LPN Programs in Colorado

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The nursing profession is booming across the US, including the state of Colorado. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reports 5,563 LPNs worked in the state in 2014 and by 2024, that number is expected to grow to 7,427. Reasons behind the increase in demand for LPNs include more healthcare services for an aging baby boomer population, a rise in chronic conditions, and higher numbers of insured individuals and families due to federal healthcare insurance reform. The potential for more nursing employment opportunities in Colorado makes it an ideal time to enroll in one of the state’s LPN programs. These programs usually take one to two years to complete, after which practical nurses can find work in a wide variety of medical settings across the state, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, and nursing homes. Read on to learn more about Colorado’s LPN programs, state licensure requirements, and LPN salary and employment.

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Top LPN Programs in Colorado

Methodology LPN Programs The top LPN programs listed in this state's ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including
  • Student-to-faculty ratio
  • In-state tuition
  • Graduation rate
Additional details for each school were included:
  • Count of programs available
  • Public and not-for-profit schools
  • Normalized on a 100 percent curve
The methodology used for tie-break is as follows... Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships). If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break
Pickens Technical College View School Profile Aurora, CO 77%
Colorado Mountain College View School Profile Glenwood Springs, CO 26%
Morgan Community College View School Profile Fort Morgan, CO 28%
Otero Junior College View School Profile La Junta, CO 36%
Northeastern Junior College View School Profile Sterling, CO 30%
Front Range Community College View School Profile Westminster, CO 20%
Colorado Mesa University View School Profile Grand Junction, CO 33%
Community College of Denver View School Profile Denver, CO 10%

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LPN Programs in Colorado Search Tool

Those who are ready to start working towards their LPN career should start searching for a state-approved LPN program to obtain the required education and training. In Colorado, LPN programs are typically offered at community colleges, private institutions, and vocational schools. The following search tool can help users filter their search based on individual preferences. Prospective students can also select their top choices for a side-by-side comparison of what each school has to offer. 

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Requirements for LPN Licensure in Colorado

Although all practical nurses must undergo the licensing process to qualify for employment, the requirements can vary by state. This section examines the licensing process, including renewals, in the state of Colorado.

Basic Eligibility

  • Must be at least 17 years old
  • Must hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete criminal background check and drug screen waiver

Education & Training Requirements

LPNs must complete a nursing degree program approved by the Colorado State Board of Nursing. Those who have graduated from an out-of-state nursing school must have completed a program approved by that state. Official transcripts must be submitted to the Board as evidence of successful completion. Immunizations and drug testing are both included in Colorado LPN programs.

Additional Requirements for Licensure

  • Apply for licensure with the Colorado State Board of Nursing and pay a fee of $88
  • Complete an Online Healthcare Professions Profile at the Colorado State Board of Nursing website
  • Complete an Affidavit of Eligibility
  • Answer a series of screening questions regarding criminal history or pending complaints against you
  • Pay a nonrefundable $200 registration fee to National Council of State Boards of Nursing for the National Council Licensing Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX) and earn a passing score
  • Obtain CPR certification
  • Submit fingerprints to the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation for a background check
  • Out-of-state LPNs who want to work in Colorado must submit the “Original Verification” form for proof of licensure and pay the applicable fee

How to Renew a License

Continuing education is not required by the Colorado State Board of Nursing for renewal. LPN licenses must be renewed every two years on September 30. A delinquency fee of $25 will be enforced for late renewals (October 1 to November 30). Failing to renew a license within the 60-day grace period will result in an expired license. LPNs with an expired license will be ineligible to practice until paying a fee and becoming reinstated.

Inactive LPNs must also go through the renewal process and pay the appropriate fee. If licensure has lapsed more than two years, the applicant must demonstrate competency and may be required to complete remedial or refresher courses.

Salary Trends for LPNs in CO

Salaries for LPNs are higher in Colorado than the national annual wages, but certain regions will experience higher salary potential than others. The following charts outline the areas of Colorado where LPNs earn the highest salaries.


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Top Paying Metropolitan Areas

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LPN Employment in CO

According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the number of LPNs in the state is expected to grow 25 percent from 2012 to 2022, which equates to 1,774 new jobs. Larger metro areas such as Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins will experience higher employment growth compared to smaller areas such as Grand Junction and Pueblo.

Top Locations for Employment

AreaTotal Employment (2014)
Colorado Springs760
East and South Colorado nonmetropolitan area360
Fort Collins-Loveland330
AreaTotal Employment (2014)
West Colorado nonmetropolitan area260
Grand Junction230
Central Colorado nonmetropolitan area100

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Employment of LPNs in Colorado

2012 6,170

2022 7,660

Average Annual Openings 300

Source: Projections Central


Colorado Board of Nursing-LPN

This site includes information on the licensing requirements for LPNs, including application forms and documents. Other helpful information for current and prospective LPNs includes an online checklist for the examination and license reactivation guidelines.

Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence

CCNE advocates for excellence in all nursing professions including LPNs. The site offers member access to courses and details about special nursing initiatives.

Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

This Department regulates nursing laws such as the Nurses Practice Act, which states rules for LPN students. Visitors can access the full version of the Nurses Practice Act from this page.

Colorado Nursing Articulation Model

Colorado Mesa University publishes a copy of the Colorado Nursing Articulation Model on this page. It is a statewide model that enables LPNs and other nurses to advance their education more easily through public, private, and proprietary nursing programs.

National Association for Practical Nurse Education and Service

NAPNES promotes and defends the practice, education, and regulation of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN), Practical Nursing Educators, Practical Nursing Schools, and Practical Nursing Students. Its members span the United States, including the state of Colorado.

National Council of State Board of Nursing

This page explains the Nurse Licensure Compact, a multi-state licensure program open to LPNs in Colorado and other states. LPNs that become licensed in Colorado have reciprocity in these other participating states.

National Federation of Licensed Professional Nurses

This LPN association supports the needs of nurses by providing continuing education opportunities, lobbying services, and an annual convention. NFLPN is located in Colorado Springs, CO.

National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties

NONPF is devoted to promoting quality nurse practitioner education at the national and international levels. The organization represents a global network of NP educators, including professionals located in Colorado.

Practical Nursing Education Approved Programs in Colorado

All of the approved programs offered for LPN students in Colorado are located on this page. It is published by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.

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