The Best Kentucky Online Nurse Practitioner Programs and Requirements

By NurseJournal.org staff



Table of Contents


Students researching nurse practitioner programs in Kentucky can review this guide to learn more about opportunities in the state. To become a nurse practitioner (NP), degree-seekers can earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP).

At the master's level, students can explore resources relevant to their degree, including information about accelerated and online formats, benefits to earning a master's degree, RN-to-MSN program options, and salary information for professionals who hold an MSN.

Students can also browse opportunities at the doctoral level, including why they should consider a doctoral degree, RN-to-DNP program options, and data on the highest-paying careers for professionals with a DNP.

NPs work as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who serve as primary care providers. They care for patients of all ages and populations, depending on their specialty. Since NPs can pursue different educational pathways, the time it takes to complete their educational requirements varies.

Read on to explore the best nurse practitioner programs in Kentucky.

Read about our ranking methodology here.

Best Kentucky Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

1. Eastern Kentucky University - Richmond, KY
2. University of the Cumberlands - Williamsburg, KY
3. Frontier Nursing University - Hyden, KY

Eastern Kentucky University

Located in Richmond, Eastern Kentucky University offers a master of science in nursing with a concentration in rural health family nurse practice. The program consists of 47 credits, and students can complete the degree in 7-9 semesters. Students may also transfer in up to 12 credits. Regular semester courses last eight weeks, while summer courses last six weeks.

The curriculum focuses on health promotion and disease prevention, with courses like advanced pharmacology and pathophysiology. Courses run on an asynchronous schedule, allowing students to complete coursework on a more flexible timeline. In addition to online courses, learners complete 750 direct patient care hours through clinical courses and an internship.

Campus Richmond, Kentucky
Type Public
Accreditation(s) Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Tuition $662 per credit hour
Admission Requirements Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; three-hour undergraduate statistics course with grade "C" or higher; RN license; at least one year of RN experience
Minimum Time Commitment 24 months
On-Campus Requirements No
Program(s) MSN - Rural health family nurse practitioner
School site Tuition | Financial aid

University of the Cumberlands

The master of science in nursing with a family nurse practice specialization at Williamsburg-based University of the Cumberlands trains students how to perform advanced practice level care for individuals across the age span. Learners must complete 48 credits of coursework. This includes 24 hours of theoretical courses, 18 credits blending theory and clinical practice, and six credits dedicated to a clinical practice internship.

Courses for this online nurse practice program in Kentucky cover epidemiology, healthcare technologies, and advanced healthcare assessment and pharmacology. While distance learners complete their theoretical coursework online, they must travel to a healthcare site for their clinical hours. Students can opt to work at places like family practice and women's healthcare facilities.

Campus Williamsburg, Kentucky
Type Private
Accreditation(s) Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Tuition $500 per credit hour
Admission Requirements Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; RN license; statement of purpose for graduate study; two reference letters; three-hour undergraduate statistics course with grade "C" or higher
Minimum Time Commitment Varies
On-Campus Requirements No
Program(s) MSN - Family nurse practitioner
School site Tuition | Financial aid

Frontier Nursing University

As a school dedicated to nursing programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Frontier Nursing University offers a 61-credit master of science in nursing with a family nurse practice track. Although distance learners complete the majority of coursework online, they must also participate in two short on-campus stays. These "clinical bound" experiences focus on practical skills training. 

Learners enroll in courses like epidemiology and biostatistics, the role of the nurse practitioner, and primary care pediatrics. Students must also fulfill 675 supervised hours of clinical work, which they can accomplish at healthcare facilities in their own communities. FNU allows students to choose either part-time or full-time study. 

Campus Hyden, Kentucky
Type Private
Accreditation(s) Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Tuition $600 per credit hour
Admission Requirements Bachelor of science in nursing with a minimum 3.0 GPA; RN license; at least one year of RN experience
Minimum Time Commitment 24 months
On-Campus Requirements Yes
Program(s) MSN - Family nurse practitioner
School site Tuition | Financial aid

Requirements to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Kentucky

The steps required to become an NP in Kentucky include:

  • Earning a graduate degree in nursing. Before professionals can pursue careers as NPs in Kentucky, they must complete a post-basic nursing education program, required by the Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN). The board indicates that to become an NP, individuals must first hold a post-master's certificate or a master's degree in nursing from an institution that awards APRN credits.


