Last Updated/Verified: June 28, 2021
The state of Colorado is a great place to begin a career in nursing. Becoming an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) is the easiest way to enter the industry without committing to the 4 years required to become a Registered Nurse (RN). LPNs will find that employment opportunities are plentiful all over the state from Denver to Colorado Springs and surrounding areas. The flexibility of nursing allows licensed vocational nurses to seek further education and professional development if they so choose.
LPN’s in Colorado Quick Facts
- LPN school typically takes 9-11 months to complete
- LPNs in Colorado earn an average annual income of $50,152
- The LPN job outlook is promising with a 9% increase by 2029
- In Colorado, LPNs make up 9% of all licensed nurses
- Colorado employs almost 5,000 LPNs
Colorado offers many options for LPN training programs at nursing schools, universities, and technical colleges throughout the state. The cities of Denver, Colorado Springs, Boulder, and Fort Collins offer the greatest potential opportunities for both training and employment as an LPN.
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Overview of LPN Schools in Colorado
Colorado has about 20 schools offering LPN courses with several that have been approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing. The number of opportunities allows students to find programs that best meet their needs. Some programs are limited to practical nursing certificates whereas others offer degree pathways leading to advanced nursing careers. Regardless, all schools make use of a similar curriculum that includes text-based learning, laboratory work, and clinical studies.
LPN programs cover the following topics:
- Patient care
- Nursing skills
- Infection control
- Specialty courses like neonatal or geriatrics
When considering an LPN program, prospective students must ensure that it is accredited, whether regionally by the Higher Learning Commission (HCL), nationally by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or National League of Nursing (NLN) Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA) or a combination. In Colorado, nursing students should attend courses that are approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing.
LPN Admissions Requirements
LPN admission requirements and eligibility vary from program to program. Potential students should contact individual institutions to verify the details. Most programs will require at least the following:
- Must be at least 17 years of age
- High school diploma, GED, or equivalent
- Completion of prerequisite courses
- Minimum GPA of 2.5
- CNA, medical assistant, or other healthcare experience
- Proficient score on TEAS aptitude exam
- Complete a criminal background check
- Pass a drug screening test
Tuition & Costs
The costs to complete an LPN program varies widely from school to school. Colorado Northwestern Community College offers programs costing only $153 per credit hour. In contrast, you’ll pay $244 per credit hour at Morgan Community College. Students are responsible for tuition along with school supplies, course fees, and living expenses; however, scholarships, grants, and other financial aid may be available.
LPN Licensing Requirements in Colorado
In Colorado, completing a practical nursing certificate program is a fast way to begin a career as a licensed nurse. Students may also have the option of enrolling in an associate’s degree program. After completing the first year along with any additional required courses, students become eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam and apply for licensure. They have the option of exiting the program or continuing on to earn a degree.
Checklist to become a Colorado LPN:
- Complete a board-approved nursing program
- Apply for licensure with the Colorado Board of Nursing
- Pass the NCLEX-PN exam
- Become CPR certified
Colorado-licensed LPNs are required to renew their licenses every two years. Contact hours are not required for renewal in Colorado.
Graduates of an LPN program must pass the NCLEX-PN exam in order to become licensed in Colorado. This exam is administered by the National Council Licensure Examination. Skilled nursing graduates will be tested on five main categories: safe and effective care environment, safety and infection control, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. A passing grade is required for all new nurses to obtain their license.
LPNs from other states can become licensed through endorsement. Candidates must show proof of licensing in another state. Applications entering Colorado from outside the US must submit the CGFNS Credential Evaluation Service Professional Report.
LPN Salaries in Colorado
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) in the state of Colorado earn an average annual income of $50,152, which is a little higher than the national average of $48,820. Colorado LPNs make an average of $8,625 in overtime per year.
Here are the average salaries of LPNs in Colorado’s major metropolitan areas:
- Denver-Aurora-Lakewood: $56,490
- Colorado Springs: $57,090
- Fort Collins: $52,870
- Greeley: $60,290
- Boulder: $54,590
Salaries for LPNs will vary based on several factors besides geographical location. Some nursing fields pay more than others. For example, LPNs working in surgical hospitals make more than those working in general practice or pediatrics. Nurses with more experience or who work night shifts and weekends often earn a higher paycheck.
Job Outlook for LPNs in Colorado
As the U.S. Baby Boomer population and other health issues increase, so does the field of nursing. The job outlook for all nurses in Colorado is solid. In particular, there is a high demand for nurses working with geriatric populations in nursing homes and with home health organizations. Program graduates will find that employers are offering incentives including sign-on bonuses, flexible schedules, educational assistance, student loan reimbursements, and other benefits to attract new nurses to the field.
