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Navigating the Nursing Profession in Kentucky

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Let us help you land on your dream job here in Kentucky! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in Kentucky, and more!


Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Kentucky

  • Popular hospitals in Kentucky

  • Nursing associations in Kentucky

  • Contact details


Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. You can also visit the Kentucky licensing page to know more details.

Kentucky allows nurses to hold multi-state licenses because it is one of the nursing compact states in the country.

*Fees may change without any notice.

**A background check is required in most states, but prices are not usually indicated.


Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the Kentucky Board of Nursing website. Kentucky has a Verification page for you to verify your license.

  2. Complete all your continuing education requirements BEFORE your license expires.

  3. Apply for your renewal process by going to the Kentucky Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information. Be reminded that if your Primary State of Residency is not Kentucky, you can not apply for a licensure in Kentucky because it is a compact state. You must declare that Kentucky is your Primary State of Residency to be able to do so.


Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

The following are the Continuing Education Requirements for nurses in Kentucky.

  • For RN/LPN, you need to have 14 contact hours every year:

    • One-time requirement of 2 hours related to Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma

    • Minimum of 3 hours must be connected to Domestic Violence

    • Complete Forensic Evidence Collection training for all nurses with SANE credentials

  • For APRN, you must have 14 contact hours annually (or board certification):

    • 5 hours related to pharmacology - ADDITIONAL

    • One-time requirement of 2 hours related to Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma

  • Minimum of 3 hours must be connected to Domestic Violence

  • Complete Forensic Evidence Collection training for all nurses with SANE credentials

  • If you are an APRN with a DEA-X Registration, you must also have 4 contact hours in addiction disorders, that include 1.5 hours in addiction disorder pharmacology.

Every renewal period, 5 hours in Sexual Assault Continuing Education is a requisite for all SANE (Sexual Assutn Nurse Examiner) Licensees. Any domestic violence or forensic nursing course(s) will meet this rule. The hours spent may be counted to 14 hours of CEU for renewal.

The Kentucky Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.


Licensing and Certification

Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. These programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. If you have an ADN but you wanna pursue your bachelor’s, there are certain programs that let you earn your BSN in 12 to 18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. Said programs let you save on time and money as you work towards advancing your career.

Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1) health promotion and maintenance; (2) safe and effective care environment; (3) physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.

Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.


Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Kentucky

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is currently $67,260


Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if Kentucky is the right place for you.


Popular Hospitals in Kentucky

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in Kentucky or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in Kentucky. Here are some of them:

*The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) awards Magnet Status to Hospitals that apply and meet certain criteria. This award is also considered as the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care.


Nursing Associations in Kentucky

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in Kentucky.

KYANNA Black Nurses Association of Louisville, KY, Inc.: “This association sees itself as a provider of forums for black nurses to lead in implementing techniques in ensuring access to the best quality of healthcare for persons of color.”

Kentucky Nurses Association: “This group of nurses gives emphasis to the professional practice of nursing by leadership growth, education researches, membership development and evidence-based practices.”

Kentucky Associations of Nurse Practitioners & Nurse-Midwives: “This organization is a provider of quality, accessible and compassionate healthcare through leadership and education, so as to empower Kentucky Advanced Practice Registered Nurses”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Contact Details

Kentucky Board of Nursing

Phone: (502) 429-3300 or (800) 305-2042

Fax: (502) 429-3311

312 Whittington Pky

Suite 300

Louisville, KY 40222

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