How To Become A Nurse In Kentucky

Nurses, especially well-trained nurse practitioners, are in demand in the Commonwealth of Kentucky where almost a third of the counties in the largely rural state are short of healthcare professionals, according to government surveys. There are not enough doctors to go around.

However, to enter the nursing field, Kentucky requires only two years of study at an accredited state school to be qualified to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) also recognizes graduates from prelicensure nursing education programs that are approved or accredited by other state nursing boards as eligible to apply to take the examination and apply for a Kentucky nursing license.

One example is Excelsior College, which is approved by the New York State Board of Nursing. Graduates from that program may apply to take the NCLEX in Kentucky. Graduates with a Bachelor of Science Nursing from a four-year college or university are qualified to take the examination as well as those earning a nursing diploma through a two-year program at a community college or at a participating hospital while taking courses at a nearby school.

Scholarships Available in Nursing Careers

Kentucky also offers $3,000 annual scholarships to those interested in a career in nursing. The Nursing Incentive Scholarship Fund (NISF) provides scholarships to Kentucky residents who will be attending approved prelicensure nursing programs (registered nurse or practical nurse) or graduate nursing programs. NISF recipients are selected individually by the nursing board and the scholarships may be used for cost of living expenses, as well as school expenses.

Graduates of associate degree registered nurse (RN) programs are eligible to transfer academic credits to a baccalaureate completion program for RNs. Applicants must meet the entrance requirements of the Kentucky community college as well as those of the nursing program.

Many of Kentucky’s community college nursing programs require 5 to 6 semesters to complete the sequence of study. Community college graduates also may transfer some or all of their academic credits to any Kentucky associate degree nursing program.

Salaries are Competitive in the Bluegrass State

Kentucky offers competitive salaries for nurses, with the average annual income for a RN staff nurse at more than $64,000 in Louisville, the largest city in the Bluegrass State.

There are many types of nursing practice and registered nurses have an educational range that begins with an associate two-year degree continuing to other advanced degrees. As more healthcare moves out of the hospital to other areas of the community, Kentucky policymakers also are looking toward the nurse practitioner, a type of advanced registered nurse.

Northern Kentucky University has been singled out by U.S. News as the 127th best nursing graduate school in the country. With a master’s degree in nursing, nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists can perform a full range of health services.

Nursing Schools of Kentucky

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Nursing School Locations

Bellarmine University
Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences
2001 Newberg Road, Miles Hall
Louisville, KY 40205
(502) 452-8215

Bluegrass Community and Technical College
59 Corporate Drive
Danville, KY
(859) 239-7030

Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Avenue
Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 622-6353

Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
620 College Street Road
Elizabethtown, KY 42701
(270) 769-2371

Hopkinsville Community College
North Drive, PO Box 2100
Hopkinsville, KY 42240-2100
(270) 707-3840

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