June 24, 2024

Kentucky Nursing License Guide for RNs

Did you know that Kentucky boasts a thriving healthcare sector with abundant opportunities for registered nurses? Whether you're enticed by the vibrant medical community or the state's unique charm, obtaining a nursing license in Kentucky is a pivotal step for RNs aiming to practice in the Bluegrass State. In this guide, we'll explore the steps to take to apply for a KY RN license, how long it takes, and other types of licensure in Kentucky.

Table of contents:

Quick reference and resources for Kentucky nurse licensure

eNLC: Yes

Walk-Through: No

Temp License: Yes

Nursys: Yes

Kentucky Board of Nursing website

License Renewal Information

Check License Status

How to Apply for a Nursing License in Kentucky

If you are a new nurse or have never taken the NCLEX-RN exam before, you are likely required to apply by examination. Here are the general steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Visit the Kentucky BON website for information on license by examination.
  2. Complete the application and submit fee:some text
    1. Submit the application through the Kentucky Board of Nursing Nurse Portal. 
    2. Pay the non-refundable application fee of $125.
  3. Pass the Jurisprudence Exam with a score of 80% or higher.
  4. Complete state and federal criminal background checks.
  5. Complete NCLEX-RN exam.
  6. Verify you’ve completed an accepted nursing program.
  7. Verify you’ve completed required continuing competency.some text
    1. Kentucky program graduates need 2 contact hours of Suicide Prevention. Out-of-state program graduates must earn 3 contact hours of Domestic Violence, 1.5 contact hours of Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome), and 2 contact hours of Suicide Prevention.
  8. Report any criminal convictions.some text
    1. Report any criminal convictions on the application, excluding traffic misdemeanors other than DUIs. Review the Mandatory Reporting of Criminal Convictions for details.
  9. Review your Application or Licensure Status:some text
    1. Log in to the Kentucky Board of Nursing Nurse Portal, go to Submitted License Applications, and click View Status next to the submitted application.

How long does it take to get a Kentucky nursing license?

Processing times for obtaining a nursing license in Kentucky vary based on factors such as application volume and document completeness. Typically, it may take several weeks to a few months from submitting a complete application to receiving the license.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on processing times, check the Kentucky Board of Nursing website or contact their licensing department directly.

How Kentucky nursing license by endorsement works

Have a nursing license in another state but seeking licensure in Kentucky? You can apply via endorsement. Follow these steps:

  1. Visit Kentucky’s BON website and review the Endorsement page.
  2. Ensure you meet all requirements.
  3. Submit your application through the Kentucky BON Nurse Portal.
  4. Pass the Jurisprudence Exam with a score of 80% or higher.
  5. Complete state and federal background checks.
  6. Have your current license verified by the Kentucky BON. 
  7. Attach required forms and documents (transcript, proof of continuing education, etc).
  8. Submit your application and await communication from the Board.

Kentucky’s BON website states that licenses may be issued within 14 business days after a completed application is received. However, criminal convictions may prolong the process.

How to renew your nursing license in Kentucky

RNs with active license status can renew their Kentucky license online. Some statuses require renewal by mail or in person. Start the renewal process before expiration, and fulfill continuing education and practice hour requirements.

For detailed renewal instructions, refer to the Kentucky Board of Nursing's website.

Is Kentucky a compact nursing license state?

Yes, Kentucky is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). RNs and LPNs can practice in any state that is part of the NLC with a multistate compact license. Learn more about compact nursing licensure.

Navigating the licensure process in Kentucky is a crucial step for RNs seeking to practice in the state. By following the outlined steps and staying informed about state-specific requirements, nurses can ensure a smooth transition into practice and compliance with licensure regulations. For the latest information, refer to the Kentucky Board of Nursing website and consult with licensing authorities as needed.

Information around licensing requirements and process is subject to change. It’s advisable to check all licensing requirements and processes via Kentucky’s Board of Nursing website.

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