Bordered to the north by the Ohio River and to the east by the Appalachian mountains, Kentucky is home to roughly 4.5 million people. From from the upper reaches of Louisville to Bowling Green on the edge of Tennessee, the state covers over 40,000 square miles of city, farmland, forest, and rolling hills. The state also houses a number of well-regarded colleges and universities, including the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, and the University of Louisville, with many offering online programs geared towards distance learners. Kentucky’s economy continues to grow in areas such as professional and business services, information, and education and health services. These are all areas where an online MBA comes in handy for a working professional looking to move into management positions.

Schools offering online MBA programs in Kentucky are scattered throughout the state. While a traditional, on-campus education is a great option for some, online learning gives working professionals the opportunity to learn at their own pace while balancing busy schedules filled with work or family obligations. However, some online MBAs in Kentucky are hybridized and require in-person components, such as the program offered by Eastern Kentucky University. The cost of living remains relatively low in Kentucky as a whole, but Louisville — the home of several prominent universities — is on the higher end of the spectrum.

Kentucky’s economy continues to grow in areas such as professional and business services, information, and education and health services.

Because you don’t have to live on-campus, purchase textbooks, and spend money on commuting, the flexibility of online programs can be advantageous to learners on a budget. With a full-time course load, an online MBA in Kentucky can take less than a year to complete, which is true of University of Louisville’s 60-credit, 13-month program. Programs can take as much as five years to complete on a part-time schedule. Typically, admission to a MBA program requires a minimum cumulative GMAT score of around 400; however, some schools, such as Morehead State University, offer GMAT waivers to baccalaureate-level graduates who meet certain conditions.

Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education
Percentage of students enrolled at Title IV institutions in Kentucky, by distance education enrollment status, Fall 2012

MBA Concentrations for Kentucky Students

Most online MBA programs offer students concentrations that will refine their skills in a specific field. As it pertains to an online MBA in Kentucky, learners can choose from concentrations such as human resource management, computer information systems, accounting, and health systems management. Kentucky’s economy is steadily building career advancement opportunities in the service industries and information technology. Concentrations like human resource management and computer information systems will come in handy, as they can be applied in a variety of business contexts.
Below are two concentration options that provide excellent career preparation for future MBA graduates.

  • Human Resource Management: A human resource management MBA teaches students a variety of business strategies and concepts that prepare them to lead staffing, recruiting, and training operations at large organizations.
  • Computer Information Systems: A computer information systems MBA combines curricula about computer and information systems with managerial skills and business concepts. This degree prepares professionals for work in industries where both business and technical acumen are in high demand.

Accreditation in Kentucky

When deciding between online MBA programs in Kentucky, it is important to review a school’s accreditation status. Accreditation ensures the program you are considering meets certain standards for academic quality. National accreditation usually applies to specialized, for-profit vocational programs, whereas regional accreditation applies to most nonprofit, degree-granting institutions. Of the two types, regional accreditation is generally considered more valuable.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools acts as the main regional accrediting body for schools in Kentucky. In addition to regional and national accreditation, be sure to look for program-specific accreditation. For an online MBA in Kentucky, accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is a valuable indicator of a program’s quality and rigor. An advanced degree from an accredited institution translates to greater career advancement opportunities and higher income.

While Kentucky is known primarily for agriculture and automobile manufacturing, the state’s economic landscape is changing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics, the service, information technology, and financial sectors show promising growth. As of 2016, over 83,000 were employed in management-related positions, which is good news for students enrolled in online MBA programs in Kentucky. The state’s unemployment rate has fluctuated around 5% for much of 2017, which is an indicator of a healthy economy. The 2017 Kentucky Economic Report projects steady growth for the near future, particularly in the goods and services industries. Northern cities such as Lexington offer the most promising job markets for new graduates.

Top Employers in Kentucky

Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
Humana Healthcare Louisville 51,600
Yum Brands Restaurants Louisville 90,000

With the state’s promising economic forecast, it is the right time for ambitious professionals to consider enrolling in one of the many online MBA programs in Kentucky. MBA holders not only have more career advancement opportunities, but can also command higher salaries over the course of their careers.

In simple terms, advanced education credentials translate to higher salaries. In the case of MBAs — as compared to business degrees at the associate or bachelor’s level — this difference can amount to as much as $25,000 at the higher end, depending on the job title. By working toward an online MBA, a learner can expect to advance to positions with greater responsibility and higher earnings overall. Below is a range of salaries by degree level in Lexington, Kentucky, which is a good indicator for the rest of the state.

