Requesting information about on-site and online nursing programs can provide nursing candidates with a large selection of schools to choose from. There is no shortage in nursing schools in the state of Kentucky that offer RN programs. The number of Baccalaureate-prepared RNs has more than doubled in recent years. It has been proven that nurses with a BSN are able to provide better patient safety and more cost-effective patient care. The more nurses with a BSN degree in nursing, the more Kentucky can benefit in terms of healthcare.

In our Kentucky RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Kentucky RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Kentucky, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Kentucky RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 26 19
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 88.18% 88.85%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 79.50% to 95.38% 73.00% to 98.63%
Average Net Price $10,159.73 $14,089.72
Average Net Price Range $5,829.00 to $24,649.00 $2,323.00 to $23,977.00
Average Student Loan $10,727.42 $15,572.72
Average Student Loan Range $6,962.00 to $18,860.00 $5,234.00 to $23,000.00
See Additional Detail ADN Rankings for Kentucky State BSN Rankings for Kentucky State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Kentucky

Best Ranked RN Programs in KentuckyTo help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Kentucky and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 26 ADN degree programs and 14 BSN degree programs in Kentucky. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Kentucky to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

#1

Berea College

  • 101 Chestnut Street, Berea, KY - 40404-2182
  • (859) 985-3000
  • Grade: (A) 100.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#1

Southcentral KY Cmty. & Technical College-Bowling Green

  • 1845 Loop Dr, Bowling Green, KY - 42101-3601
  • (270) 901-1000
  • Grade: (A) 100.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#2

Hopkinsville Cmty. College-Hopkinsville

  • 720 North Dr., Hopkinsville, KY - 42240
  • (270) 707-3700
  • Grade: (A) 99.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Hopkinsville Community College is located in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  They offer an RN program, but do not offer an LPN to RN program at this time, although they do offer an LPN program.  Hopkinsville Community College is primarily attended by students residing in western Kentucky and also northern Tennessee.

#3

University of Kentucky

  • South Limestone, Lexington, KY - 40506-0032
  • (859) 257-9000
  • Grade: (A) 98.00%
  • Programs: Adult Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, BSN to PhD, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate

University of Kentucky is located in Lexington, Kentucky.  Their College of Nursing had over 1,500 students enrolled in 2015.  They offer a traditional BSN, an LPN to BSN program and a second degree BSN program.  The mission of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing is to promote health and well-being through excellence in nursing education, research, practice and service while fostering diversity and inclusion.

#4

Lindsey Wilson College

  • 210 Lindsey Wilson St, Columbia, KY - 42728-1223
  • (270) 384-2126
  • Grade: (A) 96.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#5

Eastern Kentucky University

  • 521 Lancaster Ave, Richmond, KY - 40475-3102
  • (859) 622-1000
  • Grade: (A) 95.00%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Associate, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate

Eastern Kentucky University is located in Richmond, Kentucky.  EKU offers a traditional BSN program, an RN to BSN program and a second degree BSN program.  They also have a wide variety of post-graduate options for those who want to continue their education after graduating with their BSN degree.

#5

Midway College-Midway

  • 512 E. Stephens St, Midway, KY - 40347-1120
  • (859) 846-4421
  • Grade: (A) 95.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor
#6

Bluegrass Cmty. & Technical College-Lexington

  • 470 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY - 40506
  • (859) 246-6200
  • Grade: (A) 94.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#6

Northern Kentucky University

  • Nunn Drive, Highland Heights, KY - 41099
  • (859) 572-5100
  • Grade: (A) 94.00%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate

Northern Kentucky University is located in Highland Heights, Kentucky.  They offer a BSN program and an accelerated BSN program.  The accelerated BSN program is strictly for second degree students; at this time, they do not offer an RN to BSN program.

#6

Gateway Cmty. & Technical College-Edgewood

  • 500 Technology Way, Florence, KY - 41042
  • (859) 441-4500
  • Grade: (A) 94.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#7

Bellarmine University

  • 2001 Newburg Rd, Louisville, KY - 40205-0671
  • (502) 272-8263
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate

Bellarmine University is located in Louiseville, Kentucky.  The Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing offer a traditional BSN program, an accelerated 2nd degree option and an RN to BSN option.  They also offer various master's level and doctoral programs for students who desire to further their education after graduating with their BSN degree.

#7

Morehead State University

  • University Blvd, Morehead, KY - 40351
  • (606) 783-2000
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor, MSN

Morehead State University is located in Morehead, Kentucky.  They have a variety of nursing option.  They have an ADN degree, a paramedic to ADN option, a post-licensure program (this allows an RN to become a BSN) and a pre-licensure program (this allows a traditional student to become a BSN).

