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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Colorado - 2020 Rankings



What are the 5 Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Colorado (Online & Campus) for 2020?


1) University Of Northern Colorado - Greeley


Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP and Graduate Certificate

Colorado is facing a shortage of primary care physicians, and nurse practitioners have been helping to take up that slack. The University of Northern Colorado administers NP programs in Colorado that are designed to teach nurse practitioners how to diagnose and treat patients autonomously without physician supervision. The university offers two advance practice specialties. Students can pursue these specialties within the context of a master’s degree curriculum or a DNP curriculum. Students who’ve already earned graduate nursing degrees can pursue these same two specialties as certificate concentrations.

MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner

Coursework for the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practice specialty associated with the MSN track is mostly delivered online. Students will be required to attend two mandatory summer intensives on the Greeley campus, however. The specialty requires 50 credit hours and 540 clinical hours in addition to 60 hours in a simulation lab. The MSN Family Nurse Practice specialty consists of 51 credit hours, 540 clinical hours, and 120 simulation lab hours. Students must attend one full day of classes (Thursdays) on campus each week, but the rest of the coursework is presented online. Part-time students should be able to complete this course of study in three years.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner

Students pursuing the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty offered in conjunction with the University of Northern Colorado’s BSN to DNP track must complete 94 credit hours, 1,125 clinical hours, and 60 simulation lab hours. Most of the course of study is delivered through asynchronous online classes, but students are responsible for attending two summer intensives on the Greeley campus. The advanced practice specialty is specifically designed for part-time students. Clinical rotations will be set up in the locality where students live or work.

DNP students who prepare for the Family Nurse Practitioner specialty must complete 95 credit hours, 1,185 clinical hours, and 60 simulation lab hours. The program is designed to be completed in five years of part-time study. The first eight semesters involve Thursday classes on the Greeley campus with additional online coursework; the remaining six semesters entail online classwork.

Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners who have completed an advance practice specialty and who are interested in expanding their scope of practice may do so by enrolling in either of the university’s graduate certificate concentrations. The A-GACNP track requires 27 credit hours, 540 clinical hours, and 30 simulation lab hours; the FNP track involves 51 credit hours, 540 clinical hours, and 120 simulation lab hours. Coursework for both tracks can mostly be taken online at a student’s own pace, but A-GACNP students must attend a one-week summer intensive at the Greeley campus while FNP students must attend Thursday classes on the Greeley campus.

2) Colorado State University - Pueblo


Programs Offered: MSN (RN (ADN) to DNP & MSN to DNP), DNP (BSN to DNP & MSN to DNP) and Post-Master's Certificate

Colorado State University is one of the nurse practitioner programs in Colorado that serves as a regional nursing education center for the entire southern part of the state. The university collaborates with local and regional health care agencies on learning goals. Its graduate nursing programs have been cited for the value they offer by the nursing advance practice specialist website GraduateNursingEDU.org. The university offers three NP specialties, which students can take either as part of an MSN or DNP curriculum or as a post-master’s certificate concentration.

MSN Concentrations: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Coursework for all four specialties uses a hybrid learning model that combines online and campus classes over seven semesters. The Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practice specialty entails 52 semester hours, 585 clinical hours, and 120 laboratory hours. Colorado State also offers a unique Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner track that involves 73-semester credits, 1,170 clinical hours, and 120 laboratory hours. Students can also study to become a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner by taking 55-semester credits, 585 clinical hours, and 30 laboratory hours. Students will complete an MSN thesis project, which highlights a challenge and a possible solution within the specialty track students are pursuing.

DNP Concentrations: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The university’s DNP-NP program in Colorado relies upon a hybrid teaching model to enhance learning opportunities for working nurses. The BSN to DNP program takes 11 semesters to complete, and at the completion of DNP studies, students will also be awarded an MSN. Students who already hold MSN degrees may also enroll in the DNP program, and it will take them five semesters to complete the necessary coursework. Coursework for the DNP nurse practitioner specialties is similar to the coursework associated with the MSN NP tracks.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Students pursuing one of Colorado State’s post-master’s certificate concentrations will need to complete at least 15 post-graduate semester credits and 500 clinical hours in each nurse practitioner specialty. Apart from that, study plans are individualized on the basis of academic classes the student has already taken as well as the Colorado certification requirements for each NP specialty.

3) Regis University - Denver


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

Though Regis University is a Jesuit institution of higher learning, it welcomes students of all religious denominations. Its Loretto Heights School of Nursing incorporates a holistic view of patient care with a traditional Catholic dedication to service and is widely considered one of the top nurse practitioner schools in Colorado. The university offers three NP concentrations to students who are seeking to earn an MSN or who are hoping to expand their clinical competencies after they’ve completed a master’s of nursing degree. The university also offers two NP tracks in conjunction with its post-BSN to DNP course of study.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Regis offers two pathways for nurses who want to become family nurse practitioners while they’re earning a master’s degree. Nurses who live locally can attend face-to-face classes one day a week at Regis’s North Denver campus while nurses who live outside the Denver metropolitan area can take synchronous online courses. The Family Nurse Practitioner program requires 48 credit hours and 630 clinical hours. Full-time students should be able to complete this program in two years or six semesters.

Students on the Neonatal Nurse Practice must complete 44 credit hours and 630 hours of supervised clinical time. Full-time students should be able to complete this track in five semesters. Coursework is delivered in a synchronous online format, which requires one day per week between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. MST. Students must report to the Denver campus for two simulation skill-building intensives. Students can schedule their clinical rotations at the health care facility at which they work, but clinical rotations must be distinct from paid hours.

