(found 112 schools, updated in April 2017)
Colorado offers outstanding employment opportunities for the Certified Nurse Aide (CNA). The CNA performs critical patient care tasks that supplement the care provided by Registered Nurses and other healthcare professionals. Certified Nurse Aides play an important role in ensuring patients are given the regular attention needed to maintain the highest quality of life possible. Becoming a CNA in Colorado enables the professional to assist people with healthcare needs and often inspires the pursuit of a nursing degree.
- 7 Steps to Becoming a CNA in Colorado
- How to Keep CNA certification Active
- Salary and Job Outlook for CNAs in Colorado
- A List of Nearby or Bordering States
7 Steps to Becoming a CNA in Colorado
The Colorado Certified Nursing Aide is also called a Certified Nursing Assistant when employers post available positions. The Colorado Board of Nursing (Board) is responsible for approving CNA training programs, approving applicant requests for certification and maintaining the CNA registry.
Step 1: Research and Select a Program
As of 2017, there are 112 state-approved CNA classes in Colorado offered in high schools, community colleges, technical colleges, health institutes, healthcare facilities and other institutions. Some students are employed in Medicare or Medicaid funded skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes and complete their training while working in the facility.
CNA Classes in Colorado by City
Use the following table to find a training program near you. The school list is updated in April, 2017.
|City||Program Type||Program Provider||Approval |
|Alamosa||High School||Centauri High School||Full|
|Alamosa||High School||Center High School / Trinidad State Junior College|
|Alamosa||Community College||Trinidad State Junior College / San Luis Education Center - Valley Campus|
|Arvada||Community College||Red Rocks Community College|
|Arvada||High School||Warren Tech - North|
|Aurora||Independent||Absolute Care Nurse Aide School||Interim|
|Aurora||Independent||Accent Learning Systems|
|Aurora||Independent||Bright Beginnings Nursing Assistant School||Interim|
|Aurora||High School||Pickens Technical College|
|Aurora||Community College||Pickens Technical College - Post Secondary|
|Brighton||High School||Brighton High School|
|Brush||Facility Based||C.A.R.E. Sunset Manor||Interim||0.59|
|Burlington||Community College||Morgan Community College|
|Canon City||Community College||Pueblo Community College|
|Carbondale||Facility Based||Heritage Park Care Center|
|Centennial||High School||Littleton Public Schools Health Sciences Technology|
|Centennial||Independent||South Denver School of Nursing Arts|
|Colorado Springs||Independent||Avanza Training, LLC|
|Colorado Springs||Independent||Beo Nurse Aide Training Program|
|Colorado Springs||Independent||General Health Nursing Academy, LLC||Interim|
|Colorado Springs||Independent||Independence Center, The|
|Colorado Springs||Independent||MGA Academy, LLC|
|Colorado Springs||Independent||Nursing & Therapy Services of Colorado, Inc.|
|Colorado Springs||Community College||Pikes Peak Community College - Post Secondary|
|Colorado Springs||High School||Pikes Peak Community College Area Vocational Program|
|Craig||Community College||Colorado Northwestern Community College|
|Craig||Facility Based||Sandrock Ridge Care & Rehabilitation|
|Delta||Community College||Delta Montrose Technical College - Post Secondary|
|Delta||High School||Delta-Montrose Technical College|
|Denver||Community College||Community College of Aurora|
|Denver||Community College||Community College of Denver|
|Denver||Independent||Community Health Institute|
|Denver||Community College||Emily Griffith Technical College|
|Denver||High School||Florence Crittenton High School|
|Denver||High School||Fred N. Thomas Career Education Center Middle College of Denver|
|Denver||Independent||Healthcare Training Institute||Interim|
|Denver||High School||Manual High School Nurse Aide Program|
|Denver||Independent||New Beginning Nursing Assistant Program||Full||0.7|
|Denver||Independent||Pima Medical Institute - North|
|Denver||Facility Based||St. Joseph Hospital Foundation|
|Denver||High School||Vista Academy|
|Durango||Facility Based||Four Corners Health Care Center|
|Durango||Community College||Southwest Colorado Community College|
|Eads||Facility Based||Weisbrod Memorial County Hospital and Nursing Home (Kiowa County District Hospital)|
|Edwards||Community College||Colorado Mountain College|
|Falcon||High School||Pikes Peak Community College|
|Florence||High School||Florence High School|
|Florence||Independent||St. Thomas More Hospital Nurse Aide Program|
