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Registered nurses (RNs) provide for everything from a patient’s most basic everyday needs to formulating, implementing, and maintaining a plan for the patient’s overall care. RNs are also generally responsible for managing a staff of licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs).

To become an RN, you must complete either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree. Each of these two options has its costs and benefits. It only takes two years to attain an associate’s degree, and it can be completed at a community college or technical school, making this option shorter, more affordable, and more accessible. Contrastingly, it takes four years to earn a bachelor’s degree from a college or university, which is not only more time-intensive but also more costly. However, pursuing a bachelor’s degree does have its benefits. Firstly, after a bachelor’s degree program, you will likely be better trained and better prepared for the licensing exam. Secondly, employers tend to favor applicants with more education in the hiring process. This gives candidates with bachelor’s degrees a serious edge in the job market.

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Another benefit is that RNs with bachelor’s degrees are often able to negotiate higher wages than those who only have associate’s degrees. In Kentucky, the average annual salary for an RN is around $56,680, but with a bachelor’s degree you could negotiate your way to the higher end of the scale, sometimes earning more than $66,870 per year. With large in-state employers such as Aetna, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Baptist Healthcare System, there is no shortage of opportunities for RNs in Kentucky.

If you’re ready to start your new nursing career today, take a look at the below list of the top registered nursing programs in Kentucky.

Featured Schools

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Cincinnati suburbs

Beckfield College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Gateway Community & Technical College - Edgewood
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Northern Kentucky University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Thomas More College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 76.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Beckfield College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.9% 2008 to 2012
Gateway Community & Technical College - Edgewood
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.0% 2008 to 2012
Northern Kentucky University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 84.2% 2008 to 2012
Thomas More College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 76.3% 2008 to 2012

Lexington

University of Kentucky
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Midway University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Bluegrass Community & Technical College - Lexington
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
University of Kentucky
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.1% 2008 to 2012
Midway University
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.3% 2008 to 2012
Bluegrass Community & Technical College - Lexington
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.1% 2008 to 2012

Louisville

University of Louisville
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Direct Entry MSN
Bellarmine University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Jefferson Community & Technical College - Louisville
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Galen College of Nursing - Louisville
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 84.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Spalding University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 83.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2018)
Spencerian College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
University of Louisville
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 95.2% 2008 to 2012
Direct Entry MSN
Bellarmine University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 93.2% 2008 to 2012
Jefferson Community & Technical College - Louisville
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.7% 2008 to 2012
Galen College of Nursing - Louisville
Associate's Degree in Nursing 84.8% 2008 to 2012
Spalding University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 83.6% 2009 to 2018
Spencerian College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.7% 2008 to 2012

Other Kentucky cities

Somerset Community College - Laurel South
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2012)
Eastern Kentucky University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 98.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2018)
Hopkinsville Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College - Glasgow
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Elizabethtown Community & Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 97.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Morehead State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 97.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Western Kentucky University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2018)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2018)
  • Direct Entry MSN
Somerset Community College - Somerset
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.9% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Lincoln Memorial University - Corbin
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
West Kentucky Community & Technical College - Paducah
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
University of Pikeville
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Kentucky State University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 92.0% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Henderson Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.7% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Ashland Community & Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Madisonville Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Campbellsville University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 90.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Morehead State University at Mt. Sterling
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 89.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Kentucky Christian University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College - Cumberland
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Bluegrass Community & Technical College - Lawrenceburg
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Murray State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 87.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2018)
Owensboro Community & Technical College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.4% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Maysville Community & Technical College - Maysville
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 86.2% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Hazard Community & Technical College - Hazard
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 85.3% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
University of Louisville - Owensboro
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 84.0% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2012)
Big Sandy Community & Technical College - Prestonsburg
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 83.8% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Hazard Community & Technical College - Jackson
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.5% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Maysville Community & Technical College - Licking Valley
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.4% NCLEX pass rate (2010 through 2012)
Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College - Pineville
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
National College - Pikeville
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 78.0% NCLEX pass rate (2010 through 2012)
Berea College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 76.1% NCLEX pass rate (2008 through 2012)
Lindsey Wilson College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College - Bowling Green
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
Union College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Somerset Community College - Laurel South
Associate's Degree in Nursing 100.0% 2012 to 2012
Eastern Kentucky University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 98.5% 2009 to 2018
Hopkinsville Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 98.2% 2008 to 2012
Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College - Glasgow
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.6% 2009 to 2012
Elizabethtown Community & Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 97.4% 2008 to 2012
Morehead State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 97.2% 2008 to 2012
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.7% 2008 to 2012
Western Kentucky University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.5% 2009 to 2018
Associate's Degree in Nursing 87.6% 2009 to 2018
Direct Entry MSN
Somerset Community College - Somerset
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.9% 2008 to 2012
Lincoln Memorial University - Corbin
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.7% 2008 to 2012
West Kentucky Community & Technical College - Paducah
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.5% 2008 to 2012
University of Pikeville
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.2% 2008 to 2012
Kentucky State University
Associate's Degree in Nursing 92.0% 2008 to 2012
Henderson Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.7% 2008 to 2012
Ashland Community & Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.6% 2008 to 2012
Madisonville Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.4% 2008 to 2012
Campbellsville University
Associate's Degree in Nursing 90.2% 2008 to 2012
Morehead State University at Mt. Sterling
Associate's Degree in Nursing 89.4% 2009 to 2012
Kentucky Christian University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.4% 2008 to 2012
Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College - Cumberland
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.4% 2008 to 2012
Bluegrass Community & Technical College - Lawrenceburg
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.1% 2009 to 2012
Murray State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 87.6% 2009 to 2018
Owensboro Community & Technical College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.4% 2008 to 2012
Maysville Community & Technical College - Maysville
Associate's Degree in Nursing 86.2% 2008 to 2012
Hazard Community & Technical College - Hazard
Associate's Degree in Nursing 85.3% 2008 to 2012
University of Louisville - Owensboro
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 84.0% 2012 to 2012
Big Sandy Community & Technical College - Prestonsburg
Associate's Degree in Nursing 83.8% 2008 to 2012
Hazard Community & Technical College - Jackson
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.5% 2008 to 2012
Maysville Community & Technical College - Licking Valley
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.4% 2010 to 2012
Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College - Pineville
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.1% 2008 to 2012
National College - Pikeville
Associate's Degree in Nursing 78.0% 2010 to 2012
Berea College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 76.1% 2008 to 2012
Lindsey Wilson College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College - Bowling Green
Associate's Degree in Nursing
Union College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing