Kentucky Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs

State Nursing Board: Kentucky Board of Nursing

State Nurses Association: Kentucky Nurses Association

State Hospital Association: Kentucky Hospital Association

Like many states, Kentucky is in the midst of a physician shortage. Master's-prepared nurses can help to bridge the gap left in primary care, as they often provide direct patient care in areas where physician coverage is scarce. The state has over 1800 nurse practitioners in active practice; many of them provide primary care in rural and medically underserved areas. Kentucky also has over 900 CRNAs. In small, rural areas, CRNAs are often the only providers of anesthesia.

While nursing remains a promising career path for many Americans, a graduate degree in the field can open the door to even greater opportunities for medical jobs with strong growth potential. Several nursing schools in Kentucky offer Master's in Nursing degree programs, including RN to MSN programs and online options. These programs can lead to professional careers such as nurse practitioners, midwives, nursing educators, nurse anesthetists and a variety of other options. To learn more about how you can earn your MSN in Kentucky, review the schools listed on our site and request information about those Master's in Nursing programs in KY that interest you.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of jobs for registered nurses will grow by 19 percent between now and 2022 – a rate that is faster than average. However, several nursing careers requiring a master's degree or higher are expected to grow at an even faster pace, according to the bureau. For example, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners may see an estimated growth of 31 percent during the same time period – a statistic that is labeled "much faster than average" by the BLS.

In addition, in order to graduate the number of new nurses that may be needed in the state, there is a need for more Nursing educators and faculty, a position that usually requires a Master's in Nursing degree. On this page, you will find detailed information about the most common MSN programs, as well as the nursing schools in Kentucky that offer them.

Nurse Practitioner MSN Programs in KY

A nurse practitioner's job is to diagnose and treat illnesses by consulting with patients, ordering diagnostic tests, and prescribing medication. The good news for Kentuckians who are following this career path is that nearly eight of 10 state residents report that they would be comfortable seeing a nurse practitioner for their routine health care needs. About 2070 nurse practitioners were employed in the state in 2013, with an average annual wage of $89,170.

Kentucky nurses who want to become nurse practitioners have both full-time and part-time educational choices. Some of these master's programs offer a general degree as a family nurse practitioner, while others offer specialization in rural family health, psychiatric or mental health, women's health, and adult or pediatric health. The course of study typically takes one or two years and requires clinical practice hours. Typical courses would include advanced practice nursing, clinical prevention, and health policy. Some online and evening alternatives are available within the state, as well as RN to MSN programs for diploma and Associate's prepared nurses.

MSN Programs for Nurse Educators in Kentucky

Nurse educators are responsible for teaching students about patient care both in the classroom and in clinical settings. In Kentucky, about 1690 nursing instructors were employed in 2013, earning an average annual wage of $64,400, according to the BLS. Although these salaries were slightly less than the national average of $70,200, the bureau's report also indicated that west central Kentucky was the non-metropolitan area with the nation's fifth highest concentration of nurse educators.

If you pursue a Master's in Nursing degree to become a nurse educator in Kentucky, you can choose a traditional classroom setting, an online format, or a combination of both. Classes may include advanced health education, health policy, educational methods and strategies, advanced clinical pathophysiology, or bioethics. A nursing education practicum is a typical requirement, and a thesis also may be required. The program length may be two years or longer, depending on whether full- or part-time options are selected. Some programs are designed to prepare students to take the National League for Nursing's Certified Nurse Educator examination.

Nurse Administrator Programs in Kentucky

Kentucky employs about 4300 medical and health service managers, earning an average annual salary of $89,810, according to the BLS. As a nursing manager, you may be employed in clinics, hospitals, public health agencies, managed care groups or similar locations.

Several Kentucky universities offer graduate nursing degrees designed specifically to prepare you for administrative roles. These programs are offered both in the classroom and online, and may span two years or more. Typical classes include management of fiscal systems, nursing informatics, and human behavior in organizations. A nursing practicum and thesis or scholarly project are required in most of these programs.

Other Master's in Nursing Career Paths

A Master's degree in nursing is a must for a variety of other nursing specialties, and Kentucky colleges offer several educational options. For example, Kentucky students can specialize in nurse midwifery or nursing anesthesia at a few locations. A nurse midwife program requires extensive clinical hours, as well coursework preparing them to provide gynecological, prenatal and obstetric care. A nurse anesthetist will prepare for certification testing by learning about the administration of anesthesia with multiple hours in clinical settings.

While these specialized jobs employ fewer nurses than some fields, the labor bureau reports that Kentucky salaries are competitive. Nurse midwives in the state made an average of $89,020 annually in 2013, while nurse anesthetists were paid a yearly wage of about $138,900.

Scholarships for MSN programs in KY

The Kentucky Board of Nursing administers a Nursing Incentive Scholarship Fund which provides annual awards to Kentucky residents seeking nursing degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The nursing board also is an excellent resource for prospective master's students who want to explore the state's educational options. Check their website for a geographical breakdown of master's degree offerings within the state, as well as state-specific guidelines about nursing education.

Take some time to review your options for graduate nursing study in KY, then request information from the schools you are interested in today.

  • Frontier Nursing University. Frontier is located in Hyden, but nurses from around the world seek out the school's innovative distance learning programs, which allow students to complete classwork online and clinicals in their home communities. Frontier's nurse-midwifery program includes a strong business component; upon graduation, students have the knowledge they need to open an independent birth center. The school also offers a family nurse practitioner and women's health care nurse practitioner program. The ADN-MSN bridge option is ideal for nurses who lack a bachelor's degree but aspire to a career as a nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife.
  • Eastern Kentucky University. Located in Richmond, Eastern Kentucky specializes in preparing nurses for advanced practice in rural locales. The school's MSN programs include rural health family nurse practitioner, rural psychiatric nurse practitioner and advanced rural public health nursing with a concentration in either administration or nursing education.

Programs from Kentucky Schools

Listed below are all of the nationally accredited MSN programs with campus locations in Kentucky.

Online programs may not be available in all areas

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Bellarmine University (Louisville, KY)
Program Name: Family Nurse Practitioner, MSN/MBA, Nursing Administration, Nursing Education
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond, KY)
Program Name: Nursing Administration with Advanced Practice Rural Public Health Nursing, Nursing Education with Advanced Practice Rural Public Health Nursing, Rural Health Family Nurse Practitioner, Rural Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
McKendree University (Louisville, KY)
Program Name: Nursing Education (online), Nursing Management/Administration (online)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Murray State University (Murray, KY)
Program Name: Academic Nurse Educator (online), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) (online), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Nurse Anesthetist (NA)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Northern Kentucky University (Highland Heights, KY)
Program Name: Adult Nurse Practitioner (online), Family Nurse Practitioner, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration (online), Nursing Education (online), Pediatric Nurse Practitioner (online)
Accreditation: ACEN accredited
Spalding University (Louisville, KY)
Program Name: Adult NP (ANP), Educator, Family NP (FNP), Leadership in Nursing & Health Care, Pediatric NP (PNP)
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
Program Name: MSN - Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, MSN - Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist, MSN - Nursing Management, MSN - Parent-Child Nursing, MSN - Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, MSN - Public Health Nursing
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
University of Louisville (Louisville, KY)
Program Name: Adult Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist
Accreditation: CCNE accredited
Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green, KY)
Program Name: Nurse Educator, Nursing Administrator, Occupational Health Nurse, Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Accreditation: CCNE accredited