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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Colorado

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 7/5/2023

There are several options for online nursing degrees in Colorado. This page showcases some of the best accredited online nursing programs at every degree level, from an associate in nursing to a master's in nursing. Learn about licensure and how to become a nurse in Colorado once you've earned your degree.

Our 2023 list includes colleges in Colorado that offer online nursing programs and have available NCLEX data, so you can easily determine which online nursing program results in graduates with the best pass rate.

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Online Nursing Degrees You May Be Interested In

2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Colorado

School NCLEX Pass Rate Online Enrollment
University of Northern Colorado 96.19% 1,808
Metropolitan State University of Denver 94.44% 1,693
University of Colorado Colorado Springs 94.21% 1,433
Colorado Christian University 91.66% 3,877
Denver College of Nursing 90.5% 133
Regis University 90.36% 2,001
University of Colorado Denver 88.94% 2,574
Colorado State University - Pueblo 80.17% 211
Colorado Mesa University 78.67% 499
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Becoming a Nurse in Colorado

Becoming a nurse in Colorado requires education and demonstrating your competence with nursing skills. The specifics will vary based on the type of nurse you're trying to become, but you'll need to complete a nursing diploma or degree program and pass one of the National Council Licensure Examinations (NCLEXs).

There's a growing demand for healthcare workers in every state, but the nursing shortage in Colorado is especially acute. The state is even offering a substantial signing bonus for nurses in mental health offices. You have a good chance of job stability as a nurse in Colorado, but there's also a possibility for burnout because many types of care facilities find themselves stretched thin.

The Colorado Board of Nursing regulates this profession and grants three types of Idaho nursing licenses: licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and advanced practice nurse (APN, often called an advanced practice registered nurse or APRN in other states). The board also governs certification for certified nurse aides (CNAs).

To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:

Nursing Degrees by State

How To Get Certified Nurse Aide Certification in Colorado

A CNA helps patients with necessary daily activities under the supervision of an RN or LPN. Their tasks include bathing, transferring and repositioning patients, tending to wounds, and other essential tasks.

Candidates can earn their Colorado CNA certification either by examination or by endorsement. For certification by exam, the first step is completing a state-approved training program that includes at least 80 hours of instruction. Various community colleges in the area offer training programs. After completing this training, an individual must pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program competency exam. The test consists of a knowledge portion and a skills test. After passing the test, an individual may apply for certification. 

Certification by endorsement is only for CNAs with an active certification in another state. They must provide proof of certification and undergo a criminal background check before receiving their Colorado credential.

CNA certifications are valid for two years. All certifications expire on January 31 of odd-numbered years.

How To Get a Licensed Practical Nurse License in Colorado

An LPN plays an important role in healthcare by providing basic nursing care to patients under the direction of an RN or physician. LPNs perform a range of duties, including taking vital signs (blood pressure, temperature, and pulse), maintaining patient records, bathing and feeding patients, and teaching families how to properly care for their relatives.

Colorado has a mandatory practice act, which means an individual may not practice as an LPN without a state license. Receiving a Colorado LPN license begins with graduating from an approved LPN program, regardless of whether a candidate opts for licensure by exam or licensure by endorsement. 

There are several Colorado community colleges and technical schools that offer such programs. The curriculum includes courses such as human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and human growth and development. Students will also receive hands-on experience in a clinical setting. The program takes approximately 12-14 months to complete at a full-time pace.

After graduating from an LPN program, an individual can apply for licensure. Requirements include verifying completion of the training program and verifying any healthcare licenses held in other states or countries. Applicants need to pay an application processing fee, provide a Social Security number, and answer screening questions related to criminal history. Aspiring LPNs must also pass the NCLEX-PN. 

LPN licenses must be renewed every two years. All licenses expire on August 31 of even-numbered years.

How To Get a Registered Nurse License in Colorado

The daily responsibilities of an RN vary greatly by employer, but they're generally tasked with monitoring patients, administering medications, acting as a liaison between patient and doctor, and managing medical records.

To obtain a Colorado RN license, an applicant must first earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college. Licensure candidates must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Pay the application processing fee. 

  • Verify any other healthcare licenses held in another state or country.

  • Complete the Affidavit of Eligibility to work in the United States.

  • Submit fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in order to conduct a state and national background check and answer screening questions related to criminal history.

  • Provide a Social Security number.

RN licenses are valid for two years. All licenses expire on September 30 of odd or even-numbered years, depending on when they were issued.

Aspiring RNs may want to learn how to become a neonatal nurse, how to become a pediatric nurse, or how to become a travel nurse if they plan to specialize in these areas.

How To Get an Advanced Practice Nurse License in Colorado

An APN is an RN who has an advanced degree, usually a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, along with years of experience in the field. Colorado APNs may choose to specialize as nurse practitioners (NPs), certified nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, or certified registered nurse anesthetists. The duties of APNs vary widely depending on their area of specialization. 

The first step to an APN license is for the nursing board to verify a candidate's status as an RN. This can be an active Colorado RN license for licensure by exam candidates or a license from another state in the case of licensure by endorsement.

The board also needs to see proof of graduation from an accredited graduate-level nursing program. Individuals must also hold a national nursing certification in their specialty practice area, which the appropriate independent certification agency must issue. 

Once certified, the next step is applying to the Colorado Board of Nursing for licensure. Some types of APNs can also apply for prescriptive authority to prescribe medication and other treatments. 

Colorado APN licenses expire every two years and are renewed at the same time as RN licenses. Recertifying in a specialty is the job of the appropriate national certification agency, and APNs are responsible for keeping up to date on their certification requirements.

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