10 Best Nursing Schools in Denver for 2021

The city of Denver, CO, has been on an upward trajectory for quite a while, making it a great place for nurses. According to the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence, the number of registered nursing jobs in Denver CO is plentiful. In fact, the site projects that the number of registered nursing jobs in Denver CO will grow throughout the years. For anyone looking to become a nurse or get credentials to improve their nursing careers, there are a number of excellent nursing schools in Denver.

One key factor to take into consideration with a nursing school in Denver CO is if the nursing school has accreditation. This recognization for a nursing school in Denver Colorado means that the school has undergone a rigorous investigation of the curriculum and passes standards. Top nursing schools in Denver Colorado have this because it’s necessary for a nurse to be able to take the test to earn his or her licensure.

How We Ranked the Best Nursing Schools in Denver

Because accreditation is crucial – you can’t take the NCLEX without an accredited degree – TopRN only features accredited nursing schools. To rank the best nursing schools in Denver, CO, TopRN editors focus on practical considerations like cost, student satisfaction, and the variety of opportunities the school offers.

1. University of Colorado Anschutz

One of the best nursing schools in Denver and the Denver metropolitan area is the University of Colorado Anschutz. The school has four types of BSN programs, as well as master’s programs, a DNP program, and a nursing PhD. There is a traditional BSN, an accelerated BSN, a program for RNs and AAS students, and a program for students attending community colleges in the area. The Master of Science in Nursing program has 12 different specialties to choose from. There is a BS to DNP program as well as a post-graduate DNP. There are three areas of focus available within the PhD program: biobehavioral sciences, caring science, and health care systems research.

The University of Colorado College of Nursing is driven by the future and steeped in history. The school uses advanced teaching methods and state-of-the-art technology on its Anschutz Medical Campus to prepare students for a successful career in nursing.

HIGHLIGHT: The UC College of Nursing was listed among the best graduate nursing programs for 2019 by US News & World Report.

Programs: BSN – DNP/PhD

2. Colorado Christian University

As one of the best nursing schools in Denver and the surrounding area, Colorado Christian University offers a pre-nursing to BSN program, an RN-BSN degree completion program, a Master of Science in Nursing, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. The BSN program is designed for students who are just beginning their nursing careers. Freshmen who enroll right after high school take the traditional path, which requires attending classes on campus. Adult students who have already gained some work experience are allowed to take their prerequisites online.

Colorado Christian University bills itself as Colorado’s flagship Christian university. The school is the leading Christian school in the Rocky Mountain region. CCU strives to produce well-equipped Christian leaders who are prepared to serve in popular culture, on the internet, in the entertainment world, in the media, and in local communities and churches.

HIGHLIGHT: The BSN and MSN programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Programs: BSN – DNP

3. Regis University

Next on the list of the best nursing schools in Denver is Regis University. This school offers several nursing programs from the bachelor’s level to the graduate level. The BSN is available as a traditional program, accelerated program, CHOICE program, or RN to BSN completion program. The Master of Science in Nursing has five concentrations to choose from. There is also an RN to MSN program and an MSN completion program for certified nurse practitioners. Doctoral students can pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice or a post-BSN to DNP program.

The Loretto Heights School of Nursing practices Jesuit values and emphasizes the importance of service to others. The school is values-centered and provides a quality nursing education to its students.

HIGHLIGHT: The BSN, MSN, and DNP programs at the Loretto Heights School of Nursing are accredited by CCNE.

Programs: BSN – DNP

4. Aspen University

As one of the best nursing schools in Denver, Aspen University offers programs at every level from bachelor’s to doctoral. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing is available as a pre-licensure program or an RN to BSN program. The Master of Science in Nursing is also available as a traditional program or an RN to MSN program. Either way, there are five specialties to choose from: public health, nursing education, administration and management, informatics, and forensic nursing. The school also offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice for students who wish to advance their education further.

The School of Nursing and Health Sciences offers flexible scheduling and online options for working nurses who want to earn a degree. Students learn the skills they need to be able to practice as professional Registered Nurses.

