RN Salary In Colorado 2024: How Much Do Nurses Make?

If you’re looking to start or advance your nursing career in a state celebrated for its natural beauty and lively urban life, you may be wondering what the average RN salary in Colorado is. 

So, in this guide, we’ll answer the question “How much do RNs make in Colorado?” In fact, we’ll cover everything from the average salary by city and cost of living to how The Centennial State stacks up against other states.

Better yet, this guide is tailored for everyone in the nursing field. Whether you’re a seasoned nurse contemplating a change in scenery or a student just beginning your registered nursing journey, we’ve got you covered. 

So, join us as we explore the lifestyle, experiences, and type of salary you can expect as an RN in Colorado.

What is The Average RN Salary in Colorado?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average RN salary in Colorado is $86,590.

However, keep in mind that salaries can vary widely depending on factors such as:

  • Years of experience
  • Specialization
  • The specific city or region within Colorado

Colorado RN Salary Adjusted for Cost of Living

To better understand the value of RN salaries in Colorado, it’s crucial to consider the state’s cost of living index. 

While the national average cost of living index is 100, Colorado’s index is slightly above at 105.1. This makes it the 17th highest overall cost of living in the United States.

You should also consider specific cost of living factors such as:

  • Grocery index: 101.4
  • Housing index: 113.6
  • Utilities index: 91.3
  • Transportation index: 105.2
  • Healthcare index: 100.4

Overall, Colorado ranks slightly above the national average cost of living in every category except utilities. However, with the exception of housing, most of the categories above are pretty close to the national average.

You should also keep in mind that Colorado has several urban areas, like Denver and Boulder, where cost of living tends to be more expensive. If you choose to live in a city like these you can expect a higher cost of living. On the other hand, if you choose a more rural area, you can likely expect a lower cost of living.

Depending on your needs and priorities, these cost of living adjustments can impact how far your salary will go while working as a nurse in Colorado.

Colorado rural vs urban landscape

Top-Paying Cities for RNs in Colorado

Several cities in Colorado stand out for their attractive annual salaries for RNs. Aspen tops the list, offering RNs an average annual salary of $108,190. Loveland follows in second, where RNs can expect to earn about $98,583 per year.

Other top-paying cities, including Caste Rock, Lakewood, Breckenridge, and Keenesburg, also offer competitive annual salaries, ranging from $94,155 to $96,543. 

These figures showcase the favorable compensation available to RNs across Colorado, making it an appealing option for those seeking competitive remuneration.

Here is a breakdown of the highest average RN salaries by city in Colorado according to ZipRecruiter:

CityAnnual RN Salary
Glenwood Springs$96,283
Wheat Ridge$95,174
Castle Rock$94,155

Comparing Colorado Registered Nurse Salaries to Other States

When comparing the salaries of registered nurses in Colorado to those in other states, it’s clear that Colorado offers a relatively competitive annual wage. With an average yearly salary of $86,590, Colorado falls in the middle range of the salary spectrum. 

States such as Washington, California, and New York boast significantly higher average RN salaries, at $101,670, $133,340, and $100,130, respectively. 

However, Colorado surpasses several other states, including Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina, where their average RN salaries are $79,910, $75,920, and $77,420, respectively.

While Colorado’s average RN salary may not be the highest, it still offers a respectable income, demonstrating the state’s commitment to fair compensation for nursing professionals. 

Additionally, Colorado’s increasing need for nurses indicates a positive job outlook. Meanwhile, quality of life and other benefits also contribute to its overall appeal as a desirable place for RNs to practice.

Comparing Colorado RN Salaries to Other Nursing Roles 

The earning potential of registered nurses in Colorado differs significantly from other nursing roles. This highlights the influence of specialization and level of responsibility on salaries. 

For instance, BLS reports that certified nurse anesthetists top the list with an impressive average annual salary of $185,860. 

Meanwhile, nurse practitioners earn an average of $116,440 annually, and nurse midwives follow closely behind with an average salary of $113,950. 

