The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the highest degree for clinical nursing practice. Nurses that graduate from a DNP program with an executive leadership track have a number of options ranging from clinical leadership to hospital administration. Many opportunities exist for DNP-educated nurses in the state of Kentucky. Many DNP-prepared nurses, such as advanced practice registered nurses, continue with their current employer, but move to a higher-paying position. Others become entrepreneurs and open up their own practice or provide consulting services to other nurses.

Universities nationwide offer DNP programs to students. In the state of Kentucky, most of the post masters DNP program range from 28 to 38 credit hours, depending on the track you select. On the other hand, BSN to DNP students are expected to complete 65 to 95 unit hours in addition to a number of supervised clinical clerkship hours.

The competencies address the following:

  • Scientific underpinning for practice.
  • Organizational and systems leadership for quality improvement and systems thinking.
  • Clinical scholarship and analytical methods for evidence-based practice.
  • Information systems/technology and patient care technology for the improvement and transformation of health care.
  • Health care policy for advocacy in health care.
  • Inter-professional collaboration for improving patient and population health outcomes.
  • Clinical prevention and population health for improving the nation's health.
  • Advanced nursing practice.

Choosing a Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Choosing to enroll in a DNP program is a life-altering choice and should not be taken lightly. There are many considerations that must be addressed before hand. The state of Kentucky offers students a total of seven DNP programs.

What to Consider When Choosing a DNP Program

  • Program Cost— Tuition for DNP programs in the state Kentucky will vary depending on whether the program is offered by a private or public institution. If attending a private university in the state of Maryland, you can expect to pay between $840 to $1,158 per unit hour. Conversely, most public institutions in the state charge students between $565 and $675 per unit hour. Online credit hours generally cost around $840/credit hour.
  • Online Options
  • Accreditation— Prior to enrollment in any university program it's important to consider accreditation. DNP programs in the state of Kentucky are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing.
  • Clinical Residencies— Fellowships and residencies help students gain valuable clinical experiences. Your school of choice should be able to tell you what partnerships they have with local health care facilities in which to secure a residency.

Admission & State Licensing or Certification Requirements


Standards for admission to DNP programs in the state of Kentucky will vary from university to university. Prospective nursing students who will be most successful will need to have fulfilled the following prerequisite requirements:

  • Be in possession of an unencumbered RN license
  • Possess a BSN or MSN degree
  • Have maintained a 3.0 grade point average, based on a 4.0 system in either their undergraduate or graduate degree program (depending on the degree point from which they're entering from)
  • Provide academic transcripts
  • Write a Statement of Purpose
  • Pass a drug and background test
  • Provide resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Verification/documentation of clinical hours
  • Provide two letters of reference


In the state of Kentucky, upon successful completion a DNP program, students are able to sit for their state's certification examinations. Once passed, students can move on with the process of becoming certified in the various positions available to DNP graduates including advanced practice nursing specialties like:

  • Population and Organizational Systems Leadership
  • Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthesia
  • Executive Nurse Leader


Licensing requirements in the state of Kentucky for APRNs include:

  • Complete an application
  • Background checks
  • Provide transcripts from all educational institutions
  • Submit verification of specialty certification
  • Complete fingerprinting

Kentucky BSN to DNP Program Options

  • Bellarmine University: BSN-DNP
  • Frontier Nursing University, Hyden: ADN-DNP, BSN-DNP, MSN-DNP, BS-DNP
  • Murray State University, Murray: Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington: Post-MSN and BSN-DNP
  • Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green: Post-MSN and BSN-DNP

Related Education Paths

Helpful DNP Agencies and Organizations in Kentucky

List of Campus and Online DNP Programs in Kentucky

Bowling Green, KY

1906 College Heights Blvd
Bowling Green, KY 42101
(270) 745-0111

Frankfort, KY

400 East Main St.
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 597-6000

Hyden, KY

195 School Street
Hyden, KY 41749
(606) 672-2312

Lexington, KY

Louisville, KY

2001 Newburg Rd
Louisville, KY 40205
(502) 272-8000

DNP Programs
901 South Fourth St.
Louisville, KY 40203
(502) 585-9911

Richmond, KY

521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 622-1000

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