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.

    Quick Facts

    • 27 schools with nursing programs in Colorado are in our database (see below).
    • 20 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees or certificates in nursing.1
    • 10 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.1
    • 7 colleges and universities offer master’s or advanced degrees in nursing.1
    • No schools ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
    • No schools ranked in the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Nursing Majors in 2018.3
    • 3 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s programs.4
    • 3 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.4

    Top-Ranked Schools with Nursing Programs in Colorado

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s

    • University of Colorado (#146 tie)
    • University of Northern Colorado (#131 tie)
    • Colorado State University-Pueblo (#167 tie)

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice

    • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus (#36 tie)
    • University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (#61 tie)
    • University of Northern Colorado (#123 tie)

    Read below where you will find more information to compare the many nursing programs offered at Colorado’s colleges and universities.

    NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in Colorado

    The following table allows you to easily compare not-for-profit 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://dpo.colorado.gov/Nursing).

    SchoolADN or LVN ProgramBSN ProgramGraduate Nursing ProgramACEN/CCNE Accred.*NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**# TakingNCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate^# TakingNet Price^^
    Adams State UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A40%30$12,905
    Aims Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A100%17$7,932
    Arapahoe Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1195.24%63$10,003
    Colorado Christian UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A95%40$25,859
    Colorado Mesa University (ADN)YesN/AN/AACEN/CCNE96.77%3193.62%47N/A
    Colorado Mesa University (BSN)N/AYesYesCCNEN/AN/A95.59%68$13,246
    Colorado Mountain CollegeYesYesNoACEN/CCNEN/AN/A94.59%37$7,938
    Colorado Northwestern Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A77.27%22$11,739
    Colorado State University (Accelerated BS)N/AYesN/AACENN/AN/A100%24$11,678
    Colorado State University (Traditional)NoYesYesACENN/AN/A88.37%43$11,678
    Delta-Montrose Technical CollegeYesNoNoACEN96.3%27N/AN/A$7,385
    Emily Griffith Technical CollegeYesNoNoNo90.91%17N/AN/A$6,304
    Front Range Community College-LarimerYesNoNoACEN100%1198.08%52$8,788
    Front Range Community College-WestminsterYesNoNoACENN/AN/A76.62%77$8,788
    Lamar Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1294.12%17$9,289
    Metropolitan State University (Accelerated)N/AYesN/AACENN/AN/A89.36%47$8,416
    Metropolitan State University (Traditional)NoYesNoACENN/AN/A95.65%23$8,416
    Morgan Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1485.19%27$8,230
    Northeastern Junior CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/AN/AN/A$11,049
    Otero Junior CollegeYesNoNoACEN94.74%1980.77%26$11,027
    Pickens Technical CollegeYesNoNoNo72.73%22N/AN/A$8,881
    Pikes Peak Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A99%100$9,268
    Platt CollegeNoYesNoACENN/AN/A86.89%61N/A
    Pueblo Community College-Fremont CenterYesNoNoNoN/AN/A70.59%17$9,736
    Pueblo Community College-PuebloYesNoNoACENN/AN/A75.51%49$9,736
    Regis University (Accelerated)N/AYesN/ACCNEN/AN/A90.58%138$25,544
    Regis University (Traditional)NoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A88.57%70$25,544
    Southwest Colorado Community CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/A91.67%24N/A
    Trinidad State Junior College-AlamosaYesNoNoNoN/AN/A93.33%15$10,239
    Trinidad State Junior College-TrinidadYesNoNoACENN/AN/A85.71%14$10,239
    University of Colorado-Colorado SpringsNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A87.1%93$12,568
    University of Colorado-DenverNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/AN/AN/A$12,568
    University of Northern ColoradoNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A92.52%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).

    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 semester format. Student schedules vary by semester depending on clinical rotations and clinical simulations. 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, taking part in weekly NCLEX quizzes, and volunteering as actors in the simulation lab. 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.

    Student Reviews

    Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

    Emily Griffith Technical College
    1860 Lincoln St
    Denver, CO 80203
    (720) 423-4901

    Student Review: “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

    Pikes Peak Community College
    5675 S Academy Blvd
    Colorado Springs, CO 80906
    (719) 502-2000

    Student Review: “Pikes Peak Community College is a highly respected nursing program not only in Colorado, but throughout the US. My experience was superb. Our instructors and program managers are thorough and the academic expectations are significant. You certainly cannot glide through this program and succeed. Classroom work was rigorous, specifically pharmacology, and we were tested step-by-step on our basic and specialized nursing skills prior to clinical placement. During rotations at our local rehab facilities, nursing homes and hospitals we were required to submit both written assignments and be re-evaluated on our skills to ensure our safe practice. We were given the option of daytime or evening rotations, which I appreciated while working a job outside of school. Testing was frequent and prepared my class well to take the NCLEX. I also utilized the dual-enrollment program which allowed me to nearly complete my bachelor’s degree at the local university during the summers while in my associate’s program.” – Student at Pikes Peak Community College/ University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

    1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
    2. Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-best-college-values-college-finder/index.php#Tile
    3. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges, 2018 Edition. New York, Penguin Random House, 2018.
    4. US News Top Graduate Nursing Schools: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-nursing-schools
    5. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
    6. Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): https://directory.ccnecommunity.org/reports/accprog.asp
    7. Colorado State Board of Nursing: https://dpo.colorado.gov/Nursing