Colorado Registered Nurse License Exam
To obtain licensure in Colorado, Registered Nurses are required to take a nursing exam known as the National Council for Licensure Exam-RN (NCLEX-RN) which ensures the candidate is prepared for entry level nursing practice.
Need for a Registered Nurse License: A Registered Nurse is required to be licensed to practice nursing in the state of Colorado.
Who Grants a Registered Nurse License: Licenses are granted by the Colorado Board of Nursing.
Qualifications to receive a License: Applicants must graduate from an approved and accredited nursing program (diploma, associate, or baccalaureate degree) and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Graduates of non-traditional programs who have completed the Student Permit application must complete and submit the Skills Checklist that was supplied upon completion of the course.
Applying for State Licensure and the NCLEX-RN Exam: The application process consists of two parts which are completed together: 1) applying for Colorado Licensure and 2) registering for the NCLEX-RN exam.
- First, complete and submit an Application for Licensure by Examination with the Colorado Board of Nursing. The application may be completed online via the Colorado Board of Nursing website online application system.
- Request an official copy of your transcript from your nursing school to be sent in a sealed envelope to the Colorado Board of Nursing (unofficial and/or electronic copies are not accepted). The address is Division of Professions and Occupations Office of Licensing 1560 Broadway Suite 1350 Denver, CO 80202.
- After submitting an application, you must complete an online Healthcare Professions Profile here.
- Second, the NCLEX exam is administered by Pearson VUE. You must register to take the NCLEX exam, in addition to applying for Licensure. Registration can be done online via the Pearson VUE website. Alternatively, you may call Pearson VUE NCLEX Candidate services (toll-free) at1.866.49NCLEX (1.866.496.2539), Monday-Friday, 7 am to 7 pm, Central Standard Time.
- Once the Colorado Board of Registered Nursing provides clearance to Pearson VUE, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) notice from Pearson VUE. This allows you to schedule your exam at a convenient Pearson VUE location, typically within 90 days from receipt of the ATT.
Fees: There are fees for both a Colorado RN license and the NCLEX exam.
NCLEX-RN Exam Content: The NCLEX-RN exam is a computerized test which utilizes “adaptive testing.” This means that the computer will determine your level of competency throughout the exam and the number of questions will vary based upon your competency level. A minimum of 75 questions and a maximum of 265 questions are administered. At minimum, 60 questions will be scored and 15 questions will be practice questions. The test taker will not know which are scored and which are not. You will have a maximum of 6 hours to complete the exam.
There are two optional breaks after 2.5 and 3.5 hours, respectively.
There are four subject categories and several sub-categories for the NCLEX-RN exam. They are as follows:
- Safe, effective care environment
- Management of care
- Safety and infection control
- Psychosocial integrity
- Physiological integrity
- Health promotion and maintenance
- Basic care and comfort
- Pharmacologic and parenteral therapies
- Reduction of risk potential
- Physiological adaptation
The percentage of questions per subject area and difficulty levels will depend upon each individual candidate.
The NCLEX-RN results are pass/fail. Official results from the NCLEX-RN exam are delivered by the respective Board of Nursing within 2-4 weeks from the exam date. Unofficial results may be obtained 48 business hours after the exam through Pearson Vue Quick Results. There is a small fee for this service. If you do not pass the exam, you will receive a diagnostic profile which outlines your performance on the exam and will need to retake the exam at a later date.
Who Administers the Exam: The NCLEX-RN exam is developed and approved by the National Council for State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The test is administered at Pearson VUE testing locations.
License Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements: You must renew your Colorado RN license every two years. There are no continuing education or renewal requirements. Renewals can be completed online here.
Special Notice: Colorado is a Compact State. The Compact State agreement allows nurses who practice in specific states to have License reciprocity in those other participating states. Therefore, if your primary residence is within another Compact State, you need not apply for additional Licensure from the Colorado Board of Nursing.