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Kentucky Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide

The following guide contains important information on the nursing programs offered throughout Kentucky. Kentucky’s colleges and universities provide students with the opportunity to concentrate their degrees in such eclectic areas as psychiatric nurse practitioner, nursing educator, adult acute care nurse practitioner, and nurse executive leadership. Some universities, like Northern Kentucky University, have added options for earning a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in nursing online.

Nursing Program Stats

  • 23 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • 19 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • 11 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in nursing.
  • 3 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Graduate Schools in 2017 for Master’s in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs: University of Kentucky (MSN not ranked; DNP, #26), University of Louisville (#76, MSN; DNP not ranked), Western Kentucky University (#142, MSN; #126, DNP).

Institution-Wide Facts

  • Highest graduation rate: Bellarmine University 67%.1
  • Highest transfer-out rate: Kentucky State University 44%.1
  • Highest net price: Bellarmine University $24,427.1
  • Lowest net price: Berea College $3,125.1
  • Annual undergrad tuition range for schools in Kentucky with a bachelor’s in nursing program: $1,990 – $24,855.2

Following are profiles and more in-depth information concerning the many undergraduate and graduate nursing programs offered in Kentucky’s colleges and universities.

NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in Kentucky

The following table allows you to easily compare not-for-profit Kentucky nursing schools on a variety of factors. Click on the arrows in the top row to sort the table. In addition to seeking a program that leads to licensure in your desired area of nursing, it’s advisable to consider accreditation as a factor in your decision. If you are considering education beyond the associate’s level, know that a degree from a school that holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a common requirement for admission to master’s degree, ADN/LVN and RN to BSN, and specialized certificate programs. You should also check to ensure that the school you are considering is approved or accepted by the Kentucky Board of Nursing (http://kbn.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx).

SchoolADN or LVN ProgramBSN ProgramGraduate Nursing ProgramACEN/CCNE Accredited*NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**Number TakingNCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate***Number TakingNet Price****
Ashland Community & Technical CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1279%28$6,375
Bellarmine UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A89%130$24,427
Berea CollegeNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A100%7$3,125
Big Sandy Community & Technical College-PrestonsburgYesNoNoNoN/AN/A79%33$5,702
Bluegrass Community & Technical College-DanvilleYesNoNoACEN100%18N/AN/A$7,212
Bluegrass Community & Technical College-LawrenceburgYesNoNoACENN/AN/A92%24$7,212
Bluegrass Community & Technical College-LexingtonYesNoNoACEN86%2291%56$7,212
Campbellsville UniversityYesYesNoACENN/AN/A82%38$16,576
Eastern Kentucky University (ADN)YesYesYesACEN/CCNEN/AN/A100%51$12,492
Eastern Kentucky University (BSN)YesYesYesACEN/CCNEN/AN/A99%84$12,492
Elizabethstown Community & Technical CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1194%33$7,394
Gateway Community & Technical CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/A100%21$7,644
Hazard Community & Technical College-HazardYesNoNoNo100%1100%10$4,806
Hazard Community & Technical College-JacksonYesNoNoNoN/AN/A89%9$4,806
Henderson Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN94%17100%49$7,528
Hopkinsville Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A97%38$5,823
Jefferson Community & Technical CollegeYesNoNoACEN86%4388%109$7,984
Kentucky Community & Technical College System Online ADN/LPNYesNoNoNoN/AN/A47%53N/A
Kentucky Christian UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A78%9$19,189
Kentucky State UniversityYesYesYesACENN/AN/A70%40$8,206
Lincoln Memorial UniversityYesYesYesNoN/AN/A94%17N/A
Lindsey Wilson CollegeNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A84%19$16,100
Madisonville Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1488%67$7,420
Maysville Community & Technical College-CynthianaYesNoNoNoN/AN/A100%17$5,673
Maysville Community & Technical College-MaysvilleYesNoNoNo92%1383%29$5,673
Midway UniversityYesYesNoACENN/AN/A85%27$20,545
Morehead State University (ADN)YesYesYesACEN/CCNEN/AN/A78%54$11,568
Morehead State University (BSN)YesYesYesACEN/CCNEN/AN/A97%39$11,568
Morehead State University-Mt. SterlingYesYesNoACENN/AN/A88%16$11,568
Murray State UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A82%65$10,034
Northern Kentucky UniversityNoYesYesACEN/CCNEN/AN/A92%132$9,173
Owensboro Community & Technical CollegeYesNoNoNoN/AN/A92%36$7,204
Somerset Community College-AlbanyYesNoNoACEN100%4N/AN/A$5,915
Somerset Community College-SomersetYesNoNoACEN94%1785%33$5,915
Somerset Community College-LondonYesNoNoACENN/AN/A87%23$5,915
Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College-GlasgowYesNoNoNo100%279%29$7,386
Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College-Bowling GreenYesNoNoNo100%13N/AN/A$7,386
Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College-CumberlandYesNoNoNoN/AN/A93%14$7,386
Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College-PinevilleYesNoNoNoN/AN/A50%14$7,386
Spalding UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A77%60$17,816
Thomas More CollegeNoYesNoACENN/AN/A100%18$18,567
Union CollegeNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A100%14$17,182
University of KentuckyNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A100%173$16,673
University of Louisville-LouisvilleNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A93%134$15,981
University of Louisville-OwensboroNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A100%24$15,981
University of PikevilleYesYesNoACENN/AN/A100%32$17,653
University of the CumberlandsNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/AN/AN/A$16,515
West Kentucky Community & Technical CollegeYesNoNoACEN100%1590%77$7,938
Western Kentucky University (ADN)YesYesYesACEN/CCNEN/AN/A83%66$7,938
Western Kentucky University (BSN)YesYesYesACEN/CCNEN/AN/A97%124$7,938
Western Kentucky University-GlasgowYesYesYesACEN/CCNEN/AN/A78%9$7,938

*The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits ADN/ASN/BSN programs. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits BSN/MSN/DNP programs.4,5
**NCLEX-PN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates who graduated from an LPN program testing between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.6 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
***NCLEX-RN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.6 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
****The National Center for Education Statistics calculates net price from the total estimated cost of attendance, including includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses, for in-state students minus the average financial aid award (such as grants and scholarships).

Schools in Kentucky with Nursing Degrees

Associate’s in Nursing Programs

Campbellsville University
Campbellsville University offers an associate’s degree in nursing that prepares graduates to work as nurse generalists in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare settings. To be considered for admission students must take six prerequisite courses with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and complete the National League for Nursing pre-admission exam. Courses in the program include Professional Nursing and Applications to Practice, Medical-Surgical Nursing, and Pharmacology for Nurses. Scholarships are available for qualified nursing students. Campbellsville University also offers an online RN to BSN program that is designed specifically for working adults.

University of Pikeville
The University of Pikeville’s Elliot School of Nursing maintains a competitive associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) program. The program admits students on either the traditional track or an LPN to RN track. The LPN to RN track can be completed in two semesters with full-time study. Admission to the ADN program is competitive and is based on such ranking factors as the student’s ACT scores, TEAS exam scores, and grades in science prerequisites. Program graduates are prepared to work as entry-level nurses and to pursue higher levels of nursing education, such as through University of Pikeville’s RN to BSN program, which offers hybrid on-campus/online study.

Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs

Kentucky State University
Registered nurses may earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at Kentucky State University through the RN to BSN program. Students in the program generally already hold an associate’s degree in nursing and must complete 59 credits in nursing and general college requirements to fulfill degree requirements. A total of 128 credits, including credits transferred from the associate degree, are necessary to earn the BSN. Nursing majors may take courses on a full-time or on a part-time basis. Classes are offered in eight-week sessions and do not have to be taken in any particular order.

Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University confers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to students who successfully complete the four-year program. To complement their nursing coursework, nursing majors may want to join the Kentucky Association of Nursing Students (KANS) or, if academically eligible, may want to apply for the campus chapter of Kappa Theta of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society for nursing students. Graduates of the program are prepared to take the National Council Licensure Examination. One hundred percent of graduates from the program, who took the NCLEX in 2011-2012, passed. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing may want to consider the school’s RN to MSN bridge program.

