The state of Colorado is forecasting an influx of more than 20% highly-qualified nursing staff as being required by the year 2022. Colorado is committed to providing high standard nursing care to their patients, and with the state's aging population, there is a need for highly skilled and diversified nurses in the state. Nurses in Colorado with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) earn more money hourly and find more job opportunities in more locations, including in a variety of urban and rural areas.

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ADN Programs in Colorado

Many of the post-secondary institutions in the state have nursing programs; often, they offer the Associate's Degrees in Nursing (ADN). One of the fastest pathways to become an RN, the ADN is typically a two-year program. Occasionally coursework is condensed so that the 4-semester course load falls into about a year and a half's time. Throughout Colorado, there are about 20 ADN programs offered through community colleges and private colleges - all are approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing for operation in the state.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Colorado

In order to find the best fit for your learning style, location and budget, it is important to consider a number of factors when weighing ADN programs:


The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) are the largest two institutions that assist schools and enforce regulatory policies to ensure that nursing students receive a top-quality education. In the interest of transparency, institutions that hold accreditation from one organization or the other are clearly listed in state Board of Nursing documents.


You will want to ensure that upon completing the ADN program at your preferred school that you will be eligible to take the NCLEX and thus become nationally registered as an RN. Last year, about 90% of the nursing students that took the NCLEX were successful, and many were from ADN program streams.

Program Outcomes

Each college or junior college provides information about graduates in statistics and publications. Designed to provide a measure of objectivity, this data is useful in helping students decide whether the program is a suitable match for their needs and goals. Be sure to read about:

  • The graduation rate for each cohort
  • NCLEX-RN pass rate
  • Student satisfaction data
  • Rate of post-secondary employment (related field only)

Located in Glenwood Springs and several other medium-sized communities around the state, Colorado Mountain College has an NCLEX pass rate of over 92% and offers a well-respected ADN program in a friendly and scientifically driven atmosphere for local students.

ADN Program Admission Requirements in Colorado

Each school has a specific set of entrance requirements that are unique to the environment, national and state employment demands, and the student cohort in a given year. However, admission criteria have some similarities across institutions:

  • Students must satisfy college-specific and program-specific entrance criteria
  • Students must provide evidence of GPA exceeding 2.5
  • Students must provide evidence of proficient scores in TEAS
  • Students must provide official transcripts from all former schools and programs

Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in Colorado

There are easily enough ADN programs throughout the state to satisfy the needs of each RN student - and each of them have program costs that are unique. Students are encouraged to explore the full costs of the program they wish to apply to, remembering that beyond tuition, there are equipment, materials, textbook and sometimes clothing costs that students must incur in order to meet the needs of the program successfully. For example, the tuition portion of the ADN program at Lamar Community College is about $161 per credit hour in a 70-hour program over 4 semesters. Program costs are extra, as are room and board costs.

Advantages of ADN Programs

Offered through many junior and private college locations, ADN programming is very accessible to students throughout the state. With a timeline that is generally 2 years in length, programs are affordable; students graduate and in high-demand fields, can graduate in a proscribed timeframe and begin work quickly to pay down outstanding college costs. Colleges also make great use of technology in order to give their students the hands-on training required to enter the field.

BSN Programs in Colorado

You may decide to earn a more advanced nursing degree at the start or midway through your career. With this in mind, many students consider the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) as a viable option. Usually, a complete course of study requires 4 years, and most programs are found through universities. A great example is the BSN offerings at Colorado Mesa University, though there are approximately 15 institutions and satellite campuses through Colorado that offer BSN credentials.

What To Look For in a BSN Program in Colorado

There are a number of options for freshmen or RNs to pursue their BSN. With that in mind, some of the criteria to look for in an on-campus BSN program are the size of the classes - while freshman lectures often have hundreds of attendees, smaller class sizes are far more common for hands-on and clinical rotations. Another great look-for is the credentials of the instructors. Easily searchable online, instructors and professors should have extensive experience and additional credentials that give students confidence with the quality of evidence-based instruction that they will be receiving.

The Metropolitan State University of Denver has an accredited nursing program that leads pre-licensure candidates down the path toward a rewarding nursing career via a BSN. With diligent and empathetic healthcare professionals as teachers and role models, students hone their desire to help patients, especially in the face of a global nursing shortage. Many universities make it easy for post-licensure RNs to pursue additional qualifications via continuing education in order to enrich their careers and patient practice.

BSN Program Length in Colorado

Typically, four school years or eight semesters, BSN programs have a standard length and pace. However, for those who have already passed the NCLEX, you may be eligible for an accelerated RN-to-BSN program through your school of choice. Candidates and nurses are encouraged to consult with their school's nursing program admissions personnel directly.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Colorado

BSN programs vary from institution to institution, however they do have a few elements in common:

  • Confirmed acceptance to your university of choice via letter
  • Activated online student account
  • Attend necessary orientation programs
  • Complete nursing application form
  • Provide official transcripts via your online account
  • Meet immunization standards and course grade prerequisites

Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in Colorado

BSN tuition costs and associated equipment, uniform, textbook and technology costs can vary greatly between schools. Students may find the effort of researching each school's tuition and full costs a useful exercise in helping them decide where to attend. Particularly true of nursing programs, there are a large number of scholarships and grants available. The University of Colorado's on-campus BSN program tuition costs about $410 per credit hour for in-state residents. Additional costs (including room and board) are extra.

Advantages of BSN Programs

Successful completion of a BSN program has the advantage of preparing and providing greater career options in terms of advancement and flexibility. Earning potential for BSN graduates is also higher. RNs can also access an RN to BSN bridge program to help them continue their career.

MSN Programs in Colorado

For nurses who are determined to lead in their field, there are an increasing number of programs available at the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) level. Today's MSN programs are building the leaders of tomorrow's nurses in pathways such as administrators, nurse educators, managers and policymakers. Whether candidates are interested in clinical care, administrative or teaching environments, MSN options are designed to accelerate your nursing career.

MSN Program Length in Colorado

About 3 years in duration of full-time coursework, the RN to MSN program is like having a full-time job, as the graduate degree requirements are definitely taxing on both a learning and time-management level. Part-time studies are generally required to be completed within 5 or 6 years.

MSN Admission Requirements in Colorado

MSN admission requirements vary from program to program, however some of the core criteria remain the same:

  • Graduate from an accredited in-state BSN program with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Submit a professional portfolio and resume
  • Submit evidence of your RN licensure and transcripts from undergraduate programs and continuing education units
  • Be accepted as a student in good standing at the university of your choice
  • Have practiced as an RN for two or more years

Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in Colorado

Tuition costs for MSN programs are definitely more money than their undergraduate counterparts. Tuition does vary from school to school and does not include the other necessary expenses that nurses will have to incur in order to complete their training, such as textbooks and materials, lab costs, clinical equipment or uniform costs, since graduate students are expected to have most of these items as practicing nurses. For an example, the University of Colorado at Denver's MSN program costs students about $600 per credit hour and does not include additional fees.

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Getting a Colorado Nursing License

For Colorado State regulations for licensure by examination or endorsement a completed application, including your Social Security Number along with the following items should be submitted:

  • Proof of citizenship or immigration status – completed affidavit of eligibility
  • Completed screening questionnaire
  • Name change documentation (if applicable)
  • health care Professionals Profiling Program – questionnaire to be completed
  • Transcripts to be mailed directly to the state nursing board
  • Proof of registration for the NCLEX-RN examination

Apply for endorsement of licensure can be done by providing all of the above documentation, as well as the following:

  • Current/active license from another state
  • NURSYS Verification request completed
  • Declare any and all other states licenses including state, issuance, expiration, number and status

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Colorado

If you are venturing into the world of nursing and you have evaluated all your options, then you will have come across accelerated nursing programs. Colorado has a number of colleges throughout the state that offer accelerated nursing degrees, some of these programs are quite intensive as you can imagine, and range from 12 months to 20 months in length with most being of a full-time nature. The admission requirements for these programs vary, which in turn means the costs for each program are dependent on how many prerequisite courses you may have to take, as well as the length of the program itself.

2018 Best RN Programs in Colorado


Selecting the best nursing school in Colorado can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 10 nursing schools in Colorado by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 28 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN Degree.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, see our Methodology Page (


Pikes Peak Community College

5675 S Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80906 (719) 502-2000

At the foot of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, Pikes Peak Community College is home to one of Colorado's choice nursing programs. Nursing graduates from PPCC possess the technical skills and patient advocacy to make them a valuable asset in the clinical setting. Visit the to learn more.

Score: 99.06| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Front Range Community College - Larimer

4616 S Shields St, Fort Collins, CO 80526 (970) 226-2500

Front Range Community College - Larimer is the hub of a prestigious nursing program in Fort Collins, Colorado. With a number of diploma and degree options, FRCC meets the needs of today's expanding healthcare field. Visit the to learn more.

Score: 95.92| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Colorado Mountain College

1402 Blake Ave, Glenwood Springs, CO 81601 (970) 945-7486

Glenwood Springs’ Colorado Mountain College offers an ADN program that prepares students for the NCLEX-RN exam and gives them the tools they need for a successful nursing career. The program also emphasizes early experiential learning through clinical experiences. Check out the official .