HIGHLIGHT: Aspen’s RN to BSN and RN to MSN programs are offered online.

Programs: BSN – DNP

5. Denver College of Nursing

Denver College of Nursing is also one of the best nursing schools in Denver. This school offers an Associate Degree in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, an RN to BSN program, and a Master of Science in Nursing. Before entering the BSN program, students must complete the prerequisites. Once in the program, there are seven quarters of nursing courses to complete. The program contains both clinical and didactic elements. The BSN completion option is for students who decided to go into nursing after completing an associate or bachelor’s degree in another discipline.

Denver College of Nursing believes that good nurses are essential to the future of healthcare. The school provides a quality education and encourages students to participate in service activities. Denver College of Nursing is all about nursing. There are no other programs to distract the school from its focus of nursing.

HIGHLIGHT: The RN to BSN and Master of Science in Nursing programs are offered online.

Programs: ADN – MSN

6. Arapahoe Community College

Arapahoe Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing completion program. The completion program is designed for Registered Nurses or AAS students who want to pursue a dual degree. Dual enrollment students can take some of the courses online. There are practicums that must be completed in person. This program is intended to promote life-long learning, enhance nurses’ leadership skills, increase nurses’ perspective of current clinical practices, and increase the value of their nursing education.

Arapahoe Community College got its start in 1965. It was the first junior college in the Denver metro area. ACC is affordable and accessible for all students. The school provides a quality education and offers more than 100 certificate and degree programs.

HIGHLIGHT: Arapahoe’s nursing program is approved by the State Board of Colorado Community College Occupational and Education Programs.

Programs: AAS – BSN

7. Front Range Community College

Front Range Community College offers an LPN-to-ADN program, an AAS in Nursing for students who want to become RNs, and an RN-to-BSN completion program. The LPN-to-ADN program is for LPNs with at least one year of work experience. The AAS in Nursing prepares students for entry-level RN positions in healthcare settings. The program is approved by the Colorado Board of Nursing. For students who are already RNs, there is the RN-to-BSN completion program. Students must have an ADN and a current nursing license to be admitted to the program.

At Front Range Community College, the school’s top priority is the success of its students. FRCC is committed to helping its students find their purpose and reach their goals. The school connects students to peers and mentors with related interests and helps each student develop a plan to reach his or her goals.

HIGHLIGHT: Students who complete the AAS in Nursing are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam.

Programs: ADN – BSN

8. Metropolitan State University of Denver

Metropolitan State University of Denver offers three pathways to the BSN degree. There is the accelerated nursing option, the traditional nursing option, and the baccalaureate registered nurse completion option (BRNCO). The accelerated option is a 17-month program for students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree in another discipline. The traditional program is for students without a bachelor’s degree. The BRNCO is for Registered Nurses who want to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Students must have a current RN license that is unencumbered in order to enroll.

Metropolitan State University of Denver has been pushing the boundaries of education for over 50 years. The school provides real-world experiences to empower its students to improve their careers and their lives. MSU Denver jump-starts its students’ careers by providing access to professional networks and internships. Over 95% of the school’s students are from Colorado.

HIGHLIGHT: The BRNCO program is completely online.

Programs: BSN

9. Platt College

Platt College offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing that meets the standards of The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing Practice. These standards include five competencies: the nursing process, nursing informatics, professional standards, evidence-based practice, and interprofessional communication and collaboration. Students must be able to demonstrate competency in all of these areas in order to graduate. Students learn nursing diagnosis, how to provide care in diverse settings, patient care technology, maintaining ethical standards, and much more.

Platt College is committed to student success above everything else. The school strives to prepare students to work as nurses. The faculty is supportive and works hard to mentor students and help them succeed. Platt’s graduates are known for working with vulnerable people and for giving back to the community. Students learn to be independent thinkers who stay informed and make a difference in the community.

