9 Best ADN Programs in Kentucky – (2-Year RN Programs)

Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

ADN programs in Kentucky are the quickest path to a career as a registered nurse in the Bluegrass State. You can complete most associate degrees in nursing in two years or less, and once you do, you’ll be fully prepared to take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for your Kentucky RN license. RNs in the Bluegrass State make $77,620 a year on average, and their employment opportunities are projected to go up by 9 percent within the next 10 years. Does this sound good to you? You’ll find a lot more information in the guide below to the 9 best ADN programs in Kentucky.


Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 9 best nursing schools for ADN programs in Kentucky. You can complete most of these programs in 2 years.

1. Maysville Community and Technical College - Maysville

Program Details: Maysville Community and Technical College admits new students into its ADN program in Kentucky every August. The program is offered at the college’s campuses in Maysville, Licking Valley, and Montgomery. Northeastern Kentucky, where the college is located, has a serious nursing shortage, and MCTC’s nursing programs are committed to helping rectify that shortage.

Kentucky’s community colleges share a fairly standardized nursing curriculum. At Maysville Community and Technical College, you’ll take “Nursing Assistant Skills I” and “CPR For Health Professionals” along with your general education requirements. Core nursing courses include “Medical Surgical Nursing I, II, & III,” “Pediatric Nursing,” and “Behavioral Health Nursing.” Aspiring RNs will learn essential hands-on skills at the Clinical Lab on the Maysville campus. You’ll gain experience in direct patient care through supervised clinical rotations at various healthcare facilities throughout Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region.

Why Choose This Program

• With NCLEX-RN pass scores that consistently top 90 percent, Maysville Community and Technical College has established itself as one of the best ADN programs in Kentucky.
• If you meet the qualifications for the Work Ready KY Scholarship Program, you may be able to attend Maysville Community and Technical College’s ADN program without cost.
• Maysville Community and Technical College administers bridge programs that offer qualified licensed practical nurses and paramedics advanced placement into its associate nursing degree program.

2. Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College - Bowling Green

Program Details: Southcentral Kentucky Community & Technical College’s 2-year RN program in Kentucky is only open to applicants with proof of active status on the Bluegrass State’s Medicaid Nurse Aide Registry. Preference is given to first-time applicants.

SKCTC shares a nursing curriculum with other community colleges across the Bluegrass State that aims to create a healthcare workforce with common core professional values. As a student at this college, the main class you’ll take in your major will be a four-semester “Nursing Care” course that focuses on critical decision-making and collaborative skills necessary for the care of diverse patients across the lifespan. The college maintains a skills lab outfitted with hospital equipment, task trainers, and test dummies where you’ll become adept at the hands-on skills you’ll need when you become a registered nurse. You’ll also participate in precepted patient care experiences at healthcare facilities throughout the Greater Bowling Green/Glasgow Metropolitan Area.

Why Choose This Program

• Want to earn an ADN degree for free? Kentucky residents may be able to utilize Work Ready KY Scholarship Program funds to subsidize their enrollment in this program.
• Upon completion of an “LPN-ADN Transition” course, licensed practical nurses can receive 19 advanced placement credits when they enroll in SKCTC’s associate nursing degree program.

3. Jefferson Community and Technical College - Louisville

Program Details: Kentucky’s community colleges—including Jefferson Community and Technical College—share a common nursing curriculum. What will make your educational experience at JCTC stand out from other ADN programs in Kentucky is the clinical experiences you’re likely to have at inpatient hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other medical treatment providers throughout metropolitan Louisville, home to some of the best medical centers in the Bluegrass State.

This 2-year nursing program in Kentucky is offered at the college’s Downtown and Shelby County campuses. If you enroll in the Shelby County track, you’ll access lecture materials online and attend labs and clinicals two or three evenings a week and on weekends. The core of JCTC’s 62- to 66-credit ADN curriculum is a four-semester “Nursing Care” course that draws inspiration from principles espoused by the QSEN (Quality and Safety Education for Nurses) Institute.

Why Choose This Program

• Jefferson Community and Technical College’s ADN grads boast NCLEX-RN pass rates that consistently exceed 90 percent.
• 94 percent of Jefferson Community and Technical College’s ADN grads find jobs in the nursing field within one year of graduating.

4. Bluegrass Community and Technical College - Lexington

Program Details: Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s ADN program in Kentucky is taught at the college’s Leestown, Lawrenceburg, and Winchester campuses. The program admits 120 students every year. You can be accepted into the program before you complete your prerequisites, but all requirements must be completed by the time you begin taking classes.

Plan on spending four days a week in the classroom. Kentucky’s community colleges all utilize a unified approach to nursing education, so you’ll take the same courses in this program as other community college ADN students throughout the state. Among those courses? “Nursing Practice” and “Medical/Surgical Nursing I, II, & III.” The curriculum involves 62 to 66 credits and takes five semesters to complete. You’ll participate in clinical rotations at CHI-Saint Joseph Health, University of Kentucky Healthcare, Baptist Health Lexington, and the VA Lexington Healthcare System.

Why Choose This Program

• Bluegrass Community and Technical College has received a $1.5 million state grant to construct a state-of-the-art nursing simulation lab.
• 95 percent of Bluegrass Community and Technical College’s ADN graduates landed jobs in the nursing field within half a year of graduating from this 2-year nursing program in Kentucky.

5. Midway University - Midway

Program Details: Midway University’s 64-credit ADN program may be the most flexible of the 2-year RN programs in Kentucky: You can enroll full-time or part-time, take daytime or evening classes, and elect to follow a traditional classroom or a hybrid format—though even students who access lecture materials online must participate in real-time clinical experiences.

