Best Nursing Schools in Colorado: Top 15 Options For 2024

Looking to start or advance your career as a nurse in The Centennial State? Then this list of the best nursing schools in Colorado is the perfect place to start!

Reports suggest that the state requires 33,000 new nurses a year, but only graduates 24,000, leaving a deficit of 9,000 workers. This makes it an extremely in-demand career opportunity, which bodes well for those seeking stable employment options.

Better yet, it’s a compact nursing state. This means if you earn your RN license here, you can work in other compact states without obtaining additional licensure.

Now, Colorado boasts around 30 accredited nursing schools, making it a great place to begin or advance your education. However, with all those options, choosing the right one may seem a little overwhelming.

Fortunately, in this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best nursing schools in Colorado to make your search a little less daunting.

15 Best Nursing Schools in Colorado

According to the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, there are 16 approved ADN schools and 15 approved BSN schools in the state. Furthermore, there are 8 approved Practical Nursing certificate programs.

So, to help you narrow down your options, we provide critical information for the top 15 schools below. This includes location, accreditation, format, and the degree and certificate options available.

Finally, we provide NCLEX pass rate data directly from the state’s Board of Nursing. This includes both BSN pass rates and ADN pass rates for 2023.

1. University of Northern Colorado School of Nursing

University of Northern Colorado School of Nursing logo

2. Adams State University

Adams State University logo

3. Arapahoe Community College

Arapahoe Community College logo

4. Regis University (Loretto Heights School of Nursing)

Regis University (Loretto Heights School of Nursing) logo

5. Pueblo Community College

Pueblo Community College logo

6. Colorado Mountain College

Colorado Mountain College logo

7. Platt College

Platt College Colorado logo
  • Primary Location: Greenwood Village, CO
  • Accreditation: ACEN
  • Format: On-campus
  • Degrees Offered:
    • Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • NCLEX Pass Rate (2023): 90.77% (65 total exams taken)

8. Denver College of Nursing

Denver College of Nursing logo

9. Pikes Peak State College

Pikes Peak State College logo

10. Metropolitan State University of Denver

Metropolitan State University of Denver logo
  • Primary Location: Denver, CO
  • Accreditation: CCNE
  • Format: On-campus and online options available
  • Degrees Offered:
  • NCLEX Pass Rate (2023):
    • Traditional BSN Pass Rate: 95.83% (24 total exams taken)
    • Accelerated BSN Pass Rate: 100% (44 total exams taken)

11. Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mesa University logo

12. Colorado Technical University

Colorado Technical University logo

13. Front Range Community College

Front Range Community College logo
  • Primary Location: Westminster, CO; Fort Collins, CO
  • Accreditation: ACEN and CCNE
  • Format: Mostly on-campus, except for the RN to BSN program
  • Degrees Offered:
  • NCLEX Pass Rate (2023):
    • Larimer Campus Pass Rate: 98.36% (61 total exams taken)
    • Westminster Campus Pass Rate: 97.01% (67 total exams taken)

14. Morgan Community College

Morgan Community College logo
  • Primary Location: Fort Morgan, CO
  • Accreditation: ACEN and CCNE
  • Format: All on-campus, except for the online RN to BSN program
  • Degrees Offered:
  • NCLEX Pass Rate (2023): 90.63% (32 total exams taken)

15. Aims Community College

Aims Community College logo

What To Consider When Choosing Nursing Schools in Colorado

When narrowing down which nursing schools in Colorado may be right for you, there are a few key factors you should consider.

While we’ve provided information on many of these aspects above, some of the following items may require a little additional research on your end:

  • Accreditation: Ensures quality education, qualified instructors, and an up-to-date curriculum. Fortunately, all of the Colorado nursing schools in this article are accredited either by CCNE or ACEN, which are the two main accrediting bodies in the United States
  • Admission Requirements: Vary by school, but can include a minimum GPA, prerequisite courses, and test scores
  • Cost: Consider the cost of tuition and other expenses, and explore financial aid options like scholarships and grants
  • Program Format: Offers flexibility with options like full-time, part-time, on-campus, online, or hybrid formats to suit your personal circumstances
  • Program Length: The length of programs typically depends on your current education level, and the format of the program. For example, you can usually complete RN to BSN programs in as little as a year, whereas traditional BSN programs usually require four years to complete
  • Curriculum and Specialization: Be sure to check out the courses you’ll take throughout the duration of your program and see if they align with your interests. Additionally, ensure your chosen program offers your desired specialization when applicable
  • NCLEX-RN Pass Rates: High pass rates suggest effective preparation for the nursing licensure exam, indicating a school’s ability to prepare you for the demands of being a nurse

Is A Nursing School In Colorado Right For You?

Regardless of your current level of experience and education, there are plenty of great nursing schools in Colorado to choose from. 

From undergraduate programs, like ADN and BSN, to graduate options, like MSN and DNP, you’re sure to find something that fits your needs. You can even find plenty of LPN and Nurse Aide certificate programs if you’d like to dip your toe into the nursing world before committing to a lengthier degree.

Additionally, there are lots of program formats to consider, from traditional, on-campus options to more flexible online and hybrid ones.

Of course, if you didn’t see a school on this list that quite piqued your interest, you’re not limited to nursing schools in Colorado. To discover other possibilities, you may want to check out our rankings of the best online BSN programs or top online MSN programs.

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