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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Kentucky - 2020 Rankings



What are the 8 Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Kentucky (Online & Campus) for 2020?


1) University Of Kentucky - Lexington


Programs Offered: BSN-DNP, MSN–DNP, and Post Graduate APRN Certificate

In 2001, the University of Kentucky initiated the first Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program in the U.S.; the program proved so popular that the university stopped offering nurse practitioner training in conjunction with its MSN degree. “U.S. News and World Report” ranks this NP school in Kentucky among the top 20 in the nation. Students hoping to become nurse practitioners have five specialties to choose from. They can pursue their NP training either through a BSN to DNP track, an MSN to DNP track, or as a post-MSN certificate.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Nurses who are able to make a fulltime commitment to their education will be able to complete the BSN to DNP track in three years. Nurses who pursue this nurse practitioner training program part-time will be able to choose between a four-year and a five-year study plan. Classes use a hybrid format in which most of the coursework can be taken online. Students will be expected to come to the University of Kentucky’s Lexington campus for no more than three days at the beginning of each term and no more than three days at the term’s end.

Except for the Family Nurse Practice specialty, these advanced practice tracks entail 74 program credits and 1,020 clinical hours. The Family Nurse Practitioner concentration requires 74 to 77 program credits and 1,020 clinical hours. In their final term of study, aspiring nurse practitioners will have the opportunity to participate in a DNP project that will allow them to incorporate some of their practicum experiences into a research presentation.

MSN to DNP Concentrations: Clinical Leadership in Health Care

Nurse practitioners who already hold master’s degrees specializing in either Adult Gerontology Acute Care, Family Health, Pediatric (primary or acute), or Psychiatric Mental Health can choose to expand their knowledge base by enrolling in the practice-based Clinical Leadership in Health Care concentration. This concentration prepares these nurse practitioners to design nursing interventions within their own fields of specialization that will improve health outcomes for aggregate populations. Students of this program will also have the option of completing a second NP specialty by simultaneously enrolling in the Post-Graduate APRN Certificate program.

Post Graduate APRN Certificate Concentrations: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

If you have a graduate nursing degree and have already been certified as an NP in a specialty area, you can expand your scope of practice by enrolling in one of the University of Kentucky’s Postgraduate APRN Certificate specialties. This program is open to nurse practitioners who hold MSNs, DNPs, and Ph.Ds. All five specialties take three semesters to complete and begin in the spring semester. Program prerequisites include Advanced Pharmacology for Advance Practice Nurses, Applications of Advanced Health Assessment, and Pathophysiology.

The Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practice specialty involves 19 credit hours and 540 clinical hours. The Family Nurse Practice specialty needs 22 credit hours and 540 clinical hours while both Pediatric specialties entail 20 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. To earn an advance practice certificate as a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, you’ll have to log 19 credit hours and 540 clinical hours.

2) Frontier Nursing University - Versailles


Programs Offered: MSN, Post-MSN- DNP, and Post-Graduate Certificate

Frontier Nursing University is administered by the Frontier Nursing Service, a private nonprofit dedicated to providing health care to underserved populations in rural areas. The nonprofit was founded in 1925 by Mary Breckinridge, a nurse-midwife, widely credited with implementing innovations in neonatal, pediatric, and postnatal care that dramatically reduced fatality rates for newborns and new mothers. Though the university focuses on women’s health issues, men are welcome to enroll.

The university offers three NP specializations as MSN and post-MSN certificate options and seven NP specializations in conjunction with its post-MSN to DNP track. Frontier’s unique history and dedication to improving health outcomes for underserved populations puts it among the top nurse practitioner programs in Kentucky.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Initially, Frontier Nursing University’s master’s degree-related NP options were designed as a midway point in the DNP degree program, but they easily accommodate the needs of nurses who aren’t interested in progressing beyond the MSN level. Save for two brief campus visits, all coursework can be done online. Once didactic coursework is complete, students will have the opportunity to participate in skill-building intensives called Clinical Bound experiences that take place on Frontier Nursing University’s campus.

The Family Nurse Practitioner specialty entails 61 classroom credits. You can complete the Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner concentration with 58 classroom credits and the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration with 57 classroom credits. All three NP options involve 675 clinical hours. Clinical practicums can be done in the community in which you live or work.

