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Navigating the Nursing Profession in Colorado

Updated: Aug 21, 2022



Let us help you land on your dream job here in Colorado! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in Colorado, and more!

 

Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Colorado

  • Popular hospitals in Colorado

  • Nursing associations in Colorado

  • Contact details

 

Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. For more details, visit the Colorado licensing page.


*Fees may change without any notice.

Colorado allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses because it is one of the nursing compact states in the country.

 

Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the Colorado Board of Nursing website. Colorado has a Verification page for you to verify your license. The expiration of Colorado RN and APRN is every September 30th yearly and depends on the date of its issuance.

  2. Apply for your renewal process by going to the Colorado Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information.You will not be allowed to apply for a licensure in Colorado if your Primary State of Residency is in another compact state. You must declare that Colorado is your Primary State of Residency.

 

Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

Per the Colorado Board of Nursing, nurses (RN, LPN, ARPN) are not required to take any continuing education units for them to maintain their Colorado nursing license, but APRNs must maintain national certification. Please be guided that some employers may require you to have CEUs.

 

Licensing and Certification


Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. Roughly you will spend 4-5 years to earn this degree. For ADN graduates, there are certain programs that lead you to BSN and it will only take you 12-18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. The said programs will let you save a bunch of money and time and you can easily take chances to be on your dream job.


Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1)health promotion and maintenance; (2)safe and effective care environment; (3)physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.


Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.

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Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Colorado

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is currently $80,670.

Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if Colorado is the right place for you.

 

Popular Hospitals in Colorado

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in Colorado or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in Colorado. Here are some of them:

  • UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital – (Aurora, CO):

    • Regionally ranked #1 in Colorado and in Denver

    • Nationally ranked in 8 adult specialties specialties

    • Rated high performing in 3 adult specialties and 16 procedures and conditions

    • A general medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

    • Top specialties include Conditions related to cancer, Cardiology & heart surgery, Diabetes & endocrinology, Nephrology, and Neurology & Neurosurgery

  • UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies – (Loveland, CO):

    • Regionally ranked #2 in Colorado

    • Rated high performing in 2 adult specialties and 13 procedures and conditions

    • A general medical and surgical facility

    • The hospital’s specialties include Cardiology & heart surgery, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics

  • SCL Health Saint Joseph Hospital – (Denver, CO):

    • Regionally ranked #3 in Colorado and #2 in Denver

    • Rated high performing in 1 adult specialty and 11 procedures and conditions

    • A general medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

    • The hospital’s specialties include Colon & lung cancer, Cardiology & heart surgery, Orthopedics, and Pulmonology & lung surgery

  • SCL Health St Mary’s Medical Center – (Grand Junction, CO):

    • Regionally ranked #7 in Colorado

    • Rated high performing in 7 adult procedures and conditions

    • A general medical and surgical facility

    • The hospital’s specialties include Cardiology & heart surgery, Gynecology, Nephrology, and Neurology & Neurosurgery

  • UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital – (Fort Collins, CO):

    • Regionally ranked #4 in Colorado

    • Nationally ranked in 1 adult specialty specialty

    • Rated high performing in 1 adult specialty and 7 procedures and conditions

    • A general medical and surgical facility

    • The hospital’s specialties include Cardiology & heart surgery, Gynecology, Nephrology, and Neurology & Neurosurgery

*The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) awards Magnet Status to Hospitals that apply and meet certain criteria. This award is also considered as the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care.

 

Nursing Associations in Colorado

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in Colorado.

Colorado Nurses Association - “The mission of this institution is to be strong together for the advancement of the nursing profession and the improvement of health for everybody.”

Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence - “This organization is committed to building upon a foundation of evidence, the Center advocates for and provides professional education, leadership development, coaching, and data analysis to continually strengthen a diverse nursing and healthcare workforce.”

Colorado Organization of Nurse Leaders - “This association of nurses sees itself as an Innovative institution through engagement of nursing leaders in life-long learning, mentorship of current and future leaders, public and policy advocacy and strategic partnerships.”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.

 

Contact information

Colorado Board of Nursing

Phone: (303) 894-2430

Fax: (303) 894-2821

Email: dora_nursingboard@state.co.us

1560 Broadway, Suite 1350

Denver, CO 80202


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