Three universities offer online family nurse practitioner (FNP) programs in Kentucky. Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) offers an online MSN-FNP in rural healthcare for nurses holding a bachelor’s of science degree. EKU also administers a post-master’s certificate for MSN-prepared nurses in the traditional FNP and rural health FNP specialty areas.

Frontier University and Northern Kentucky University both offer a master’s (MSN) and post-master’s certificate in the FNP specialization for RNs with bachelor’s (BSN) or master’s degrees in nursing (MSN), respectively. Frontier University also administers an MSN-FNP for nurses with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree and an ADN “bridge” program for associate degree-holders seeking the MSN or doctoral (DNP) degrees. A traditional BSN-to-DNP pathway is also available.

Three other universities in Kentucky offer a BSN-to-DNP pathway in family nursing: Louisville University, Murray State University, and the University of Kentucky. Though these programs do feature online components, none of them meet our criteria (i.e., nine campus visits total or less) to be considered distance-learning programs.

The online FNP programs in Kentucky are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) with the exception of Louisville University, which is awaiting confirmation of initial CCNE accreditation. Advanced practice nursing professionals are prepared to meet the needs of individuals across the lifespan through in-depth online coursework and extensive clinical practice.

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These degree offerings and information on FNP licensing requirements in the state of Kentucky are detailed below.

Program Information: Online FNP Programs in Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky University’s FNP programs are 100 percent online with no required campus visits. The MSN-FNP in rural health comprises 47 credits and 750 clinical practice hours. The study can be initiated multiple times a year. Advanced practice FNPs trained at EKU are prepared to administer care in a variety of settings such as primary care and retail clinics, urgent treatment centers, emergency departments, and federally qualified rural health centers (FQRHC).

The post-master’s FNP certificate entails 23 to 32 credits. FNP course topics include health promotion, health education and counseling, disease prevention, and diagnosis and treatment of health disorders. Ranked as one of the best online nursing programs in the country by U.S. News & World Report, EKU boasts a 100 percent passing rate among its graduates on national certifying exams.

The community-based family nurse practitioner program (CFNP) curriculum at Frontier University provides a firm foundation for advanced practice nursing professionals through their strong focus on academic preparation and clinical experience. Family nurse practitioners trained at Frontier are prepared to be healthcare providers, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the field.

Among its many FNP programs, Frontier offers an ADN “bridge” program for RNs with associate degrees in nursing seeking to specialize as family nurse practitioners. Students of this track complete 12 months of courses in preparation for the MSN. Once completed, students bypass the BSN and immediately begin the 61 credits and 675 clinical hours required for the MSN.

Full-and part-time study options are available. All coursework is online, but students must go to campus three times throughout the program. Practicum hours may be completed in students’ home communities. Upon completion of the MSN, students can earn a DNP with 19 additional credits and 360 additional clinical hours.

Family nurse practitioner tracks to the master’s, certificate, and doctoral degrees are also available at Frontier for BSN- and MSN-prepared nurses. Students completing Frontier’s MSN or certificate programs may bypass the application process and proceed directly on to the DNP.

The MSN-FNP at Northern Kentucky University includes 47 credits of coursework emphasizing primary care and evidence-based practice. The program includes a concentrated study of pediatric and adult health, hundreds of hours of clinical practice, and a final capstone project. Courses are interactive and delivered 100 percent online. The program can be completed in 22 months.

RNs with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees can gain entrance to the MSN-FNP upon completion of two prerequisite courses. NKU’s “nurse practitioner advancement” certificate is available to APRNs with a nurse practitioner credential seeking to add a concentration within the NP specialty area. Practitioners in women’s health, nurse midwifery, geriatrics, and acute care may add the FNP to their credentials if they complete 19 credits and 500 clinical hours. Pediatric and adult NPs can do so with 17 credits and the same number of clinical practice hours.

Louisville University, Murray State University, and the University of Kentucky all offer a hybrid BSN-to-DNP pathway to an FNP doctoral degree. Louisville requires four to six campus visits per semester. Murray State and the University of Kentucky do not detail the number of campus visits required, but they do refer to themselves as hybrid or blended programs.

Kentucky FNP Licensing Requirements

The Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN) stipulates that to practice as an APRN, candidates must hold current RN licensure in Kentucky, or a compact state, and have current national certification in a KBN-approved specialty area. Applicants must:

  • Complete the online APRN licensure application and submit a $165 non-refundable fee electronically
  • Send a fingerprint card and a $12 fee to the Kentucky State Police
  • Furnish a KY criminal history report
  • Submit official graduate transcripts
  • Provide verification of national certification.

Applications are reviewed within two weeks, except in cases of criminal history, which may take up to three months.