Becoming an LPN in Colorado

Interested in a rewarding job in the healthcare field? Many Coloradans are turning to licensed practical nursing (LPN) programs, thanks to their wide availability and relatively short duration. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 12% increase in LPN employment through the year 2026, and LPNs in Colorado earn an average hourly wage of $23.41, or $48,690 annually. With demand at an all time high due to a nursing shortage, there’s never been a better time to go back to school and enter the nursing workforce.

Details on Colorado LPN Schools & Classes

The process to become an LPN in Colorado is straightforward: enroll in and graduate from an accredited LPN program, and then pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Once these items are checked off your list, you will be poised for employment in the field. There are several schools in Colorado that offer LPN programs, including community colleges, technical schools, and more.

Your school of choice’s LPN program curriculum may include courses like the following:

  • Human Anatomy & Physiology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Obstetrics/Pediatrics
  • Pharmacology Calculations

Accreditation

An accredited school can make or break your LPN program experience. Proper accreditations ensure that the school and program is up to par, and employers take note of this. Aside from regional accreditations, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing is considered the gold standard of national accreditation organizations for nursing.  It’s also a good idea to check that the program is approved and endorsed by the Colorado Board of Nursing.

Admission Requirements

While admissions requirements may vary from school to school, most LPN programs require that you meet the following in order to gain admission:

  • Valid high school diploma or GED
  • Proof of current CNA certification may be required
  • Minimum score on TEAS aptitude test
  • Completion of any and all prerequisite courses
  • Must be at least 18 years of age

Tuition and Costs

LPN programs tend to be more affordable than other nursing programs, such as RN programs, and are shorter in length as well. Students enrolled in an LPN program in Colorado will need to cover the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, textbooks and other course materials, and more. Financial aid and student loans are typically available for those who qualify. The estimated program cost of the LPN program at Emily Griffith Technical College in Denver is $10,213, not including textbooks.

Colorado LPN Licensing Requirements

Much like the rest of the 50 states, Colorado requires an individual to complete a Board-approved nursing program as well as pass the NCLEX-PN exam. They may also require a background check and additional paperwork when applying for licensure.

LPN Applications and Forms:
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/Nursing_LPN_Applications_Docs

Keep in mind that daily activities of an LPN may be physically demanding, requiring nurses to lift patients over 100 lbs. and spend long hours on their feet.

Colorado LPN licenses expire every 2 years and require 20 hours of continued education every 2 years for renewal.

NCLEX Exam Information

Upon graduating from an LPN program in Colorado, students are required to take and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. This exam consists of roughly 100 questions that touch on various nursing topics. A detailed overview of the NCLEX-PN can be found here, and students can also take this NCLEX-PN practice test to study for the real exam.

LPN Reciprocity and eNLC

As part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, Colorado allows nurses from other NLC states to practice within their borders without additional licensure—there are 24 states in all. As of January 2018, the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), which increases access to care and adds extra protections, will go into effect. Nurses under the original NLC multistate license will be grandfathered in to the new eNLC.

LPNs outside of the compact area must apply for a Colorado license to practice in the state. They must provide proof of current license and Verification of Licensure form, and complete a criminal background check.

LPN Salary in Colorado By Area

The table below lists career information collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for licensed practical nurses in Colorado. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Denver, Aurora, Lakewood2,490$24.11$50,150
Colorado Springs710$22.05$45,850
Boulder370$22.45$46,700
Fort Collins310$22.32$46,430
Greeley300$22.75$47,320
Grand Junction250$20.99$43,660
Pueblo230$22.41$46,610

For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Colorado LPN to RN/BSN programs page.

LPN Programs in Colorado

ProgramDetails
Colorado Mesa University
1100 North Ave, Grand Junction, CO 81501
(970) 248-1020 Visit Homepage
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Concorde Career College - Aurora
111 Havana St, Aurora, CO 80010
(303) 861-1151 Visit Homepage
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Delta-Montrose Technical College
1765 U.S. 50, Delta, CO 81416
(970) 874-7671 Visit Homepage
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Pickens Technical College
500 N Airport Blvd, Aurora, CO 80011
(303) 344-4910 Visit Homepage
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