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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Kentucky

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 7/12/2023

There are many options for students to complete their nursing education online in the state of Kentucky. Several accredited colleges offer nursing degrees, providing students with an array of programs from which to choose. Students can explore online nursing programs at every degree level, from an associate in nursing to a master's in nursing.

Our 2023 list includes colleges in Kentucky that offer online nursing programs and have available NCLEX data, so you can easily determine which online nursing program results in graduates with the best pass rate.

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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Kentucky

School NCLEX Pass Rate Online Enrollment
Murray State University 98.0% 1,253
Northern Kentucky University 97.0% 4,157
University of Kentucky 96.0% 1,992
Eastern Kentucky University 89.0% 3,573
Western Kentucky University 85.0% 3,376
University of Louisville 84.0% 860
Thomas More University 82.0% 361
Union College - KY 82.0% 286
Kentucky Christian University 75.0% 123
ATA College 63.0% N/A
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Becoming a Nurse in Kentucky

You must apply to the Kentucky Board of Nursing if you wish to become a registered nurse (RN), state registered nurse aide (SRNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in Kentucky. This agency of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is responsible for enforcing all state laws that govern the safe practice of nursing. 

Generally, students can pursue one of three types of nursing programs in Kentucky to get their initial nursing licensure: a practical nursing program, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. To obtain an APRN license, students will have to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from nursing schools in Kentucky or elsewhere.

To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:

Nursing Degrees by State

How To Get Registered as an SRNA in Kentucky

Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) are called state registered nurse aides (SRNAs) in Kentucky. SRNAs in Kentucky are not licensed healthcare professionals; rather, they are nursing assistants who have completed a nursing aide training (NAT) program and a competency program to qualify as a nurse aide. 

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) oversees the application and registry of nurse aides in Kentucky.

This NAT program is offered by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). The program features at least 75 hours of nursing aide instructional training, 16 hours of supervised practical training, and written and clinical skills exams along the way. Some nursing facilities have approved NAT programs and offer reimbursement to individuals who earn their license.

SRNA Renewal

All applicants who qualify as an SRNA are entered into the Kentucky Nurse Aide Registry, which is run by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. In addition to providing a list of all qualified SRNAs in Kentucky, this registry also records SRNAs who have a history of abuse. 

To stay on the list, Kentucky SRNAs must perform at least eight hours of nursing-related functions within a two-year period. Kentucky SRNAs must renew their active status every two years, and they are required to complete 12 hours of in-service education each year.

How To Get an LPN or RN License in Kentucky

Kentucky has an identical process for earning LPN and RN licensure. 

There are two ways to apply for a license, which are via endorsement or examination


If you are already licensed in another state, you can apply for an endorsement and have your license transferred to Kentucky. The endorsement application has a $165 fee.


If you’re applying for a license for the first time, you’ll need to apply via examination. The application for licensure has a $125 fee. 

Applicants must complete an accredited Kentucky nursing program. You must meet the following requirements if you did not graduate from a Kentucky nursing program:

  • Three contact hours of domestic violence recognition training
  • One-and-a-half contact hours of pediatric abusive head trauma recognition training
  • Two contact hours of suicide prevention training
  • One-and-a-half contact hours of implicit bias training

Once completed, there are two required examinations: 

LPN and RN Renewal

After LPNs and RNs earn their Kentucky nursing license, they have to renew it on a yearly basis. The cost for renewal is $65, and they must also complete 14 approved contact hours of continuing education during this period. There are a few other ways nurses can meet the licensure renewal requirements without these hours, but this is the most common method.

How To Get a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Credential in Kentucky

In Kentucky, RNs can obtain both an SANE P/A or SANE A/A credential through a training program and an application. 

The SANE A/A credential shows that students have been trained to examine adolescents (defined as “a child who has reached the onset of physiological normal puberty”) or older adults who have been sexually assaulted. 

The SANE P/As credential allows graduates to work with children who have not reached the physiological puberty or individuals up to the age of 18 who have been sexually assaulted. 

Once RNs have completed their SANE training program, they must submit a certificate of attendance and a certificate of completion to the Kentucky State Police. Individuals must also submit an application, which includes a $120 fee; a Kentucky criminal background report; and a completed fingerprint card that costs an additional $13.25. If they are applying for both an A/A and P/A certification, they must pay the application fee for both applications.

Explore our article that outlines everything you need to know about nursing certifications.

How To Get an APRN License in Kentucky

The highest level of Kentucky nursing licensure is the APRN license. Having this license allows practitioners to establish their own practice and prescribe controlled substances. Because of this, all APRNs must have at least a master's degree from an accredited nursing program. Additionally, all potential APRNs must already hold RN licensure from Kentucky or another state as well as nursing certification in one of the patient populations that the Kentucky Board of Nursing recognizes.

There are a few different methods for applying to a Kentucky APRN license. Individuals with a current Kentucky or multistate/Compact RN license may apply for their initial Kentucky APRN license. If an individual already has an out-of-state APRN license, they can use their multistate/Compact RN license to apply to have that license endorsed in Kentucky. If they have both an out-of-state RN license and an out-of-state APRN license, they’ll have to apply to have both licenses endorsed in Kentucky.

Applicants need to submit the Kentucky APRN licensure application and fee ($165), the fingerprint card and fee ($13.25), the Kentucky criminal history report, an official transcript of the professional's graduate-level education, and proof of their current national certification. 

APRN License Renewal

Once the APRN license has been awarded, nurses need to renew it on a yearly basis by paying $55 for each APRN designation they have (in addition to the $65 fee for renewing their standard RN license). APRNs also need at least 14 approved contact hours, including at least five contact hours of pharmacology education.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in Kentucky

Are There Online Nursing Schools in Kentucky?

Yes, the Kentucky Board of Nursing has a list of recommended online nursing programs in the state. Several of the schools listed have online programs.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Registered Nurse in Kentucky?

The answer to this question depends on the nursing degree you pursue. You can become an RN with an ADN, which can take as little as two years. It will take another few months to take the NCLEX-RN and receive your results. But you might spend four years or more in a BSN program before taking the NCLEX-RN if you don't earn an ADN first.

Is Kentucky Good for Nurses?

Kentucky RNs make mean annual salaries of $77,620, which is much higher than the $51,490 mean wage for all occupations in the state. However, working conditions have worsened as an ongoing nurse shortage forces each individual to care for more patients at a time.

Are There Online LPN to RN Programs in Kentucky?

There are several colleges that offer online LPN to RN programs in Kentucky. Graduates typically earn an ADN at the end.

How Much Does It Cost To Become a RN in Kentucky?

Tution can vary widely by school. But the KCTCS costs $182 per credit hour for in-state students in Kentucky. Online students pay the same amount. There is an $8 per credit hour fee for in-person students and a $20 per credit hour fee for distance learners.

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