The beauty of Colorado is matched only by its devotion to quality healthcare for its residents. Registered nurses in the state are increasingly opting to continue their nursing education by earning a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN). By obtaining an MSN, nurses are poised to deliver higher caliber health care in a number of rewarding and specialized settings. Those currently holding an Associate's or Bachelor's level nursing degree have the opportunity to go back to school to earn their MSN in Colorado.

RN to MSN Admissions Requirements in Colorado

RN to MSN programs can be competitive, so it's crucial to review all admissions requirements for prospective schools before applying. While programs can differ, most in Colorado require the following:

  • Must hold an ADN or BSN from an accredited school (degree level varies by program)
  • Possess a current, unrestricted license to practice nursing in Colorado
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0
  • Must provide three letters of professional and academic recommendation
  • Written essay and/or interview with graduate faculty
  • Must successfully pass a criminal background check

RN to MSN Courses

Curriculum for an RN to MSN program generally consists of core advanced nursing classes coupled with specialty nursing courses if a concentration is chosen. There is also typically a clinical component consisting of clinical hours or a capstone project.

To provide an example, the BSN to MSN program at Colorado Mesa University consists of courses including:

  • NURS 500: Theoretical Foundations
  • NURS 501: Nursing Research Methods
  • NURS 503: Organizational Leadership
  • NURS 504: Health Policy
  • NURS 525: Pathophysiologic Concepts

Online RN to MSN Programs in Colorado

Registered nurses returning to school to complete an MSN degree are increasingly choosing online program options. These online programs allow RNs to complete the coursework at their own pace, and many are able to continue working while finishing their graduate studies. Enrolling in an online program offered by an in-state school also typically allows students to take advantage of in-state tuition rates.

Featured Online School

Aspen University, based out of Denver, offers an online RN to MSN program for nurses who have previously completed an ADN degree. Students in the program can log in to take courses anytime, and are given a comprehensive education in nursing theory and research, public health, and more. Students are also able to take specialized courses in the concentrations of either Nursing Education or Nursing Administration and Management.

Admissions and Program Length

Due to the flexible nature of most MSN programs, the length of time it takes to complete the degree can fluctuate. Students can usually opt for full-time or part-time study. At Colorado Mesa University, the MSN program requires 36 credit hours to be completed within 4 years of starting the program. They state that 9 credit hours per semester is considered full-time. For this program, roughly 15 students are accepted on a yearly basis for each semester.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

The cost structure of an RN to MSN program should be familiar to those who have previously completed an ADN or BSN degree. Tuition, fees, and course materials are generally the main expenses. Financial aid and payment programs are often available for qualified applicants. As an example on cost, Aspen University's online RN to MSN program costs approximately $975 per course. With 19 courses and applicable fees and extras, the total cost of the program is estimated at $18,525.

RN to MSN Career Pathways in Colorado

With an MSN degree, nurses can enter into highly specialized and rewarding advanced nursing careers. Pathways that require a graduate nursing degree include:

  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse/Healthcare Administrator
  • Director of Nursing
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Nurse Practitioner

RN to MSN Salary Comparison

The high-level, specialized nursing careers that an MSN can lead to also tend to come with larger paychecks. For example, a nurse practitioner in Colorado Springs earns an annual base salary of approximately $101,642. Compare this to the average annual salary of a general registered nurse in the same city, which lands at $54,589.

Helpful Links

RN to MSN Listings

If traditional classes are not for you, then you should check out the several programs for RN to MSN transitions throughout Colorado. There is a mix of both online studies and traditional in class courses that can be combined to help make the decision to earn your degree easier. MSN degrees are well worth the effort in balancing work and school because they offer nurses the opportunity to become more diversified. You could find yourself working in the private healthcare sector, education, advocacy, and more.

American Sentinel University
Nursing programs
2260 South Xanadu Way, Suite 310
Aurora, CO 80014
(303) 557-9948
Aspen University
School of Nursing
1660 S. Albion Street, Suite 525
Denver, CO 80222
(434) 989-4856
Colorado Mesa University
1100 North Avenue
Grand Junction, CO 81501
(970) 248-1020
Regis University
Online Campus
Loretto Heights School of Nursing
3333 Regis Boulevard
Denver, CO 80221-1099
(303) 964-5325