There is a broad range of areas and occupations within the health care field. A large number of public and private 2-year colleges and 4-year universities exist in Colorado that feature health care programs. The majority of these schools offer either an undergraduate nursing program that qualifies students for the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse, or a graduate-level nursing program designed for those interested in pursuing advanced careers.
However, some schools offer non-clinical programs, such as health care administration. Many programs include didactic instruction and clinical rotations along with internships and practicum experiences that promote hands-on learning. Upper-level programs may require students to complete a capstone project and clinical research experience.
Listed below are brief overviews of health care programs offered at the ten largest schools in Colorado, as well as a comparison table that includes each school's tuition information. The associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs below include but are not limited to the following areas of study:
- Pharmaceutical Sciences
- Physician Assistant Studies
- Medical Laboratory Technology
- Health Information Technology
- Exercise Science
- Health Care Management
- Human Nutrition - Dietetics
Arapahoe Community College
Located in Littleton, Arapahoe Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Medical Laboratory Technology, an AAS in Health Information Technology, and an AAS in Nursing, all of which prepare students for different roles in the health care industry. The 63-credit medical laboratory technology program allows students to either complete the degree in one or two years, depending on the credit load. This program integrates general education coursework with 38 credits within the major, such as urinalysis and introduction to hematology. In addition to the didactic portion of the program, students will participate in four internships that cover different aspects of health care, such as blood bank and chemistry. The 66-credit health information technology program equips students with the technical skills to work in a variety of health care settings. This program combines general education courses with classes specific to the field, such as principles of health care, legal aspects, health care data management, and health information management. The nursing program is geared towards individuals who would like to gain employment as a registered nurse. This program consists of 80 credits and students must take a handful of general education classes in addition to program-specific coursework covering a variety of nursing topics, including medical surgical nursing concepts, pharmacology, and pediatric nursing.
Colorado State University - Fort Collins
Fort Collins-based Colorado State University offers a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Health and Exercise Science with two concentrations, as well as a Master of Science (MS) in Health and Exercise Science. Students interested in the undergraduate option can either focus their studies on health promotion or sports medicine, both of which consist of 120 total credits and integrate general education coursework with classes specific to the concentration. Coursework within the health promotion track will cover first aid and emergency services, health and disease prevention, and wellness programming. Additionally, students must complete an internship and several practicum experiences, providing them with hands-on training in the field. Coursework for the sports medicine concentration will include neuromuscular aspects of human movement, exercise and chronic disease, and principles of human physiology. The 36-credit master's program will prepare students for employment in health and exercise through an intensive curriculum that integrates research-based classes with a practicum and various health-based courses. Program coursework may cover wellness and health promotion concepts, advanced exercise testing, epidemiology of health and physical activity, and exercise bioenergetics.
Community College of Denver
The Denver-based Community College of Denver offers one health care program. The AAS in Dental Hygiene program trains students in the fundamentals of preventative care through a rigorous curriculum that can be finished in two years. Students must complete a handful of prerequisites before entering the program, preparing them for courses within the field and the required clinical rotations. This program consists of 65 credits within the dental hygiene field, and classes will include preventative dentistry, head and neck anatomy, pharmacology, dental materials, and community dental health. In addition to the didactic portion of the program, students will participate in a series of clinical experiences that cover various theoretical and practical aspects of dentistry.
Front Range Community College
Westminster's Front Range Community College offers a handful of practical and administrative health care programs, including an AAS in Nursing, an AAS in Health Information Technology, and an AAS in Holistic Health. The 80-credit AAS nursing program is geared towards individuals who would like to seek employment as registered nurses in the health care industry. This program combines general education coursework with classes specific to the nursing field, such as fundamentals of nursing, basics of pharmacology, advanced concepts of medical surgical nursing, and transition to professional nursing practice. The school also offers several bridge programs, designed for students who are already practicing as RNs or for those who would like to gain preparatory training and transfer it to a baccalaureate-level degree in nursing. The 64-credit health information technology program is designed to prepare individuals to work with health care delivery systems through an intensive curriculum. This program combines general education classes with coursework specific to the major, such as quality management, legal aspects to health records, law and ethics for health professions, and medical terminology. The holistic health program consists of 61.5 credits, including 20.5 credits of core classes specific to the program. Required coursework will cover wellness counseling, creating a holistic business, and interpersonal communication.
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Located in Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver offers a BS in Human Nutrition - Dietetics as well as a Bachelor's of Health Care Management program. The human nutrition option consists of 68 credits within the major, including health care organization, food science, introduction to nutrition, and management principles in health care. In addition to the didactic portion of the program, students will be required to complete two therapy-based classes that cover medical nutrition. The health care management program requires students to complete 41 credits within the major, including health care organization, health care jurisprudence, health information systems, and health care economics.
Pikes Peak Community College
Colorado Springs-based Pikes Peak Community College offers multiple nursing programs. Students can enroll in the Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program that is offered in conjunction with the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs. Another one is the RN associate-level program with an option to exit as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). These nursing programs require students to complete a handful of prerequisites in addition to general education classes and core nursing courses, such as basics of pharmacology, medical surgical nursing concepts, pediatric nursing, and nursing care of psychiatric clients.
