Colorado Nursing Programs

The state which offers North America’s premiere view of the splendor of the Rocky Mountains also offers over 40 nursing degree options to those who wish to care for the citizens of Colorado. The Centennial State is home to a plethora of top-notch universities which house acclaimed nursing schools, such as University of Colorado – Denver and Colorado State University – Pueblo.

The Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence is entirely dedicated to boosting the dwindling medical workforce, which currently is not meeting even the standing needs of the many hospitals and clinics within the state, much less meeting future standards. Refer to the Center for an in-depth look at Colorado’s nursing shortage, exactly who is needed to remedy it, and how your education can be a part of transforming the state and meeting the vital demand for healthcare.

Outlook for Colorado Nurses

Colorado has several factors which contribute to its rosy outlook for those in the nursing profession. First, it is one of the fastest growing states in the country, which means that its demand for care is rising in accordance. Secondly, Colorado has not suffered the unemployment downfall as harshly as many of its surrounding states have, and has managed to keep its employees well compensated.

Thirdly, the worldwide nursing shortage has hit Colorado doubly as hard as it has hit most other states. In fact, a third of Colorado’s current RNs will be retiring within the next decade, and the state is desperately seeking several thousand newly graduated nursing professionals to make up for this hole in an otherwise thriving system. Fewer than 50,000 total nurses are currently employed within the state at an average annual pay rate of between $44,000 for the 6000 LPNs/LVNs and $67,000 for the 41,000 RNs. This number must increase drastically in order to sustain the futures of the huge healthcare family of agencies like Centura Health.

Jobs, Licensing and Educational Resources for Colorado Nurses

Though there is an array of choices between LPN/LVN, CNA, and RN programs in Colorado, there are not as many upper-level training programs. Because there is a shortage of nursing instructors similar to that of nurses, the graduate programs in nursing such as the MSN are not as widely available as the more basic training, a factor that hopefully will change in the next few years as nursing and teaching positions are filled. Still, as Colorado’s dozens of hospitals, care providers, and treatment facilities are constantly hiring, a nurse with basic education and standard licensing will find no lack of job opportunities at major statewide institutions like the Memorial Health System.

The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies is the umbrella organization presiding over the Division of Professions and Occupations Nursing Board. This team serves both consumers and professionals by maintaining licensing standards throughout the state. Colorado is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, a multi-state agreement that enables 24 states to recognize and approve each other’s official nursing licenses. This is a convenient and helpful feature for those nurses transitioning into Colorado from another state who is part of the Compact.

Two independent agencies serve the nurses of Colorado by providing a forum and outlet for nursing advocacy and healthcare support specific to the state. The Colorado Student Nurses Association aids pre-professional students in diploma, Associate’s and baccalaureate educational programs to achieve their qualifications and transition into a rewarding career. The Colorado Nurses Association is an organization established by and for those who are dedicated to the profession and can benefit from networking with other individuals in the healthcare arena.

Average Salaries for Nurses in Colorado

Data from BLS 2012 10th Percentile 50th Percentile 90th Percentile
Registered Nurses $49,840.00 $67,010.00 $91,080.00
Licensed Practical Nurses $33,310.00 $44,450.00 $57,610.00


The US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook, Occupational Employment Statistics, and Employment Projections
The American Health Care Association
Kaiser Family Foundation
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Colorado Nursing Center