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Top 13 Nursing Schools in Colorado

best nursing schools in ColoradoColorado is a great place to get your education and become a nurse. According to the American Association of College Nurses, there will be 1.05 million job openings for Registered Nurses (RNs) by 2022. That’s the largest  increase in demand for any job in the United states, as verified by the United States Department of Labor.

This demand for RNs means that nurses who have earned at least an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and have passed the NCLEX-RN examination will have unparalleled job opportunities. Nurses who earn a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will have even more job opportunities, and will earn more. As it is, the  average nurse’s yearly income is $65,470, according to the bureau of labor statistics.

The best nursing schools in Colorado offer a wide array of options, including two-year ADN programs, four-year BSN programs, and even advanced degrees in nursing. What makes Colorado unique compared to other states is the College Opportunity Fund, which provides a $75 per credit stipend to Colorado residents who attend a public university or college at the undergraduate level. That can add up to huge savings if you attend a public nursing program in Colorado.

There are a lot of choices when it comes to nursing programs in Colorado, so we’ve done the dirty work for you and found the best Colorado nursing programs for you.

Top Nursing Schools in Colorado

School NameNCLEX Pass RateCredit Hours
Pikes Peak Community College99.4%80
Arapahoe Community College96.0%71.5
Regis University 95.2%128
Front Range Community College – Larimer Campus94.8%71.5
Metropolitan State University of Denver94.5%120
University of Northern Colorado93.9%125
University of Colorado College of Nursing93.5%126
University of Colorado – Colorado Springs 90.2%129
Pueblo Community College90.6%80
Colorado State University Pueblo89.5%120

The Best Nursing Schools in Colorado

1. Pikes Peak Community College

Located in Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Community College is the largest college in the Pikes Peak region, offering 158 associate degrees and a wide variety of career certificates. The school offers flexibility with day, evening, and weekend classes, as well as online and hybrid options for some courses, and it is the top-performing nursing school in Colorado.

A Nursing School with Options and a Track Record of Success

Pikes Peak Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in nursing degree with multiple tracks. You can enter the traditional track if you have no training, you can enter the traditional track with the option to exit after you’ve earned your Practical Nursing certificate, or if you’re already an LPN, you can enter on the advanced placement track to earn your ADN and become an RN. Graduates of the ADN program at Pikes Peak Community College have an amazing pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam of 99.4%.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 99.4%
  • Credit hours: 80
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisites or placement exam
  • In-State Tuition: $125 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Yes (ACEN)

2. Arapahoe Community College

Arapahoe Community College was the first community college in the Denver area. Located on a 51-acre campus in Littleton, it offers small class sizes and a faculty that takes the time to get to know you and help you succeed.

Preparing You for Your Future as a Nurse

The nursing program at Arapahoe Community College boasts an excellent hire rate for its ADN graduates and also has dual enrollment programs at several four-year universities in case you want to earn your BSN, too. The school features state-of-the-art labs so you can get hands-on nursing training in addition to your classroom education. The nursing program has two tracks, a traditional track and an LPN to ADN track for students who have already earned their Practical Nursing certificate.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 96.0%
  • Credit hours: 71.5
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisites
  • In-State Tuition: $205 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Yes (ACEN)

3. Regis University

Regis University, located in Denver, Colorado, is one of only 28 Jesuit, four-year colleges in the United States. Established in 1877, it has a storied educational history and is regularly ranked among the top universities in the country. In fact, U.S. News & World Report has rated it as a “Top University in the West” for 18 consecutive years.

A Four-Year Degree from a Top University

The Loretto Heights School of Nursing at Regis University offers four tracks to earn a BSN for those who want their four-year nursing degree. The school also offers an RN to MSN program for those who want to earn their Master’s degree. The traditional BSN track is a four-year, 128 credit hour program, whereas the “accelerated” and “choice” tracks allow you to earn your bachelor degree more quickly. The RN to BSN track additionally offers online courses, which is a great option if you want to earn your BSN after already earning your ADN.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 95.2% (Accelerated track)
  • Credit hours: 128
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisites with minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Tuition: $17,260 per semester
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)

4. Front Range Community College – Larimer Campus

Front Range Community College features four campuses that serve over 30,000 students. It is the largest community college in Colorado and the number one transfer institution into the University of Colorado and Colorado State University systems. The Larimer campus is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, and graduates regularly have the highest NCLEX-RN passing rates of all four campuses.