Denver's Regis University offers a wide array of health care programs, including a BS in Nursing, an MS in Nursing with four concentrations, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with two concentrations, a BS in Health Information Management, a BS in Health Care Administration, and an MS in Health Services Administration. Students interested in the master's-level nursing program will be able to choose from one of the following focus areas: family nurse practitioner, leadership in health care systems with an educational or management focus, and neonatal nurse practitioner. All options require students to complete a set of core nursing classes as well as courses specific to their chosen track of study. The DNP program prepares students to work in either advanced or leadership positions in health care through an intensive, research-based curriculum. Coursework for this advanced practice program will cover informatics, health promotion for population, and health policy analysis. Additionally, students will complete a capstone project and clinical research experience.
The baccalaureate-level health information management program consists of 128 credits and requires students to complete a series of major-specific classes, such as legal aspects of health sciences, health delivery systems, directed practice, and quality improvement in health settings. The 128-credit BS in Health Care Administration program combines general education classes with core health administration courses, electives, and additional classes specific to the major. Program coursework may cover health care policy, health care economics, and fundamentals of managed care. The master's-level health services administration program spans 18-24 months and prepares students to work in a variety of administrative positions in health care. Coursework for this program will include strategic planning, organizational ethics and health care compliance, and quality improvement in health care settings.
University of Colorado Denver
The Denver branch of the University of Colorado offers a wide selection of programs within the health care field at its Anschutz Medical Campus, including several undergraduate and graduate-level nursing options, a Master of Physician Assistant Studies, a Doctor of Medicine, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Students interested in the BS in Nursing program will complete 66 credits within the major, including lectures covering a number of nursing topics, research-based classes, and several practicum experiences.
The MS in Nursing allows students to choose from one of 11 areas of concentration, such as family nurse practitioner, health care informatics, or midwifery. The curricula for these programs differ, but all students will complete a series of core nursing classes. The school offers two doctoral-level nursing programs, a DNP and a PhD in Nursing. The DNP option is more practice-focused and requires students to complete 41 credits. The 42-credit PhD program integrates didactic training and a dissertation with coursework within a specific focus area, such as health care systems or bio-behavioral science. The three-year Master of Physician Assistant Studies allows students to choose one of the following tracks: rural, global health, urban/underserved, or the leadership, education, advocacy, development, and scholarship track. The curriculum for the Doctor of Medicine program covers four key areas and students may take classes in anatomy, biochemistry and pharmacology. Classroom work is complemented by clerkships in local hospitals and health care clinics. The pharmaceutical sciences program provides students with three program track options: biotechnology, clinical, and research. Coursework may cover forensic technology, medicinal chemistry, and chemistry.
University of Denver
Denver's University of Denver offers a master's-level program in health care leadership with six specialties. Students can opt to focus on global health program management, healthcare policy and regulatory leadership, managing legal issues in healthcare, medical and healthcare information technologies, or strategic leadership in healthcare organizations. There is also a dual degree program that earns you a JD in the process. All options consist of 48 credits and require students to take a series of professional foundations classes and courses specific to their chosen track of study.
University of Northern Colorado
Greeley's University of Northern Colorado offers a BS in Nursing as well as a BS in Nutrition, both of which will prepare students for employment opportunities in a variety of health care settings. The 126-credit nursing program combines general education coursework with classes specific to the major, such as health assessment, pharmacology in nursing practice, and a community and public health nursing practicum. Individuals interested in becoming an RN upon completion of the program must complete an additional number of practice-based courses. The baccalaureate-level nutrition program consists of 120 total credits, including 37 credits within the major. Program coursework may include medical terminology, community nutrition, advanced nutrition, and nutrition for fitness.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Health Care Degree Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Arapahoe Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb|| Associate of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
|$3,918 in-state, $15,006 out-of-state*|
|Colorado State University - Fort Collins||Four-year, public; midsize city|| Bachelor of Science in Health and Exercise Science,
Master of Science in Health and Exercise Science
|$11,707 in-state, $29,608 out-of-state*|
|Community College of Denver||Two-year, public; large city||Associate of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene||$4,750 in-state, $15,830 out-of-state*|
|Front Range Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb|| Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology,
Associate of Applied Science in Holistic Health,
Associate of Applied Science in Nursing,
Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
|$3,986 in-state, $15,074 out-of-state*|
|Metropolitan State University of Denver||Four-year, public; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition - Dietetics,
Bachelor's of Health Care Management
|$7,666 in-state, $20,847 out-of-state*|
|Pikes Peak Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Registered Nurse to Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing||$3,840 in-state, $14,928 out-of-state*|
|Regis University||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management,
Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Health Services Administration,
Doctor of Nursing Practice
|University of Colorado Denver||Four-year, public; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Master of Physician Assistant Studies,
Doctor of Medicine,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing,
Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Sciences
|$9,283 in-state, $25,771 out-of-state*|
|University of Denver||Four-year, private not-for-profit; large city||Master of Healthcare Leadership with six concentrations, including a dual degree||$50,556*|
|University of Northern Colorado||Four-year, public; small city|| Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Bachelor of Science in Nutrition
|$9,918 in-state, $21,786 out-of-state*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator