Hot Spots: Colorado

It makes sense that Colorado, a mecca for people seeking a healthy lifestyle, would be a great place for nursing. The Centennial State boasts of abundant sunshine, mild temperatures and record snowfalls.

National parks and forests occupy 37% of Colorado’s land, which is crowned with Rocky Mountain grandeur. Colorado is the home of Pike’s Peak (the inspiration for “America the Beautiful”), the mile-high city and miles of open space. Dubbed the “Napa Valley of Beer,” the brew-loving land is renowned for its gold mine of craft breweries.

Well-rounded well-being seems to be a priority of the state, which comes with an array of recent years’ “bests.” Men’s Health magazine named Denver in its 2011 list of the 10 most active cities in America. Boulder was crowned Bon Appétit’s 2010 Foodiest town, recognizing its superb farmers markets, innovative food companies and top-notch dining. This foothill town also was named the healthiest and happiest city in America by a Gallup-Healthways poll, the Most Educated City in America by U.S. News & World Report and a top bicycle-friendly city by Bicycling Magazine.

Five Colorado communities made Money Magazine’s list of 2012 best small towns in America: Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Centennial, Boulder and Fort Collins. And do we need to mention that the snow-loving state with renowned slope towns — Telluride, Vail and Breckenridge, among others — seems to dominate lists of skiing and snowboarding bests?

Three of Colorado’s 100 hospitals were nationally ranked on U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best Hospitals: University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Craig Hospital in Englewood and National Jewish Health in Denver. Those three and Medical Center of Aurora, North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Exempla St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver made up the top of the magazine’s Best Hospitals in Colorado list.

For everyone from recent graduates to veteran nurses seeking fresh starts with their families, Colorado has something to offer.

A ‘compact’ state

Colorado is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which offers nurses multistate licensure in 24 participating states. To learn more about state requirements, check out the National Council of State Boards of Nursing at or contact the Colorado State Board of Nursing at 1560 Broadway, Suite 1350, Denver, CO 80202; 303-894-7800; or visit


State of Colorado population (2012): 5,187,582

Percent younger than 5 years (2011): 6.7

Percent younger than 18 years (2011): 24

Percent 65 years or older (2011): 11.3

Mean travel time to work (2007-11): 24.3 minutes

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, State Quickfacts

Jobs outlook

General unemployment rate: 7.2% in February 2013

RNs statewide: 41,380 employed (2011)

Annual RN average wage: $67,920 (average hourly wage: $32.66)

Nurse anesthetists: 90 employed; average annual wage: $157,210 (average hourly wage: $75.58)

Nurse midwives: 160 employed; average annual wage: $92,930 (average hourly wage: $44.68)

Nurse practitioners: 1,840 employed; average annual wage: $90,190 (average hourly wage: $43.36)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages Report, May 2011, and Economy at a Glance report

Nursing programs (partial list)

Adams State University

Colorado Christian University

Colorado Mesa University

Colorado Mountain College

Colorado State University-Pueblo

Denver School of Nursing

Metropolitan State College of Denver

Platt College

Regis University

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

University of Colorado Denver

University of Northern Colorado

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