Advanced Practice Nurse Registration Requirements in Colorado

The Colorado Board of Nursing maintains a registry of advanced practice nurses. To be eligible for entry on the registry, professionals must hold licensure as registered nurses.

Registry status granted on the basis of graduate education and national certification. The Board recognizes four advanced practice roles:

  • Nurse practitioner (NP)
  • Certified nurse midwife (CNM)
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

Primary licensing as an RN may be in Colorado or in another nurse compact state, provided that the nurse holds multi-state privilege in his or her home state. APRN status is state-specific. Colorado advanced practice nurses who hold RN licensing in other compact states may be referred to with one of the following designations: C-CNS, C-NP, C-CNM, or C-CRNA.

Select a Colorado Advanced Practice Nurse Topic:

APN Educational Requirements

An advanced practice nurse must complete a graduate or post-graduate degree program in the intended role/ specialty (Nurse Practitioner programs in Colorado). A nurse who already has a graduate degree in nursing may qualify after completing a post-graduate certificate program.

The program must be accredited by some agency that is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the U.S. Department of Education. According to Board regulation, this would include any of the following:

  • American College for Nurse Midwives
  • Council for Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs
  • National League for Nursing Accreditation *

*The NLNAC is now the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Accrediting agencies change periodically.

APN Certification Requirements in Colorado

Nurse midwives are certified by the American College of Nurse Midwives American Midwifery Association.

Nurse anesthetists are certified by the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists.

There are multiple accrediting bodies for nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists.

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Additional Requirements for Independent Practice

In order to engage in independent practice, an APN must have liability insurance. There are some exceptions; exemption categories are described in the nurse practice act.

Requirements for Prescriptive Authority

In order to be eligible for prescriptive authority, the advanced practice nurse must hold a graduate degree and have both education and training in the use of prescription drugs.

He or she must have three semester hours of coursework in each of the following:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Physical assessment
  • Pharmacology

There are two levels of prescriptive authority. In order to obtain provisional prescriptive authority (RXN-P status), the advanced practice nurse must complete an 1,800 hour preceptorship. During this time, the nurse will gain experience in a clinical setting appropriate to his or her role and population focus. An advanced practice nurse working at the preceptor level may have a physician preceptor and RXN preceptor or a physician preceptor only. The individual will interact with a preceptor on at least a weekly basis.

The RXN-P must meet additional requirements during the next five years. He or she will need an 1,800 hour mentorship. It will be necessary to put together an articulated plan for safe prescribing before seeking full prescriptive authority (RXN status).

An advanced practice nurse who seeks prescriptive authority in more than one role (for example, as nurse practitioner and as nurse midwife) will have to apply separately for each authority.

Out-of-State APNs

An advanced practice nurse can be endorsed into Colorado if he or she 1) is credentialed in another state and has practiced at least two of the prior five years or 2) has a graduate degree and holds national certification.

An individual who applies for endorsement based on active practice must provide a scanned copy of all registrations, past and present.

The Board has provided a verification form to be sent to the current state of recognition.

The Application Process

Prospective advanced practice nurses will submit their applications online (

Certification documentation can be uploaded to the online system.

Those who are applying on the basis of graduate education will need to have transcripts sent to the Division.

Applicants who hold RN licensing in another compact state will need to provide license verification. A scanned copy can be uploaded to the online system. The licensing agency notes, however, that a copy of the license itself will not suffice.

The application fee is $75.

Applicants will later fill out online Healthcare Professions Profiles. Those who have technical problems may call 303-894-5942.

The licensing agency will send any necessary communication by email.

A nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist adding population will submit a paper application.

The application for prescriptive privilege is also available on paper. The applicant will provide transcripts documenting required courses; if course title does not reflect content, the applicant should provide course descriptions. There is a $150 fee for RXN-P.

APN License Renewal

APN status is renewed every other year. APNs who hold in-state RN licensing will renew both credentials at the same time.

APN continuing education requirements are typically those of the certifying agency. Those seeking other arrangements will need to petition the Board.

Additional Information

APRN Registry information is available from the Colorado Board of Nursing ( The Board of Nursing can be reached by telephone at 303-894-2430 or by email at ‘dora_nursingboard at’.

Professional associations include the following:

Colorado Society of Advanced Practice Nurses

American College of Nurse-Midwives – Colorado

Colorado Association of Nurse Anesthetists

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