How Can I Become a Nurse Practitioner in Kentucky?
When you spend time working as a registered nurse, you get extensive healthcare experience that is valuable in various settings and career paths. As the field of nursing has grown, the responsibilities given to nursing professionals have adapted. Earning a nurse practitioner degree puts you in a position to pursue advanced certification and provide high-level care to patients in hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.
In Kentucky, you can earn a Master’s degree or a DNP to become a nurse practitioner. Compare statewide average requirements below.
Average Master’s Degree Requirements
- Credit hours required: 40 to 55 credit hours
- Average cost: $750 per credit hour
- Clinical hours required: Over 500 hours
- Timeframe: 2 to 3 years
Average Nurse Practitioner Schooling Requirements for a Doctorate
- Credit hours required: 85 to 95 credit hours
- Clinical hours required: Over 1,000 hours
- Timeframe: Up to 6 years beyond a Bachelor’s degree
If you’re considering the next step in your nursing career, advanced practice is a meaningful and popular option. Explore options by contacting nurse practitioner programs in Kentucky.
What Types of Nurse Practitioner Programs Are Available in Kentucky?
Kentucky is an excellent place to start your nurse practitioner education, since there are multiple schools with advanced practice nursing programs. One of the most important decisions you make as a graduate student is which patient population you want to work with. FNP programs prepare you to work as a family nurse practitioner. This involves working with patients at all stages of life, so it’s a more general advanced nursing program. Other options include adult-gerontology care, acute care, primary care, and psychiatric/mental health nursing. Your program choice determines which clinical experiences you get and which courses you take. It also decides which national certification agency is responsible for your advanced certification.
Common Nurse Practitioner Degree Course Offerings
- Advanced Physical Assessment
- Clinical Pharmacology and Intervention
- Issues in Advanced Practice
- Advanced Human Physiology
- Clinical Pharmacology in Adult Acute Care
- Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
- Acute and Emergent Problems
- Clinical Decision Making
- Advanced Technologies for Nursing Care
Each program in Kentucky measures student progress through instructor assessment, grades, and clinical supervisor assessment. Programs also use learning outcomes to see how much progress each student makes throughout their education. As a student, you should be extremely familiar with your school’s learning goals and outcomes. Common goals often focus on evidence-based practice standards, nursing research, client communication, teamwork in healthcare, and leadership capabilities.
You may consider online nurse practitioner programs if you work full-time as a registered nurse. Online programs are often accelerated, allowing you to take one class at a time and keep a flexible study schedule.
How Can I Pay for Nurse Practitioner School in Kentucky?
Funding options in Kentucky vary based on educational level and geographic location. As a graduate student, you may apply for a variety of scholarships and grants. Doctorate students may also consider teaching assistantships and research assistantships to take advantage of lower tuition fees and monthly stipend options. Many federal and state programs are open to nurse practitioner students at any post-Bachelor’s level of study.
Financial Aid Options in Kentucky
- BestNursingDegree.com Scholarships: BestNursingDegree.com aims to support nursing students at all levels. Our scholarship program runs throughout the year in four application cycles. Scholarships are worth $2,500 each.
- NURSE Corps Scholarship Program: The federal government offers advanced practice nurses scholarships through this program. Those who are selected have to spend two years in a Health Professional Shortage Area to pay back their scholarships.
- NHSC Loan Repayment Program: This program pays off student loans instead of giving scholarships to selected students. In exchange for two years in an NHSC-approved location, selected applicants have up to $50,000 of loans paid off.
- Kentucky Nursing Incentive Scholarship: The state government awards this scholarship to nurse practitioners who opt to work in rural, high-need areas after graduation.
- Kentucky Coalition of Nurse Practitioners Scholarship: To apply for this scholarship, you must join as a student member. Students who win this scholarship receive $1,500 toward their educational expenses.
Licensing and Practice Requirements for NPs in Kentucky
Since you’re a registered nurse, you should be familiar with licensing requirements in Kentucky. First, keep your registered nursing license valid throughout your training and nurse practitioner career. This helps you avoid additional renewal and license reinstatement fees. After you graduate, you can apply for national certification through the agency that is relevant to your patient population. With your certification in hand, you may apply for a nurse practitioner license through the Kentucky Board of Nursing. Before getting your license, spend some time studying Kentucky’s laws regarding nurse practitioner responsibilities. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners reports that Kentucky places some restrictions on the practice rights of nurse practitioners, and following these laws can help you avoid litigation.
Nurse Practitioner Careers in Kentucky
By the time you reach the end of your education, you should be well-versed in your potential work settings and professional roles. Those who focus on acute care roles may work in emergency room settings or urgent care centers. Those who specialize in primary care can work in clinics or community health centers. With physician oversight and practice agreements, you may be able to open your own clinic and practice fairly independently. However, this route involves paying a physician to provide supervision and oversight, which may be costly for nurse practitioners without an extensive patient base.
You can feel good about your decision to become a nurse practitioner, since it can make a significant difference in the lives of Kentucky residents. Demand is extremely high in Kentucky. In fact, demand for nurse practitioners is expected to increase 43% between 2014 and 2024 (O*Net, 2016). Your work may help rural Kentucky residents get prompt and affordable health care. This career path may also have a positive effect on your earning potential. The average salary for a Kentucky nurse practitioner is $95,140 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016).
Are you ready to leave your mark on the world of healthcare? With the list of Kentucky schools below, you can reach out to local and online programs to learn more about your options.
NP programs for Kentucky nurses include:
- Eastern Kentucky University. Eastern Kentucky offers master's-level NP programs focused on preparing healthcare providers to meet the needs of Kentucky's rural residents. Students can choose a rural health family nurse practitioner program or the rural psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner program.
- University of Kentucky. Located in Lexington, the University of Kentucky offers master's-level nurse practitioner tracks: a primary care and an acute care track. Primary care NPs can choose to sub-specialize in family health, adult health or geriatrics.
- Spalding University. Spalding U has different master's-level NP tracks including: adult, family and pediatrics. Spalding boasts a 96 percent certification rate for its' NP grads. More than half of Spalding's newly-minted nurse practitioners have jobs lined up before graduation.
Kentucky nurses can also choose an online NP program, such as the one offered by Georgetown University.