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Online LPN Programs in Colorado: Discover Today’s Top Schools

Licensed practical nurses are well-positioned to take advantage of growing needs in the healthcare sector, and becoming an LPN is likely easier than you think.

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Author: Holly Riddle
Editor: Kari Scare
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A panoramic view of snow-capped mountain peaks bathed in golden sunlight during sunrise or sunset. The mountains are surrounded by dense forests and a lush green valley, creating a striking contrast against the snow and illuminated peaks.

If you’re interested in working in the healthcare sector but don’t want to spend four or more years in school to get there and you want a positive job outlook with lots of oncoming career opportunities, consider one of the many online LPN programs Colorado offers. A career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) ticks all these boxes and more.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), LPN employment is expected to grow by 5% through 2032, faster than the national average for all occupations. This growth is attributed to the growing elderly population and its increased healthcare needs. The Population Reference Bureau further notes that the U.S. population is currently older than it’s ever been, and the percentage of Americans aged 65 and over will rise from 17% to 23% by 2050. In addition to caring for a growing aging population, LPNs are needed to help care for the increasing number of individuals with chronic health conditions like diabetes and obesity.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the online LPN programs Colorado universities and colleges offer. Become well-positioned to take advantage of this trend whether you intend to work in a doctor’s office, clinic, residential care facility, or other healthcare organization.

Inside Look at LPN Programs Online in Colorado

The online LPN programs Colorado universities and colleges offer are often flexible, allowing you to balance your personal and professional responsibilities and your studies in a way that fits your needs. High-quality programs, like the ones featured below, prepare you to join the LPN workforce. Many take as little as a year or two to complete, have relatively simple admission guidelines, and qualify for financial aid.

Community College of Denver

At the Community College of Denver, you receive all the education required to pursue an LPN career in just three to five semesters. While the Community College of Denver’s LPN program is not among one of the completely online LPN programs Colorado offers, it does provide a mix of flexible in-person learning options with evening and weekend programs available. The program combines in-person classroom learning with labs and clinical practices where you work hands-on in a local healthcare setting.

To enroll in the program, you must complete a handful of prerequisite courses, take a pre-nursing essential academic skills exam, provide records of immunization and a drug test, achieve your basic life support and CPR certification through the American Heart Association, and write an essay and undergo an interview. Tuition is $260.40 per credit hour for Colorado residents and $641.80 per credit hour for non-residents.

In 2022, Community College of Denver LPN graduates had a 100% job placement rate among those who passed the National Council Licensure Examination required for a practical nursing license (NCLEX-PN), whether they receive their degrees via an in-person program or one of the online LPN programs Colorado. The program boasts a 98% three-year average pass rate for the exam.

Pima Medical Institute

Pima Medical Institute in Aurora offers an on-campus learning experience only. Even though it’s not one of the completely online LPN programs Colorado offers, it still provides a lot of benefits. For example, the program only takes approximately 12 months to complete. Once you receive your LPN certificate, you can move into a fully online degree program, such as an associate or bachelor of science degree in healthcare administration or a master’s of science in organizational leadership, from Pima to further your career. The LPN program includes classroom work, labs, and hands-on patient care. After graduation, students are qualified to take the NCLEX-PN. You must have a high school diploma or GED and take an entrance exam to join this LPN program.

Colorado LPN Licensing Information and Requirements

No matter where you pursue your LPN certificate, whether through an in-person program or through one of the online LPN programs Colorado offers, there are specific LPN licensing requirements you need to follow after graduation to practice as an LPN. These are the crucial, big-picture steps you’ll encounter in your journey to becoming a licensed practical nurse:

Background Check

Expect all LPN programs to require a background check for you to begin since you’ll practice with real patients in a clinical setting. Your application to a program may be denied if your background check shows certain offenses. The Colorado Community College System, for example, disqualifies nursing applicants with offenses that include more than one DUI in the last seven years or felony thefts in the last seven years. Your chosen college or university can direct you on how to get a background check through the proper, mandated channels.

Education and Training

To work as a practical nurse in Colorado, you must obtain a practical nursing certificate via a Colorado Board of Nursing-approved practical nursing program. The board offers a list of approved programs, along with their NCLEX pass rates to help you gauge how well each school teaches students the important LPN skills required to pass the exam.

The board’s list also includes how many program admissions a school takes per year, so you can gauge how likely it is you’ll get into your program of choice. Use this list of eight accredited programs as a jumping-off point for researching and choosing the best program for you.

