Learn About Nurse Practitioner Programs in Colorado
From infants and children to adults and elderly patients, everyone in Colorado deserves excellent healthcare. Nurse practitioners expand primary care options and shorten wait times. Ready to use your nursing background to become a nurse practitioner? On this page, discover what it takes to graduate and how you can use your degree after becoming licensed. Start your search for nurse practitioner programs in Colorado with the search feature above or our list of featured schools in Colorado.
One of the most exciting parts of nursing is the flexibility you have in your career path. After you’ve spent some time working as a registered nurse, you may feel confident enough in your skills to think about taking your career to the next level. Nurse practitioner programs may help you learn the skills you need to take on a more independent role in clinical care.
How Can I Become a Nurse Practitioner in Colorado?
Advanced nursing roles require extensive clinical skills and theoretical knowledge. A graduate degree should provide you with the knowledge you need to test and diagnose patients, properly order and read tests, create care plans for clients, and know when to pass care to another practitioner.
Both Master’s and doctoral programs are excellent options for aspiring nurse practitioners.
Master’s Level NP Degree Requirements in Colorado
- Credit hours required: 40 to 50 credit hours
- Average cost: $600 per credit hour; tuition rates often determined by resident or non-resident status
- Clinical hours required: 500 or more hours
- Timeframe: Between 2 and 3 years
NP Doctoral Requirements in Colorado
Earning a doctoral degree may give you the opportunity to participate in nursing research, learn how to teach undergraduate and graduate nursing students, and supervise nurses at various levels of practice.
- Credit hours required: Up to 40 credits after your Master’s degree
- Clinical hours required: 1000 or more hours
- Timeframe: 3 years
Types of Nurse Practitioner Programs Available in CO
There are many areas of focus in nurse practitioner programs. FNP programs are one option to consider; these degrees prepare you to work with families as a general primary practitioner or as an acute care provider. You may also choose programs that focus on psychiatric-mental health nursing, women’s health, or adult-geriatric care.
Nurse practitioner schooling providers assess student progress in several ways. They make their expectations clear with learning outcomes that outline your priorities as a graduate student. Your coursework may help you follow the tenets of evidence-based practice, participate in ethical decision making in healthcare, develop interprofessional collaboration skills, and lead quality improvement efforts.
While you may have some choice in your elective courses, you must build your skills in a set curriculum developed by your program leaders.
Curriculum for Nurse Practitioner Degrees
Courses that are commonly required in Colorado NP programs include:
- Nursing Writing and Presentation Skills
- Advanced Pathophysiology
- Advanced Assessment
- Advanced Evidence-Based Practice
- Healthcare Informatics
- Health Policy and Finance
- Advanced Pharmacology
- Adult Care for Adults
- Family Nursing Care
To meet the standards of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, graduate programs must require at least 500 clinical hours and doctoral programs must require at least 1,000 hours. Quite a few Colorado schools require a significantly greater amount of clinical work, due to the various demands of different care specialties. The more time you spend in clinical work, the more confident you may be when you begin working with patients independently.
As you compare Colorado schools, consider their admissions requirements and your current level of experience and education. It’s important to have strong registered nursing skills prior to beginning this program, unless you are attending an accelerated program for non-nursing Bachelor’s graduates. For this reason, many programs require at least one year of full-time nursing experience. Some schools do require more. You should also have a current Colorado nursing license.
Scholarships for Nurse Practitioner School in Colorado
One of the benefits of working in an in-demand field is the many scholarship opportunities that tend to be available. These scholarship and grant programs may help you pay off student debt or cover your graduate education expenses. State and national programs include:
- Colorado Nurses Association: As a registered nurse, you should already be a member of the Colorado Nurses Association. Apply for their graduate student scholarships once you have been accepted to an NP program.
- Colorado Society of Advanced Practice Nurses: This group funds scholarships of $500 to $1,000 for registered nurses who plan on earning advanced nursing certification.
- BestNursingDegree.com Scholarship: Our scholarship program awards $2500 grants to selected students.
- NURSE Corps Scholarship Program: This federal program helps students avoid student loans while helping underserved communities get medical care. In exchange for a scholarship, you are expected to work in a Health Professional Shortage Area for two years.
- NHSC Loan Repayment Program: The loan repayment program forgives up to $50,000 in loans for selected graduates who give two years of service to an NHSC-approved site.
Licensing and Practice Requirements for NPs in Colorado
To work as a nurse practitioner in Colorado, you need an advanced practice license from the Colorado Board of Nursing. With your application and application documents, you must pay a fee of $75. Colorado, like most states, requires you to earn national certification in your specialty before becoming a licensed nurse practitioner. Once you have your license, you must renew it by September 30 every two years to continue working. You must renew your registered nursing license at the same time.
Colorado may be an excellent place to use your nurse practitioner degree. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners notes that Colorado extends full practice rights to nurse practitioners, a freedom that permits you to fully use your education and work within your entire scope of practice.
Nurse Practitioner Careers in Colorado
As a nurse practitioner with full practice rights, you may choose to open your own clinic in Colorado. This puts you in the position of care provider and entrepreneur, as you need to handle the business side of healthcare and bring in patients while ensuring that they receive high-quality care. Your income may fluctuate as a clinic owner, but the payoff may be higher if you can grow your clinic. Otherwise, you can look into employment options at general care clinics, walk-in or urgent care clinics, emergency rooms, or specialty clinics.
In Colorado, the average salary for a nurse practitioner is $104,540 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). A 34% increase in job openings is expected between 2012 and 2022 (O*Net, 2016).
You can use your nursing skills to make healthcare more accessible in Colorado and ensure that patients feel heard, respected, and important while receiving medical services.