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Become a Registered Nurse in Kentucky - KY

How to Become an RN in Kentucky

Over the last 30 years, the educational and licensure requirements for registered nurses have become much more demanding, yet the value of nurses in the patient care world has risen exponentially. With the aging of the baby boomers, the need for well-trained nurses continues to rise. Healthcare organizations in Kentucky currently employ over 54,000 registered nurses and that number is expected to rise over the next several decades.

Becoming a Registered Nurse in Kentucky

There are three ways to get a Kentucky nursing license: by examination (usually applies to recent nursing school grads), by endorsement (applies to nurses moving into the state after practicing in another state), and by reinstatement (after a license has lapsed. To receive a Kentucky nursing license, an applicant must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), and complete a 120-hour clinical internship. A provisional license can be issued after an applicant passes the NCLEX, but the Verification of Completion of the Clinical Internship Form must be submitted before Kentucky will issue a permanent license. The licensure application process can be initiated through the website of the Kentucky Board of Nursing (KBN).
To Obtain a License by Examination, a registered nurse must:

  • Apply through the KBN ( for a nursing license, including:
    • proof of evidence of graduation from of the accredited Kentucky RN programs (schools offering Kentucky RN programs submit lists of certified graduates to the KBN, but graduates from out-of-state programs may have to request a transcript from their alma mater).
    • A Criminal History Report from the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC).
    • A $110 application fee to the Kentucky Board of Nursing.


      • KBN will schedule the applicant to take the NCLEX and issue a provisional license. The applicant must complete the clinical internship before the permanent license can be issued.

To Obtain a License by Endorsement, a registered nurse must:

  • Submit an endorsement application with $150 fee and a fingerprint card with a $19.25 fee (total $169.25) to the KBN.
  • Provide proof of at least two (2) CEUs in HIV/AIDS (must be KBN-approved program).
  • Verify original licensure through NursysTM ( If state of original licensure does not contract with Nursys for licensure information, applicant can fill out the Verification of Licensure form found on the KBN website and mail it to the nursing board in the state of the original license. Check with that agency to determine the correct fee to include.


    • A temporary permit will be granted when the KBN receives the application, fees, and fingerprint card.
    • All nursing school grads must complete the clinical internship if they have not practiced for at least 120 hours since they graduated.
    • Transcripts from nursing programs from the following states are required: California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, and Washington.

To Obtain a License by Reinstatement, a registered nurse must:

  • Submit the reinstatement application located on the KBN website ( with a check or money order for $120.
  • Show proof that applicant has met the reinstatement competency requirements that are listed out at
  • All CEUs must be acquired from educational vendors that are approved by the Kentucky Nursing Board.
  • Verification of Employment forms are used for verifying employment outside of Kentucky.
  • A current employee evaluation showing satisfactory work performance can be used for verification of employment from Kentucky workplaces.

All reinstatement applicants for RN licenses must submit a criminal history report as of April 1, 2010. These reports are created through the Administrative Office of The Courts (AOC).

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