10 Best Online RN to BSN Programs in Kentucky 2019

The top nursing schools in Kentucky as united in one thing – providing the best possible education in nursing in Kentucky. From online nursing programs in Kentucky, to accelerated nursing programs Kentucky nurses can use to advance their career quickly, Kentucky’s nursing schools are helping healthcare professionals in the Bluegrass State take on the future of medicine. With education standards quickly rising for working nurses, busy RNs who only have their associate’s degree (ADN) are searching for affordable, convenient options to improve their education and advance in their careers.

Kentucky is in a major period of transition, from the slow decline of King Coal to the growing tech and service economies of major cities like Louisville and Bowling Green. Along with this transition, healthcare has emerged as a crucial part of the economy, and healthcare rises and falls on the greatness of its nurses. That’s why TopRNtoBSN has put together a ranking of the best Online RN to BSN programs in Kentucky.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online Nursing Programs in KY

To rank the 10 Best Online RN to BSN Programs in Kentucky, TopRNtoBSN editors started with every accredited nursing school in Kentucky (regional, CCNE, and ACEN). From the initial pool, we ranked programs according to three data points:

  • Cost ( IPEDS data)
  • Student Reviews (Niche)
  • Employment Rate (College Scorecard data)

These three criteria tell the prospective student of nursing in Kentucky that the program has demonstrated success, both from the students’ experience and perspective, and in hard numbers of graduates on the job market. That success, combined with cost, can give students a sense of what kind of return on investment they can expect from the best nursing schools in Kentucky.

1. Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University’s online RN to BSN program requires 30 credit hours (which is equivalent to 10 nursing core courses) to graduate. The RN to BSN degree program is one of the few 10–month programs in nursing in Kentucky and one of the best RN to BSN online programs in the South. This Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science of Nursing holds the distinction of being one of the few accelerated nursing programs Kentucky has to offer. NKU’s RN to BSN online program has received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education(CCNE)

Northern Kentucky University was founded in 1968 as a public university. Cincinnati, OH is located seven miles northwest of NKU, and offers a significant job market for nursing graduating from online nursing programs in KY. Northern Kentucky University has been ranked by Forbes Magazine among America’s Top College and is widely recognized as one of the best programs among nursing schools in Kentucky.

Format: Online – 10 months
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

2. University of Louisville

The University of Louisville’s online RN to BSN program that can be completed entirely online. The University of Louisville’s distance learning RN to BSN option follows an eight-week course schedule, which allows students to complete the program at a pace that fits their busy schedules. The RN to BSN program, considered one of the top nursing schools in Kentucky, is designed for students who already hold an unencumbered Registered Nursing license by completing a nursing diploma or an Associates Degree in Nursing. U of L’s RN to BSN online program has received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). U of L’s nursing program considered one of the finest online nursing programs in KY.

The University of Louisville was established in 1798 and is a member of Kentucky’s University System. It holds the distinction of being the first public university in the country that was city-owned. Additionally, it is one of the first schools established west of the Allegheny Mountains. US News & World Report recognized, The University of Louisville’s RN to BSN online program ranks among the Best Online Programs in the country.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

3. Murray State University

The School of Nursing and Health Professions offers Murray State University’s online RN to BSN program in a convenient, flexible online format for working RNs who wish to augment their nursing leadership skills. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education(CCNE) accredits Murray State University’s RN to BSN online program. MSU is considered one of the best RN to BSN online programs among nursing schools in Kentucky. While MSU’s tuition is affordable, it is noted that Murray State University awards scholarship and financial each year in the amount that exceeds $125 million.

Murray State University is a public university that was established in 1922. US News & World Report has acknowledged Murray State University as one of the top regional universities in the country for 26 consecutive years. Murray State University has several regional campuses located in Fort Campbell, Henderson, Paducah, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, as well as what they consider their online campus.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

4. University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky’s online RN to BSN program is built on the full support of UK’s renowned College of Nursing faculty and staff. Their RN to BSN requires degree candidates to complete a Capstone program in nursing practices. Students are required to apply their newly learned skills while attending clinical practicums. The University of Kentucky’s RN to BSN has received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). For Fall 2018, UK’s College of Nursing in Kentucky enrolled more than 1,500 students. No nursing schools in Kentucky are more crucial to nursing in Kentucky than UK.

