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.

    Quick Facts

    • 36 schools with nursing programs in Kentucky are in our database (see below).
    • 23 colleges and universities offer associate’s degrees or certificates in nursing.1
    • 19 colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.1
    • 12 colleges and universities offer master’s or advanced degrees in nursing.1
    • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018.2
    • 2 schools ranked in the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Nursing Majors in 2018.3
    • 3 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s programs.4
    • 2 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice programs.4

    Top-Ranked Schools with Nursing Programs in Kentucky

    Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges 2018*

    • University of Louisville (#73 in-state, #74 out-of-state)

    *Institution-wide ranking.

    Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Nursing Majors 2018

    • Bellarmine University
    • University of Louisville

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Master’s

    • University of Louisville (#105 tie)
    • Western Kentucky University (#146 tie)
    • Northern Kentucky University (#176 tie)

    US News Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice

    • University of Kentucky (#26 tie)
    • Western Kentucky University (#117 tie)

    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 (https://kbn.ky.gov/Pages/index.aspx).

    SchoolADN or LVN ProgramBSN ProgramGraduate Nursing ProgramACEN/CCNE Accred.*NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**# TakingNCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate^# 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.5,6
    **NCLEX-PN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates who graduated from an LPN program testing between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.7 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, 2016.7 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

    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
    (606) 679-8501

    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 straightforward 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
    (606) 218-5250

    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. Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges: https://www.kiplinger.com/tool/college/T014-S001-best-college-values-college-finder/index.php#Tile
    3. The Princeton Review. The Best 382 Colleges, 2018 Edition. New York, Penguin Random House, 2018.
    4. US News Top Graduate Nursing Schools: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-nursing-schools
    5. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
    6. Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): https://directory.ccnecommunity.org/reports/accprog.asp
    7. Kentucky Board of Nursing: https://kbn.ky.gov/Pages/index.aspx