|Fort Collins||Facility Based||C.A.R.E. Training Spring Creek Health Care||Full||0.55|
|Fort Collins||High School||Front Range Community College Larimer - Medical Careers Exploration|
|Fort Collins||Independent||Geriatric Education Centre (formerly Columbine Health Systems)|
|Fort Lupton||Community College||Aims Community College|
|Fort Morgan||High School||Morgan Community College|
|Fort Morgan||Community College||Morgan Community College - Post Secondary|
|Frisco||High School||Summit High School Health Sciences||Full||1|
|Glenwood Springs||Community College||Colorado Mountain College - Spring Valley|
|Grand Junction||Facility Based||Larchwood Inns|
|Grand Junction||Independent||Western Colorado Area Health Education Center|
|Grand Junction||Community College||Western Colorado Community College|
|Grand Junction||Community College||Western Colorado Community College - Med Prep|
|Greeley||Community College||Aims Community College|
|Greeley||High School||Aims Community College|
|Greeley||Facility Based||Fairacres Manor|
|Gunnison||Facility Based||Gunnison Valley Health Senior Care Center|
|Kremmling||Community College||Colorado Northwestern Community College|
|La Junta||Community College||Otero Junior College|
|Lafayette||Independent||Compass Nursing Arts|
|Lakewood||Independent||Colorado CNA Academy|
|Lakewood||Independent||Pacific School of Nursing Arts||Full||0.53|
|Lamar||Community College||Lamar Community College|
|Las Animas||Facility Based||Bent County Health Care Center Nurse Aide Training Program|
|Limon||Community College||Morgan Community College|
|Littleton||Community College||Arapahoe Community College|
|Longmont||Facility Based||C.A.R.E. Training Applewood Health Care|
|Longmont||High School||Career Development Center|
|Longmont||Facility Based||Life Care Center of Longmont|
|Loveland||Community College||Front Range Community College Larimer - Post Secondary|
|Mancos||Community College||Southwest Colorado Community College|
|Mancos||Facility Based||Valley Inn, The||Interim|
|Meeker||Facility Based||Walbridge Wing Nurse Aide Training|
|Montrose||Independent||Volunteers of America Nurse Aide Program|
|Morrison||Facility Based||Genesis Nurse Aide Training Program|
|Oak Creek||High School||Colorado Northwestern Community College / Soroco High School|
|Pagosa Springs||Facility Based||Pine Ridge|
|Pueblo||Independent||AIM Health Academy|
|Pueblo||Community College||Pueblo Community College|
|Pueblo||High School||Pueblo Community College|
|Rangely||Community College||Colorado Northwestern Community College|
|Rifle||Community College||Colorado Mountain College - West Garfield|
|Rifle||Facility Based||Colorado State Veterans Community Living Center Rifle|
|Salida||Facility Based||Columbine Manor Care Center|
|Springfield||Facility Based||Southeast Colorado Hospital & Long Term Care Ctr|
|Steamboat Springs||Community College||Colorado Mountain College|
|Steamboat Springs||Facility Based||Colorado Casey's Pond Senior Living|
|Sterling||Facility Based||Devonshire Acres|
|Sterling||Community College||Northeastern Junior College - Post Secondary|
|Thornton||High School||Bollman Technical Education Center||Full||0.85|
|Trinidad||Facility Based||Trinidad Inn|
|Walsenburg||Facility Based||Spanish Peaks|
|Westminster||Independent||Agape Angelicum School of Nursing Arts, Inc.|
|Westminster||Independent||Ann Rose School of Nursing Arts, Inc.|
|Westminster||Community College||Front Range Community College|
|Westminster||High School||Westminster High School Health Studies|
|Wheat Ridge||Independent||Altruistic Institute|
|Wray||Community College||Morgan Community College|
How to Select a Nurse Aide Program
All state-approved training programs are at least 80 hours long, and all have curriculums that meet or exceed federal and state requirements. However, some programs require more than 80 hours of nurse aide training. When researching programs, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Verifying the program is state-approved
- Training program location
- Program start and end dates
- Required hours of attendance (i.e. day or evening program)
- If it is a credit or non-credit program
- Program costs
Colorado does not have a stated minimum age for enrolling in a CNA training program, so there are many training programs offered at high schools. These programs can take up to nine months to complete because they are designed to fit the school year.
At a facility like the Colorado Mountain College, the CNA program takes one semester to complete four credit hours of coursework and one credit clinical including 90 classroom hours and 16 clinical hours. The Certified Nursing Assistant Program offered by the St. Thomas More Hospital is five-weeks long.
