Nursing Education FAQ for Students

This FAQ focuses on topics particularly relevant to prospective and current nursing students.

The first decision is selecting the type of program you wish to attend: RN and LPN. Admissions requirements and program duration vary by degree type and licensure type. It’s important to consider what kind of work you’d like to do as a nurse – this is known as your scope of practice – just as much as it is important to consider how much time and financial resources you will be able to put into your nursing education at this time.

There are a variety of factors to consider when evaluating a program of nursing:

  • Location
  • Size of school
  • College/university accreditation
  • Accreditation by nursing organization such as ACEN or CCNE
  • Tuition cost and fees
  • Availability of financial aid
  • Length of the program
  • Transferability of credits from other schools
  • Faculty/student ratio
  • Campus life
  • Clinical experiences
  • Online options for courses

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has many programs of nursing from which to choose. The list of Approved Nursing Programs is updated regularly and avaliable in the KBN Document Library. We also maintain a list of approved Nursing Programs by County in our Document Library that offer pre-licensure nursing programs.

A benchmark looks at specific characteristics of a program of nursing. These benchmarks are established in Kentucky regulation.

All benchmarks, except the NCLEX pass rate, are calculated on a fiscal year which begins July 1 and ends on June 30. The NCLEX pass rates are calculated on a calendar year which begins January 1 and ends on December 1. These benchmarks may be used for purposes of comparison for programs across the Commonwealth.

More information about the benchmarks, including data for the last few years and information on what they measure, can be found at Program of Nursing Benchmarks.

Both approval and accreditation are important components of a successful educational institution; these two terms cannot be used interchangeably. KBN has the authority to approve programs of nursing within the Commonwealth under Kentucky law.

In Kentucky, the term “approval” indicates that a program of nursing has met standards established by Kentucky regulation.

Different states have different regulations surrounding what a board of nursing can and cannot oversee. In Kentucky, accreditation is an official authorization or status granted by an agency other than the Kentucky Board of Nursing. In order words, KBN does not oversee accreditation status of programs of nursing.

In Kentucky, the governing institution (e.g. college, university) itself must be accredited before it can open a program of nursing. At this time, the prelicensure program of nursing itself may voluntarily seek separate accreditation for its program from one of the nursing accreditation bodies.

Kentucky does recognize graduates from prelicensure nursing education programs that are approved/accredited by other state boards of nursing as eligible to apply to take the NCLEX examination(s) and apply for licensure in Kentucky. Please see our page on In and Out of State and Online Nursing Programs detailing recognized programs – in-, out-of-state, and online – for students.

Important: Out-of-state or online nursing education programs should be contacted directly for verifying that program’s approval/accreditation status.

If KBN required a transcript when you were issued your Kentucky license, send a request that includes your KY license number, all names you have ever used, the year you were licensed in Kentucky, your social security number, your date of birth, and the $25 processing fee to the Kentucky Board of Nursing, ATTN: Credentials & Licensure, 312 Whittington Parkway, Louisville KY 40222.

In Kentucky, to apply for licensure by examination, an individual is required to be a graduate of an approved nursing program. Kentucky does recognize the military vocational nursing program “the Army Practical Nurse Course” (formerly 91C). You are welcome to submit your transcripts to KBN Credentials for review and advice regarding qualifying to seek licensure in Kentucky. You may submit your transcripts to KBN Credentials either by mail or e-mail:

    • Kentucky Board of Nursing, ATTN: Credentials & Licensure, 312 Whittington Parkway, Louisville KY 40222;

In order to sit for licensure (PN or RN), an individual must graduate from an approved program of nursing or submit to the KBN an official transcript verifying completion of program requirements. Please refer to 201 KAR 20:070. Licensure by examination

KCTCS has a curriculum that is called the academic career mobility curriculum (“MEEP”). This curriculum allows the individual to opt out and be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN examination at the end of the first year.  The curriculum itself is designed so that all students who enter under this curriculum do so with the intent of completing the two-year program and obtaining an associate nursing degree. Prospective students should contact programs directly to determine what curriculum options are available.​​

KBN recommends that you contact your nursing program and inform them of your result. You may wish to share your candidate profile with them so that they can assess your performance on the exam.

All nursing programs in Kentucky want to help their graduates be successful on the NCLEX exam. Your school of nursing is also aware of your overall performance during your time in the program and may be able to use that information, along with your candidate profile, to assist you in developing a plan for success.

There are numerous NCLEX review courses available online. We suggest that you search the web using the keyword "NCLEX." This search will result in many resources. When selecting a review program, seek a program that gives the learner a diagnostic profile of his/her strengths and weaknesses and explains the rationale for the correct answers. Most experts recommend “questions, questions, questions.” It is not possible to review too many questions before taking the exam. It is essential to look closely at your diagnostic profile and focus your review around the areas that are identified as weaknesses. KBN is not in a position to recommend specific courses.

We also suggest that you seek employment in health care while you are waiting to retest and use this work experience to give you more exposure to nursing. While you are working, take note of medications and treatments given to patients, how the patient’s diagnosis relates to nursing care, and how nurses make decisions. If you have test anxiety, seek counseling to help you deal with the re-testing situation. Most applicants find that anxiety will decrease with repeated exposure to NCLEX-type questions.

Since RNs returning to school to obtain a BSN are already licensed to practice as RNs, KBN has no jurisdiction over this education. The KBN only approves programs of nursing that lead to licensure.

A list of all programs of nursing recognized by KBN is updated at regular intervals and can be found in the document library by searching "Approved Nursing Programs".

In addition, a list of all educational institutions with KBN recognized nursing programs, organized by County, can be found in the document library under "Programs of Nursing by County." This list provides links to the program webpages as well for your convenience. 

Programs of nursing in Kentucky offer a variety of instructional methods. Some may offer online courses only, or allow for a hybrid of in-person and on-line. Courses may be offered only during the day or at night, depending on the program. The programs can be contacted directly to inquire about what options are available at the time of your inquiry.

KBN is unable to provide recommendations on which program of nursing to attend.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) provides a Centralized Application Service (CAS) that prospective nursing students can use to submit one standardized application to multiple schools for consideration. That is, CAS allows students to complete the application process in a central place and have the same application form, transcripts, and letters of reference be distributed simultaenously to the applicant's designated schools of nursing. N​ot all programs of nursing participate in this service. Please refer to Nursing CAS for more information. ​

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