Licensed practical nurses (LPNs), who have a more limited scope of practice, earn an average of $60,310. Similarly, nursing assistants, who primarily provide basic patient care, earn a lower salary of $37,339 per year according to ZipRecruiter

These salary comparisons illustrate how varying levels of education, expertise, and responsibility affect average salaries across different nursing roles.

Unsurprisingly, more focused specializations and advanced practice nurses typically command higher salaries.

Factors that Affect Colorado RN Salaries

We just covered how different levels of experience and education can impact compensation. However, here’s a more extensive list of factors contributing to the variation in RN salaries in Colorado:

  • Location
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Position
  • Specialization
  • Performance
  • Certifications
  • Industry
  • Hazardous working conditions
  • Resident nursing vs travel nursing

Tips for Maximizing Your RN Salary in Colorado

If you’re an RN wanting to boost your earning potential in Colorado, here are several tips to consider:

  • Invest in education and acquire specialized certifications
  • Gain relevant experience and seek opportunities for advancement
  • Network within the healthcare industry to identify lucrative opportunities
  • Stay informed about job market trends and salary ranges
  • Consider exploring different locations within Colorado for potentially higher salaries or lower costs of living
  • Negotiate your salary during the hiring process or performance evaluations
  • Prepare for negotiations by researching local industry standards and emphasizing your qualifications
  • Keep track of your performance and strive for excellence to position yourself for salary advancements
  • Seek leadership roles or additional responsibilities to demonstrate your skills and dedication
  • Stay updated on industry changes and advancements to stay competitive

Implementing these tips can help you maximize your RN salary and achieve financial success in your nursing career in Colorado.

Benefits and Perks of Being an RN in Colorado

Colorado mountains

Registered nurses in Colorado enjoy numerous benefits that come with the profession, as well as some perks specific to the state of Colorado. Here are some of them:

  1. Career Stability: As we mentioned earlier, RNs in Colorado are in high demand and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. This leads to greater job stability and security.
  2. Diverse Work Settings: Nurses in Colorado have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, schools, and research institutions.
  3. Professional Development: Many Colorado hospitals and healthcare institutions support continuing education and professional development. For example, they may offer tuition reimbursement for nurses who want to pursue further qualifications or specialties.
  4. Outdoor Recreation: Colorado is renowned for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Nurses enjoy access to world-class hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities on their days off.
  5. Healthy Living: Colorado consistently ranks as one of the healthiest states in the U.S., thanks to its clean air, ample opportunities for exercise, and a culture that prioritizes wellness.
  6. Supportive Legislation: Colorado has been a leader in nursing legislation, with a law requiring hospitals to maintain nurse staffing committees. Overall, this helps support safe staffing ratios, which contribute to both patient safety and nurse job satisfaction.
  7. Flexible Scheduling: Many healthcare facilities in Colorado offer flexible and/or non-traditional work schedules, which can allow for a more balanced lifestyle.
  8. Travel Nursing Opportunities: Colorado’s diverse geography and range of healthcare facilities make it a popular destination for travel nurses who take temporary assignments in various locations.
  9. Benefits Packages: Many employers in Colorado offer comprehensive benefits packages that often include health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, maternity/paternity leave, and more.

The Bottom Line

After diving deep into the world of RN salaries in Colorado, it’s clear that the state offers a respectable income and considerable opportunities for growth for nurses.

With a variety of factors influencing earning potential—from the city you work in and level of experience to your area of specialization—Colorado is a promising location for both seasoned nurses and beginners in the field.

While the average annual salary of $86,590 may not be the highest in the country, it’s by no means the lowest. Remember, compensation is just one aspect of the job. 

You should also consider factors like cost of living and your desired lifestyle when deciding where to work. After all, with the state’s breathtaking natural beauty and recreational opportunities, it becomes evident that being an RN in Colorado is about much more than just a paycheck.

Overall, becoming an RN in Colorado promises a rewarding career, not only financially, but also in the breadth of experiences and potential for personal growth. 

So, whether you’re contemplating a move to the Centennial State or just starting your journey in the nursing field, Colorado could be the perfect place to take your nursing career.

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