Nursing is a noble, valuable profession in the medical field. Nurses dispense medical advice, and they typically form stronger relationships with patients than doctors do. Nurses work in settings such as hospitals, clinics, schools, government agencies, and the army. After earning an online nursing degree, students may specialize through further study and advance to practical nurse or registered nurse positions.
While nurses frequently work long hours, scheduling is flexible; for example, you may work a couple 12-hour days before having a week off. Nurses typically earn increasingly higher salaries throughout their career. A career in nursing is ideal for compassionate individuals with a deep interest in medicine and a strong work ethic. Earning your online nursing degree is challenging, but graduates of online nursing programs in Kentucky begin rewarding careers helping others.
How to Become a Nurse in Kentucky
All aspiring nurses in Kentucky must earn at least an associate degree in nursing and complete a specified number of clinical hours through one of the nursing colleges in Kentucky. Requirements that vary by state include the number of clinical hours, licensing procedures, and associated costs. Most nursing schools in Kentucky have similar degree requirements, but check each Kentucky nursing school’s specifications before applying. Those who want to earn their degree more quickly may pursue online accelerated nursing programs in Kentucky.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
The minimum requirement to become a nurse is an LPN degree, which consists purely of licensing requirements; after earning your high school diploma or GED, you complete an LPN certification course through a community college. A two year-degree is required to become an RN, and nurses who have completed online BSN programs in Kentucky take on more responsibility and care for patients with more complicated issues. Nurses who aspire to specialize or to teach nursing at the college level need an MSN or DNP.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
When choosing from online RN programs in Kentucky, consider whether you prefer to earn your nursing degree online or on-campus. An online program offers flexibility to complete courses on your own time — likely for a fraction of the cost. Regardless of which nursing schools in Kentucky you consider, research each program’s prerequisites and degree requirements before applying. Each online nursing program has different requirements for internships, fellowships, and clinical hours; ensure you will be able to meet these requirements, especially if you are a distance learner. Also consider degree completion time; those who want to graduate more quickly may consider an accelerated program, while particularly busy students may search for a part-time program.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
Some students pursue their nursing license briefly after graduating high school, while others first undergo years of study in nursing schools in Kentucky. The process varies depending on the level of certification. LPNs may take the licensing exam with only a high school diploma or GED, though some specialized training is recommended. Other examinations require more education and specialization. In most cases, an online nursing degree program is sufficient preparation for the licensing examination. The cost to take licensing exams varies by state, but the average is $200. Earning a nursing license does not guarantee a job, but it does qualify you for nursing positions.
Nursing Licensure in Kentucky
To become a practicing nurse, you must earn an on-campus or online nursing degree and pass a licensing exam. The amount of required testing depends on the type of nursing. LNPs must complete only one certification exam. The NCLEX-RN is the exam required of RNs and more advanced nurses.
To take the NCLEX-RN, you must have completed at least an associate degree program in nursing, though most hold a BSN in nursing. The curricula of most nursing schools in Kentucky prepare students to pass the exam. Visit the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure to prepare or register for the NCLEX-RN in Kentucky. The following chart details the fees associated with the NCLEX-RN.
Fees for NCLEX-RN in Kentucky
App. Fee $110
Career Outlook for Nurses in Kentucky
Nurses in Kentucky work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, schools, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, the armed forces, and assisted living facilities. Professionals with online nursing degrees can expect their salaries to increase with experience and advanced education. Graduates of online MSN programs in Kentucky have the greatest earning potential of the state’s nurses. Kentucky is plagued with health crises, including obesity, drug and alcohol addiction, and a lack of physical activity. As a result, healthcare professionals, including nurses, are in high demand.
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Biggest Hospitals in Kentucky
Online nursing degree students often choose schools based on hospitals in the area. Hospitals provide career opportunities for nurses of all levels. Large hospitals hire the most nurses and offer fellowship and residency opportunities. Kentucky’s large hospitals are almost always hiring nurses and qualified healthcare professionals educated through nursing schools in Kentucky. The two largest hospitals in Kentucky are below.
- KentuckyOne Health Jewish Hospital: Founded in 1905, this hospital provides patients with top-quality care and education. KentuckyOne currently has 462 patient beds and is internationally recognized for excellence. Doctors and nurses at this hospital are known for their skill with transplants.
- University of Louisville Hospital: UofL Hospital is located at the center of Louisville, Kentucky, and offers nationally recognized cancer and trauma centers. UofL Hospital serves more than 3,000 patients each year and is always in search of qualified employees.
Additional Nursing Resources in Kentucky
Kentucky Nurses Association
KNA is an educational and professional resource for nurses seeking leadership, skill development, networking, and research opportunities. KNA members unite in the goal of improving their skills.
Kentucky Board of Nursing
KBN is the official organized body of Kentucky nurses. The organization provides information about classes, licensing, and hiring. Those recognized by KBN must be in the process of earning certification or a degree in nursing.
Founded in 2010, the Kentucky chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners helps aspiring and practicing pediatric nurses further their education and career.
Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners and Nurse-Midwives
KCNPNM trains and assists nurses interested in midwifery. KCNPNM helps members obtain certifications, network, and achieve leadership roles. Annual conferences unite neonatal nurses from around the world.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Kentucky