Score: 94.76| Programs: Associate in Nursing

University of Northern Colorado

501 20th St, Greeley, CO 80639 (970) 351-1890

Located north of the Denver Metropolitan Area, historic Greeley is home to the University of Northern Colorado's School of Nursing. State-approved, UNC's nursing program trains leaders in patient care. Get all the program details by visiting the .

Score: 94.09| Programs: BSN

Arapahoe Community College

5900 S Santa Fe Dr, Littleton, CO 80120 (303) 797-4222

As part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metropolitan area, Littleton is also home to the notable nursing program found at Arapahoe Community College. With ASN and BSN tracks and clear bridge procedures, ACC is committed to serving the medical profession through high-quality graduates. Check out the official .

Score: 93.36| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Colorado Christian University

8787 W Alameda Ave, Lakewood, CO 80226 (303) 963-3311

Colorado Christian University, located in Lakewood, offers a pre-licensure BSN program grounded in liberal arts and sciences as well as faith. The curriculum combines theory, lab skills and simulation, and clinical learning. Follow the link to learn more about the .

Score: 93.34| Programs: BSN

Colorado State University- Pueblo

2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001 (719) 549-2100

The Colorado State University – Pueblo School of Nursing offers multiple baccalaureate nursing pathways, including a traditional BSN and an accelerated BSN for those who already hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. These programs are based on a philosophical approach to nursing that incorporates holistic health and environment. Check out the official .

Score: 93.30| Programs: BSN

University of Colorado

13120 E 19th Ave, Aurora, CO 80045 (303) 724-1812

At the eastern edge of the Denver Metropolitan Area lies the University of Colorado College of Nursing. Clinical and theoretical opportunities abound in an urban environment; UC's nursing graduates enter the field well prepared for the rigors of professional life. Follow the link to learn more about the .

Score: 92.67| Programs: BSN

Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences

1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80918 (719) 255-8227

In view of Pikes Peak, the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs is home to the prestigious Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences. With rigorous standards for faculty and students, the college prepares graduates for a rewarding nursing career. Check out the official .

Score: 92.28| Programs: BSN

Regis University

3333 Regis Boulevard, Denver, CO 80221 (303) 458-4126

Regis University in Denver, Colorado is home to the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions whose rigorous nursing program directly benefits the local medical community. Regis nursing students pursue a BSN, accelerated BSN or MSN degree with their peers. Learn more by visiting the .

Score: 91.78| Programs: BSN, Accelerated BSN, Choice BSN

Continued List of All RN Programs in Colorado

#11 Denver College of Nursing
1401 19th St, Denver, CO 80202
(303) 292-0015
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
#12 Metropolitan State University of Denver
1201 5th Street, WC 247, Denver, CO 80204
(303) 556-5740
Programs: BSN
#13 Colorado Mesa University
1100 North Ave, Grand Junction, CO 81501
(970) 248-1020
Programs: Associate in Nursing, BSN
#14 Southwest Colorado Community College (SCCC)
701 Camino del Rio, Durango, CO 81301
(239) 489-9211
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
#15 Aims Community College
5401 W 20th St, Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 330-8008
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#16 Pueblo Community College
900 W Orman Ave, Pueblo, CO 81004
(719) 549-3200
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
#17 Northeastern Junior College
100 College Ave, Sterling, CO 80751
(970) 521-6600
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
#18 Front Range Community College - Westminster
3645 W 112th Ave, Westminster, CO 80031
(303) 404-5000
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#19 Pueblo Community College - Fremont Center
701 Camino del Rio, Durango, CO 81301
(719) 549-3200
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
#20 Otero Junior College
1802 Colorado Ave, La Junta, CO 81050
(719) 384-6831
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#21 Morgan Community College
920 Barlow Rd, Fort Morgan, CO 80701
(970) 542-3100
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
#22 Platt College
3100 S. Parker Rd., Aurora, CO 80014
(303) 369-5151
Programs: BSN
#23 Colorado Northwestern Community College CNNC
2801 W 9th St, Craig, CO 81625
(800) 562-1105
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#24 Lamar Community College
2401 S Main St, Lamar, CO 81052
(719) 336-2248
Programs: Associate in Nursing
#25 University of Phoenix
10004 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree, CO 80124
(602) 557-2000
Programs: BSN
#26 Trinidad State Junior College
600 Prospect St, Trinidad, CO 81082
(719) 846-5011
Programs: Associate in Nursing, LPN to ADN
#27 Adams State University
208 Edgemont Blvd, Alamosa, CO 81102
(719) 587-7011
Programs: BSN
#28 Trinidad State - Alamosa
1011 Main St, Alamosa, CO 81101
(719) 589-7000
Programs: Associate in Nursing

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