10 Best Nursing Schools in Colorado

15 Min Read Published June 3, 2024
Beautiful lake view at sunset in Colorado

Colorado is one of the all-around top states for nurses and many Colorado schools have connections with local hospitals and healthcare centers. Keep reading to find out the top nursing schools in Colorado. 

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington’s online programs are designed to help you achieve more in your nursing practice with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. They offer convenient, flexible options for completing your RN to BSN or BSN online, both designed to fit into your busy schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Top 10 Nursing Schools in Colorado 

While one school may be perfect for one student, an entirely different university may provide the perfect nursing program for you. This is why it’s difficult to rank specific schools in any particular order.

This is a nurse panel-reviewed selection based on a number of factors, including,

  • Reputation
  • NCLEX pass rate
  • Tuition
  • Acceptance rate, when available
  • Only ACEN or CCNE-accredited schools are eligible 

Our selection panel includes 5 Registered Nurses with over 55 years of combined nursing experience and 7 nursing degrees.

  • Tracy Everhart, MSN, RN, CNS
  • Tyler Faust, MSN, RN
  • Chaunie Brusie, BSN, RN
  • Kathleen Gaines MSN, RN, BA, CBC
  • Leah Helmbrecht, BSN, RN

Because nursing careers take different forms, the top 10 Colorado nursing schools are ranked in no particular order.

In-State Tuition
$6,072 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$18,144 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

Adams State University is tucked between the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges. Adams State University offers the benefits of a public school (i.e., in-state tuition) but with the small class sizes you’d expect to find at a private school. This means that their BSN program is going to have smaller, more intimate classes than other Colorado schools.

Along with preparing you for the NCLEX, Adams also introduces nurses to the National Student Nurses Association, a group that can help launch your career once you graduate. The program boasts a 95% employment of graduates 90 days upon graduation and 95% of graduates felt they were adequately prepared to practice as a nurse generalist upon graduation.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 99%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 32%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $253
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $756
Contact Information:
  • Address: 208 Edgemont Blvd, Alamosa, CO
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 57%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $57,318

 

In-State Tuition
$8,736 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$25,992 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

The University of Colorado system extends to cities across the state, but if you’re interested in nursing, you’ll likely study in Denver’s state’s capital. The UC Denver BSN program is a 24-month degree option that includes summer education, so you can expect to be studying full-time during those two years. This takes place after your first two years of school, and it isn’t uncommon for students to begin their studies at a UC school in a different city. The work can be demanding, but you’ll be set to take the NCLEX by the time you graduate!

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 75%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 20%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $361
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $1,083
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1380 Lawrence Street, Lawrence Street Center, Suite 1400, Denver, CO
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 70%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $59,547

 

In-State Tuition
$12,036 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$12,036 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

CTU offers a fully online RN-to-BSN bridge program. The flexible class schedule allows ADN-trained nurses to continue working while earning their bachelor's. Throughout the program, students will take 180 credits in accelerated 5-week courses. 

Although students enjoy online coursework, they will have to complete some in-person clinical requirements at local healthcare facilities. By the program's end, students will build upon their foundational nursing education and work experience to prepare for more responsibility as nursing leaders. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Private
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 99%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $334
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $334
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1575 Garden of the Gods Road, Suite 100, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 46%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $73,446

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington’s online programs are designed to help you achieve more in your nursing practice with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. They offer convenient, flexible options for completing your RN to BSN or BSN online, both designed to fit into your busy schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Western Governors University

WGU's award-winning online programs are created to help you succeed while graduating faster and with less debt. WGU is a CCNE accredited, nonprofit university offering nursing bachelor's and master's degrees.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

In-State Tuition
$7,632 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$20,544 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is the only UC school outside of Denver that offers a BSN program. Students will earn their degree in beautiful Colorado Springs and receive one of the most comprehensive nursing educations available in the state.

Students won’t be in their nursing courses until the second semester when they join either the fall or spring cohort, depending on when they apply. From there, you’ll work toward your degree, complete with clinicals throughout your senior year. UC has a state-of-the-art Simulation Learning Center that trains nursing students on real-life scenarios and boasts partnerships with hundreds of hospitals across Colorado and multiple healthcare agencies. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 16%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $448
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $843
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 67%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $59,441

 

In-State Tuition
$4,755 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$4,755 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

Before you apply to Aspen University’s BSN pre-licensure program, you should know that even though this is a Colorado school, the entire program is offered at the Arizona campus. Yes, you’ll study in Arizona and be connected with some of the best hospitals in the greater Phoenix area. So, you’ll still get a quality education and be lined up for a potential career right out of school. Perhaps the only downside is that the BSN pre-licensure program costs much more than any other undergraduate program at Aspen. However, students are rewarded with a quality education. 

