Kentucky Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2024

AKA: CRNP License, APRN Licensure

by Staff

Updated: February 13th, 2024

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Kentucky

Follow below to learn how to become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Kentucky.

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?  Skip to the next section

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) applicants are required to present proof of the possession of a valid and unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license to practice in Kentucky along with other supporting documents in their application. Unless you have this or a valid multistate RN license from an NLC member state, you are expected to apply for one in Kentucky. There are two major routes of application which are RN by Examination and RN by Endorsement.

RN by Examination

This is the preferred route of application for recent graduates of nursing programs from board-approved nursing programs.


  • The minimum academic requirement for prospective RNs is an Associate’s degree; however, a Bachelor’s degree would be a better option if you are intending to eventually earn your Masters degree – as a Master’s degree is required of APRNs. As proof of your completion of such a program, an original copy of your transcript stating your date of graduation and the type of degree obtained must be sent to the board by your awarding institution. An original copy of the transcript in a sealed envelope from the institution can also be sent by you. If you completed your program in a Kentucky-based institution, your institution will likely have sent a copy of your transcript to the board already.
  • The application process is completed online by first entering your social security number and selecting the parameters for your license here. If you do not have an SSN, you should contact the board for temporary identification. The online application is for a $125 fee and you can opt for the paper option by requesting here. However, this will cost you an additional $40.
  • All applicants via this route are required to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) which you can register for at PearsonVue for a $200 fee. Take care to register for the exam as closely as possible to your application as this will enable the board to inform the examiners of your eligibility for the test on time. After this, you will receive an authorization to test (ATT) sent to your email. Each application is valid for one year from the day you commence. Failing the NCLEX-RN voids your application meaning you have to start again and pay all the required fees. Applicants are allowed to retake the NCLEX-RN after a 45-day window has elapsed from the last one.

RN for Endorsement

This is the route of choice for RNs who hold a license to practice in a state that is not a party to the NLC.


  • You are expected to have fulfilled the applicable academic requirement for a license by examination in the state you are licensed and have passed the NCLEX-RN or any equivalent entry-level nursing examination.
  • RNs who also wish to change their primary state of residence to Kentucky will need to apply via this route.
  • The application process is completed online as described in the last subsection. The application fee for this route is $165 with an additional $40 for those who prefer the paper application alternative.
  • Your transcript may be required as proof of your completion of an acceptable nursing program if you were licensed from California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Michigan, and Washington.
  • Verification of your license is also an important aspect of this application route and it can be obtained using the Nursys platform if your state board of nursing is a participating board. There is a $30 charge for verification requests via this route. However, if your board does not report to Nursys, you can find a copy of the verification form in the KBN document library using the search term verification of licensure.
  • Applicants via this route who have not practiced nursing for at least 500 hours in the last 5 years despite being licensed are required to submit proof of 120 hours of continuing education within the year preceding the application date.
  • All endorsement applicants must also complete continuing education points in Domestic Violence and Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma (Shaken Baby Syndrome)

All foreign-trained applicants are to have their credentials evaluated by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), specifically their VisaScreen program. The resultant certificate should be sent to KBN or sent by mail to the following address:

Kentucky Board of Nursing
ATTN: Endorsement Coordinator
312 Whittington Parkway, Suite 300
Louisville, Kentucky 4022

Those trained in Puerto Rico after September 1, 2006, are required to submit a General Evaluation Report/Course by Course Report from the Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), a copy of the Modified Document-By-Document Evaluation Report from the Foundation for International Services, Inc., a nursing evaluation report from Josef Silny & Associates, Inc., or General Analysis Evaluations from SpanTran.

All applicants are required to score at least 80% in the Jurisprudence Exam which is a test to evaluate your knowledge of nursing laws in Kentucky. It is an open-book test that consists of 35 questions and is administered by the NCSBN.

Finally, you are required by law to submit your fingerprints for criminal background checks to be completed at the state and federal levels. This is usually done via livescan at facilities equipped and authorized to do such.

The reports are obtained through IdentoGO©. Registration is done on the UEnroll website with the KBN Service Code (27GKJR). You can schedule appointments on their website or by calling 1-844-543-9714.

Out-of-state applicants who are unable to access a facility for the livescan process can request a copy of the FBI FD-258 card which must be completed appropriately and sent to the IDEMIA card conversion facility for processing. IdentoGO© charges a fee of $51.25. Note that this fee does not go to the KBN and is subject to change at any time.

All application fees are non-refundable and can be paid using a credit card, check, or money order payable to the KBN. All past felonies and convictions must be declared and only correct information must be provided. Keep a valid photo ID handy, preferably your driver’s license for identification during the registration process.

Advanced Education Requirements

Prospective APRNs, including NPs, must complete a post-graduate nursing education that awards at least a master’s degree (MSN).

Your program must equip you with knowledge in one of the six population foci:

  • Adult health and gerontology
  • Pediatrics
  • Family/Individual Health
  • Women’s health and gender-related health
  • Neonatology
  • Psychiatric/mental health

Your program should also include the clinical and coursework aspects and should cover important areas like advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, health assessment, and clinical management.

If you will opt for an out-of-state option, ensure that it includes the important areas covered by board-approved Kentucky programs or is approved by the board of nursing in that state.

National Certification

To practice as an NP in Kentucky, you must be certified to serve one or more specific population foci. The certification process is handled by national certifying agencies which are specific to each population focus available. Hence, you should contact the agency that certifies NPs in your preferred area of practice.

These agencies reserve the right to evaluate the quality of your nurse practitioner education by using the examination method to determine who is worthy of certification. The agencies approved by the KBN for national certification include:

  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)

Getting Licensed to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner in Kentucky

The application process is generally completed online for a $165 fee however; you can opt for the paper application which will cost you an extra $40.

As part of the application process, an original copy of your transcript for your advanced practice education must be made available to the board. The transcript must include your date of graduation and the type of degree awarded and must be sent in a sealed envelope, preferably directly from the awarding institution.

You are also required to provide proof of national certification and a valid single-state RN license in Kentucky or a multistate RN license from an NLC member state. License verification is usually done using the Nursys platform as was covered under the “initial RN license section”.

All applicants are required to also submit their fingerprints for a criminal background check and declare any convictions or felonies as covered in the aforementioned section also.

Holders of a valid APRN license issued in another state may also be allowed to apply for an APRN license by endorsement.