Are you considering a career as an LPN in Colorado?
There are lots of opportunities for LPNs, as they remain in demand in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and many other healthcare settings.
Not to mention, becoming an LPN boosts your earning potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, LPNs in Colorado earn 6% higher than the national average for LPNs.
Seems like a great deal, right?
But to achieve this, you need to put in time, effort, and resources… Just like every other goal worth pursuing!
There is a process to take before you can enjoy the benefits of this career.
But don’t worry! We’ll break down the process for you in just 5 steps!
We’ll also answer some FAQs, such as:
- How much does an LPN program in Colorado cost?
- How much does an LPN in Colorado make?
- Is Colorado a Nursing Compact State?
If you’re ready, let’s get started with how to become an LPN in Colorado!
How to Become an LPN in Colorado in 5 Steps
Here are the five steps to becoming an LPN in Colorado:
- Step #1: Enroll in an LPN Nursing Program
- Step #2: Prepare for the NCLEX-PN Exam
- Step #3: Register for Your LPN License
- Step #4: Get a Job as an LPN
- Step #5: Renew Your License
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Step #1: Enroll in an LPN Nursing Program
The first step in becoming an LPN is to complete a nursing degree program that is accredited by the Colorado State Board of Nursing.
LPN programs are offered in technical schools, state colleges, vocational schools, nursing universities, online nursing programs, and other educational institutions.
Requirements for Enrollment
Requirements vary from school to school, but here are the basic requirements for LPNs in Colorado:
- High school diploma or GED
- Must be 17 years old
- Pass the criminal background check and drug screen waiver
Most LPN programs take 12-18 months to be completed.
However, some nursing schools offer LPN programs that will qualify candidates for certification after 6-10 months of training.
The one-year programs include hands-on practice, in-classroom training, and clinical rotation in local healthcare agencies.
The typical LPN program covers some of these topics:
- Human Anatomy
- General Psychology
- Human Nutrition
- Medical Anthropology
- Human Growth and Development
- Professional Pathway to Nursing
- Nursing Ethics
By the end of the program, students will learn how to provide basic patient care, document medical charts, administer medications, and develop skills that will prepare them to excel as LPNs.
Step #2: Prepare for the NCLEX-PN Exam
After successfully graduating from an accredited LPN program in Colorado, candidates are required to take and pass the NCLEX-PN exam.
The NCLEX-PN is a national examination that evaluates if the candidates have the knowledge and skills to work as entry-level LPNs.
The NCLEX tests your basic nursing knowledge, as well as your decision-making and higher cognitive skills.
It is composed of 4 main categories:
- Safe and effective care environment
- Health promotion and maintenance
- Psychosocial integrity
- Physiological integrity
The exam has a minimum of 85 questions and a maximum of 205. The questions are administered in the form of multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, hot-spot, multiple responses, and ordered-response items.
The exam is administered through a Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) method.
Your nursing education program usually prepares you for the NCLEX exam, but you can also enroll in a review center or do self-reviews to prepare.
You can find many sample exams and guides online.
However, to be able to take the exam, you first need to register for it through the Colorado Board of Nursing.
We will talk about how to do this in the next step.
Step #3: Register for Your LPN License
There are different ways to obtain your LPN license in Colorado. But all candidates should submit the following requirements:
- Submit an application to the Board
- Pay the application fee
- Submit proof of completion of an accredited nursing education program
- US Social Security Number
- Disclosure of address
Licensure by Examination
Candidates who completed an approved LPN training program are eligible to take the NCLEX-PN examination.
Non-Colorado graduates from an approved program by the board in another territory or state are eligible to take the NCLEX examination if the following requirements are met:
- The LPN program meets the standards of an approved nursing program in Colorado
- Proof of nursing program completion
- All requirements of that statute are met
All eligible candidates for license by examination should submit the following requirements to the Board:
- Application for license by examination
- Non-refundable application fee of $88
- Affidavit of eligibility form
- Evidence of completing an approved LPN program
- Pearson VUE registration
Application forms can be downloaded online and submitted together with some requirements.
The official school transcripts from your approved LPN program should include the date of completion and should be securely submitted to the Board.
For non-Colorado nursing program graduates, the program should meet the minimum standards of a Colorado Approved Nursing Education Program.
Candidates also need to register for the NCLEX examination through Pearson VUE:
- You can register and pay online.
- By telephone at (866) 496-2539
- By mail
The NCLEX examination fee is $200.
The Colorado Board of Nursing will evaluate your application and documents.
If you qualify for the exam, then they authorize you to test. You can then schedule your exam date for the NCLEX.
Once you pass, the Board will issue you your LPN license.
Licensure by Endorsement
If you are already an LPN in another state or U.S. territory but want to work in Colorado, then you can apply for a license by endorsement (unless you have a multi-state license).
You will not need to take the NCLEX again but will need to show proof of an active LPN license.
Candidates that are licensed to practice in another state or territory are eligible for licensure by endorsement if:
- The candidate holds a current license in another state or territory of the U.S.
- The candidate did not graduate from a nontraditional nursing program
All candidates are required to submit the following requirements:
- Application fee of $43
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or Lawful Presence in the United States
- Social Security Number
Foreign nationals that are not physically present in the United States and non-immigrants on student visas who don’t have a Social Security Number have some exceptions.
Step #4: Get a Job as an LPN
As an LPN, you have many employment opportunities including long-term care facilities, in-home healthcare settings, hospitals, physicians’ offices, and outpatient settings.
The employment of LPNs in Colorado is projected to increase to 31.4% by 2024, which is faster than the national average for other occupations.
Part of the rising growth for LPNs is the aging baby-boomer population and the increase in chronic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
As you can see, there are lots of career opportunities in store for you as an LPN!
Gain as much experience as you can and try to find your niche.
You can even specialize in a certain field and gain certifications.
If you want, you can consider advancing your career by becoming an RN.
Some schools offer bridge programs for LPNs to become RNs. They make the transition as smooth and efficient as possible.
Step #5: Renew Your License
Your Colorado license expires every two years. You should renew your license at least four weeks before the expiration date.
Currently, LPNs are not required to take any continuing education in Colorado.
A renewal fee of $108 is required. If you have an expired or canceled license, you need to apply for reinstatement.
Failure to renew your Colorado license may result in probation, fines, or suspension.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an LPN in Colorado
Now that we’ve covered the steps to becoming an LPN, let’s answer some FAQs.
How much does an LPN program in Colorado cost?
The price of the program will depend on your chosen school.
Compared to other nursing programs, LPN programs are more affordable and shorter as well. The tuition costs about $12,000 to $30,000 for an LPN program.
Financial aids and scholarship grants are available in some schools. It’s best to inquire at your chosen school for financial aid options.
How much do LPNs in Colorado make?
We have good news—LPNs in Colorado earn 6% higher than the national average!
LPNs in Colorado make an average of $26.62 per hour or $55,360 annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Is Colorado a Nursing Compact State?
Colorado is part of the NLC, which means that LPNs with a multistate license from Colorado can practice in other NLC states without having to apply for a license in those states.
And that’s it!
We’ve discussed the five steps to becoming an LPN and we’ve also answered some relevant questions.
Hopefully, this simple guide will help you understand the process of becoming an LPN in Colorado.
We wish you all the best as you embark on your LPN journey.