Post-MSN to DNP Concentrations: Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Geriatric-Adult Nurse Practitioner (GANP), Geriatric Nurse Practitioner (GNP), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (PNP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHCNP)

Nurses who have completed Frontier Nursing University’s MSN program or one of its certificate NP training programs have the option of transitioning into the DNP program. The DNP program involves 19 additional credit hours and 360 additional clinical hours. The goal of the program is to help nurse practitioners enhance clinical competencies and expand their scope of practice, so candidates who are accepted into this post-master’s-DNP program must be nationally certified in one of the NP specialties listed above.

All coursework takes place online, but there is a three-day campus orientation at the very beginning of the program. The entire program can be completed in either 15 or 18 months. Students are encouraged to complete their clinical rotations at the health care facility at which they work. Students must complete a DNP project that focuses on improving the health care services their team delivers in some quantitatively measurable way.

Post-Graduate Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Frontier Nursing University’s Post-Graduate Certificate program is designed to help nurse practitioners expand their scope of practice beyond the specializations they chose in their original graduate studies. The program accepts NPs who hold ANP, FNP, GANP, GNP, PNP, PMHNP, WHCNP, ACNP, and NNP specializations as well as certified nurse-midwives. Nurses who hold master’s degrees in other areas of concentration are not eligible for Frontier’s post-MSN certificate option although they may be able to transfer credits towards the DNP option.

3) University Of Louisville - Louisville


Programs Offered: DNP and Post Graduate APRN Certificate

When the University of Louisville was chartered in 1798, it was one of the first universities in the U.S. west of the Allegheny Mountains. The university maintains a close relationship with the nationally renowned University of Louisville Hospital where aspiring nurse practitioners can expect to put in many of their clinical hours. This nurse practitioner program in KY offers five NP specialties in conjunction with its DNP degree and three NP specialties as post-MSN advance practice concentrations.

DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

The University of Louisville’s BSN to DNP track was set up to accommodate nurses who want nurse practitioner certification. This program entails between 75 and 78 credit hours and 1,000 hours of clinical rotation. The curriculum is presented in a hybrid format. Students can expect to participate in synchronous distance learning activities on Thursdays between 9:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.; other online coursework can be pursued at a student’s own pace. Students will also attend campus classes four to six times a year.

Post Graduate APRN Certificate Concentrations: Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

The University of Louisville’s AGACNP and PNP certificate concentrations are four semesters long, including the summer semester, and both begin in the spring semester. The AGACNP specialty entails 18-semester credits, and the PNP specialization entails 21-semester credits. Advance practice nurses who already hold a graduate degree are eligible to apply.

4) Northern Kentucky University - Highland Heights


Programs Offered: MSN and Certificate

Northern Kentucky University offers four nurse practitioner specialties in conjunction with its MSN program. In its certificate program, Northern Kentucky University offers nine specializations, which is a higher number than any of the other nurse practitioner programs the "Bluegrass State". All courses use an asynchronous distance-learning model, and each class lasts seven weeks. You can enter the program at multiple points within the fall, spring, and summer semesters. The entire course of study is designed to be completed within two years.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

You’ll need to take 47 credit hours and 600 clinical hours to complete the Family Nurse Practitioner program’s requirements. The AGNP specialty entails 43 credit hours and 500 clinical hours while both the AGACNP and PMHNP specialties entail 46 credit hours and 500 clinical hours.

Post-Master's Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gero Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Women's Health NP/Certified Nurse Midwife to Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner to Family Nurse Practitioner, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner to Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult/Family Nurse Practitioner to Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, and Nurse Practitioner to Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Northern Kentucky’s online certificate NP training was set up to meet the needs of advance practice nurses who want to focus on additional clinical specialties. In order to qualify for admission into any of these programs, you’ll need a graduate nursing degree, unencumbered RN licensure, and 1,000 hours of clinical practice that can be verified by an employer.

The Adult/Family Nurse Practitioner to Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Certificate and the Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate options can each be completed in 12 months; the former requires 19 credit hours and 500 clinical hours while the latter requires 22 credit hours and 500 clinical hours.

It typically takes students 14 months to complete either the Women's Health NP/Certified Nurse Midwife to Family Nurse Practitioner, the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner to Family Nurse Practitioner or the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner to Family Nurse Practitioner Certificates. The Women's Health NP/Certified Nurse Midwife to Family Nurse Practitioner course of study entails 19 credit hours and 500 clinical hours.