Professional Nursing Examination

After about a year (dependent on your program) of coursework, you’ll receive your LPN certificate if you pass all the necessary courses. However, before you can get your first job as a licensed practical nurse, you must pass the NCLEX, an exam for professional nursing.

Registering for the exam and applying for your license in the state of Colorado is part of the same process. You’ll need to complete all the necessary steps for a Colorado practical nurse initial license application, and then register to take the test via NCLEX. After the Colorado Board of Nursing clears you, you can take and pass the test to receive your license.

Renewal of Licensure & Continuing Education

All Colorado practical nurse licenses expire on August 31st of even-numbered years. If you received your first license within three months of an upcoming expiration date, you’ll receive a license with the next expected expiration date. A license renewal costs $87 (timely) or $180 (reinstatement). The state does not require that you complete continuing education, according to NetCE. All other licensure renewal information is provided to currently licensed professionals via the Colorado Division of Professionals and Occupations Online Services.

Career and Salary Insights for Colorado LPNs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 655,000 licensed practical and vocational nurses in the U.S. in 2022. This number is expected to increase to 689,900 by 2032, a 5%, faster-than-average growth rate. The BLS also reports that the median salary for licensed practical nurses was $54,620 in May 2022, but varies by healthcare setting. For example, those working in nursing homes or other residential care facilities made the most at just over $58,000 per year, while those working in doctor’s offices made the least at just over $49,000 per year.

Similarly, the city in which you work also impacts how much you make. In Colorado, the statewide median salary of $61,700 is higher than the nationwide average. You can earn more if you work in bigger cities like Denver or Boulder and less if you work in small locales like Grand Junction or Pueblo. Overall, it’s a great time to be an LPN in the U.S. and Colorado. With as little time as it takes to obtain your LPN certificate, there’s no reason not to jump on this career opportunity right away.

AreaEmployment
(2020)
New Jobs
(2020-2030)
Job Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings
(’20-’30)
Colorado5,3601,15021.5%520
US688,100751,9009.3%60,700

Source: Projections Central

Location10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Colorado$47,730$61,700$73,060
Boulder, CO$50,410$63,030$73,240
Colorado Springs, CO$46,560$59,010$69,950
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO$50,090$63,460$74,270
Fort Collins, CO$50,440$60,990$69,370
Grand Junction, CO$44,860$57,630$64,440
Greeley, CO$49,910$62,850$72,300
Pueblo, CO$38,610$59,160$77,200

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Resources for Colorado LPN Students and Professionals

  • Colorado Board of Nursing: The Colorado Board of Nursing is the regulatory body that oversees all nurse licensing, education, and legalities in the state. You’ll need to interact with the board many times during your nursing career, including when you apply for your practical nursing license and take the NCLEX. You can also find other resources on the board’s website, including updates for laws and policies and guides to industry concerns and best practices.
  • Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence: An organization for the nursing workforce, the Colorado Center for Nursing Excellence offers financial and professional support to aspiring nurses since one of its primary focuses is increasing the nursing workforce while also increasing diversity within it. The center also provides coaching and mentorship, advocacy, and continuing education, all intending to support your nursing career.
  • Colorado Nurse: If you’re just looking for resources to read, check out Colorado Nurse, the quarterly, official, joint publication of the Colorado Nurses Association and the Colorado Nurses Foundation. It includes information about the latest industry and state-specific nursing news, career opportunities, and education programs.
  • Colorado Nurses Association: The Colorado Nurses Association offers memberships to both full-time nurses and nursing students and provides lots of networking opportunities through regional events, special interest groups, and committees. Even if you don’t get involved much with the association, you can still take advantage of its various resources, including professional development opportunities and a specialized job board with vetted openings in Colorado.
  • Colorado Nurses Foundation: This foundation provides scholarships to nursing students, in addition to general scholarships available for LPNs through other organizations, on an annual basis and in varying amounts. The foundation also offers several awards throughout the year, recognizing nursing excellence, and hosts fundraisers to further benefit the industry and Colorado workforce.
  • Colorado Student Nurses Association: This association sets itself apart as being by students, for students. It’s open to all pre-nursing and nursing students currently enrolled in an accredited diploma, associate, or bachelor’s degree program and offers events, scholarships, and resources. The association’s membership dues are an affordable $35.