In the U.S., the job outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses and Licenses Vocational Nurses is estimated to increase by 9% by 2029. Colorado currently has 4,960 licensed LPNs with a location quotient of 0.40, which is much lower than the national average for employment distribution. In 2020, employment for LPNs grew by 20% in Colorado and is expected to continue to grow to 31.4% by 2024. Because 47 of the 64 counties in Colorado are rural, there is a need for nurses in these underserved areas.
Top LPN Schools in Colorado
Delta, CO 81416
The Practical Nursing program at the Technical College of the Rockies is accredited by the ACEN. Nursing students at this college have NCLEX-PN exam pass rates that exceed national averages. Students can complete this 36-credit program and receive certification in two semesters. The program focuses on teaching students about caring for the sick, rehabilitation and prevention.
920 Barlow Rd.
Fort Morgan, CO 80701
Morgan Community College (MCC) offers an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) Program at their campus in Fort Morgan, Colorado. The program is accredited by the ACEN. Students who have completed the first year of the degree have the option to take the 4-credit class Practical Nursing course for LPN certification. After completing the 47 credit hours of the LPN Exit Program, students become eligible to sit for the licensure exam. Since 2015, MCC has achieved a 100% pass rate for the NCLEX-PN.
1802 Colorado Ave
La Junta, CO 81050
Otero offers a DN (RN) Program with an exit option for students desiring to complete requirements to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Students who complete two semesters will receive their PN Certificate and have completed all requirements to take the NCLEX-PN exam. This college offers a traditional program and a non-traditional evenings/weekends program for those who need a more flexible schedule. Otero Junior College is accredited by the ACEN.
5900 S. Santa Fe Drive
Littleton, CO 80120
Arapahoe Community College offers a Practical Nursing Certificate (LPN) for those who’ve been accepted into the AAS-Nursing registered nursing program. This alternative Nursing Pathway Option allows students to earn their licensure to practice nursing following the completion of 47 credit hours during their first two semesters and a summer course. This program is accredited by the ACEN, and the college reports a 97% job placement rate for graduates.
1100 North Ave
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Colorado Mesa University boasts a 96% NCLEX_PN pass rate, 95% job placement rate, and 96% nursing program completion rate averaged out over five years. Their professional certificate program is accredited by the ACEN. Students attend classes from August through May after which they can take the licensure exam. Graduates are prepared for LPN careers in clinics, hospitals, and long-term care facilities.
4616 S. Shields Street
Fort Collins, CO 80526
The Practical Nursing Certificate Program can be completed in three semesters. A total of 43 credit hours are taken at the Larimer Campus. Students obtain their certificates and are eligible to take the licensure exam. Front Range Community College has held a 100% pass rate for the past couple of years. Graduates are well-equipped to work as LPNs under the guidance of a registered nurse, physician, or dentist.
1860 Lincoln St
Denver, CO 80203
The Emily Griffith Technical College offers a Practical Nursing Program that is accredited by the ACEN. The program is one of the oldest of its kind in the state of Florida. Students have the option of completing the full-time program in 11 months or the part-time program in 18 months. Graduates meet the requirements to take the LPN exam and can also quality for IV certification after completion of the IV Therapy course.
2801 West 9th Street
Craig, CO 81625
Students apply for and complete the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Nursing Program in preparation to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). After completion of two semesters and a practical nursing course, students become eligible to take the exam for licensure. At that point, graduates can obtain employment as an LPN or complete the AAS degree. Colorado Northwestern’s program is accredited by the ACEN.
5675 S. Academy Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80906 USA
Pikes Peak Community College is the largest and most diverse in the area. It claims to be the number one rated nursing program in the country. Students who complete the first year of the Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) Program and the practical nursing course can opt for the LPN exit option and take the NCLEX-PN exam. The pass rate for Pikes Peak students taking the exam was almost 99% in 2020. This nursing program is accredited by the ACEN.
2401 S Main St
Lamar, CO 81052
Lamar Community College is the smallest of its kind in the Colorado system, but size doesn’t matter in this case. The college was founded in 1937 and continues to make a great impact in the community. Their Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree program prepares students for entry-level positions in nursing. At the completion of the first year, students have the option of taking the NCLEX exam to become an LPN.
Prospective nursing students can explore the following resources for more information about becoming an LPN in the state of Colorado:
1560 Broadway, Suite 1350
Denver, CO 80202
The Colorado State Board of Nursing is responsible for enforcing Nurse Practice Act statutes, rules, and policies. In addition to nurses, it also oversees the education, licensing, and enforcement of nurse aids and psychiatric technicians.
111 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2900
Chicago, IL 60601-4277
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) is a non-profit organization that brings together nursing regulatory bodies. It is responsible for matters pertaining to public health, safety, and welfare. The NCSBN is also involved in the development of examinations for nursing licensure.