In other words, there is a big variety of programs of various lengths.
Step 2: Review the Costs of the CNA Training Programs
The program costs will vary. For example, at St. Thomas More Hospital, students pay $890 for the application fee, tuition, textbooks, workbooks, lab fees and supplies. At Colorado Mountain College, the in-district program costs are $248 for in-district course tuition, $62 for in-district clinical fees, $100 program fee, and $75 for books for a total of $485. All students must pay for supplies, exam fees and uniforms, no matter where they attend. When evaluating costs for different programs, be sure to include all costs for comparison purposes.
Students who work in a federally funded nursing home or skilled nursing facility can get free training because the employer will pay the training costs. The usual requirement is that the CNA will continue to work for the facility for a designated period of time. Federal law also says that a CNA who finds employment in that kind of facility within 12 months of passing the certification exam can request reimbursement for tuition and fees.
The other way to get free training is through facility scholarships or other types of financial aid. It is always important to check with the financial aid office or to ask the employer about options for paying for tuition and fees.
Step 3: Meet the CNA Program’s Specific Prerequisites
There are always prerequisites that must be met before students take CNA training in Colorado. They include:
- Passing a criminal background check
- Passing a drug screen test
- Showing proof of immunizations like tetanus and Hepatitis B
- Showing proof of an influenza vaccine during flu season
- Meeting requirements specific to the school, i.e. age requirements, or proof of high school completion or GED if program if offered at a post-secondary facility
Step 4: Complete a State-Approved Training Program
The CNA classes in Colorado educate students on the specific skills they will use while employed and the knowledge needed to do a high quality job. The program consists of a minimum of 80 hours of training consisting of classroom instruction, laboratory time and clinical training.
The curriculum content of a state-approved CNA program in Colorado must cover the following areas as a minimum.
- Utilizing infection control procedures
- Safety and emergency procedures
- Communication and interpersonal skills
- Patient and resident rights
- Helping patients and residents achieve the maximum independence possible
- Personal care skills
- Recognizing health changes in patients and residents
- Recognizing patient and resident social services needs
- Basic nursing skills, like taking and recording vital signs
- Delivering restorative services to patients and residents
- Recognizing mental health needs of patients and residents
A CNA student can also complete required training to become a Medication Aide (MAA) or a Home Health Aide (HHA). At some schools the training program leads to CNA and MAA and/or HHA certification.
Step 6: Take the CNA Exam in Colorado
Pearson VUE administers the CNA exam for the Colorado State Board of Nursing. The exam adheres to the requirements of the federal government’s National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) requirements and has two main components:
- Written (or Oral) Examination: The written exam requires answering 70 multiple choice questions. The questions cover the material taught during the Certified Nurse Aide training program. Exam candidates can also take the oral exam.
- Skills Evaluation: The skills section of the exam requires demonstrating five skills learned during lab and clinical training. There are 22 skills the student masters during CNA training, and the five skills selected can be any of the 22 skills. Each exam examinee is required to perform the Hand Washing skill and a measurement skill.
The CNA candidate must pass both parts of the exam in order to qualify for placement in the CNA registry. There are sample questions available on the Person VUE website.
Who are Eligible to Take the CNA Exam
If you want to sit for the CNA state exam to become a Certified Nurse Aide in Colorado, you need to be one of the following candidates.
New Nurse Aide
LPN, RN, LPT or Military Equivalent Student
If nursing students in any of these types of programs has taken and passed at least five semester credits of nursing fundamentals, he or she can apply to take the certification exam. The credits must be earned in either a Registered Nurse, Practical Nursing or Psychiatric Technician program.
LPN, RN or LPT with Expired License
RNs, LPNs and LPTs who have an expired license in any state can take the exam to earn nurse aide certification in Colorado. The applicant must provide a copy of a transcript or the expired license with the exam application.
RN or LPN who Trained Outside the US
The nurse can provide proof he or she completed at least five semester credits of nursing fundamentals in a Registered Nurse, Practical Nursing or Psychiatric Technician program.
Out of State Nurse Aide
Anyone who completed a nurse aide training program in another state, but was never certified, can provide proof of program completion and take the Colorado exam for certification.
RN, LPN or LPT with Recorded Disciplinary Action
The RN, LPN or LPT exam applicant with an active disciplinary action must complete a screening application which requires an explanation. The Nurse Aide Advisory Committee will review the explanation and determine if the person is eligible to take the exam.
