5 Best Colorado FNP Programs (Online & Campus) – 2024

Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org

FNP programs in Colorado can prepare you to tackle one of the Centennial State’s most pressing healthcare issues: a serious shortage of primary healthcare providers. As a family nurse practitioner in Colorado, you’ll have plenty of employment opportunities since demand for FNPs is projected to increase by a whopping 43 percent within the next decade. You’ll also make an average salary of $116,150 annually. Many of these FNP programs are structured so that you won’t have to leave your current RN position since much of the coursework is offered online. Find out more about your options with this list of the 5 best FNP programs in Colorado for 2024.


(Based on our Ranking Methodology, we have ranked the 5 best campus-based and online FNP programs in Colorado.)

1. University of Northern Colorado, Greeley

Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP and Post-Master's Certificate

With the Centennial State struggling to provide effective primary care, graduating from one of the best FNP programs in Colorado such as the one offered by University of Northern Colorado can prepare you with advanced nursing skills to help play a significant role as a primary care provider for the state’s diverse patient population. To become an FNP, depending on your past nursing degree and career goals, you can enter any one of the three pathways offered by the college.

MSN Program Details: This MSN is designed for working RNs who have completed their baccalaureate education. With a part-time schedule and a combination of online and on-campus classes, most FNP students here easily manage to juggle work commitments alongside the program. The college emphasizes on clinical expertise, for which you are required to complete 660 clinical hours. The 51-credit curriculum is centered on teaching health promotion and disease management for individuals across the lifespan. Typically, you start with 12 credits of MSN core courses and the remaining 39 credits comprise advanced practice nursing & FNP courses. Upon completion of the coursework, you must complete either a comprehensive exam or thesis, with most students preferring the comprehensive exam over the thesis.

BSN to DNP Program Details: If you are particularly searching for DNP-FNP programs in Colorado that allow you to work while pursuing the highest degree in nursing, then you may have to look no further as this BSN to DNP just fits the bill. From a BSN-prepared registered nurse, this program takes you straight to a practice focused DNP, all in five years with a convenient part-time schedule. The 95-credit coursework aims at clinical expertise, emphasizing critical thinking, leadership, and health policy-making skills. Classes are offered as a combination of online and on-campus learning and to complete the program within five years you will require earning fewer than 9 credits per term. Additionally, the clinical requirement of 1,250 hours comprises simulation and practicum hours where you apply evidence-based knowledge to actual practice.

Post-Master's Certificate Program Details: To be able to apply to this post-master’s program you must be a registered nurse who has completed a master’s in nursing. Course requirements are tailored depending on your previous completed coursework and can range from 12 to 28 credits. Upon completion of the program, you will be eligible to take the FNP certification exam.

2. Colorado State University, Pueblo

Programs Offered: MSN (Dual Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner), DNP (Dual Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner), and Post-Master's Certificate (Dual Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner)

As a certified FNP in Colorado, you can transform healthcare of the state by using evidence-based knowledge and critical thinking skills. By enrolling in any of the top FNP programs in Colorado offered by the Colorado State University you will acquire the required competencies to play this role as an agent of change in an effective manner. This is because the nursing school designs its FNP curriculum in close collaboration with regional healthcare agencies, thereby training you with relevant skills that matter in the real world.

MSN Program Details: Are you keen on offering advanced nursing to individuals with chronic illnesses as well as for the elderly suffering from critical health conditions? Well, you can achieve this goal by enrolling in one of the few dual FNP programs in Colorado at CSU-Pueblo, that offers the specialization in adult/gerontology acute care along with the FNP coursework. This 73-credit program takes three years to complete, after which you will be eligible to take the certification exam in both the specialties.

DNP Program Details: To qualify for this dual specialization DNP program you must have completed either a BSN or an MSN. While the BSN to DNP pathway takes 11 semesters to complete, entering after masters, you can earn this terminal degree in nursing in just five semesters. As a graduate of this program, you will be able to provide evidence-based patient-centric care in acute and primary care settings. The program’s emphasis on inter and intradisciplinary learning prepares you to lead in a dynamic interdisciplinary healthcare environment. As a BSN graduate to earn your DNP in the dual specialization, you require to complete 104 credits. Program requirements for MSN graduates will be based on a gap analysis. The clinical requirement comprises 585 hours in adult-gerontology care, 585 in FNP training, and 540 hours in the DNP practicum. Additionally, you also complete 90 clinical hours in lab training, making it a total of 1710 clinical hours.

Post-Master's Certificate Program Details: This post master’s certificate is customized depending on your previous graduate nursing education. It is available in the dual specializations of FNP and adult gerontology acute care, upon completion of which you will be eligible to get certified as an ACACNP and FNP.

