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Online ADN Programs in Colorado: Discover Top Schools for 2024

The vibrant state of Colorado has much to offer prospective nurses. Keep reading to learn more about some of the top online ADN programs in Colorado.

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Colorado is known for its beauty and active lifestyle, but did you know it also has a stronger than average demand for nurses? In fact, the state is facing a severe nursing shortage. Believe it or not, this means there has never been a better time to enter the field. To help encourage students to pursue and stick to careers in nursing, Colorado is offering incentives like tuition reimbursement and market pay increases to qualified candidates. There has never been a better time to pursue an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Colorado is an excellent choice.

Whether you’ve been a resident of Colorado for a while or are looking for a change in profession and scenery, this guide will help you explore the top online ADN programs the state has to offer. Learn more about key features — including NCLEX-RN exam pass rates, post-graduation licensure requirements, and more to help you decide which program works best for you and your goals. Get started by taking a look at our profiles of three of the best online ADN programs in Colorado for 2024.

Many Colorado colleges and universities offer ADN programs whose assignments, lectures, and instructor communication are facilitated almost entirely online. Keep in mind that even fully online ADN programs have some in-person requirements for clinicals that develop students’ hands-on skills. That said, let’s take a look at some of today’s best online ADN programs in Colorado designed with busy students like you in mind.

Aims Community College

The ADN program at Aims Community College combines lectures, labs, and internship experience to give students necessary medical knowledge and training to enter the nursing field. While this program is primarily offered in-person, the school does have three campuses to help reach students in more locations. Students interested in the ADN program at Aims Community College can apply online and, if accepted, complete online orientation modules before beginning classes on campus. Students can also complete general education courses online to better accommodate their busy schedules.

Over the course of this two-year program, students take courses in pharmacology, nursing fundamentals, and nursing specialties. The program is approved by the Colorado State Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Aims Community College partners with Career Advance Colorado to help qualified students cover costs for in-demand career training. After completing a one-week seminar at the end of their second year, students are prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). The program boasts a higher-than-average pass rate of 95%.

Front Range Community College

Front Range Community College (FRCC) is among the best nursing schools in Colorado for 2024. They have several nursing program options across two campuses to help make entering the nursing profession accessible to more students. Nursing students receive state-of-the-art training at the FRCC Health Care Careers Center.

The program is accredited by the ACEN and boasts an impressive NCLEX-RN pass rate of 98%, well above the 2023 national average of 87.7% for ADN programs. Students can complete their ADN in two years after completing five semesters of instruction. This program’s academic plan requires a full-time commitment from the beginning of the second semester through completion. Students can apply online and are taught by an experienced team of dedicated faculty. FRCC partners with local health systems and clinics to help their students gain valuable clinical immersion and hands-on training.

Key Features of Top Colorado ADN Programs Online

Like many of the best online ADN programs across the country, Colorado offers prospective nursing students many great opportunities. But it’s important to look for certain key features when exploring the myriad of options available today. Read on to learn about the most important components to consider when choosing an online ADN program in Colorado.


To demonstrate their commitment to providing quality education and training, nursing programs will seek accreditation. An accredited nursing program has certain standards in place that help prospective students — and their future employers — know that they will be well-prepared to enter the field of nursing upon graduation.

Clinical Placement Opportunities

Clinical placement opportunities provide students with necessary hands-on skills training. The clinical skills students acquire during these rotations help them grasp the practical application of their classroom knowledge. It also provides students with opportunities to interact with patients and learn to navigate the health system before they are expected to practice independently.

Graduation & Job Placement Rates

Reviewing a Colorado online ADN program’s graduation and job placement rate is a helpful way to measure a program’s quality and its graduates’ success. Well-rounded programs that support their students will have higher completion rates. Similarly, programs that support students leading up to and following graduation have better job placement rates than those that do not.

Licensure Approval

Students that successfully complete an ADN program that is in good standing with the Colorado Board of Nursing will have licensure approval. Licensure approval is important because it allows students the opportunity to register and sit for the NCLEX-RN exam shortly after graduating.

NCLEX Pass Rates

When reviewing online ADN programs in Colorado, be sure to check the programs NCLEX pass rate to see how well their students are being prepared for the national exam. Many ADN programs will feature their pass rates on their website. The Colorado Board of Nursing has an NCLEX Pass Rate page available where each of the state’s ADN programs can be found.

Certification & Licensure Requirements in CO

After selecting and completing an online ADN program in Colorado, you’ll need to take steps to officially obtain your nursing license. It pays to know what these are before you begin your degree. Colorado has specific requirements nurses must meet and maintain to continue to provide safe, quality care to patients. Let’s look at some of these important requirements.