    Students' graduate programs must be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation; or a specialized, programmatic, or institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Students who pursue an out-of-state post-basic nursing program should ensure the program meets accreditation requirements.


    The KBN follows the national APRN Consensus Model of certification, education, and licensure, requiring students planning to pursue clinical nurse specialist or NP roles to focus their education on the following six topics: psychiatric mental health, family/individual health across the lifespan, women's health and gender-related health, adult health and gerontology, neonatology, and pediatrics.


    APRN programs should incorporate a clinical component with standards in line with national certification organizations for a particular patient population. APRN programs that prepare students to work with two different patient populations must feature clinical aspects and content in both focus areas. Mandatory coursework in APRN programs should include advanced health assessment, advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, differential diagnosis of diseases across practice settings, and medical management of diseases across practice settings.


    Graduate nursing programs often feature specialization opportunities, allowing degree-seekers to focus their program on a particular nursing specialty. Kentucky's most in-demand NP specializations include primary care, acute care, and geriatrics.

  • Earning national certification, required by the KBN. Professionals must satisfy national certification within an approved population focus. Individuals must maintain certification in order to continue meeting the requirements of APRN licensure. All national certification approved by the board highlight individual requirements for certification, requiring professionals to meet certain educational standards and pass national certification examinations.


    The KBN highlights licenses in the following general practice categories: certified nurse-midwife, NP, clinical nurse specialist, and certified registered nurse anesthetist. Professionals can also seek APRN certification with a general practice focus. The state board recognizes the following national certification agencies: the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists, the American Midwifery Certification Board, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the National Certification Corporation, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board. Each certification board highlights different types of certification.

  • Applying for licensure, submitting an online application and paying the associated $150 fee. During the application process, professionals must provide proof of national certification, submit official transcripts, and complete a federal background check.


In-Demand Nursing Specialty Eligibility Requirements in Kentucky


Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGPCNP-BC)

Years of Experience: None, but must hold a current and active registered nurse (RN) license

Clinical Hours Required: Minimum of 500 clinical hours supervised by an adult-gerontology primary care NP

Continuing Education: N/A

Other: Three graduate-level courses in advanced health assessment, advanced physiology/pathophysiology, and advanced pharmacology

Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (A-GNP)

Years of Experience: None, but must hold a current and active RN license

Clinical Hours Required: Minimum of 500 clinical hours supervised by an adult-gerontology primary care NP

Continuing Education: N/A

Other: Candidates must complete and pass a national certification exam

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certification (AGACNP-BC)

Years of Experience: None, but must hold a current and active RN license

Clinical Hours Required: Minimum of 500 clinical hours supervised by an adult-gerontology acute care NP

Continuing Education: N/A

Other: Three graduate-level courses in advanced pharmacology, advanced health assessment, and advanced physiology/pathophysiology


Salary and Career Information

In Kentucky, RNs earn mean salary amounts of $63,100 compared to the occupation's U.S. mean salary of $75,510. The profession's projected job growth in Kentucky is 12.1%, while the national projected job growth is 14.8%.

NPs working in Kentucky earn mean salary amounts of $99,790, while NPs throughout the country earn a mean wage of $110,030. The projected job growth for NPs in Kentucky is slightly lower than the occupation's national projected job growth, with Kentucky reporting a job growth of 32.8% and the U.S. reporting a projected job growth of 36.1%.

Several metropolitan areas in Kentucky boast high salary opportunities for NPs. The Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky-Indiana metropolitan area reports the state's highest mean salary of $108,390.

RN vs. NP Salary and Projected Job Growth in Kentucky
  Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
Kentucky Mean Salary $63,100 $99,790
U.S. Mean Salary $75,510 $110,030
Kentucky Job Growth 12.1% 32.8%
U.S. Job Growth 14.8% 36.1%

Source: BLS, Projections Central


Kentucky Metropolitan Areas With the Highest Mean NP Wages
  Salary Employment
Louisville - Jefferson County, Kentucky - Indiana $108,390 760
Owensboro, Kentucky $107,960 100
Elizabethtown - Fort Knox, Kentucky $100,770 100
Evansville, Indiana - Kentucky $100,470 320
Bowling Green, Kentucky $98,790 120

Source: BLS