#7

Murray State University

  • 218 Wells Hall, Murray, KY - 42071-3318
  • (270) 809-3011
  • Grade: (A) 93.00%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP
#8

Elizabethtown Cmty. & Technical College-Elizabethtown

  • 600 College Street Rd, Elizabethtown, KY - 42701-3081
  • (270) 769-2371
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College is located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  They offer an ASN program.  At this time they do not offer an LPN to RN program.  As a whole, Elizabethtown Community and Technical College graduates approximately 500 students annually.

#8

Western Kentucky University-Bowling Green

  • 1906 College Heights Blvd, Bowling Green, KY - 42101-1000
  • (270) 745-0111
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Associate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate

Western Kentucky University is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. WKU offers a BSN program, an RN to BSN program and a second degree BSN program.  The second degree BSN program allows students with a prior bachelor's degree to become an RN in 4 semesters.  This program is separate from the RN to BSN program..

#8

Galen College of Nursing-Louisville

  • 1031 Zorn Avenue , Suite 400, Louisville, KY - 40207
  • (502) 410-6200
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor
#8

Maysville Cmty. & Technical College-Maysville

  • 1755 U.S. Hwy 68, Maysville, KY - 41056
  • (606) 759-7141
  • Grade: (A) 92.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#9

University of Louisville-Louisville

  • 2301 S 3rd St, Louisville, KY - 40292-0001
  • (502) 852-5555
  • Grade: (A) 91.00%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing, Women's Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Accelerated MSN, Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate

University of Louisville is located in Louisville, Kentucky.  They have BSN degree options in various campuses.  Their RN to BSN degree option is offered online.  Their graduate options are unique; for example, they have a DNP that is offered for the BSN student; the BSN student can pursue it after graduation, rather than pursuing an MSN first.

#9

Madisonville Cmty. College-Madisonville

  • 2000 College Drive, Madisonville, KY - 42431
  • (270) 821-2250
  • Grade: (A) 91.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#9

West KY Cmty. & Technical College-Paducah

  • 4810 Alben Barkley Drive, Paducah, KY - 42002-7380
  • (270) 554-9200
  • Grade: (A) 91.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

West Kentucky Community and Technical College is located in Paducah, Kentucky.  They offer an ADN program and an LPN to RN accelerated program.  They also accept transfer nursing students if there is space available in their programs.

#9

Owensboro Cmty. & Technical College-Owensboro

  • 4800 New Hartford Rd, Owensboro, KY - 42303
  • (270) 686-4400
  • Grade: (A) 91.00%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Owensboro Community and Technical College is located in Owensboro, Kentucky.  They have an ADN and an LPN to ADN program.  They are proud to boast that their pass rate of the NCLEX-RN has been above 95% for the past 4 years.


Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Kentucky

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Kentucky

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Kentucky offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Popular Online NP Programs for Kentucky Nurses

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Kentucky  RN Licensing Requirements

There are three ways nurses can obtain licensure through the state of Kentucky: by exam, by endorsement, and, in some cases, by completing a nursing program in a foreign country.

RN Licensure by Exam

There is a $125 fee for the application by examination. This is a non-refundable fee. Applications are valid for a year and will expire if the applicant is unsuccessful in passing the NCLEX exam. Applicants are required to complete a criminal background report and submit a fingerprint card. There is a $14.75 fee made payable to Kentucky State Police. In addition to an approved nursing program, candidates must also complete a jurisprudence exam. When all of these tasks have been completed, the candidate can register and take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). It costs $200 in order to register for this exam. Those who have completed nursing programs in Kentucky must earn two hours of HIV/AIDS continuing education, three hours of domestic violence continuing education, and one and a half hours of pediatric head abuse trauma within three years of obtaining licensure.

RN Licensure by Endorsement

Nurses you have received licensure in one of the other 50 states can apply for licensure through endorsement. Applications and documentation are reviewed within 14 days. An endorsement application is valid for up to six months. This means you have six months to complete the endorsement process before the application expires. If the application expires before a temporary permit or license has been issued, candidates will be required to submit a new application, fingerprint card, and fees. There is a $165 fee for the endorsement application. In addition to the requirements that are needed for licensure by exam, candidates must also submit verification of original licensure and transcripts.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Nurses who were trained abroad must complete the following:

  • Copy of a Visa Screen for Licensure
  • Application and fee with a request for a social security number if the candidate doesn’t already have one
  • Legal residency in the United States

RN Salaries in Kentucky

The average mean wage of RNs in Kentucky is approximately $57,520. This figure will often fluctuate for nurses who have sought out higher education. There are over 60,000 nurses actively registered in Kentucky. It is also reported that more students than ever are pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The hospitals in Kentucky provide nurses with many job opportunities in areas such as management, utilization review, quality control, infection control, and wound care specialization. There are also case manager positions available within a hospital as well as home healthcare and community-based healthcare facilities.

Kentucky Registered Nursing Salaries

A majority of the registered nurses are working in the Louisville area. Nurses in this area also make the highest annual median wage.
Source: BLS, Department of Education, State Board of Nursing, Nursing School Websites.

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