An RN Program with Options

The Larimer campus offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing with several options, including a practical nursing exit option to become an LPN, and dual enrollment options that allow you to earn your ADN and become an RN, then transfer seamlessly into a BSN program at Metropolitan State University of Denver, University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, or University of Northern Colorado. The nursing program at the Larimer campus also offers clinical placements at a variety of medical centers in the region.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.8%
  • Credit hours: 71.5
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisites with minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Tuition: $205 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Yes (ACEN)

5. Metropolitan State University of Denver

Metropolitan State University of Denver is a public, four-year university with broad access, affordable tuition, and a quality academic experience. The school boasts a 19 to 1 student to faculty ratio, which is impressive for a public college, particularly considering that 1 in 5 Coloradans seeking a bachelor’s degree choose Metropolitan State University of Denver.

An Affordable BSN and High Job Placement Rate

The nursing department at Metropolitan State University of Denver offers two tracks for earning your BSN, a traditional track and an accelerated track. The traditional track places you in a cohort of 24 students that you work with as you complete your coursework and clinical work over four years. All of the BSN tracks are very competitive and have limited availability, but with a job placement rate that ranges between 92% and 100%, it’s well worth applying.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 94.5%
  • Credit hours: 120
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisites with minimum 2.5 GPA, admission examination
  • Tuition: $444 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Yes (ACEN)

6. University of Northern Colorado

Located in Greeley, Colorado, the University of Northern Colorado is a public four-year college serving 12,000 students. The college has 19 Division 1 NCAA sports teams, and provides a traditional, big college atmosphere while maintaining an average class size of 25 – 35 students. In addition, it is ranked as one of the nation’s most affordable colleges.

Everything You Need to Become a Generalist RN

The University of Northern Colorado offers a BSN degree to become a generalist RN, with special training in adult health, obstetrical, pediatric, public health, and mental health. Participants in the program complete 1,000 clinical hours, meaning you’re ready to enter the world of being an RN when you graduate.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.9%
  • Credit hours: 125
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisites with minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Tuition: $6,072 per year
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)

7. University of Colorado College of Nursing

The University of Colorado College of Nursing is located at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado. The College of Nursing was established in 1920 and is one of the first nursing programs west of the Mississippi River. It enrolls over 950 nursing students each year, and is highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report in multiple nursing school categories, including the pediatric nurse practitioner, nursing-midwifery, and family nursing specialties.

High Education for Nurses

The University of Colorado offers multiple degrees in nursing, including a BSN, MSN, DNP, and PhD. The BSN program offers four tracks: a traditional track, an accelerated track, an online RN-to-BSN track, and an integrated program in conjunction with several community colleges. Whichever track you might choose, you’ll get an education at a pioneering, nationally ranked nursing school.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.5%
  • Credit hours: 126
  • Admission Requirements: 60 credit hours of prerequisites with minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Tuition: $378 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)

8. University of Colorado – Colorado Springs

The University of Colorado – Colorado Springs, located on 521 acres at the foot of Austin Bluffs, was established in 1965 and enrolls more than 10,000 students each year. It is ranked tenth among western regional public universities by U.S. News & World Report, and is military friendly, enrolling over 2,000 veterans, active military members, and their families.

A Well-Rounded Nursing Program

The Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences at the University of Colorado – Colorado Springs offers a wide variety of degrees, including BSN degrees, MSN degrees, nurse practitioner certificates, and an online doctor of nursing program. The BSN program is designed to provide you a well-rounded education and the clinical experience needed to become an RN generalist, preparing you both for the field of nursing and advanced degrees if you choose to continue your education.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.2%
  • Credit hours: 129
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisites with minimum 2.0 GPA, entrance exam
  • Tuition: $9,248 per year
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)

9. Pueblo Community College

Pueblo Community College is a two-year public college in Pueblo, Colorado that offers a variety of certificate and associate degree programs, including nursing. The ADN program at Pueblo Community College is a four-semester, 80-credit hour program meant to prepare you to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and become an RN.

