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Online Nursing Programs in Kentucky

By James Holbrook | Updated 10/19/2022

There are many options for students to complete their nursing education online in the state of Kentucky. Union College - KY has a 87% NCLEX pass rate and offers an online RN to BSN program. Northern Kentucky University, which also has a high NCLEX pass rate, has seven master’s in nursing degrees and a Doctor of Nursing Practice program for students seeking higher nursing education. Nurses applying for licensure who have not attained an initial nursing degree from a Kentucky program must complete three hours of Domestic Violence continuing education and one and a half hours of Pediatric Head Abuse Trauma education. Kentucky is also one of the compact states, so nursing licenses earned in Kentucky are acceptable for use in any of the other compact states.

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Comprehensive List of Online Nursing Schools in Kentucky

School Annual Tuition NCLEX Pass Rate Locations
# Ashland Community and Technical College $14,808 73.33% Ashland
# Beckfield College $13,295 Not Reported Florence
# Bellarmine University $42,830 94.0% Louisville
# Big Sandy Community and Technical College $14,808 86.36% Prestonsburg
# Campbellsville University $25,400 84.0% Campbellsville
# Daymar College $19,450 Not Reported Multiple Locations
# Eastern Kentucky University $19,948 99.0% Richmond
# Elizabethtown Community and Technical College $14,808 97.62% Elizabethtown
# Frontier Nursing University $19,675 Not Reported Hyden
# Hazard Community and Technical College $14,808 79.41% Hazard
# Henderson Community College $14,808 Not Reported Henderson
# Jefferson Community and Technical College $14,888 95.96% Louisville (and 3 others)
# Kentucky Christian University $20,596 100.0% Grayson
# Kentucky State University $11,940 82.14% Frankfort
# Madisonville Community College $14,808 90.0% Madisonville
# Maysville Community and Technical College $14,808 95.45% Maysville
# Midway University $24,850 100.0% Midway
# Morehead State University $13,876 94.0% Morehead
# Murray State University $24,792 94.0% Murray
# Northern Kentucky University $20,256 95.83% Highland Heights
# Owensboro Community and Technical College $14,808 90.91% Owensboro
# Somerset Community College $14,808 82.76% Somerset
# Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College $14,808 100.0% Bowling Green
# Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College $14,808 100.0% Cumberland
# Spalding University $25,200 82.35% Louisville
# Thomas More University $32,090 86.67% Multiple Locations
# Union College - KY $27,950 92.86% Barbourville
# University of Kentucky $30,680 98.0% Lexington
# University of Louisville $27,954 92.0% Louisville
# University of Phoenix $9,552 90.0% Nationwide
# University of Pikeville $21,550 68.75% Pikeville
# University of the Cumberlands $9,875 Not Reported Williamsburg
# West Kentucky Community and Technical College $14,808 91.0% Paducah (and 5 others)
# Western Kentucky University $26,496 97.0% Bowling Green

Becoming a Nurse in Kentucky

Those who wish to become a registered nurse (RN), state registered nurse aide (SRNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in the state of Kentucky must apply to the Kentucky Board of Nursing. This organization is an agency of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and 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 in nursing, or a bachelor's degree in nursing. To obtain an APRN license, students will have to pursue a master's or doctoral 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.

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 the victim of sexual assault.

The SANE P/As credential allows graduates to work with adolescents (defined as “a child who has not reached the onset of physiological normal puberty”) or individuals up to the age of 18 who have been the victim of sexual assault.

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 Registered as an SRNA in Kentucky

In Kentucky, certified nursing assistants, or CNAs , are called state registered nurse aides (SRNAs). SRNAs in Kentucky are not licensed health care 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 nursing aids in Kentucky.

This NAT program is offered by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). The program includes written and clinical skills exams, and it features at least 75 hours of nursing aide instructional training and 16 hours of supervised practical training. 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

For those wishing to earn a Kentucky LPN license, the process is the same as the 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. If you did not graduate from a Kentucky nursing program, the following requirements must be met:

  • 3 contact hours of domestic violence
  • 1.5 contact hours of pediatric abusive head trauma
  • 2 contact hours of suicide prevention
  • 1.5 contact hours of implicit bias

Once completed, there are two required examinations:


The first exam is the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is offered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).


The next exam is the Jurisprudence Exam, which is specific to the Kentucky Board of Nursing. The Jurisprudence exam is also offered by the NCSBN and covers Kentucky nursing laws and advisory opinion statements. There is also a required background check, which has a $13.25 fee. The Jurisprudence Exam has an additional $15 fee.

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 an APRN License in Kentucky

The highest level of Kentucky nursing license 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 national certification in a population foci approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing.

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, 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 KY. 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 how much education you already have. If you have an associate degree, or credit hours from a previous institution, it may only take you one to two years to graduate with a nursing degree. If you’re either attending school for the first time or don’t have many credit hours completed, it can take three to four years to graduate from a nursing program.

Is Kentucky Good for Nurses?

Yes, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), RNs make an average annual salary of $67,260, which is higher than the average of all occupations in Kentucky. CareerOneStop, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, predicts 2,730 job openings for RNs in Kentucky each year. Eastern Kentucky, specifically, has the highest concentration of nurses in a nonmetropolitan area in the nation.

Are There Online LPN to RN Programs in KY?

Yes, there are several colleges that offer online LPN to RN programs in Kentucky.

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

The KCTCS reports that it costs $182/credit hour for in-state students in Kentucky. For online students, it costs the same. There is an $8/credit hour fee for in-person students and a $20/credit hour fee for distance learners.

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