Colorado RN-to-MSN Programs

August 9, 2021 , Modified on May 16, 2022 · 3 Min Read

RN-to-MSN programs are a popular choice for nurses with an ADN who want to advance their career. Learn about the best Colorado RN-to-MSN programs today.

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Colorado RN-to-MSN Programs
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Colorado has the second fastest job growth rate for nurse practitioners (NPs). Colorado is also one of the fastest growing states for population, especially in the Denver and Boulder metropolitan areas. The state offers NPs full practice authority, as well. Therefore, if you become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), you can enjoy a high level of professional autonomy.

This guide explores top registered nurse (RN)-to-master of science in nursing (MSN) programs in Colorado and how to apply.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best Colorado RN-to-MSN programs, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about Colorado RN-to-MSN programs, or go straight to our list of the best Colorado RN-to-MSN programs.

How do Colorado RN-to-MSN Programs Work?

RN-to-MSN programs let learners with an associate degree in nursing (ADN) earn an MSN without having to first get a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). These programs build on the skills and experience learned in an ADN program.

Like traditional MSN programs, RN-to-MSN options include clinical hours and advanced core topics in evidence-based practice, theory, informatics, nursing research, communications, and leadership. APRN programs include health assessment and pharmacology and advanced physiology and anatomy. Other MSN programs, such as nurse informatics or nurse education, offer additional advanced classes.

Applying to a Colorado RN-to-MSN Program

RN-to-MSN admission requirements emphasize your academic and leadership abilities since MSN students demonstrate higher authority and responsibility. You must have good references and a solid GPA for admission.

ADN from an accredited program, current and unencumbered RN license in the state where you will perform your clinical hours, criminal background check with fingerprints, an application that includes an essay or personal statement, at least two references

Most MSN programs require at least a 3.0 GPA, many require at least a 3.2.

Most programs require at least two years of experience as an RN. A history of increased responsibility or promotion is very helpful.

Featured Online MSN Programs

Why is Colorado RN-to-MSN Program Accreditation Important?

Program accreditation is an objective assessment of a nursing program's effectiveness in preparing students to practice nursing. Accreditation consists of a thorough review of all factors that affect program quality. These reviews cover student outcomes (such as grades and board certification pass rates), faculty and staff qualifications, teaching methods, organizational processes (such as academic discipline), and learning facilities (such as libraries, labs, and technology).

Employers rarely consider applications from graduates of unaccredited programs, and almost all board certifications only accept applicants from accredited programs. This guide only lists accredited programs.

Learn More About the Best Colorado RN-to-MSN Programs and Schools

Frequently Asked Questions About Colorado RN-to-MSN Programs


Can I get my MSN right after my BSN?

Only a few MSN programs, and almost no APRN programs, accept students who do not have at least one year of experience as an RN, and many require or strongly prefer at least two years. This helps ensure you can succeed as a nurse.

Does MSN make more than BSN?

While both earn good salaries, MSNs make much more than BSNs. APRNs earn a median $117,670 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), while RNs earn a median $75,330. In addition, MSNs enjoy more professional autonomy and a broader scope of practice.

Is MEPN the same as MSN?

Master of science for entry to the profession of nursing (MEPN) programs are designed for students who have at least a bachelor's degree in another discipline, while MSNs are designed for students with a nursing degree. MEPNs require certain prerequisite courses that cover much of the same ground as BSN courses.

Can I skip my BSN and get my MSN?

You can earn an MSN through an RN-to-MSN program without getting a BSN. These programs are very demanding because they cover the equivalent of two years of a BSN program in one year. Most require at least one year of experience as an RN, and many require or strongly prefer at least two years.

Is getting an MSN worth it?

The answer depends on your career and financial goals. APRNs are in high demand. In fact, the number of APRN jobs could grow 45% between 2020 and 2030, according to the BLS, and APRNs earn six figure salaries. MSNs are also excellent preparation for careers as medical and health services managers, which pay a median $104,280.


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