Master’s in Nursing Programs

Northern Kentucky University
Graduate students pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at Northern Kentucky University may opt for traditional classroom courses or for the online format. The Nursing Department features seven concentrations within the MSN: nurse practitioner (adult, family, or pediatric), adult acute care nurse practitioner, nursing education, nurse executive leadership, and nursing informatics. Students can take courses on a full-time or a part-time basis. Full-time students generally complete the program in two full years with part-time students finishing in three years. Graduates with a nurse practitioner concentration are prepared to sit for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners exam and the American Nurses Credentialing Center exam. The department boasts a 98 percent pass rate for students taking the exams.

Spalding University
Spalding University affords students the opportunity to earn a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a nurse educator track or a practitioner track. Students in the practitioner track choose to specialize as a family nurse practitioner or a pediatric nurse practitioner. Program requirements include 40 credits for the nurse educator track, 50 credits for the pediatric nurse practitioner track, and 49 credits for the family nurse practitioner track. Clinical experiences, which are arranged by the nursing department, require up to 350 hours depending on the specialization. Applicants must submit admissions materials by February 1 each year; those admitted to the program begin their studies on May 1.

Student Reviews

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 622-1000
http://www.eku.edu/

Student Review: “Overall, I have had a good experience with EKU’s nursing program. I feel well prepared to perform as a novice nurse in any area. Most professors were approachable, kind, and willing to work with you to help you succeed.There were a few bad apples, however. Some professors simply didn’t teach and just read from the book/PowerPoint slides during lecture. Some professors refused to admit that their teaching was possibly inadequate when the majority (>80%) of the class were failing. EKU’s readmission policy is decent with you getting two chances to fail and be readmitted. (You cannot retake the same class twice). The dean is unhelpful if you have any issues/complaints. It is obvious that she simply does not care for her students and she will side with her faculty every time, even if they are in the wrong. Another big issue with me the inability to do your practicum in an OB setting. Keep in mind policies are strict in the program and there is no leeway.” – Student at Eastern Kentucky University
stars-4

Somerset Community College
808 Monticello St
Somerset, KY 42501
(606) 679-8501
https://somerset.kctcs.edu/

Student Review: “During my time in the nursing program at Somerset Community College I learned many things involved with the nursing profession. One may think that going to a community college to get a nursing degree is a step down from a university, but I found the program to be just as challenging as any university may be. The teachers were very straight forward in what they expected and the lectures were always able to keep your attention. You were always taking notes because everything they taught was pertinent to what you were learning. I felt like the courses given at SCC were very rigorous and anyone who graduated from this program would be an excellent nurse. The only thing about the program I disliked was sometimes while teaching a professor may say that a certain area wouldn’t be on an upcoming test and when the test came, we found that they had indeed put the material on the test. We were told not to worry about studying that content and instead focus on the other areas taught. Overall though, I did enjoy my time in the program.” – Student at Somerset Community College
stars-4

University of Pikeville
147 Sycamore St
Pikeville, KY 41501
(606) 218-5250
http://www.upike.edu/

Student Review: “Attending UPIKE was awesome. The staff was always there if you needed them. They would even help you after office hours. It was definitely more like a family than anything else. The clinicals were awesome in giving you real life experience. The curriculum was difficult but, it helped me out so much when I started working because I knew the basics. Clinicals started at the main beginning if the program and went throughout all 4 years. This was a game changer because it gave us insight on our profession from the very start. I was blessed to have attended such a great University and have such great professors as well. I can’t say enough good things about this program and this campus!” – Student at University of Pikeville
stars-5

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report Best Nursing Grad Schools Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-nursing-schools
3. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?degree=4-year&state=KY&major=nursing&sort=best
4. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
5. Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): https://directory.ccnecommunity.org/reports/accprog.asp
6. Kentucky Board of Nursing: http://kbn.ky.gov/education/Pages/nclex.aspx