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 85%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $180
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $180
Contact Information:
  • Address: 4615 E. Elwood St., Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 50%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: N/A

 

In-State Tuition
$40,830 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$40,830 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

Regis University is a small Jesuit school located in Denver. As a private school, a higher tuition rate is expected; however, students will benefit from a lower student-to-faculty ratio. For nursing students pursuing a BSN, that means more individual attention during classes.

Once nursing students reach junior and senior years, they’ll start to spend time working in local hospitals to gain clinical experience. One big part of Regis’ nursing curriculum is Service Learning, which combines nursing education with volunteer work. With plenty of degree options and a high NCLEX pass rate, this is a good school for anyone interested in a private Catholic education.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Private
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 25%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $1,361
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $1,361
Contact Information:
  • Address: 3333 Regis Blvd, Denver, CO
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 72%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $63,140

 

In-State Tuition
$5,100 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$12,540 per year
Accreditation
ACEN
Online?
Yes

Affordability is a huge draw for Colorado Mountain College. The school recently avoided raising its tuition, and while in-state students get low tuition, students from the nearby area get access to even lower tuition.

Although CMC no longer offers an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree, it does offer a traditional BSN and an online RN to BSN pathway. The school also boasts an 89% first-time NCLEX pass rate, higher than the national average.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 100%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 25%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $283
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $605
Contact Information:
  • Address: 802 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 43%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: N/A

 

In-State Tuition
$8,261 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$21,983 per year
Accreditation
CCNE, ACEN
Online?
Yes

Colorado Mesa University prides itself on selectivity, which could be an issue for students looking to be accepted into the BSN program. But there’s a good reason for the tough competition applicants face. It’s a quality program and perhaps the best that students can find in Western Colorado. Any current RNs can also take advantage of their online RN to BSN option. There is also an LPN to BSN program available to students.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 82%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 7%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $295
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $785
Contact Information:
  • Address: 1100 North Avenue, Grand Junction, CO
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 76%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $60,746

 

In-State Tuition
$8,750 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$22,140 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
No

While the University of Northern Colorado is primarily a graduate school, nursing students can still find a quality BSN program. Designed to be completed over nine semesters, the BSN adequately prepares students for the NCLEX.

However, the program's real goal is to set students up to continue their education and earn a graduate degree in nursing. While this is not required, any future nurses who know they want to earn their master’s (MSN) or doctorate (DNP) may want to circle this school on their list.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Public
  • Acceptance Rate: 79%
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 17%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $332
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $873
Contact Information:
  • Address: Carter Hall - Rm 4000, Greeley, CO
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $93,076

 

In-State Tuition
$36,682 per year
Out-of-State Tuition
$36,682 per year
Accreditation
CCNE
Online?
Yes

As the name implies, Colorado Christian University is a religious institution. This impacts some of the courses required for the BSN degree. For example, students will be taught with a holistic approach, emphasizing compassion and morality. Of course, this won’t impact the quality of the BSN as a vast majority of graduates pass the NCLEX. CCU structured its BSN program for adults who aren’t already RNs but have previous work experience, although the program is also available to traditional students.

School Information:
  • Public or Private? Private
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Percent Enrolled Online: 59%
Tuition:
  • In-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $1,011
  • Out-of-State Tuition Per Credit Hour: $1,011
Contact Information:
  • Address: 8787 West Alameda Avenue, Lakewood, CO
  • Website
School Success:
  • Retention Rate: 83%
  • Median Earnings 2 Years After Completing a BSN: $63,005

Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

  • There are over 51,680 nurses employed in Colorado, and that number is projected to increase. 

  • Nurses in Colorado make an annual mean wage of $80,670.

Next Steps

After reviewing colleges and finding some that feel like a good fit, you’ll want to begin the application process. This can be a long process, but you’ll want to make sure you’re picking the perfect school for you.

