Renewing Your Kentucky RN License: Requirements and Step-by-Step Guide

Registered Nurse (RN) license in Kentucky

Renewing your Registered Nurse (RN) license in Kentucky is a crucial step in maintaining your ability to practice nursing in the state. Though the process is initially intimidating, this is only the case if you make it difficult for yourself. With sufficient knowledge and preparation, you can ensure a hassle free renewal process, and continue your practice unabated. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the renewal process, including the requirements, steps, and essential tips for a smooth renewal.

Why is RN License Renewal Important?

RN license renewal is essential for several reasons:

  • Legal Requirement: In Kentucky, it is a legal requirement to hold an active and valid RN license to practice nursing.
  • Patient Safety: Renewing your license ensures that you continue to meet the state’s standards for competency and education, contributing to better patient care.
  • Career Continuity: An expired license can lead to suspension or loss of employment opportunities. Keeping your license active is crucial for your nursing career’s continuity.

Now, let’s delve into the specific requirements and steps for renewing your Kentucky RN license.

RN License Renewal Requirements in Kentucky

To renew your RN license in Kentucky, you have to meet a number of different requirements. It is important to keep in mind that this list is constantly changing, so certain requirements may be added or removed over time. With that in mind, it’s vital to check the Kentucky Board of Nursing’s website or contact them directly for the most current information.

1. Continuing Education (CE) Hours:

Kentucky typically requires RNs to complete a certain number of CE hours during each renewal period. These CE hours are designed to ensure that nurses stay up-to-date with the latest developments in healthcare. The specific CE requirements may include topics such as infection control, domestic violence, and pediatric abusive head trauma. The number of CE hours required can vary, so be sure to check the current requirements on the Board’s website.

2. Criminal Background Check:

You may be required to undergo a criminal background check as part of the renewal process. This is to ensure that you meet the state’s standards for character and trustworthiness. Be prepared to provide any necessary documentation and pay any associated fees for the background check.

3. Renewal Application:

To renew your RN license, you will need to complete the renewal application provided by the Kentucky Board of Nursing. This application is typically available online through the Board’s website. Ensure that you fill out all sections accurately and completely.

4. Fee Payment:

Pay the required renewal fee along with your application. The renewal fee can vary, so check the current fee schedule on the Board’s website. Payment methods and accepted forms of payment may also change, so be sure to verify this information.

5. Proof of Continuing Competence:

Kentucky may require RNs to provide proof of continuing competence as part of the renewal process. This can include documentation of your completed CE hours, professional development activities, or additional certifications you may have obtained during the renewal period. Keep records of your continuing education activities to streamline this process.

6. Verification of Employment:

Kentucky is one of the handful of states that requires RNs to submit documented proof that verifies their current employment status. You may need to provide information about your current employer and attest that you have been engaged in nursing practice during the renewal period. If you are not currently employed in a nursing role, there may be alternative requirements or processes to follow, such as taking a refresher course.

Step-by-Step Guide to RN License Renewal in Kentucky

Now that you are familiar with the renewal requirements, let’s walk through the step-by-step process to renew your Kentucky RN license:

Step 1: Check Eligibility and Renewal Period

Before you start the renewal process, make sure you are eligible to renew your RN license in Kentucky. Typically, you must have an active and unencumbered license. Additionally, confirm the renewal period, which usually begins on July 1st and ends on June 30th of the following even-numbered year.

Step 2: Complete Continuing Education (CE) Requirements

Start early on meeting your CE requirements. Identify the specific CE topics and the number of hours required. You can fulfill these requirements by attending workshops, seminars, online courses, or other approved educational activities. Keep detailed records of your CE hours, including certificates of completion, as you will need to provide evidence of completion during the renewal process.

Step 3: Gather Necessary Documents

Before you begin the online renewal application, gather all the required documents and information. This may include:

  • Your RN license number
  • Social Security Number
  • Employment verification information (if applicable)
  • Documentation of completed CE hours
  • Proof of any additional certifications or professional development activities
  • Payment method for the renewal fee

Having these documents readily available will streamline the application process.

Step 4: Complete the Online Renewal Application

A majority of states have adopted an online renewal process and Kentucky is no exception. To start your application, visit the Kentucky Board of Nursing’s website and locate the “online renewal application” option. Fill out all the required fields accurately and completely. Ensure that you provide the necessary information regarding your CE hours, employment, and any additional certifications or professional development.

Step 5: Pay the Renewal Fee

Submit the required renewal fee along with your application. The fee amount can change, so verify the current fee on the Board’s website. Most boards accept various payment methods, including credit cards. Ensure that your payment goes through smoothly.

Step 6: Submit the Application

Review your completed application for accuracy and completeness. Once you are confident that all information is correct, submit the application electronically through the Board’s online portal. Double-check that you receive a confirmation of submission.

Step 7: Await Review and Verification

Once you have submitted everything, the Kentucky Board of Nursing will review your application, along with the documents and requirements that you submitted. How long it takes may depend on a number of factors, it is highly advised that you submit your application in advance. This gives you a grace period, so to speak, and ensures you will receive your renewed license before the expiration date.

Step 8: Receive Confirmation of Renewal

Once your application is approved, you will receive confirmation of your renewed RN license. This confirmation may be provided electronically, via email or through regular mail. Ensure that you keep a copy of this confirmation for your records.

Tips for a Smooth RN License Renewal

To make the RN license renewal process as smooth as possible, consider the following tips:

  • Plan Ahead: Start gathering your CE hours and required documentation well in advance of the renewal deadline. Procrastination can lead to unnecessary stress.
  • Stay Informed: Regularly check the Kentucky Board of Nursing’s website for updates on renewal requirements, fees, and processes. Regulations may change, and it’s crucial to be aware of any updates.
  • Organize Records: Keep detailed records of your CE hours, certifications, and professional development activities. Having organized documentation will simplify the renewal process.
  • Submit Early: Avoid waiting until the last minute to submit your renewal application. Submitting early allows for any potential delays in processing and ensures that you meet the deadline.
  • Double-Check Information: Review your application and documentation for accuracy before submission. Any errors or omissions could lead to delays in processing.
  • Contact the Board: If you have any questions or concerns about the renewal process, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Kentucky Board of Nursing. They can provide guidance and clarification.


Renewing your Kentucky RN license is a vital responsibility that ensures you remain eligible to practice nursing in the state. By understanding and following the requirements and steps outlined in this guide, you can navigate the renewal process with confidence. With sufficient preparation and information, you should be able to go through the renewal process with minimal hassle or stress. Your commitment to maintaining an active and valid RN license is not only a legal requirement but also a testament to your dedication to quality patient care and the nursing profession.

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