In our Colorado RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Colorado RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Colorado, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

The new healthcare reform is helping to transform the healthcare system across Colorado. Some of the best nursing schools can be found here. These schools are responding by offering programs nurses need in order to be the most successful in their careers.

Many nurses are seeking out RN to BSN programs in Colorado in order to meet the demands of the evolving market. Up until recently nurses took a backseat position in terms of health care. In today’s market, nurses are making more and more healthcare decisions.

The RN to BSN programs in Colorado offer flexible hours in order to avoid conflict with work schedules. There are also online nursing programs available, which make returning to school even more attainable.

Colorado RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs1717
Average NCLEX Passing Rate85.13%87.31%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range69.95% to 99.34%68.69% to 93.86%
Average Net Price$11,577.80$17,463.00
Average Net Price Range$8,456.00 to $21,868.00$9,646.00 to $37,350.00
Average Student Loan$9,522.19$16,530.47
Average Student Loan Range$5,500.00 to $24,364.00$6,587.00 to $42,625.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for Colorado StateBSN Rankings for Colorado State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Colorado

Best Ranked RN Programs in ColoradoTo help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Colorado and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 15 ADN degree programs and 11 BSN degree programs in Colorado. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Colorado to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

CO Rank
US Rank
Offered As:
98.74 ADNPikes Peak Community College119 Colorado Springs

Pikes Peak Community College is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  They offer an RN program and a dual enrollment RN to BSN program.  Their RN program is unique in that students enrolled may exit with their LPN at a designated point in the program rather than continuing for the full program if they so choose.  The dual enrollment program allows the RN student to also take classes towards their BSN while working towards their ADN.  This would allow the student to first obtain their ADN but still have credits for their BSN after completion of the program.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
95.56 ADNArapahoe Community College2128 Littleton

Arapahoe Community College is located in Littleton, Colorado.  Arapahoe Community College offers an LPN program, an ADN program, and an LPN to ADN program.  They also have partnerships with three neighboring universities, which allows their graduates to easily gain entrance into a BSN program after completion of the ADN program.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
94.69 ADNColorado Mountain College3166 Glenwood Springs

Colorado Mountain College is located in various locations throughout Colorado.  They offer both an ADN and a BSN program at their Breckenridge and Spring Valley locations.  Having the BSN program on-campus allows their students to continue for their BSN degree immediately after obtaining their ADN degree.

PublicCampusACEN, CCNESee School Details
93.85 ADNFront Range Community College-Westminster4205 WestminsterPublicCampusACENSee School Details
92.87 ADNDenver College of Nursing5248 DenverPrivate For-ProfitCampus, OnlineSee School Details
91.79 ADNAims Community College6289 GreeleyPublicCampusACENSee School Details
90.36 ADNMorgan Community College7346 Fort Morgan

Morgan Community College is located in Fort Morgan, Colorado.  They offer an RN program and an advanced placement option, which allows LPNs to apply for entrance into the RN program, skipping the initial semester.  They also offer an exit option, allowing the student to exit at a designated point in the program with a licensed practical nursing certificate.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
89.77 ADNOtero Junior College8370 La JuntaPublicCampusACENSee School Details
87.15 ADNTrinidad State Junior College9471 TrinidadPublicCampusACENSee School Details
84.25 ADNColorado Northwestern Community College10546 RangelyPublicCampusACENSee School Details
81.75 ADNPueblo Community College11602 Pueblo

Pueblo Community College is located in Pueblo, Colorado, although they have multiple campuses.  Their nursing program is located in three out of four of their campuses.  They offer an RN program and an LPN to RN program.  Their programs are offered once yearly and they admit 36 students into their program.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
79.52 ADNNortheastern Junior College12631 SterlingPublicCampusACENSee School Details
62.12 ADNLamar Community College13710 Lamar

School Template Short-Codes:

School Averages:

  • School: ADN Average Score:
  • School: BSN Average Score:

School State Rank:

  • State: School ADN Rank:
  • State: School BSN Rank:

School National Rank

  • National: School ADN Rank:
  • National: School BSN Rank:

Current Codes:

  • State Average ADN NCLEX Passing Rate: : N/A” format=”inline_normal”]%
  • State Average BSN NCLEX Passing Rate: : N/A” format=”inline_normal”]%
  • National NCLEX passing rate for ADN programs: 85.48%
  • National NCLEX passing rate for BSN programs is 87.22%


  • School Name:  [school]
  • Control (Public, Private. . . ): n/r*
  • City: [city_name]
  • State Full Name: [state_full_name]
  • Program Accreditation(s) (ACEN and/or CCNE): neither ACEN or CCNE
  • Degree:
  • Type (online, campus, hybrid):
  • Levels offered by school:
PublicCampusACENSee School Details
97.00 BSNColorado State University-Pueblo167 Pueblo

Colorado State University – Pueblo is located in Pueblo, Colorado.  This university offers various options for their BSN students – they offer a traditional option and an ADN to BSN option.  However, they also have an LPN to BSN program, a Degree Plus to BSN option (allows students with prior degrees to obtain a BSN degree) and a paramedic to BSN option.

PublicCampusACME, COASee School Details
95.79 BSNDenver College of Nursing2112 DenverPrivate For-ProfitCampus, OnlineSee School Details
94.95 BSNUniversity of Northern Colorado3146 Greeley

University of Northern Colorado is located in Greeley, Colorado.  UNC has a diverse student population; 87% of its population is from Colorado, with 58 of its 64 counties represented.  47 out of 50 states currently have students studying there.  In addition, 34 countries are represented at UNC.  In addition, their nursing program is over 50 years old.  Their nursing program offers a BSN option and an RN to BSN option.

PublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
92.62 BSNUniversity of Colorado College of Nursing (Traditional)4245 Denver

University of Colorado Denver is located in Denver, Colorado.  They offer a few different options for their BSN students.  They offer a traditional BSN program.  They also offer an RN to BSN program, which is an online program.  This online program is also available to non-Colorado residents.  They also offer their “integrated nursing pathway” program, which is a collaboration with various local community colleges.  This allows students with an ADN to take their first two semesters of their BSN program at their local college, finishing up at the main campus.

PublicCampus, OnlineACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
91.96 BSNRegis University-Choice5270 DenverPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
91.73 BSNColorado Christian University6277 Lakewood

Colorado Christian University is located in Lakewood, Colorado.  They offer a pre-license BSN program (designed for students without a nursing degree) and an RN to BSN program, which is offered online.  This program is offered online as a courtesy to its students, so that they do not have to travel to class as these students often have busy lives.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
90.24 BSNUniversity of Colorado at Colorado Springs - Traditional7320 Colorado Springs

University of Colorado – Colorado Springs is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  The Beth-El College of Nursing offers a traditional BSN program, an RN to BSN option and an Allied Health Completion Program, which allows those who hold a degree in an Allied Health to enroll for a BSN degree.

PublicCampus, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
89.98 BSNMetropolitan State University of Denver (TNO)8329 Denver

Metropolitan State University of Denver is located in Denver, Colorado.  They offer various BSN choices: a traditional nursing option (TNO), an accelerated nursing option (ANO) and baccalaureate registered nurse completion option (BRNCO).  The ANO option is designed for students with a previous bachelor’s degree (non-nursing) and the BRNCO option is designed or students already holding an ADN degree and RN license.

PublicCampus, OnlineACME, COASee School Details
85.12 BSNAdams State University9441 AlamosaPublicCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
85.02 BSNPlatt College-Aurora10443 AuroraPrivate For-ProfitCampusACME, COASee School Details
83.23 BSNColorado Mesa University - Traditional11462 Grand JunctionPublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Colorado

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Colorado

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Colorado and research schools in Colorado offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties: Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Colorado  RN Licensing Requirements

RN License by Exam

There a few different ways one can obtain licensure in the state of Colorado. One of the easy ways to gain licensure is through the NCLEX examination. Along with a passing score, you also need to provide verification of graduation from an approved pre-licensure RN nursing education program.

RN License by Endorsement

Colorado allows candidates who are licensed from one of the fifty states to gain licensure through endorsement. Colorado is also a member of a nurse license compact in other compact states. The bordering states of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nebraska do not need to get a Colorado license if they take a position there. However, this changes if and when they move to the state. Nurses with license in non-compact states are not authorized to work in Colorado without first getting a new license. Out of state candidates may be required to take a refresher course. This applies to those who do not have a current license or have not taken the NCLEX-RN in the past two years.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Nurses who are not licensed in the United States must apply for license by examination. There are some steps that must be completed prior to this. First of all, all candidates need a Healthcare Profession and Science Report. This will determine if their education program meet the equivalent requirements. In countries where English is not the native language, nurses will need to demonstrate English competency.

Colorado Board of Nursing

1560 Broadway, Suite 880 Denver, CO 80202 Phone: (303) 894-2430 Fax: (303) 894-2821

RN Salaries in Colorado

There is a large expected increase of citizens who are over the age of 65. The healthcare reform will increase the patient load, which will require registered nurses to possess a high level of influence and knowledge of their skill. Hospitals are more likely to hire nurses with a BSN in order to meet the demanding needs of the industry. On average, an RN in Colorado makes more than $68,980.

Colorado Registered Nursing Salaries

Bolder, CO has the highest annual wage followed closely by Denver and surrounding area. And Denver, by a very large percentage, has the largest number of employed nurses in Colorado. Hourly salary range is between $27.98 and $34.69.
AreaEmploymentHourly median wageAnnual median wage
Boulder, CO2,570$34.69$72,150
Colorado Springs, CO5,230$29.93$62,250
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO25,420$34.20$71,130
Fort Collins-Loveland, CO2,130$30.45$63,330
Grand Junction, CO1,400$31.98$66,520
Greeley, CO1,460$32.44$67,470
Pueblo, CO2,000$30.25$62,910
East and South Colorado nonmetropolitan area1,170$27.98$58,210
West Colorado nonmetropolitan area1,720$29.27$60,880
Northcentral Colorado nonmetropolitan area880$33.44$69,560
Central Colorado nonmetropolitan area390$30.56$63,560
Source:, 2014 Data