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, which is profiled later in the guide, have added online formats to their programs to allow students flexibility when earning their degrees. Another option for earning a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in nursing online is to go through an online university, such as Kaplan University or the University of Phoenix.

Kentucky School Facts:

  • 30 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • 18 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • 9 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in nursing.
  • Highest graduation rate: Berea College 66%.1
  • Highest transfer-out rate: Kentucky State University 46%.1
  • Highest net price: Daymar College Online $25,726.1
  • Lowest net price: Northern Kentucky University $8,404.1
  • Annual undergrad tuition range for schools in Kentucky with a bachelor’s in nursing program: $13,416 – $33,270.2
  • 3 schools in US News Best Nursing Schools (2011) Top 100: University of Kentucky (21), Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing (50), and University of Louisville (64).

Following are several profiles of the many undergraduate and graduate nursing programs offered in Kentucky’s colleges and universities.

Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs in Kentucky

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 in Kentucky

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

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

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

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. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?degree=4-year&state=KY&sort=best