You’ll need to take 17 credit hours and 500 clinical hours to complete your Pediatric Nurse Practitioner to Family Nurse Practitioner studies, and 19 credit hours and 500 clinical hours to complete your Acute Care Nurse Practitioner to Family Nurse Practitioner studies.

The FNP specialty will take 22 months to complete, during which you’ll be responsible for 35 credit hours and 600 clinical hours. The PNHNP specialty will take 18 months to complete during which you’ll be responsible for 34 credit hours and 500 clinical hours.

5) Western Kentucky University - Bowling Green


Programs Offered: MSN, BSN to DNP, and Post-MSN Certificate

Western Kentucky University has been lauded by reviewers as an excellent regional school that’s a great value for the money. It also has a reputation as a veteran-friendly university. WKU offers one NP specialty as an MSN concentration and another as a BSN to DNP concentration. Both NP specialties are also offered as post-MSN certificate options.

MSN Concentrations: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Psychiatric-Mental Health NP concentration that’s associated with Western Kentucky University’s MSN program requires 43 coursework credits. In order to be admitted into this program, students must document that they have at least one year’s worth of experience working with patients who have psychiatric ailments. Applicants must live or work in either Kentucky or Tennessee because these two states are where they’ll be completing their clinical rotations.

BSN to DNP Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Family Nurse Practice is one of two tracks Western Kentucky University offers in conjunction with its BSN to DNP program. This is one of the nurse practitioner programs in Kentucky that can be pursued either part-time (five years) or fulltime (three years.) The program requires completion of 76 credit hours and 970 clinical hours. Some classes will be taught on Saturdays.

Post-MSN Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioners who have MSNs and are interested in expanding their clinical competencies may be interested in applying to one of Western Kentucky University’s post-MSN certificate options. The Family Nurse Practitioner specialty entails 17 credit hours and 540 clinical hours while the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner option involves 18 credit hours and 540 clinical hours. All students will complete clinical rotations at health care facilities within Kentucky and Tennessee, so applicants must live in one of these two states.

6) Morehead State University - Morehead


Programs Offered: MSN and Post-MSN

Morehead State University is one of the nurse practitioner schools in Kentucky that’s focused upon helping solve the Bluegrass State’s severe nursing shortage. The nursing education website rncareers.com ranks the master’s degree program here among the top five in Kentucky. Morehead offers one NP specialty in conjunction with its MSN program.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

The 48 credit hours associated with Morehead’s MSN-FNP specialization can be completed online. The program starts in the fall term and is designed to be completed in a little over two years, including summer terms. In order to maintain enrollment, students must earn a grade of B or higher in all nursing classes.

Post-MSN Certificate Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner

Morehead also offers an FNP specialization for working professionals who’ve already attained nursing master’s degrees. All coursework associated with this specialization is taught online.

7) Kentucky Christian University - Grayson


Programs Offered: MSN

Kentucky Christian University is a private institution of higher education that’s affiliated with the Churches of Christ Restoration Movement. Nursing education here reflects a strongly Christian perspective. The university offers one NP specialization as part of its nursing master’s program.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Kentucky Christian University’s MSN/FNP specialty is a 48-credit online program that can be started in either the fall or the spring. The program’s clinical component involves a minimum of 528 hours and can be completed in the communities where students live or work. Applicants must document a minimum of 800 hours of clinical practice as an RN in order to be considered for admission.

8) Bellarmine University - Louisville


Programs Offered: MSN

Though Bellarmine is a Catholic university, it welcomes students from all religious backgrounds. The university is home to the Donna and Allan Lansing School of Nursing and Health Sciences, which is the only school in Kentucky to be included in the Nursing Almanac’s list of the top private nursing programs in the U.S. Bellarmine offers an FNP specialization option to nurses who are interested in earning master’s degrees.

MSN Concentrations: Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)

Bellarmine’s FNP program is conducted mostly online, but students will need to make three visits to Louisville in order to participate in hands-on clinical skills preparation at the campus’s simulation center. The coursework consists of 43 credit hours, which can be completed in two years of part-time work. A graduate practicum advisor will assign you a clinical placement if you’re a resident of Kentucky; if you live outside the Bluegrass State, you’ll be responsible for finding your own clinical rotation.

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