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.

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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

5401 W 20th St
PO Box 69
Greeley, CO 80632

Arapahoe Community College
5900 S. Santa Fe Dr.
Littleton, CO 80160-9002

Colorado Mountain College
3000 County Rd 114
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601

Colorado Northwestern Community College
50 College Drive
Craig, CO 81625

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
1401 19th St
Denver, CO 80202

Front Range Community College—Boulder
2121 Miller Drive
Longmont, CO 80501

Front Range Community College—Larimer
4616 S Shields
Ft Collins, CO 80526

Front Range Community College—Westminster
3645 W 112th Ave
Westminster, CO 80030

Lamar Community College
2401 S Main St
Lamar, CO 81052

Mesa State College, LPN to ADN; ADN
1100 North Ave
Grand Junction, CO 81501

Morgan Community College
920 Barlow Road
Ft Morgan, CO 80701

Northeastern Junior College
100 College Ave.
Sterling, CO 80751
Otero Junior College
1802 Colorado Ave
La Junta, CO 81050

Pikes Peak Community College- Rampart
Range Campus
11195 Hwy 83 RR-13
Colorado Springs, CO 80921

Pueblo Community College
900 W. Orman Ave.
Pueblo, CO 81004

Pueblo Community College
Southwest Center
710 Camino del Rio
Durango, CO 81301
Pueblo Community College
Fremont Center
51320 W. Highway 50
Canon City, CO 81212

Trinidad State Junior College
600 Prospect St
Trinidad, CO 81082

Trinidad State Junior College- Valley Campus
1011 Main St
Alamosa, CO 81101

BSN Programs Approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing

Platt College

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
2200 Bonaforte Blvd
Pueblo, CO 81001

Denver School of Nursing
1401 19th St
Denver, CO 80202

Mesa State College
1100 North Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81502

Metropolitan State College of Denver
Box 72, P.O. Box 173362
Denver, CO 80217-3362

Platt College
3100 South Parker Road

Aurora, CO 80014

Regis University
3333 Regis Blvd Mail Code G-8
Denver, CO 80221-1099

University of Colorado
4200 E 9th Ave C-288
Denver, CO 80262

University of Colorado- Colorado Springs
Beth-El College of Nursing
P O Box 7150
Colorado Springs, CO 80933-7150

University of Northern Colorado
Gunter 3080 Box 125
Greeley, CO 80639

University of Phoenix
10004 Park Meadows Dr
Lone Tree, CO 80124