  • Contact each school’s admissions offices. Admissions offices are there to help you, the prospective student, learn more about the school and, most importantly, the BSN program. Admissions counselors can find any information you need regarding the program, including any specific requirements that weren’t clear on the school’s website. Ask as many questions as you need.

  • Prepare your application. Every school has different requirements to be considered for admission, and each nursing program likely has additional requirements. Common requirements include:

    • ACT and/or SAT scores

    • High school transcript (GPA)

    • College entrance essay(s)

    • Letter(s) of recommendation

Additional materials may be required, so check with the admissions office early on during the process.

  • Submit your applications. Once your materials are together, you’re all set to apply. If any of the schools you’re applying to use the Common App, this step can be relatively easy. 

During this step, you should keep a note of the application deadline for each school, as well as any deadlines that might be related to the nursing program.

Important Considerations When Comparing Schools 

If choosing the right nursing school came down to one factor, then nobody would care about the rest. With that in mind, you shouldn’t choose a nursing school just because it has a high NCLEX pass rate or a high acceptance rate. Consider multiple factors prior to choosing your school, including:

  1. Annual tuition and total nursing program cost

  2. Financial aid, scholarships, and grants offered

  3. Cost of living on-campus or in the area

  4. Distance from hospitals

  5. School and nursing program acceptance rate

  6. NCLEX pass rate

  7. Type of program (BSN or associate degree)

  8. Program outcomes

  9. School’s accreditation (regional and national)

You should also check to see that schools are offering exactly what you’re looking for. Remember, the program you choose could alter the trajectory of your future nursing career. 

Why you should care about the nursing program’s accreditation

Nursing students who complete their studies at a non-accredited university will not be able to sit for the NCLEX. Therefore, they will face immense challenges in securing stable, well-paying jobs. Why? Because students who do not take the NCLEX are not eligible to work as Registered Nurses. 

The two nursing program accrediting organizations are,

These accrediting bodies ensure that all accredited nursing programs adhere to the same standard and criteria.

Every school on this list is accredited by one of these institutions, but other nursing schools may not be. Always double check.

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

Sponsored
Grand Canyon University
GCU’s RN-BSN program is tailored to meet the needs of the RN adult learner and to maximize the strengths that the working RN already possesses. Transfer up to 90 credits and earn a BSN in as little as 12 months. GCU’s online classes allow you to study at the times that work for your schedule while still enjoying a close connection with your classmates and instructor via online discussions.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Purdue Global

At Purdue Global, discover a faster, more affordable way to earn your Nursing degree. Purdue Global is committed to keeping your tuition costs as low as possible and helping you find the most efficient path to your degree.

Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, but certain programs have state restrictions. Check with Purdue for details.

The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington’s online programs are designed to help you achieve more in your nursing practice with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. They offer convenient, flexible options for completing your RN to BSN or BSN online, both designed to fit into your busy schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Liberty University
At Liberty, you’ll benefit from 30+ years of learning, growing, adapting, and innovating for the distance learner — and more than a decade of researching the needs of the online student. You can be confident that we’ve taken the time to learn what’s important to you.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide

Walden University
Walden’s online programs for nursing meet rigorous standards for academic quality and integrity, and the School of Nursing teaching faculty all hold doctorates. With three degree completion options, you can choose a bachelor’s in nursing path that makes sense for your busy, unpredictable schedule.
Accreditation
CCNE
Location
Online
Prerequisite
RN Required

Enrollment: Nationwide, excluding NY, RI and CT. Certain programs have additional state restrictions. Check with Walden for details.

Getting a License in Colorado

The great thing about Colorado is that it’s part of the Enhanced Nursing Licensure Compact (eNLC), meaning a nursing license in Colorado is sufficient to be a nurse in roughly 37 other states.

To become licensed, you’ll need to:

  • Pass the NCLEX-RN

  • Pass a criminal background check

  • Complete the Colorado nursing application 

And that’s it! Prior to this, you’ll need to be eligible for the NCLEX-RN. Fortunately, any accredited Colorado school should cover all prerequisites.

Conclusion 

From the wonderful location to the great pay, there are plenty of reasons to consider nursing in Colorado. There are also a variety of great schools to choose from where you can complete your BSN. Once you become licensed, you’ll be set to work as a nurse in Colorado and many other states.

Earn Your Nursing Degree Online
Sponsored

References:

BLS

Common App

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