Your curriculum will include general education requirements, prerequisites, corequisites, and core nursing classes such as “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Obstetric and Women's Health Nursing,” and “Pediatric Nursing.” Skills labs and clinical practicums are integrated into lecture courses. If you’ve enrolled in Midway University’s hybrid option, required clinical and lab experiences will be scheduled for weekends and evenings.

Simulation labs are among Midway University’s most prized teaching tools, and you’ll benefit from a sophisticated facility equipped with state-of-the-art training technology. Midway University partners with some of central Kentucky's most prestigious healthcare facilities, including Elizabeth Healthcare, Christ Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, to provide students with high-quality clinical experiences.

Why Choose This Program

• Midway University also offers an online RN-to-BSN program into which its ADN graduates can transfer seamlessly.
• The average NCLEX-RN pass rate for graduates of this ADN program in Kentucky is more than 93 percent.
• Midway University’s LPN-ADN Bridge program gives qualified licensed practical nurses a 19-credit head start on their associate nursing degree.

6. Owensboro Community and Technical College - Owensboro

Program Details: Owensboro Community and Technical College offers the aspiring RN two options for earning an associate nursing degree: a standard AAS pathway in which the bulk of your core nursing studies will be a four-semester “Nursing” course and a modular AAS pathway in which your core nursing classes will each focus on a different patient population each semester (for example, “Maternal Newborn Nursing” and “Pediatric Nursing.”) This ADN program in Kentucky admits new students in the spring and fall semesters.

Owensboro is a medical hub for the western part of Kentucky, so you’ll have an opportunity to engage in supervised patient care activities at hospitals and clinics associated with the prestigious Owensboro Health medical system as well as other regionally acclaimed healthcare facilities. You’ll develop your hands-on nursing fundamentals through skills labs that utilize task trainers and simulation-based healthcare equipment.

Why Choose This Program

• Owensboro Community and Technical College makes ADN Bridge programs available to licensed practical nurses, paramedics, and military medics, which grants these professionals advanced placement into the college’s associate nursing degree program.
• ADN graduates from Owensboro Community and Technical College may qualify to be fast-tracked into the University of Louisville’s online RN-to-BSN program if they want to continue their nursing education.

7. West Kentucky Community and Technical College - Paducah

Program Details: West Kentucky Community and Technical College offers registered nurses training in two associate degree pathways: With the standard ADN track, most of their training will comprise a single four-semester course called “Nursing,” while with the modular option, your classes will be centered around the needs of patient populations grouped by age or by health conditions. This 2-year RN program in Kentucky admits a new class every spring and fall.

Both pathways consist of 66 credits, including prerequisites, general education requirements, core nursing coursework, and clinical experiences. You’ll graduate in 16 months. You’ll learn hands-on nursing skills in a safe laboratory environment and participate in precepted patient care experiences with medical providers in Paducah and other communities in Kentucky’s Purchase Region.

Why Choose This Program

• Licensed practical nurses can take the Nursing Accelerated Challenge Exam (NACE) Foundations of Nursing exam to qualify for advanced placement into this program.
• On average, graduates of this ADN program in Kentucky have a 90 percent NCLEX-RN pass rate.

8. Galen College of Nursing - Hazard Campus & Louisville

Program Details: Galen College of Nursing admits new students into its ADN program in Kentucky at the beginning of each quarter, four times a year. The program is offered at Galen’s campuses in Hazard and Louisville. Galen is generous about accepting transfer credits, so the program may take less than 24 months to complete if you’ve taken general education courses at other schools.

Core nursing courses include “Concepts of Medical-Surgical Nursing,” “Concepts of Aging and Chronic Illness,” and “Leadership and Nursing Management.” Your studies will conclude with a capstone called “NUR 283 Transition to Registered Nursing Practice,” which will allow you to integrate what you’ve learned in lectures with what you’ve learned in clinicals providing supervised patient care. You’ll benefit from hands-on learning in Galen’s simulation labs, fully equipped with high-tech manikins, and participate in clinical experiences and practicums at prestigious medical institutions throughout Hazard, Perry County, and the Louisville Metropolitan Area.

Why Choose This Program

• Rolling admissions and multiple start dates throughout the year mean you can enroll in Galen College of Nursing’s ADN program whenever you feel ready.
• Your ADN credits will easily transfer toward Galen’s online RN-to-BSN degree should you wish to continue your nursing education.

9. Morehead State University - Mt. Sterling & Morehead

Program Details: What makes Morehead State University’s ADN program stand out from other ADN programs in Kentucky is the high quality of its nursing simulation labs, which are set up to replicate specialty areas such as neonatal intensive care units, maternal/obstetric wards, and medical/surgical hospital floors. You’ll learn foundational nursing skills here, which you’ll have the opportunity to perfect during clinical rotations with more than 50 partner healthcare providers throughout the state.

In addition to corequisites, the curriculum includes core nursing courses like “Nursing Care Concepts I & II,” “Maternal Child Concepts,” and “Advanced Nursing Concepts.” This ADN program in Kentucky is available at Morehead State University’s campuses in Mt. Sterling and Morehead, and it has start dates in the fall and spring. You’ll be able to complete your degree in 24 months (two years.)

Why Choose This Program

• Once you attain your registered nursing license, you can continue your professional development with Morehead State University’s online RN-to-BSN and Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs.
• 100 percent of Morehead State University’s ADN graduates are employed in the nursing field within six months of finishing their degrees.


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.

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