The purpose of mandatory continuing education (CE)/competency, as cited in the Kentucky Nursing Laws (KRS 314), is to require evidence of the nurse’s efforts to maintain and update nursing knowledge and skills needed to make competent judgments and decisions in nursing practice, nursing administration, nursing education, and/or nursing research.​

The CE/Competency earning period is the same as the licensure period, November 1 through October 31 of each year.

LICENSURE EARNING PERIOD: 11/01/2020 - 10/31/2021


2020 - 2021 CE Brochure

The 2020 - 2021 CE Brochure is a printable, two-page reference of the Kentucky Board of Nursing Continuing Education (CE)/Compliance requirements. C​​lick the link below to access the 2020 - 2021 CE Brochure.

Mandatory CE Table

Click on the links below to access the Mandatory CE Table and Mandatory CE Decision Tree.

Approved/Accepted CE Providers

Click on the link below to access a list of Kentucky Board of Nursing approved CE providers.

If a continuing education course is offered by a provider that is approved by one of the national nursing organizations listed below or any state board of nursing, it will be accepted by the KBN for the same number of contact hours:

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)
  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)
  • American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) of the American Nurses Association (ANA)
  • Association of Women's Health, Obstetrical and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN)
  • National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH)
  • National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners (NAPNAP)
  • National Association for Practical Nurse Education & Service (NAPNES)
  • National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses (NALPN)
  • National League for Nursing (NLN)
  • Other State Boards of Nursing

Licensure Renewal Requirements

The CE earning period for the 2021 licensure renewal is November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021.  Pursuant to Kentucky Administrative Regulation 201 KAR 20:215, validation of CE/competency must include one of the following (options CANNOT be combined to equal fourteen (14) contact hours):

  1. Proof of earning 14 approved contact hours; OR

  2. Proof of earning 7 approved contact hours, PLUS a nursing employment evaluation that is satisfactory for continued employment.  Evaluation must be signed by the nurses' supervisor and include the employer's name, address, and phone number.  The evaluation must cover at least 6 months of the earning period (November 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021);   OR

  3. Current national certification or recertification related to the nurse's practice role in effect during the entire period or initially earned or renewed during the earning period (does not include clinical certifications such as ACLS, PALS, NRP, etc...); OR

  4. Successful completion of a postlicensure academic course at a college, university, or postsecondary vocational   institution.  Must be relevant to nursing practice (e.g. nursing course designated by a nursing course number and beyond the prelicensure curriculum) OR an academic course applicable to the nurse's role and beyond the prelicensure curriculum.  The course must have been completed during the earning period with an awarded grade of "C" of better, or a grade of "pass" on a pass-fail grading system.  Calculation of contact hours:  One (1) semester or trimester hours of academic credit = 15 contact hours; One (1) quarter hour of academic credit = 12 contact hours.  May request course review for approval of applicable nursing content pursuant to 201 KAR 20:215 Section 7; OR

  5. Participation as a preceptor for at least one nursing student or new employee.  Must be for at least 120 hours, have a one-to-one relationship with student or employee, may precept more than one student during the 120 hours.  Preceptorship shall be evidenced by written documentation from the educational institution or preceptor's supervisor; OR

  6. Publication of an article in a peer-reviewed health-related journal; OR

  7. A nursing continuing education presentation that is designed and developed by the presenter, presented to nurses or other health professionals, is evidenced by a program brochure, course syllabi, or a letter from the offering provider identifying the licensee as the presenter of the offering, and offered by provider approved pursuant to 201 KAR 20:220.  The number of contact hours earned shall be twice the number of content hours offered to presentation attendees; OR

  8. Completion of a nursing research project as principal investigator, coinvestigator, or project director.  Must be    qualitative or quantitative in nature, utilize research methodology, and increases knowledge resulting in improved outcomes or changes in behavior.  Submission must include a project abstract and a summary of the findings.

Not Accepted as CE:

  •  Prelicensure general education courses, either electives or those designated to meet degree requirements.

  • Activities that are part of an employing agency's staff development program designed to provide information related to the work setting: on-the-job training, orientation, basic cardiopulmonary like support (BLS/CPR), or equipment demonstrations.

APRN Continuing Education Requirements

An APRN's board certification satisfies the fourteen (14) contact hour requirement needed for RN licensure renewal (national certification), as long as the APRN certification was initially attained during the licensure period, has been in effect during the entire licensure period, or has been renewed during the licensure period.

Pharmacology CE: Five (5) contact hours of approved pharmacology CE must be earned by all APRNs each licensure period.  CE certificates should reflect specific pharmacology contact hours awarded.  To qualify as pharmacology, content shall include drug-specific information, safe prescribing practices, safe medication administration, prescribing methodologies, new regulations, or similar topics.  Objectives for the contact hours related to pharmacology shall be identified.  Casual mention of medications or medical treatments shall not qualify.

APRNs with a CAPA-CS: Of the five (5) approved pharmacology contact hours required for APRN licensure renewal, one and one-half (1.5) of these approved contact hours must be on the use of KASPER, pain management, or addiction disorders each licensure period.  These hours may count as part of the required five (5) pharmacology contact hours.

APRNs with a DEA-X Registration: Pursuant to 201 KAR 20:065, an APRN who has obtained a DEA-X registration shall complete a total of four (4) contact hours annually in addiction disorders, which shall include 1.5 hours in addiction disorder pharmacology CE. The same CE certificates may be applied to all three of the requirements listed above.

Please view this page for free training opportunities regarding House Bill 1 provided by CECentral. 

In addition to the standard methods of CE approval, APRNs are allowed to use continuing medical education (CME) credits for pharmacology (provided the credits are pharmacology-related), if the provider offering the course is recognized by their national certifying organization (e.g. AANP, ANCC, etc...).  Pharmacology CE contact hours earned from a provider that is recognized by one of these National Nursing Organizations will be acceptable to meet the APRN pharmacology requirement of 201 KAR 20:215.

SANE Credential Requirements

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) credentialed nurses are required to earn five (5) contact hours of approved sexual assault CE each licensure period required by 201 KAR 20:411, Section 8.  Forensic medicine or domestic violence CE will meet this requirement.  These hours may count as part of the required 14 contact hours of CE needed for the renewal of the RN license.

Verifying CE/Competency: Certificates

A continuing education offering shall not be repeated within a licensure period.  Licensees should retain all copies of attendance/completion verifying successful completion of CE/Competency for a minimum of five (5) years.  Copies of mandatory continuing education requirements (e.g. Domestic Violence and Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma) should be retained for as long as a nurse holds a current/active license in Kentucky.

A certificate of attendance/completion shall specify:

  • Name of Participant
  • Offering title, date, and location
  • Number of contact hours awarded
  • The approval source (KBN or other KBN recognized approver)

Certificates should be maintained and submitted to the KBN only if specifically requested.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


See Also...

Content Specific CE Courses
CE requirements and providers related to Domestic Violence, Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma, IV Therapy, Pharmacology, and SANE.

CE Forms & Publications
CE application forms, reference publications, and lists of approved CE providers.

Types of CE Courses
Information on Internet courses and college credit courses.

FAQ: Continuing Competency
Frequently asked CE questions.

National Nursing Organizations
List of national nursing organizations recognized by KBN for approval of CE offerings.

Guidelines for CE Providers  
The guidelines provide information about KBN’s standards, criteria, policies, guidelines, nursing law, and regulations for mandatory CE/competency for nurses in Kentucky. Each section of the document contains standards to be met, forms, and copies of relevant Kentucky administrative regulations.

CE Contact
Use this link if you have a CE question.