Colorado Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide
The following guide contains important information on the many undergraduate and graduate nursing programs offered in the state of Colorado. The colleges and universities in Colorado offer a wide range of specializations, such as family nurse practitioner, clinical nurse leader, health care informatics, and midwifery. Students seeking a more flexible and convenient option for earning a nursing degree may want to consider an online or hybrid-online nursing program.
Colorado School Facts:
- 15 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in nursing.
- 11 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
- 6 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in nursing.
- Highest graduation rate: Emily Griffith Technical College 89%.1
- Highest transfer-out rate: University of Colorado-Colorado Springs 42%.1
- Highest net price: Platt College-Aurora $36,598.1
- Lowest net price: Emily Griffith Technical College $6,304.1
- Annual net price range for schools in Colorado with a bachelor’s in nursing program: $9,523 – $36,598.2
- No schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2017 (top 100).3
- 4 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Graduate Schools in 2017 for Master’s in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs: University of Colorado-Aurora (#26, MSN; #34, DNP), University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (#52, MSN; #54, DNP), Colorado Mesa University (#194, MSN; DNP not ranked), Regis University (#2016, MSN; DNP not ranked).4.
Read below where you will find information more about several undergraduate and graduate nursing programs offered at Colorado’s colleges and universities.
Schools in Colorado with Nursing Degrees
Associate’s in Nursing Programs
Arapahoe Community College
Arapahoe Community College offers an associate nursing degree (ADN) program that prepares graduates to work in general and specialty healthcare settings such as medical/surgical nursing and psychiatric nursing. The program follows high professional standards and has a strong reputation in the Colorado medical community. The ADN program at Arapahoe Community College is approved by the Accreditation Commission for Education, Inc. (ACEN) and the Colorado State Board of Nursing. Arapahoe Community College also has articulation agreements with four-year schools that can help ease the transfer process for students who wish to pursue a four-year degree in nursing.
Colorado Mountain College
The Colorado Mountain College Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (ADN) includes extensive preparation for the NCLEX-RN exam, which is required for registered nurse licensure. Students may pursue the ADN program at either the Breckenridge or Glenwood Springs campuses. Courses in the curriculum include Medical-Surgical Nursing, Maternal-Newborn & Pediatric Nursing, and Leadership & Nursing Management. Graduates of the Colorado Mountain College nursing program, which is accredited by ACEN and approved by the Colorado State Board of Nursing, consistently pass the NCLEX-RN on the first attempt at rates higher than the national average.
Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs
Colorado Mesa University
Colorado Mesa University confers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to students who successfully complete the four-year, 126 credit program. Nursing majors typically complete general education requirements in math, science, and English during their freshmen and sophomore years before focusing on nursing requirements during the final two years of the program. Core nursing coursework encompasses mental health, pharmacology, family nursing through the lifespan, and community health nursing. Graduates of the nursing program meet the necessary requirements to sit for the National Council for Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The nursing program boasts a 90 to 100 percent pass rate for its recent graduates. The program is competitive with 72 students admitted each year.
Adams State University
Nursing majors pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at Adams State University fulfill degree requirements in a block curriculum format with each block consisting of one class over three weeks. Students attend one class five days a week, either in the mornings or in the afternoons. In addition to general college requirements, nursing majors will complete core nursing curriculum and clinical rotations at local medical facilities. Students are also encouraged to become involved on campus by joining the Adams State Student Nurses Association, the National Student Nurses Association, and the Nursing Honor Society Sigma Theta Tau. Current registered nurses may earn the RN to BSN through the university’s online program.
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Department of Nursing offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program that provides students with three pathways to completing their BSN. In the Traditional Nursing Option, students can complete the BSN on a traditional four-year track without previous nursing education or experience. In the Accelerated Nursing Option, students who have previously earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing can earn the BSN within 17 months. Alternately, students who have an associate degree in nursing or have graduated from a nursing diploma program and who have a Colorado RN license can complete the Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Completion Option while continuing to work with a full- or part-time course load. All completion options include skills lab and clinical hours as well as a mix of classroom, online, and hybrid format courses. The baccalaureate nursing program at Metropolitan State is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Master’s in Nursing Programs
University of Colorado at Denver
The University of Colorado at Denver’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program allows graduate students to specialize in one of a nearly a dozen concentrations, including family nurse practitioner, health care informatics, nurse-midwifery, adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist, and women’s health. Regardless of the concentration, all graduate nursing students must complete core requirements that cover foundations of healthcare informatics, research methods for advanced practice, health systems, policy and social justice, and philosophic, theoretical, and ethical foundations of advanced nursing practice. Nursing students generally complete clinical rotations at local medical facilities with some specialties, such as adult gerontology clinical nurse specialist, giving graduate students the option to complete a thesis.
University of Northern Colorado
Graduate students at the University of Northern Colorado may work toward a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a family practitioner emphasis or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a clinical nurse leader emphasis. The family practitioner concentration consists of 48 credits, including more than 700 hours of practical experience in clinical rotations. Required coursework encompasses advanced physical assessment, advanced pharmacology, and quality and safety in health care. Students pursuing the clinical nurse leader concentration must take between 34 and 39 credits to fulfill degree requirements. A 270-hour clinical rotation is mandatory and coursework focuses on pathophysiology, managing clinical outcomes, developing leadership roles, and managing the care environment.
NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in Colorado
The following table allows you to easily compare Colorado nursing schools on a variety of factors. Click on the arrows in the top row to sort the table. In addition to seeking a program that leads to licensure in your desired area of nursing, it’s advisable to consider accreditation as a factor in your decision. If you are considering education beyond the associate’s level, know that a degree from a school that holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a common requirement for admission to master’s degree, ADN/LVN and RN to BSN, and specialized certificate programs. You should also check to ensure that the school you are considering is approved or accepted by the Colorado State Board of Nursing (https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/Nursing_Education).
|School||ADN or LVN Program||BSN Program||Graduate Nursing Program||ACEN/CCNE Accredited*||NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**||Number Taking||NCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate***||Number Taking||Net Price****|
|Adams State University||No||Yes||No||CCNE||N/A||N/A||40%||30||$12,905|
|Aims Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||100%||17||$7,932|
|American Sentinel University||No||Yes||Yes||ACEN||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Arapahoe Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||11||95.24%||63||$10,003|
|Colorado Christian University||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||95%||40||$25,859|
|Colorado Mesa University (ADN)||Yes||N/A||N/A||ACEN/CCNE||96.77%||31||93.62%||47||N/A|
|Colorado Mesa University (BSN)||N/A||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||95.59%||68||$13,246|
|Colorado Mountain College||Yes||Yes||No||ACEN/CCNE||N/A||N/A||94.59%||37||$7,938|
|Colorado Northwestern Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||77.27%||22||$11,739|
|Colorado State University (Accelerated BS)||N/A||Yes||N/A||ACEN||N/A||N/A||100%||24||$11,678|
|Colorado State University (Traditional)||No||Yes||Yes||ACEN||N/A||N/A||88.37%||43||$11,678|
|Delta-Montrose Technical College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||96.3%||27||N/A||N/A||$7,385|
|Emily Griffith Technical College||Yes||No||No||No||90.91%||17||N/A||N/A||$6,304|
|Front Range Community College-Larimer||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||11||98.08%||52||$8,788|
|Front Range Community College-Westminster||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||76.62%||77||$8,788|
|Lamar Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||12||94.12%||17||$9,289|
|Metropolitan State University (Accelerated)||N/A||Yes||N/A||ACEN||N/A||N/A||89.36%||47||$8,416|
|Metropolitan State University (Traditional)||No||Yes||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||95.65%||23||$8,416|
|Morgan Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||14||85.19%||27||$8,230|
|Northeastern Junior College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||$11,049|
|Otero Junior College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||94.74%||19||80.77%||26||$11,027|
|Pickens Technical College||Yes||No||No||No||72.73%||22||N/A||N/A||$8,881|
|Pikes Peak Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||99%||100||$9,268|
|Pueblo Community College-Fremont Center||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||70.59%||17||$9,736|
|Pueblo Community College-Pueblo||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||75.51%||49||$9,736|
|Regis University (Accelerated)||N/A||Yes||N/A||CCNE||N/A||N/A||90.58%||138||$25,544|
|Regis University (Traditional)||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||88.57%||70||$25,544|
|Southwest Colorado Community College||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||91.67%||24||N/A|
|Trinidad State Junior College-Alamosa||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||93.33%||15||$10,239|
|Trinidad State Junior College-Trinidad||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||85.71%||14||$10,239|
|University of Colorado-Colorado Springs||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||87.1%||93||$12,568||University of Colorado-Denver||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||$12,568|
|University of Northern Colorado||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||92.52%||107||$12,779|
*The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits ADN/ASN/BSN programs. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits BSN/MSN/DNP programs.5,6
**NCLEX-PN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2016 to September 30, 2016.7 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
***NCLEX-RN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.7 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
****The National Center for Education Statistics calculates net price from the total estimated cost of attendance, including includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses, for in-state students minus the average financial aid award (such as grants and scholarships).
Reviews of Colorado Nursing Programs
Emily Griffith Technical College
1860 Lincoln St
Denver, CO 80203
“I learned about Emily Griffith Technical College and their nursing program through one of my good friends. Emily Griffith Technical College has an outstanding nursing program. It was a wonderful learning experience in my whole career. I thoroughly enjoyed their curriculum. They provided theoretical knowledge with clinical experience on sites which boosted my confidence. It was fast paced and intense, however, the professors were very professional and supportive and want to see your success. I felt I was challenged enough to be prepared for a good nurse who can contribute to the community and show that we care.” – Student at Emily Griffith Technical College
1. National Center for Education Statistics: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?degree=4-year&state=CO&major=nursing&sort=best
3. US News & World Report National Universities Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/search
4. US News & World Report Best Nursing Grad Schools Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-nursing-schools
5. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
6 American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation/accredited-programs
7. Colorado State Board of Nursing: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/Nursing_Education