Cutting Edge Facilities

The main Pueblo campus is comprised of eight buildings on 33 acres, and all the buildings are wireless and featured up-to-date technology. The nursing program has numerous learning labs with high and low fidelity mannequins. It also has a brand new simulation center at St. Mary Corwin Hospital. The experience you’ll gain at these cutting edge facilities will insure you are “work ready” after earning your ADN.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.6%
  • Credit hours: 80
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisites with minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Tuition: $3,672 per year
  • Accreditation: Yes (ACEN)

10. Colorado State University Pueblo

Colorado State University Pueblo is located in Pueblo, Colorado, in the southern part of the state in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The school enrolls approximately 5,000 students, and boasts small class sizes and an adventurous outdoor atmosphere that is fueled by the region’s climate, which features over 300 days of sunshine a year.

Earn a BSN No Matter How Little or Much Experience You Have

The nursing department provides a supportive and caring learning environment and provides opportunities for collaboration with regional healthcare agencies. The BSN program has multiple tracks, including a traditional track, an LPN to BSN track, an RN to BSN track, a paramedic to BSN track, and an accelerated track.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 89.5%
  • Credit hours: 120
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisite courses
  • In-State Tuition: $3,591 per term
  • Accreditation: Yes (ACEN)

11. Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University, located in Grand Junction, Colorado, is a public four-year college that was founded in 1925. The college is a comprehensive higher education institution, offering liberal arts, professional, and technical programs. It boasts an impressive 22 to 1 faculty to student ratio, and celebrates the nearby outdoor recreational opportunities and 300 plus days of sunny weather.

Multiple Degree Opportunities for Becoming an RN

Colorado Mesa University is unique in that it offers both ADN and BSN degrees, as well MSN and a Family Nurse Practitioner DNP. The ADN program is a bridge program for LPNs, whereas the BSN program is a traditional four-year program that provides a well-rounded nursing education.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.3% (BSN)
  • Credit hours: 126
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisite courses
  • In-State Tuition: $314 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Yes (CCNE)

12. Colorado Mountain College

Colorado Mountain College is a community college comprised of eleven campuses in western Colorado that serves more than 20,000 students. It has been recognized in the top 13% of all two year colleges in the nation for student performance and outcomes by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program.

Earn Your ADN and Then Your BSN Online

Colorado Mountain College is unique in that it offers both an ADN and an online RN to BSN program. The ADN program emphasizes experiential learning with clinical experience in various healthcare settings, including acute care hospitals, ambulatory care settings, physicians’ offices, clinics, and long-term care facilities. Perhaps the best thing about the nursing program at Colorado Mountain College is how affordable tuition is.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 88.2% (ADN)
  • Credit hours: 72
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisite courses with minimum 2.0 GPA
  • In-State Tuition: $57 per credit hour
  • Accreditation: Yes (ACEN)

13. Denver School of Nursing

Denver School of Nursing is a private college dedicated solely to educating students in the nursing field. It is unique in that it offers both ADN and BSN degrees. The college is located in Denver, within walking distance of Union Station and Larimer Square, and the campus is equipped with modern nursing labs.

Three Dedicated Nursing Programs to Choose From

Denver School of Nursing offers an ADN and two track to earn your BSN. The AND program is a six-quarter, 110-credit hour program, whereas the BSN program is a seven-quarter, 180-credit hour program. Both programs are designed to prepare you to pass the NCLEX-RN exam and become a successful RN.

  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.5% (BSN)
  • Credit hours: 180
  • Admission Requirements: prerequisite
  • In-State Tuition: $48,145 total
  • Accreditation: Yes (CBON)

Colorado Nursing Schools

No matter where you live in Colorado, there’s a nursing program nearby that’s right for you, and thanks to  the College Opportunity Fund, becoming an RN through a public college is more affordable in Colorado than most other states. With a great selection of programs and a promising career and a great salary (nursing salaries for different type of nurses) awaiting you, there’s no reason not to contact your school of choice and get enrolled now.

How The Schools Were Ranked

The top Colorado nursing schools were ranked based upon their student passing rates on for the NCLEX test for Registered Nurses. A weighted score was given to each school, based on their last five years of student scores, from 2010 to 2014, with the most recent years weighted more heavily.

NCLEX-RN scores are readily available and were obtained from the State of Colorado. In cases where NCLEX-RN scores were equal, rankings were based upon tuition rates for the nursing programs, with lower tuition rates warranting a higher ranking.

Information on job projections in the nursing field were based upon data from the United States Department of Labor.