The University of Kentucky was established as a land-grant university in 1865 and stands as Kentucky’s largest institution of higher learning. US News & World Report has recognized the University of Kentucky as the state’s highest-ranked research school; making UK one of the best RN to BSN online programs in Kentucky. The Commonwealth of Kentucky Board of certifies that UK’s RN to BSN program – one on the best accelerated nursing programs Kentucky students could hope for – meets the requirements set forth by law.

Format: Online – 12 months
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

5. Eastern Kentucky University

The Eastern Kentucky University online RN to BSN program comes from one of the top nursing schools in Kentucky. This Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredited online program has been designed specifically for busy working nursing professionals who have the option of completing the degree program in as few as 18 months. Those graduating with a BSN from Eastern Kentucky University are prepared for careers in public health, leadership, research, management, and long-term or acute care.

The Eastern Kentucky University was first established as Central University in 1874. The struggling Central University was established through Commonwealth legislation in 1906. Since that time, EKU has more than come into its own – it’s become a nationally-recognized leader in online education, providing opportunity for Kentucky’s rural residents, working adults, and more. In-state and out-of-state students completing their RN to BSN online program in nursing in Kentucky pay the same tuition rates.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

6. Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University’s online RN to BSN program has received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the American Association of College of Nursing (AACN). Students interested in applying for Western’s RN to BSN must already hold a valid, unencumbered Registered Nurse license. Degree candidates can also complete relevant clinical practical experience (in the online student’s home area) in addition to the academic requirements. Western Kentucky University’s RN to BSN degree program can attend on a full-time or a part-time basis.

The Kentucky Commonwealth established Western Kentucky University in 1906 as a normal school, providing hands-on teacher training. Today, WKU operates from campuses in Owensboro, Elizabethtown-Fort Knox, and Glasgow, KY. One of the best nursing schools in Kentucky, WKU plays an important role in providing opportunity for nursing in Kentucky’s growing Bowling Green metropolitan area.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

7. Morehead State University

Morehead State University online RN to BSN program is intended for licensed Registered Nurses who need the flexibility and convenience of a completely online format. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits Morehead State University’s online coursework for Registered Nurses who wish to earn the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. More than 90% of undergrads at MSU receive some sort of grant, scholarship, work-study program, and/or financial aid. It’s one of the most supportive nursing schools in Kentucky.

Morehead State University is about equidistant from Lexington, KY, and Huntington, WV. It was established in 1887 with just one student. Today, Morehead State offers more than 200-degree programs through their four schools – the College of Science, the Caudill College of Humanities, the College of Education and the Elmer R. Smith College of Business and Technology. Morehead State University also operates with three regional campuses located in Prestonsburg, Ashland and Mount Sterling, Kentucky, in addition to offering one of the best online nursing programs in KY.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

8. Galen College of Nursing – Louisville

The 12-month Galen College of Nursing online RN to BSN program is meant for students who already have an unencumbered Registered Nurse license. Galen College of Nursing focuses strictly on educating nursing professionals for advancement in their career. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits the nursing coursework offered by the Galen College of Nursing. Coursework is divided into manageable eight-week courses that include video presentations, 3D animation, and innovative interactive content.

Galen College of Nursing – Louisville, originally known as Galen health institutes, is a private nursing school that was established in 1990 by Humana. It operates several campuses across the country and in virtual space, online. They include Louisville, KY, Cincinnati, OH, Hazard, KY, San Antonio, TX, and Tampa Bay, FL. Students new to the RN to BSN course receive the Nursing Capstone coursework at no cost; essentially reducing tuition costs by more than $1,500. Galen’s RN to BSN degree is one of the few accelerated nursing programs Kentucky has to offer, from one of the most affordable nursing schools in Kentucky.

Format: Online – 12 month
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

9. Spalding University

Spalding University’s online RN to BSN program can be completed in as little as 12 months. Students can take one or two courses within their Spalding University’s innovative six-week course schedules. The school offers seven different start rates through the calendar year. Students have the option of studying exclusively online or as a hybrid offering including on-campus and online coursework in accelerated nursing programs Kentucky nurses can trust.. Spalding University’s FLEX program offers students affordability and convenience. More than 90% of FLEX students receive some form of financial support.

Spalding University was established in 1814 and is affiliated with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. The school holds the distinction as one of the oldest schools west of the Allegheny Mountains. The Commonwealth of Kentucky granted Spalding University the ability to confer higher learning degrees in 1829. Spalding University encourages the student population to serve their community and practice tolerance in a world of diversity. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits the nursing program offered by Spalding University.

Format: Online – 12 months
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

10. Kentucky Christian University

Kentucky Christian University’s online RN to BSN program, from the Yancey School of Nursing is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Degree candidates have the opportunity to earn their Bachelor of Science in just 18 months. KCU’s RN to BSN coursework is designed to prepare nursing professionals to thrive and advance in the oft-changing healthcare field. KCU’s RN to BSN degree program requires 36 credit hours to graduate, in addition to transferred credits from previous nursing coursework

Kentucky Christian University is a Christian institute of higher learning. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has accredited KCU. Kentucky Christian University seeks to meet the distinctive needs of their diverse online student population. With one of the best accelerated nursing programs Kentucky nurses could imagine, KCU is devoted to excellence in nursing in Kentucky.

Format: Online – 18 month
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

What Do I Need to Apply to Online Nursing Programs in KY?

Enrolling in online nursing programs in KY means ensuring requirements are met first. While every institution is going to have differing admission requirements, like a KSBN nursing license verification, for example, some common ones will help students prepare for the application process. The list of online nursing programs in KY requirements includes the following:

  • The admissions department must receive a transcript directly from your previous school.
  • Your cumulative GPA must be at least 2.5 or higher.
  • You must meet competitive standards for professional fluency in additional languages.
  • The admissions department must consider you in “good standing.”
  • You must pass criminal background checks, drug screenings, and screenings for abilities.
  • At least 1-5 years of experience (depending on program)
  • KSBN nursing license verification that is unencumbered.

Are There Many Nursing Schools in Louisville KY?

There’s a growing need for nurses throughout the Louisville, KY area (one of the highest-paying cities for nurses in the US), and the top nursing schools in Kentucky are taking notice. The University of Louisville’s Sonya Hardin states, “We have a huge nursing shortage in this country, and it’s only going to get worse,” in a recent article in the Courier-Journal. The university is one of many of the top nursing schools in Kentucky that’s increasing its size to accommodate the number of nursing students necessary to service the need for nurses in the area. Here is a list of nursing schools in Louisville KY:

  • Bellarmine University: It’s possible to earn a BSN, as well as an accelerated second degree BSN at Bellarmine. Students can also receive their doctor of nursing practice, master of science in nursing, and post bachelor’s DNP.
  • Galen College of Nursing at Louisville: For students who wish to earn their certificate in practical nursing or associate’s degree in nursing, it’s possible to do so at Galen College, one of the best dedicated nursing schools in Louisville KY.
  • Jefferson Community & Technical College at Louisville: When students need their associate’s in nursing or a certificate in practical nursing, they can achieve these goals through this college.
  • Spencerian College: Those attending this college can earn their certificate in practical nursing, associates degree in nursing, and nursing assistant certificate.
  • University of Louisville: Students can earn many nursing degrees at this university including their BSN, direct-entry MSN, doctor of nursing practice, and doctor of philosophy in nursing.

As a major city, Louisville also offers many opportunities for clinical experiences, and the best nursing schools in Louisville, KY will have strong connections to the hospitals and clinics of the region.

Are There Accelerated Nursing Programs Kentucky Nurses Can Take?

Previously, students interested in pursuing nursing in Kentucky could only explore two options if they wanted to explore opportunities for their education if they wanted to become a nurse, and that was to receive their Associate’s Degree or Bachelor’s in Nursing in Kentucky. Now, it’s possible for students residing in the state to pursue their degrees at a quicker pace through accelerated nursing programs Kentucky including an Accelerated BSN degree program. Under most circumstances, it takes between twelve and eighteen months for students to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree through these accelerated nursing programs Kentucky.

Many students are skeptical about earning their degree in such a short period. It’s possible to do so, however. The main reason is that, if students already possess another degree that’s in another field, some of those credits can transfer to cover the general education requirements of their BSN. Therefore, they’ll only need to take the nursing courses that are left over. In doing so, it allows them to finish their nursing degree program in less time than those participating in traditional degree programs. Students will find that course requirements will vary from school to school but, generally, they will be taking courses in nursing leadership, delivery nursing, palliative care, labor and delivery nursing, and emergency nursing.