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.
Schools with Nursing Programs
- 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).
Institutional Facts for Schools with Nursing Programs
- 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.
Schools in Kentucky with Nursing Degrees
Associate’s in Nursing Programs
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 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.
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).
|School||ADN or LVN Program||BSN Program||Graduate Nursing Program||ACEN/CCNE Accredited*||NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**||Number Taking||NCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate***||Number Taking||Net Price****|
|Ashland Community & Technical College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||12||79%||28||$6,375|
|Big Sandy Community & Technical College-Prestonsburg||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||79%||33||$5,702|
|Bluegrass Community & Technical College-Danville||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||18||N/A||N/A||$7,212|
|Bluegrass Community & Technical College-Lawrenceburg||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||92%||24||$7,212|
|Bluegrass Community & Technical College-Lexington||Yes||No||No||ACEN||86%||22||91%||56||$7,212|
|Eastern Kentucky University (ADN)||Yes||Yes||Yes||ACEN/CCNE||N/A||N/A||100%||51||$12,492|
|Eastern Kentucky University (BSN)||Yes||Yes||Yes||ACEN/CCNE||N/A||N/A||99%||84||$12,492|
|Elizabethstown Community & Technical College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||11||94%||33||$7,394|
|Gateway Community & Technical College||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||100%||21||$7,644|
|Hazard Community & Technical College-Hazard||Yes||No||No||No||100%||1||100%||10||$4,806|
|Hazard Community & Technical College-Jackson||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||89%||9||$4,806|
|Henderson Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||94%||17||100%||49||$7,528|
|Hopkinsville Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||97%||38||$5,823|
|Jefferson Community & Technical College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||86%||43||88%||109||$7,984|
|Kentucky Community & Technical College System Online ADN/LPN||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||47%||53||N/A|
|Kentucky Christian University||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||78%||9||$19,189|
|Kentucky State University||Yes||Yes||Yes||ACEN||N/A||N/A||70%||40||$8,206|
|Lincoln Memorial University||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||N/A||N/A||94%||17||N/A|
|Lindsey Wilson College||No||Yes||No||CCNE||N/A||N/A||84%||19||$16,100|
|Madisonville Community College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||14||88%||67||$7,420|
|Maysville Community & Technical College-Cynthiana||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||100%||17||$5,673|
|Maysville Community & Technical College-Maysville||Yes||No||No||No||92%||13||83%||29||$5,673|
|Morehead State University (ADN)||Yes||Yes||Yes||ACEN/CCNE||N/A||N/A||78%||54||$11,568|
|Morehead State University (BSN)||Yes||Yes||Yes||ACEN/CCNE||N/A||N/A||97%||39||$11,568|
|Morehead State University-Mt. Sterling||Yes||Yes||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||88%||16||$11,568|
|Murray State University||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||82%||65||$10,034|
|Northern Kentucky University||No||Yes||Yes||ACEN/CCNE||N/A||N/A||92%||132||$9,173|
|Owensboro Community & Technical College||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||92%||36||$7,204|
|Somerset Community College-Albany||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||4||N/A||N/A||$5,915|
|Somerset Community College-Somerset||Yes||No||No||ACEN||94%||17||85%||33||$5,915|
|Somerset Community College-London||Yes||No||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||87%||23||$5,915|
|Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College-Glasgow||Yes||No||No||No||100%||2||79%||29||$7,386|
|Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College-Bowling Green||Yes||No||No||No||100%||13||N/A||N/A||$7,386|
|Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College-Cumberland||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||93%||14||$7,386|
|Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College-Pineville||Yes||No||No||No||N/A||N/A||50%||14||$7,386|
|Thomas More College||No||Yes||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||100%||18||$18,567|
|University of Kentucky||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||100%||173||$16,673|
|University of Louisville-Louisville||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||93%||134||$15,981|
|University of Louisville-Owensboro||No||Yes||No||CCNE||N/A||N/A||100%||24||$15,981|
|University of Pikeville||Yes||Yes||No||ACEN||N/A||N/A||100%||32||$17,653|
|University of the Cumberlands||No||Yes||Yes||CCNE||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||$16,515|
|West Kentucky Community & Technical College||Yes||No||No||ACEN||100%||15||90%||77||$7,938|
|Western Kentucky University (ADN)||Yes||Yes||Yes||ACEN/CCNE||N/A||N/A||83%||66||$7,938|
|Western Kentucky University (BSN)||Yes||Yes||Yes||ACEN/CCNE||N/A||N/A||97%||124||$7,938|
|Western Kentucky University-Glasgow||Yes||Yes||Yes||ACEN/CCNE||N/A||N/A||78%||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).
Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475
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
Somerset Community College
808 Monticello St
Somerset, KY 42501
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
University of Pikeville
147 Sycamore St
Pikeville, KY 41501
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
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. American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation/accredited-programs
6. Kentucky Board of Nursing: http://kbn.ky.gov/education/Pages/nclex.aspx