Regis University’s MSN-related Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program entails 47 credit hours and 630 hours of practicum. Clinical rotations take place during the last three semesters of the six-semester (three-year) course of study.

Post-BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Upon completion of their post-BSN to DNP requirements, nurses will receive both a Master’s of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Requirements for the DNP Neonatal Nurse Practice specialty are similar to the requirements for the MSN Neonatal Nurse Practice specialty.

Regis offers two pathways for DNP candidates who are interested in the Family Nurse Practice track: a traditional FNP program and an FNP program with a focus on rural and underserved communities. Traditional FNP students who live in the Denver metropolitan area will attend classes at the Regis University campus one day a week while other students will attend these classes through synchronous online transmission. The FNP program with a focus on rural and underserved communities utilizes a synchronous distance learning model. Both FNP programs require 48 credit hours in addition to core classes related to the graduate degree, and the DNP degree requires 1,000 clinical hours in total.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Regis University’s post-master’s certificate NP concentrations are ideal for nurses who already hold graduate degrees and want to enhance their scope of practice. The Neonatal Nurse Practice certificate involves 19-31 credit hours, and all coursework can be completed online. NNP clinical rotations will take place in high-risk NICUs. The university’s Family Nurse Practice certificate concentration entails 30-35 credit hours, which are delivered in an online format. Students who enroll in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certificate concentration will be responsible for completing 25 to 35 online credit hours.

4) University Of Colorado-Denver - Aurora


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

If you want to become a nurse practitioner in Colorado, the University of Colorado at Boulder is an excellent choice because it offers seven unique NP tracks. Aspiring nurse practitioners can take advantage of these programs by enrolling in the university’s MSN, BSN-DNP, or MSN to Ph.D. programs. Nurses who already hold graduate degrees can learn new clinical competencies by studying for one of the university’s certificate concentrations.

MSN Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Acute Care Adult-Gerontology specialty is a three-year program that involves 49 credit hours and 630 clinical hours while the Primary Care Adult-Gerontology specialty takes a little more than three years to complete and requires 75 credit hours and 1,170 clinical hours.

Both the Acute Care and Primary Care Pediatric NP specialties take slightly more than two years to complete. The former requires 50 credit hours and 585 clinical hours while the latter requires 47 credit hours and 540 clinical hours.

The Family Nurse Practitioner specialty is a three-year program that combines online coursework with campus-based intensives; it entails 56 credit hours and 630 clinical hours. The Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner specialty takes slightly more than two years to complete during which students will take 49 credit hours and 636 clinical hours. The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner combines online classes with on-campus intensives and takes a little more than two years to finish; students must complete 52 credit hours and 630 clinical hours.

BSN-DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The curricula for the advanced practice tracks associated with the university’s BSN-DNP program are similar to the curricula for its MSN-related advance practice tracks. The programs are three- to four-year programs because of DNP core classes and projects. The A-GACNP specialty entails 75 credit hours and 1,170 clinical hours; the A-GPCNP, 74 credit hours and 1,080 clinical hours; the PNPAC, 76 credit hours and 1,125 clinical hours; the PNPPC, 73 credit hours and 1,080 clinical hours; the FNP, 82 credit hours and 1,170 clinical hours; the WHNP, 75 credit hours and 1,170 clinical hours; and the PMHNP, 78 credit hours and 1,170 clinical hours.

Post-Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Nurses who’ve completed a graduate degree and want to take on a new advance practice specialty can enroll in one of the university’s advance practice certificate options. Each student works according to an individualized study plan that’s based on that student’s academic record and the certification requirements for the specialty they are undertaking.

The A-GACNP certificate specialty can be completed in one year with 16 credit hours and 360 clinical hours; the A-GPCNP, in two years with 25 credit hours and 540 clinical hours; the PNPAC, in a little more than one year with 19 credit hours and 360 clinical hours; the PNPPC, in two years with 24 credit hours and 540 clinical hours; the FNP, in two years with 33 credit hours and 630 clinical hours; the WHNP, in two years with 26 credit hours and 630 clinical hours; and the PMHNP, in little more than one year with 29 credit hours and 630 clinical hours.

5) University Of Colorado - Colorado Springs


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

The Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing & Health Sciences at the University of Colorado’s Colorado Springs campus is one of the best nurse practitioner programs in Colorado, but it only admits students from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming into its advance practice programs. The university offers three NP specialties as MSN, post-BSN to DNP, and post-graduate certificate concentrations.

MSN Concentrations: Primary Care Adult/Gero Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Core classes for the MSN degree involve either 22 or 23 hours. The Primary Care Adult/Gero Nurse Practitioner and the Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner specialties each require an additional 25 credits and 630 supervised clinical hours while the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner involves an additional 26 credit hours and 630 supervised clinical hours.

Post-BSN to DNP Concentrations: Primary Care Adult/Gero Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner

The university’s post-BSN to DNP track requires 70 to 72 credit hours to complete and does not confer an MSN degree. Requirements for the individual specialties are similar to the those specialties’ MSN requirements.

Post-Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Primary Care Adult/Gero Nurse Practitioner, Primary Care Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The university only admits students from Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and the states listed above into its post-graduate certificate specialty options. Coursework can be taken online and clinical rotations will be arranged in the area where students live or work. Students can take as long as six years to complete their studies.

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