Pikes Peak Community College’s nursing program has earned a No. 1 rating among all of Colorado’s 28 RN programs from RegisteredNursing.org, a major nursing advocacy organization.

PPCC’s program beat out larger programs including the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado.

“At the foot of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, Pikes Peak Community College is home to one of Colorado’s choice nursing programs. Nursing graduates from PPCC possess the technical skills and patient advocacy to make them a valuable asset in the clinical setting,” the nursing organization stated.

The organization ranked the state’s nursing schools by analyzing the current and historical percentages of graduates who pass the National Council Licensure Examination. The exam is used by all state boards of nursing to assess candidates’ preparedness and is a requirement for licensure.

PPCC scored a ranking of 98.90 on a scale of 100.

Schools that offer an associate degree in nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN degree were reviewed.

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The rating comes a few months after the community college’s Bachelor of Science of Nursing degree (RN to BSN) was approved by the state’s Higher Learning Commission. The program is set to begin this fall.

The nursing program will have even more impact once the college opens a new Health Education Center in north Colorado Springs, in a 68,000-square-foot building at 1850 Cypress Semi Drive. The college paid $5.5 million to buy the building and will spend $4.3 million to renovate it.

The center will house the college’s two- and four-year nursing, surgical technology, pharmacy tech, surgical tech, EMS, dental assisting and medical assisting programs.

It will also house the region’s first interdisciplinary simulation lab, which will greatly reduce the need for the clinical work required in PPCC’s nursing and other health care programs. Health care employers will be able to use the simulation lab to provide continuing education for their employees.

Colorado will require a 20 percent increase in qualified nurses by 2022, according to the nursing organization’s website. With the state’s aging population, there is a need for highly skilled and diversified nurses.

Nurses with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing earn more than non-degree nurses and fine more job opportunities in more locations.

The Top 10-ranked schools were:

1. Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado Springs
2. Front Range Community College, Larimer
3. Colorado Mountain College, Glenwood Springs
4. Colorado State University, Pueblo
5. University of Northern Colorado, Greeley
6. Trinidad State Junior College, Valley Campus
7. Arapahoe Community College, Littleton
8. Colorado Christian University, Lakewood
9. University of Colorado College of Nursing, Aurora
10. Denver College of Nursing

View the rankings of all state nursing programs here.