NP programs in Kentucky allow degree-seekers to expand their career opportunities and earning power. Thanks to favorable economic conditions across the state, prospective Kentucky NPs enjoy a positive employment outlook, making the present an ideal time for nurses to take their careers to the next level. The following guide looks at how to become a nurse practitioner in Kentucky, from educational criteria and certification guidelines to state licensing requirements.
Read on to learn more about NP programs in KY, including a complete list of online nurse practitioner programs, career prospects for NPs in the state, licensing information, and resources for professionals and students alike. Prospective NPs can also review our specialization and sub-specialization tree to better understand the nursing specialties they can pursue after becoming licensed, including adult-gerontology, neonatal, psychiatric-mental health, and gender-related nursing.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Based in Kentucky
Degree-seekers exploring nurse practitioner programs in Kentucky can pursue master's- and doctoral-level options. Each type of program features different course topics, admissions criteria, and delivery formats.
Master's-level NP students typically complete their degree in around two years of full-time study, while part-time candidates often take closer to three years to finish. Master's programs allow degree-seekers to expand upon the knowledge and skills they developed during their undergraduate studies, focusing on specialized topics, career paths, and population focus points. Most master's programs expect applicants to hold a bachelor of science in nursing along with an active, current RN license.
Master's-level NP students typically complete their degree in around two years of full-time study, while part-time candidates often take closer to three years to finish.
The length of a doctoral program varies based on the candidate's educational history, the amount of clinical or professional experience they have completed, their enrollment status, and their chosen specialization. Typically, doctoral programs last between three and four years. Doctoral candidates explore some of the most advanced and specialized concepts in the NP pathway. Program applicants are usually expected to hold a master's in nursing with a nurse practitioner emphasis, in addition to an active, current RN license and a specified amount of clinical experience.
Students pursuing nurse practitioner degrees at both the master's and doctoral levels can typically explore specialization opportunities, allowing them to focus their curriculum toward a certain population of nursing, preparing them for their specific career goals.
Complete List of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Kentucky
Kentucky Nurse Practitioner Career Information
Kentucky NPs enjoy a mean salary of $99,790 and a projected job growth rate of 32.8%, compared to the overall $110,030 U.S. salary for the occupation and the projected job growth of 36.1%. Compared to NPs in surrounding states like Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, NPs in Kentucky are projected to experience the sixth-highest job growth rate through 2026 and the seventh-highest salaries.
Candidates must satisfy all of the necessary steps and criteria before obtaining nurse practitioner licensure in Kentucky. Most begin the process by earning a graduate degree. All candidates are required to complete a post-basic nursing education program, including either a master's degree or a post-master's certificate. Degree-seekers must earn their master's from a college or university accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (CNEA), or another programmatic or specialized accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
During a master's program, prospective nurse practitioners must choose a specialization from one of the following population focus areas: psychiatric mental health, pediatrics, neonatology, adult health and gerontology, women's health and gender-related health, or family/individual health across the lifespan.
After satisfying all educational requirements, candidates may pursue national certification. The Kentucky Board of Nursing offers the following APRN titles: nurse practitioner, certified nurse-midwife, certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), and clinical nurse specialist (CNS).
After satisfying all educational requirements, candidates may pursue national certification.
Once they have obtained national certification, professionals can apply for licensure. Applicants must pay the $150 application fee, submit proof of national certification with their official transcripts, and complete both a state and federal background check.
Other Requirements for Kentucky Nurse Practitioners
Kentucky's nursing board accepts courses from any ANCC accredited provider, along with NetCE credits. RNs, APRNs, and LPNs in the state must complete 14 contact hours every year in addition to a one-time requirement of three contact hours in domestic violence and 1.5 contact hours in pediatric abusive head trauma. APRNs must also complete five contact hours in pharmacology.
After obtaining a written collaborative agreement with an in-state licensed physician, APRNs can pursue authorization to prescribe controlled substances. Authorized APRNs may prescribe nonscheduled legend drugs in addition to controlled substances. However, they must understand the limitations for prescriptive authority and regularly refer to state laws and regulations.
Information for Out-Of-State Nurse Practitioners
Prescriptive authority laws for NPs vary from state to state. In Kentucky, prescriptive authority calls for a written agreement with a supervising physician or another healthcare provider, following the Collaborative Agreement for the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse's Prescriptive Authority for Nonscheduled Legend Drugs.
Kentucky participates in the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) along with Wyoming, Utah, Virginia, Tennessee, South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho, Florida, Arizona, and Arkansas. The eNLC allows nurses to experience mobility across state borders, expanding access to care and maintaining public protection.
Nurse practitioners can also apply for licensure by endorsement if they hold a license in another state or U.S. jurisdiction. Endorsement applications remain valid for six months and include a $165 fee. Candidates must also provide a criminal background report and a fingerprint card, complete and pass a jurisprudence exam, and submit official transcripts.
Kentucky Nurses Association As Kentucky's only full-service professional nursing organization, the KNA recognizes nurses' essential role in statewide healthcare delivery. Members enjoy exclusive benefits such as discounts, scholarship opportunities, and resume assistance.
Kentucky Board of Nursing The Kentucky Board of Nursing protects public health and welfare by creating and enforcing the state laws that govern safe nursing practice.
Kentucky League for Nursing The KLN provides members with quality nursing education, equipping professionals to meet the specific needs of diverse populations across various healthcare environments.
Kentucky Nurses Action Coalition This statewide advocacy group advocates for nurses and Kentucky's healthcare needs through multiple committees, including a joint coalition with the AARP. Website visitors can access a variety of helpful resources, including webinars.