3. University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Programs Offered: MSN, Post-BSN to DNP, and Post-Graduate Certificate

If you are keen on enrolling in one of the best online FNP programs in Colorado that does not require any campus visits, the FNP at University of Colorado should be high on your list. Education here is entirely delivered through the distance format to students residing in any of the 17 eligible states. This NP school prepares you for advanced primary care through three paths; an MSN, BSN to DNP, and a post-master’s certificate.

MSN Program Details: This program requires you to be a BSN graduate with an unencumbered RN license from the state you plan to complete your clinical rotations in. The 47-credit curriculum is divided into 22-23 credits of the MSN component and 25 credits in FNP courses. Towards the end of the MSN portion, you have the option of completing either a research analysis or a thesis. Also, upon the culmination of the FNP coursework, you must complete an FNP clinical experience.

Post-BSN to DNP Program Details: To qualify for this post-BSN to DNP program you must have completed your BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The program is typically meant for students who aspire to achieve the highest level of clinical expertise in nursing along with specializing in the primary care of individuals and families across the lifespan. Upon completing the total 70-72 credits of the curriculum you earn a DNP and an FNP credential, however, you will not be granted an MSN. This does not mean you wouldn’t complete the MSN courses as upon enrollment you first start with the MSN core and then progress to complete the FNP and DNP courses.

Post-Graduate Certificate: Completion of an MSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0 is required to gain eligibility into this post-graduate certificate program. The curriculum is designed to expand your nursing knowledge, preparing you for the role of an advanced primary care provider. Depending on your previous degree you require completing credits, ranging from 25 to 34.

4. Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction

Programs Offered: MSN and DNP

Colorado Mesa University offers two FNP programs in Colorado, that are well-known for producing culturally sensitive advanced practice nurses who are competent at providing primary care to individuals, families, and communities. To equip FNP students with diverse clinical skills, the college provides for clinical learning opportunities in various rural and urban settings. You can become an advanced practice clinician by enrolling in either the MSN or the DNP, depending on your individual career goals. Regardless of the program you enter, you will be completing majority of the coursework online, with few campus visits and clinical experiences completed within your geographic location.

MSN Program Details: This 47-credit program prepares you at the master’s level with specialization as a family nurse practitioner. Initially into the coursework, you complete core courses including theoretical foundations, evidence-based practice, advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and health assessment. Furthermore, you also learn about health promotion, disease prevention, and health policymaking. Advancing into the program, you complete FNP focused courses comprising clinical procedures, diagnostics testing, primary care of individuals of all age groups, and mental & behavioral health. The application of theoretical concepts is facilitated through clinical learning in primary care of individuals of all age groups with emphasis on the rural and underserved populations.

DNP Program Details: As a graduate of this DNP program, you will be able to apply evidence-based knowledge to evaluate, design, and implement health policies to improve health outcomes at the local, regional and national levels. You will demonstrate strong inter and intradisciplinary collaborative skills to support health improvement across all sections of the population. This 78-credit program is open to BSN graduates who aspire to achieve doctoral education, seamlessly. On a part-time basis, you can complete this program in five years, after which you can take the certification exam and earn the status of a certified FNP in CO.

5. University of Colorado-Denver, Aurora

Programs Offered: MSN, BSN-DNP, and Post-Graduate Certificate

If you are particularly looking for FNP programs in Colorado that offer clinical placements in the Denver metro area, then you must shortlist University of Colorado-Denver’s FNP education as students here complete clinical rotations at clinical sites throughout Denver. This nurse practitioner school which prepares family nurse practitioners at the masters and doctoral level focuses on disease prevention, promotion of health, and the management of acute and chronic patients. Its outstanding pass rates on the FNP certification exam has led to graduates finding promising employment opportunities soon after completion of the program.

MSN Program Details: One of the top-ranking master’s programs according to the US News Report, this MSN is counted among the most reputable family nurse practitioner programs in Colorado. This program is available to BSN graduates with an active RN license. The 56-credit program takes a total of three years to complete while attending classes on a fulltime basis. Additionally, to earn your BSN-FNP degree you must complete 630 hours of clinical practice.

BSN-DNP Program Details: As a registered nurse if you ready to take your nursing career to the highest possible level, then you can consider this BSN to DNP pathway. You can enter this program either in fall or spring and complete it in four years on a full-time basis. The first two years entail completing MSN core, advanced practice, and FNP courses. In the third year, you complete the DNP courses and in the final fourth year, you apply the newly acquired knowledge to complete the DNP project. In all, you are required to complete 82 credits and 1170 clinical hours.

Post-Graduate Certificate Program Details: This post-graduate is ideal if you want to acquire specialized skills in the primary care of individuals across the life span. This 33-credit program takes you through FNP didactic courses and additionally requires completing 630 hours of clinical experience.


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