Average Salary by Degree
Search Programs by Concentration

Careers for MBAs in Kentucky

Human Resource Manager

Human resources managers oversee recruitment, staffing, training, and other employee administrative tasks for companies in a variety of fields. According to the BLS, the mean salary for a human resource manager in Kentucky is around $93,030. Human resource management is a high-demand field, particularly in the healthcare sector, which is a leading industry in Kentucky.

Information Systems Manager

Information system managers oversee the normal functioning of computer and information systems while using strategies such as data collection to guide the business operations of a company. According to the BLS, the average salary of an IS manager is around $113,000.

Operations Manager

An operations manager oversees the efficient functioning of an organization with regard to production and services provided. According to the BLS, the average salary of an operations manager in Kentucky is around $90,820.

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers train new employees, develop orientation materials, and oversee other training processes within companies. According to the BLS, training and development managers in Kentucky make a mean salary of around $114,580.

Accountant

Accountants maintain the financial records of both businesses and individuals. Accounting is often offered as an online MBA concentration. Accountants in Kentucky earn an average salary of $63,790, according to the BLS.

There is no shortage of programs that cater to the unique needs and interests of every student, including working professionals and other nontraditional learners. Below is a list of the best online MBA programs in Kentucky, all of which are accredited to ensure the best return on investment.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

Campbellsville University

Location Campbellsville, KY Tuition Tuition $17,244 % Receiving Financial Aid 48% Student Population 3,128 School Type Private

A Christian institution, Campbellsville University offers a 36-credit online master's in business administration. Students select from among seven concentrations: accounting, church management, healthcare management, human resource management, international business, and information technology. Mandated courses for all specializations last eight weeks and include organizational theory, business ethics, and managerial finance. Full-time students can complete this Kentucky online MBA in two years.

To apply, candidates must hold a 2.5 GPA, submit scores for the GRE or GMAT, and provide recommendation letters, resumes, and personal essays. Students without a business background may need to complete a primer course at the discretion of the department.

This program is accredited through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.


Concentrations
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University of the Cumberlands

Location Williamsburg, KY Tuition Tuition $9,900 % Receiving Financial Aid 51% Student Population 6,276 School Type Private

Located in Williamsburg, the University of the Cumberlands offers a master of business administration online. This 36-credit program provides concentrations in accounting, business analytics, project management, strategic management, entrepreneurship, healthcare administration, and marketing. Core coursework includes classes in managerial accounting and organizational behavior, and the department administers a comprehensive assessment to students at the conclusion of a strategic decision-making course. To graduate, degree seekers must earn passing scores on all parts of this exam. Learners who do not complete the program within four years must apply for an extension.

Applicants without a bachelor's in business administration may need to take prerequisite courses before beginning this online MBA in Kentucky. Possible prerequisites include principles of finance and accounting. Students with previously earned graduate credits may transfer as many as six credits.

This Kentucky online MBA is accredited through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.


Concentrations
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Lindsey Wilson College

Location Columbia, KY Tuition Tuition $18,360 % Receiving Financial Aid 79% Student Population 2,651 School Type Private

Lindsey Wilson College offers two online MBA programs in Kentucky. Students can choose either a 36-credit, fully online general business emphasis program or a 37-credit curriculum with a lean systems emphasis. The latter blends online and face-to-face components. Students in both tracks complete classes that include quantitative decision making, managerial accounting, and marketing management. All students must pass the Educational Testing Service's MBA major field test to graduate.

The department does not require a bachelor's in business administration to enter the program, but applicants without accounting, statistics, and economics coursework may need to enroll in prerequisite classes or take exams to verify knowledge in these areas. Candidates should also supply three references, a statement of purpose, and resumes.

Lindsey Wilson College is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


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Midway University

Location Midway, KY Tuition Tuition $16,800 % Receiving Financial Aid 71% Student Population 1,055 School Type Private

Founded in 1847, Midway University offers an accelerated online master of business administration that students can complete in approximately one year. The general program requires 30 credits, while three-credit concentrations are available in equine management, sport management, healthcare administration, or tourism and event management. Core classes include business law, strategic management, and global business. Candidates without previous business coursework must also complete a foundational business class.

This online MBA program in Kentucky grants credit for experiences such as military training and workshops. Learners obtain this credit through portfolios, testing, and verification of experiences.

Midway University provides academic workshops and online tutoring, and the school's career services department provides students and alumni with opportunities such as resume development and interview preparation.

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Concentrations
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Murray State University

Location Murray, KY Tuition Tuition $18,108 % Receiving Financial Aid 48% Student Population 10,998 School Type Public

Murray State University offers an online MBA program in Kentucky. Students focus on business analytics, economic development, finance, global communications, health administration, human resource management, or marketing; they may also choose a general track. On-campus students may also select an accounting concentration. Most specializations require at least 30 credits, though the healthcare focus requires 33 credits.

Mandated coursework includes corporate finance and accounting for decision making and seminars in organizational behavior and strategic management. Candidates must also complete foundational prerequisite courses, such as microeconomics and business calculus. Full-time students can complete their degree in two years and enjoy access to a suite of services, including tutoring and writing assistance.

This program holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


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Thomas More College

Location Crestview Hills, KY Tuition Tuition $23,430 % Receiving Financial Aid 54% Student Population 1,909 School Type Private

Thomas More College in Crestview Hills began in 1921 and now educates more than 2,000 learners. This Catholic institution delivers an online master of business administration that students can complete in as little as 18 months. The curriculum features 6-8 week courses in an accelerated format, and students complete a final project that combines theory, research, and the practical use of business knowledge. Faculty with decades of practical experience guide learners toward careers as financial managers, advertising executives, and senior marketing directors.

The college's Institute for Career Development and Graduate School Planning helps past and present learners locate career and internship opportunities. The center also allows learners to use an on-campus studio for interviews, videos, and virtual interaction with employers.

This online MBA program in Kentucky holds accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Program.


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Western Kentucky University

Location Bowling Green, KY Tuition Tuition $23,331 % Receiving Financial Aid 52% Student Population 20,063 School Type Public

Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green offers a fully online, 33-credit master of business administration. Coursework includes advanced marketing, contemporary issues in business, applied microeconomic theory, and organizational theory.

To apply, students must demonstrate an understanding of business topics through prior coursework, foundation modules, or examinations. Candidates should also hold a 2.75 GPA. The department requires GMAT scores -- though they waive this requirement if a student holds either a qualifying GRE score or an undergraduate degree in business that boasts a 3.5 GPA and accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

WKU offers a variety of online resources, including a writing center, tutoring, career services, and library guides. Learners can also explore tips for delivering presentations, communicating virtually, and handling stress when preparing for examinations through the Student Resource Portal.

This Kentucky online MBA is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Concentrations
  • Business Sustainability Certificate
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Morehead State University

Location Morehead, KY Tuition Tuition $17,370 % Receiving Financial Aid 64% Student Population 10,872 School Type Public

Morehead State University offers a 30-credit master of business administration that prepares graduates to advance in their career. Candidates must complete 24 credits in core classes like managerial economics, accounting analysis for decision making, and marketing administration. Applicants without an undergraduate business degree may need to complete additional prerequisite courses at the program director's discretion.

The remaining six elective credits allow students to individually tailor their degrees. Topics include auditing applications, global information systems, and systems security. Candidates may also choose an MBA health systems management track, which requires six additional elective credits. Full-time students can complete their MBA within one year.

Students benefit from online tutoring and the career center's counseling and preparation tools, such as online mock interviews. The university also provides counseling services, dental care, and basic health treatments for learners.

Morehead State University's online MBA in Kentucky is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Concentrations
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Sullivan University

Location Louisville, KY Tuition Tuition $28,320 % Receiving Financial Aid 87% Student Population 3,797 School Type Private

With campuses in Louisville, online, and across Kentucky, Sullivan University offers an 18-month online master of business administration. The program emphasizes communication, leadership, and analytical skills to prepare graduates for complex financial and tactical business concerns.

Students complete 48 credits in coursework such as operations strategy, advanced quantitative methods, and accounting theory for business environments. Candidates must also complete an integrative management capstone and can choose from six concentrations: public management, accounting, healthcare management, strategic human capital management, hospitality management, and conflict management.

Students may also pursue an MBA and a doctor of pharmacy, graduating within three years; however, candidates must earn admission into both programs.

This Kentucky MBA online is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Concentrations
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Union College

Location Barbourville, KY Tuition Tuition $10,200 % Receiving Financial Aid 75% Student Population 1,203 School Type Private

Founded in 1879 in Barbourville, Union College offers an online master of business administration that reflects the beliefs and values of the United Methodist Church. The 30-credit curriculum includes coursework in organizational finance, strategic decisions, and management information systems. Graduates know how to address business needs in various fields, communicate effectively, and think critically while leading organizations. Candidates can complete all program requirements in under two years; however, students without an undergraduate business degree may need to complete supplementary courses that lengthen the time to completion.

Students enjoy access to videos and journals from the school's library, tutoring and counseling services, and career workshops and fairs for employment guidance.

This online MBA in Kentucky boasts accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


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There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Kentucky. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school’s business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school’s website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.