HIGHLIGHT: The BSN program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Programs: BSN

10. Community College of Denver

The Community College of Denver has an agreement with the University of Colorado College of Nursing to offer an integrated nursing pathway. The program requires students to take two semesters at CCD and then complete their bachelor’s degree at the UC College of Nursing. The program is cohort-based and accepts 15 students each year. These students advance through the program together and become close friends who study together and support each other throughout the duration of the program.

The programs at the Community College of Denver are designed to make a difference in the economic, civic, and social aspects of our world. CCD is committed to being accessible, especially to minority students and first-generation college students. Over 60% of the students at CCD are first-generation students.

HIGHLIGHT: Students in the integrated nursing pathway earn an associate degree from CCD and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado.

Programs: Nursing Pathway

How Do I Choose a Nursing School in Denver?

First and foremost, a person wants to look at the nursing schools in Denver Colorado that he or she may attend. Then, he or she wants to read about each of the nursing schools in Denver CO on their websites to see if the school is appealing. Once a person has narrowed down his or her selection to a few nursing schools in Denver Colorado, he or she should read about the graduation rate and compare the school’s ranks.

When a person is looking into nursing schools in Denver CO, he or she should also look into the price of tuition. Although many options exist to help make a nursing school in Denver Colorado affordable, a person wants to look for a school that’s a reasonable price in case he or she has to take out student loans to cover the cost of tuition.

While a person is looking into nursing school in Denver Colorado, he or she should also look into reviews online from previous students. While a person may notice a few negative reviews about any nursing school in Denver Colorado, he or she should look for a nursing school in Denver Colorado that has few reviews.

How is the Job Market for Nurses in Denver?

The number of nursing jobs in Denver CO is expected to grow due to the health care reforms that were made in previous years. Additionally, nurse jobs in Denver CO will grow increase due to the number of nurses who are expected to retire. As the baby boomer generation retires, there will be more nurse jobs in Denver CO opening up. Another factor a person should take into consideration when thinking about the registered nursing jobs in Denver Colorado is the growing population of older individuals who will need nurses to care for them.

A person should also think about the fact that registered nursing jobs in Denver Colorado are always available. With the anticipated growth for nurse jobs in Denver Colorado, a person who is looking for nursing jobs in Denver CO will more than likely be available.

Additionally, an individual should be able to find nurse practitioner jobs in Denver. These nursing jobs in Denver Colorado are also anticipated to grow. These nurse practitioner jobs in Denver are expected to grow because of the growth of the healthcare industry in Denver. Additionally, certified nursing assistant jobs in Denver CO will grow tremendously due to the elderly population.

How Much Do Nurses Make in Denver?

A registered nurse salary in Denver Colorado is $30.80 per hour. This registered nurse salary in Denver Colorado is equivalent to $64,064 per year. The registered nurse salary in Denver Colorado may vary slightly, though. For instance, the nurses salary in Denver Colorado may be higher for nurses who have a specialty or more experience. A person may also may more money working in certain environments. A nurses salary in Denver Colorado, especially a registered nurse salary in Denver CO may vary from employer to employer.

The average nurse practitioner salary in Denver CO is equal to $94,366. This nurse practitioner salary in Denver CO is the same as $47.18 per hour. Just like the registered nurse salary in Denver CO, a person may make more money if he or she has a specialty. He or she may make more money depending on where he or she works.

When compared to the national average registered nursing jobs in Denver, the average salary in Denver is slightly lower. The median annual nation wage for registered nurses was $73,300 per year. The national average salary for a nurse practitioner in the United States was $115,800 per year, which is the same as $55.67. This rate is slightly lower than what the national average is. Keep in mind though that the cost of living is slightly lower in Denver and Colorado in general than in the United States as a whole. Additionally, a person can meet the national average for salary for nurses by maintaining a position with the same employer and growing his or her salary. Additionally, a person can take on leadership roles that can also elevate his or her salary to meet the national average for registered nurse salaries.

Related Rankings:

Best Online RN to BSN in Colorado

RN to BSN Programs in Colorado

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Top 10 Highest Paying States For Registered Nurses

Top 25 Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses