on the Denver campus.
Programs Offered: Traditional BSN (for student’s who are non-registered nurses), Accelerated BSN (for students who have a bachelor’s degree in another field), CHOICE BSN (for students employed by a health care organization).
Colorado State University
Denver School of Nursing
Mesa State College
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Aurora, CO 80014
|Regis University |
3333 Regis Blvd Mail Code G-8
Denver, CO 80221-1099
University of Colorado
University of Colorado- Colorado Springs
University of Northern Colorado
University of Phoenix