Continuing Education

Currently, the state of Colorado has no continuing education (CE) requirements for nurses. Even though the state itself doesn’t require CEs, it is important to check with your prospective employer, because they may require CEs as a condition of your employment. Colorado does participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) meaning that nurses with a valid Colorado nursing license can apply for a multistate license. This allows for added mobility and ease of transition for nurses that choose to travel or move. Just remember, CE requirements can differ across states.

Criminal Background Check

When applying for licensure in Colorado, you will need to submit to a criminal background check. Nurses provide highly personal care to vulnerable populations, so background checks are necessary to guarantee the safety and security of the patients in their care. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducts the criminal background check and requires applicants to be fingerprinted. Criminal background checks are also conducted by individual employers following nurses’ initial licensure.

NCLEX-RN Examination

Before you are eligible to work in Colorado as an RN, you will first need to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. To do so, you will need to apply to the Colorado Board of Nursing for approval before you can sign up for the exam. Only ADN students that have completed an accredited program are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam in Colorado.

Registration with the Colorado State Board of Nursing

All nursing students looking to become RNs in the state of Colorado must first register with the Colorado Board of Nursing. This helps ensure that practicing nurses have met all requirements listed by the Colorado Board of Nursing and is, in fact, a necessary step for students to be eligible to take the NCLEX exam and subsequently begin to practice as licensed RNs. The Colorado Board of nursing oversees all nurses practicing in the state and is responsible for ensuring their compliance.

Answering Your Questions About Online Colorado ADN Programs

There is a lot to consider when determining which online ADN program is right for you. So, you may still have questions about these programs, their duration, cost, aid, and employment prospects. That’s why we’ve dedicated this section to answering frequently asked questions about online ADN programs in Colorado.

How long do Colorado ADN programs take to complete?

Typically, you can expect an ADN program to take two years to complete, however there are accelerated ADN programs out there for nursing students eager and able to take on a more intense course load in the interest of starting their careers more quickly. Students who have already completed the necessary prerequisites an complete the ADN program at Denver College of Nursing, for example, in as few as 18 months. Meanwhile, the traditional ADN program at FRCC takes full-time students two years to complete.

How much do online associate nursing programs cost in Colorado?

The cost of ADN programs in Colorado can vary based on location, length, and school type (public or private). That said, the tuition for a typical ADN is approximately $4,000-$5,000 per year for in-state students. Furthermore, ADN programs are almost always more cost effective than four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs. Regardless of the program you attend, you can take advantage of any number of Colorado’s many financial assistance programs, including Career Advance Colorado, a program that covers tuition, fees, and course materials for students enrolled in programs that train them for in-demand professions.

Is financial aid available to help me fund my ADN program in Colorado?

Yes! There are a number of excellent financial aid options for students looking for ways to fund their ADN degrees in Colorado. The Colorado Department of Higher Education has a wide variety of grants, state aid, and tuition assistance programs available. They also help students locate and apply for external financial aid if they are unsure where to begin. The best part is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Colorado’s commitment to helping ease the nursing shortage means more organizations are providing financial aid to facilitate promising students’ entry into the field of nursing.

What does the job market look like for graduates of Colorado associate in nursing programs?

The job market is incredibly strong for RNs in Colorado. The state’s population is growing and aging, causing a higher-than-expected demand for nurses. Between 2022-2024 Colorado is expected to have a 2.7% job growth rate for nurses. Nurses that complete an online ADN program in Colorado can expect a myriad of job opportunities following graduation and an average new graduate RN salary of $70,339.

Resources & Support for Colorado ADN Students

To position yourself for success, it’s important to seek out support and utilize resources during your ADN program. Thankfully, there are an abundance of resources available to today’s Colorado ADN students.

  • Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence – Committed to improving the nursing workforce, the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence is the largest nursing workforce center in the U.S. They are dedicated to building up a diverse nursing workforce in Colorado by advocating for diversity and inclusion and actively combatting employment disparities.
  • Colorado Department of Higher Education – This resource is dedicated to making higher education affordable and attainable for every Coloradan that wants it. The Colorado Department of Higher Education believes in partnering with students and schools to help increase affordability and ensure students can identify and utilize the aid that they qualify for to reach their educational goals.
  • Colorado Nurses Association – A valuable resource in Colorado for members of the nursing profession, the Colorado Nurses Association aims to “advance the profession of nursing to improve health for all.” Nurses can browse the association’s website to get licensing questions answered, find new career opportunities, and connect with other nurses.
  • Colorado Student Nurses Association (CSNA) – The CSNA is an organization designed for nursing students and those enrolled in pre-nursing courses. Their goal is to “aid in the personal and professional development of future nurses” by promoting leadership and education. They feature a number of links to other assistive organizations on their website and are members of the National Student Nurses Association.
  • Nursing Student Success Fund – This resource was created by the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence. The purpose of this fund is to provide financial aid and support to nursing students that may otherwise not be able to attend nursing school. By financially supporting more nursing students, the fund hopes to help grow the state’s nursing workforce.