CNAs with Revoked Certification
If a CNA’s certificate is revoked or surrendered for any reason, the person must repeat a state-approved training program, retake and pass the competency exam, and reapply for Board certification. Revocation requires a one-year waiting period before the CNA exam can be retaken. Surrendering a certification has a two-year waiting period. The Nurse Aide Advisory Committee makes the final decision.
CNA who takes the exam for reinstatement but has not worked at least eight hours in the last two years as a nurse aide should get approval to take the exam requires by providing a copy of the last nurse aide certificate or proof a state-approved training program was completed.
Where to Take Examination
The certification exam is offered at two types of testing facilities: In Facility Test Site (INF) and Regional Test Site (RTS). Pearson VUE provides maintains a current listing of exam locations on its website. Applicants can choose the most convenient testing location.
Time Limits for CNA Exams
The applicant must pass both parts of the exam within three tries. If unable to pass both parts within three tries, the applicant will have to complete a state-approved training program again.
Step 7: Get Certified as a CNA
Note that Colorado refers to the certification document as a ‘license.’ It is not technically a license like the RN or LPN is required to maintain. However, the CNA certification document serves a similar purpose as a professional license.
Once a new nurse aide passes both parts of the exam, Pearson VUE will send the person’s name to the State Board of Nursing. The Board will verify the applicant has met all the certification requirements for training and achieved minimum exam scores. If everything is in order, the nurse aide’s name is added to the Colorado Nurse Aide Registry. Once added, obtaining proof of certification requires logging in to the website and printing out the document.
Active CNAs From Other States
Out of State CNAs can apply for Colorado certification by endorsement. The nurse aide with active certification in another state is allowed to work for up to four months in Colorado before getting certified in Colorado by endorsement. The employer must get verification the certification is active. The Colorado certification must be approved within the four months. The applicant must pass a screening review covering criminal history and pending complaints.
How to Keep CNA certification Active
The CNA certification in Colorado expires on January 31 of odd-numbered years. There is what the state calls a ‘License Expiration Bump Period’ which is the 120 days before a license expiration date. If someone is certified during the 120 days before January 31 of odd-numbered years, the license expiration date will be the next expiration date. Otherwise, the nurse aide will renew CNA certification per the regular state schedule.
Keeping the certification active requires working at least 8 hours as a CNA in the 24 months prior to the renewal date and maintaining a record free of complaints and felony convictions. If the applicant has not worked as a CNA in the prior two years, the nurse aide must have passed the Board’s Competency evaluation (CNA state exam) within the past 24 months to renew the certificate. If the applicant has not worked and not passed the Board’s Competency evaluation in the designated timeframe, the nurse aide will have to retake the exam.
All renewal requests are made online. A CNA who has an expired certification, but worked at least eight hours as a CNA in the prior 24 months, can apply for reinstatement.
Salary and Job Outlook for CNAs in Colorado
The recent Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Colorado CNAs, as of May 2016 were paid an average annual wage of $30,150 or $14.49. This is 9 percent higher than the national annual CNA salary figure which is $27,650 or $13.29 per hour. | See Job Openings
There is a strong and growing demand for nursing assistants in Colorado. The projection for CNA jobs growth shows a 30.3 percent increase for the 2014-2024 period. This is significantly higher than the projected national jobs growth rate of 17.6 percent for the same period. | See Job Openings
CNA Salaries in Colorado
|CO CNA Salaries||Empl.||Hourly mean wage||Annual mean wage||Wage percent relative std. error||Hourly 10th % wage||Hourly median wage||Hourly 90th % wage||Annual 10th % wage||Annual median wage||Annual 90th % wage|
|Colorado Springs, CO||2620||12.87||26770||1.3||9.95||12.90||15.77||20700||26840||32790|
|Eastern and Southern Colorado nonmetropolitan area||1270||12.81||26650||3.9||9.74||11.83||15.55||20260||24610||32330|
|Fort Collins, CO||1340||14.14||29420||2.5||10.56||14.00||18.33||21970||29110||38130|
|Grand Junction, CO||760||12.93||26900||2.2||10.15||12.57||16.89||21110||26150||35130|
|Northwest Colorado nonmetropolitan area||430||15.39||32020||1.6||11.91||15.21||19.21||24780||31640||39960|
|Southwest Colorado nonmetropolitan area||870||13.17||27400||2.4||9.93||12.82||17.41||20650||26660||36210|
A List of Nearby or Bordering States
If you want to become a CNA in a bordering state, visit the following pages: