How to Become a Nurse in Kentucky

Those who wish to become a registered nurse (RN), state registered nurse aide (SRNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN) or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in the state of Kentucky must apply to the Kentucky Board of Nursing. This organization is an agency of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is responsible for enforcing all state laws that govern the safe practice of nursing. Generally, students can pursue one of three types of nursing programs in Kentucky to get their initial nursing licensure: a practical nursing program, an associate degree in nursing or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. To obtain an APRN license, students will have to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree from nursing schools in Kentucky or elsewhere.

How to Get Registered as a State Registered Nurse Aide (SRNA) in Kentucky

In Kentucky, CNAs are called state registered nurse aides (SRNAs). SRNAs in Kentucky are not licensed health care professionals; rather, they are nursing assistants who have completed a training and competency program to qualify as a nurse aide. This program is offered by numerous establishments throughout the state, but in order to be official, it must be approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. All programs will include both a written and clinical skills exam and feature at least 75 hours of nursing aide instructional training and 16 hours of supervised practical training. The program must also be led by a registered or practical nurse with a specified amount of experience.

All applicants who qualify as an SRNA are entered into the Kentucky Nurse Aide Registry run by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. In addition to providing a list of all qualified CNAs in Kentucky, this registry also records CNAs who have a history of abuse. To stay on the list, Kentucky SRNAs must perform at least eight hours of nursing-related functions within a two-year period. Kentucky SRNAs must renew their active status every two years, and it’s required that they complete 12 hours of in-service education each year.

How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in Kentucky

For those wishing to earn a Kentucky LPN license, the process is similar to the RN licensure. The main difference is that LPN hopefuls do not need an associate or bachelor’s degree; rather, they can choose a practical nursing program that lasts around 40 to 46 credits, shortening the time it takes them to earn their license. LPNs can also apply for their license via endorsement or examination. Fees for the applications are $165 and $125, respectively.

Both endorsement and examination applicants will then need to request a Kentucky criminal background report, complete the fingerprint card (at a cost of $13.25) and pass the Kentucky Jurisprudence Exam (at a cost of $15). Examination applicants must take the additional step of passing the NCLEX-PN exam for practical nurses and complete any continuing competency requirements that were not fulfilled by their nursing program. At this point, endorsement applicants must also verify their out-of-state licensure (as well as prove they passed the NCLEX practical nurse

exam) and send over any official transcripts.

After LPNs earn their Kentucky nursing license, they will have to renew it on a yearly basis. The cost for renewal is $65, and LPNs must also complete 14 approved contact hours of continuing education during this period. There are a few other ways nurses can meet the licensure renewal requirements without these hours, but this is the most common method.

How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in Kentucky

Earning a Kentucky RN license requires students to pursue either an associate degree or bachelor’s degree in nursing. This can be done at a community college, college, or university. The next step in obtaining a Kentucky nursing license is to apply for licensure by endorsement or licensure by examination. Licensure by endorsement is for professionals who are already certified to practice as an RN in other states, while licensure by examination is for recent graduates of nursing programs.

Both methods require RN potentials to fill out an application, which will ask for pertinent personal, professional, and educational information. Applicants also need to include a fee of $125 for examination applications and $165 for endorsement applications. Next, applicants will need to have a Kentucky criminal background report done as well as complete a fingerprint card (this costs an additional $13.25). After this is done, the applicant must complete the Kentucky Jurisprudence Examination, which is a computerized exam based on Kentucky Nursing Laws and Advisory opinion statements that are housed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The cost to take this exam is $15. Examination applicants must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for RNs, while endorsement applicants must verify their credentials.

Finally, once the nurse has been issued a Kentucky nursing license, they will need to renew it every year by paying a $65 fee. The nurse must also take 14 approved contact hours of continuing education unless they meet one of the other Kentucky requirements for licensure renewal.

How to Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) License in Kentucky

The highest level of Kentucky nursing license is the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license. Having this license allows practitioners to establish their own practice and prescribe controlled substances. Because of this, all APRNs must have at least a master’s degree from an accredited nursing program. Additionally, all potential APRNs must already hold RN licensure from Kentucky or another state as well as national certification in a population foci approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. The 11 potential subject areas for concentration include women’s health, pediatric, neonatal, medical/surgery, gerontological, family psych mental health, family, child/adolescent psych mental health, adult psych mental health, adult and acute care.

There are a few different methods when applying for a Kentucky advanced practice registered nurse license, as applicants can have an RN license from another nursing compact state, an RN and APRN license from another nursing compact state, or a Kentucky RN license. However, most of the application steps are the same. Applicants need to submit the Kentucky APRN licensure application and fee ($165), the fingerprint card and fee ($13.25), the Kentucky criminal history report, an official transcript of the professional’s graduate-level education and proof of their current national certification.

Once the APRN license has been awarded, nurses need to renew it on a yearly basis by paying $55 for each APRN designation they have (in addition to the $65 fee for renewing their standard RN license). APRNs also need at least 14 approved contact hours, including at least five contact hours of pharmacology education.