Colorado Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2022

AKA: CRNP License, APRN Licensure

Last Reviewed: October 1st, 2022

With the ability to diagnose, treat and prescribe independently, credentialed nurse practitioners in Colorado enjoy autonomy and high salaries while also serving to help lower overall healthcare costs in the state.

However, the Colorado Board of Nursing places a series of hurdles in the way of anyone wishing to enter the profession in the form of APRN Licensing and Prescriptive Authority (RXN). Read on to learn about the steps you’ll need to go through to practice as a nurse practitioner in Colorado.

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Colorado

Follow below to learn how to become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Colorado.

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?Skip to the next section

The board receives applications for RN licensure year-round and successful applicants are issued licenses to practice nursing in Colorado. Applicants for single-state licenses are licensed to practice only in Colorado while those who fulfill requirements for the NLC multi-state license can apply for and receive such a license to practice in member states. There are two routes of application for RN licenses,  RN by Examination and RN by Endorsement.

RN by Examination

This route is also for you if you have never been licensed to practice in the U.S., or you studied abroad.

Requirements:

  • The minimum academic qualification for this route is an associate’s degree from an accredited nursing program taken from a board-approved institution.
  • The licensing examination to be taken is the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). You should register for this examination at PearsonVUE whilst applying for your license. This is necessary because you will only receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) from PearsonVUE (by mail or email) after the board has pronounced you eligible for the examination. The board permits every applicant to have a maximum of three trials after which you will be required to take a refresher course before applying again.
  • Applicants are required to have an original copy of their transcripts mailed to the board by their degree-awarding institutions.
  • The application is to be completed online by first opening an account here. You will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $88.

RN by Endorsement

This is the route of choice for holders of a valid RN license in another state in the U.S. which is not a member of the NLC. Being a party to the NLC, Colorado permits holders of multistate licenses from other NLC member states to practice under state laws. Holders of single-state licenses from member states will be required to apply for a license to practice in Colorado as the requirements for a multistate license are quite different. Applicants via this route are required to verify all the licenses they have ever held. This can be done by sending a request to the nursing board of the state of your licensure using the Nursys platform.

All applicants are required to submit a declaration of their primary state of residence using this form. A compulsory background check must be conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and your fingerprints must be captured for the process. The Colorado Applicant Background Services (CABS) program recognizes two vendors for the fingerprint capture process: American BioIdentitiy – Colorado Fingerprinting and IdentoGO Fingerprint Services.

You are also required to provide information regarding your nursing education including having a copy of your transcript sent to the board if you finished a program in Colorado. Foreign-trained nurses must have their credentials evaluated by the CGFNS.

All application-related payments are non-refundable and should be completed online with a credit card. Only when all your documents are supplied and the fees have been paid will your application be processed. According to Colorado laws, all applications are valid for up to one year after their submission date.

Advanced Education

Colorado requires that you present proof of completion of a post-graduate preparatory program for nurse practitioners.

Such a program must have been accredited by the Council for Collegiate Nursing Education and/or the National League for Nursing Accreditation and must have been taken at a government-approved institution. The program must prepare you to practice as a nurse practitioner serving one or more population foci. Here you can find all schools offering nurse practitioner programs in Colorado.

As an NP in Colorado, you will be required to practice on a more advanced scale diagnosing, ordering tests and evaluations, and managing treatment plans. Hence, your training as a nurse practitioner must equip you with advanced knowledge of pathophysiology, pharmacology, and clinical management.

National Certification

Before you can be licensed to practice as an NP in Colorado, you must be certified by the national agency responsible for certifying CNPs in your chosen specialty area. These national certification agencies either conduct certifying examinations for holders of postgraduate degrees in certain nurse practitioner specialty areas or they provide their standard certification programs. They lend credibility to the quality of education you received and state boards of nursing use them to verify the quality of your training as an NP. Each agency sets its requirements for receiving a license and maintaining it. These are the national certification agencies recognized by the Colorado DPO:

  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • National Board of Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)

Getting Licensed to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner Within Colorado

Holders of national nurse practitioner certificate in one or more specialty area can apply for licensure in Colorado based on certification or by endorsement. The application is to be completed online here.

Applicants who completed their post-graduate programs in a Colorado institution will likely not need to open a new account for this application.

All applicants will be required to pay a non-refundable application fee of $75 and to submit verification of all clinical licenses held, both current and expired. A request for this verification can be sent via the Nursys platform.

Holders of multistate RN licenses from other NLC states can apply for an Advanced Practice Nurse License by endorsement. They will be required to provide a copy of their valid license. They may also be required to answer questions based on their criminal history.

All applicants must declare their primary state of residence using this form and they must state their population specialty area(s). You must also provide proof of professional liability insurance. All fees are to be paid with a credit card. When all documents are provided and fees are paid, your license will be processed. Note that the Colorado APRN license does not come with prescription privileges. Hence, you must apply for a Prescriptive Authority (RXN) License.

Applicants for the RXN license must have completed at least 750 hours of prescriptive experience during a mutually–structured mentorship program with a physician licensed to practice in Colorado. Holders of prescriptive licenses in other states (compact or not) can also apply for an RXN license with similar requirements. The application is also completed online and is processed with a $150 fee.