Kentucky is home to dozens of colleges and universities, many of which offer an online master's in business administration (MBA). Online education is growing in Kentucky, with public and private schools offering more and more programs each year.

Online programs give Kentucky residents an affordable, flexible option for earning a college degree. The Kentucky Center for Statistics projects nearly 240,000 job openings each year until 2026. Nearly 300,000 administrative positions are projected to be added by 2026, the highest of any field. The demand for MBA graduates is bound to increase over the next decade, too.

Online MBA Programs in Kentucky

There is no shortage of programs that cater to the unique needs and interests of every student, including working professionals and other non-traditional 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 $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 48 Student Population 3,128 Tuition $17,244 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.

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University of the Cumberlands
Location Williamsburg , KY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 51 Student Population 6,276 Tuition $9,900 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.

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Lindsey Wilson College
Location Columbia , KY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 79 Student Population 2,651 Tuition $18,360 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 $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 71 Student Population 1,055 Tuition $16,800 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.

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Murray State University
Location Murray , KY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 48 Student Population 10,998 Tuition $18,108 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 $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 54 Student Population 1,909 Tuition $23,430 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 $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 52 Student Population 20,063 Tuition $23,331 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.

  • Business Sustainability Certificate
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Morehead State University
Location Morehead , KY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 64 Student Population 10,872 Tuition $17,370 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.

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Sullivan University
Location Louisville , KY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 87 Student Population 3,797 Tuition $28,320 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.

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Union College
Location Barbourville , KY Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 75 Student Population 1,203 Tuition $10,200 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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Why Consider an Online MBA in Kentucky?

Kentucky boasts an impressive network of public schools, some of which offer an online MBA. For students in rural areas, online education removes the need to commute or get housing in urban areas. This can substantially reduce expenses. Distance learning also allows students to study at their own pace, and many programs can be completed in conjunction with a full-time job.

A few of the nation's top private schools reside in Kentucky, and some offer online programs including an MBA. Some of these programs allow students to specialize their degree in a growing field.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 78,824 17,993
Exclusively Distance 27,551 13,563
On-Campus 193,546 24,985
Source: Distance Education State Almanac

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private for-profit 10,583 4,154
Private not-for-profit 43,154 15,588
Public 205,908 77,075
Source: Distance Education State Almanac

MBA Concentrations for Kentucky Students

With thousands of new administration-related jobs projected over the coming years, students stand to benefit by specializing their education with a concentration. With a concentration, students can spend more time studying in a niche field, gaining valuable experience. Kentucky's top industries include manufacturing, automotive, healthcare, logistics, food and beverage, and aerospace.

Some large businesses reside in Kentucky, and many startups and companies are gradually entering Kentucky, as well. Earning an MBA online in Kentucky with a concentration is an excellent way to reach specific career goals faster while giving yourself an advantage over other applicants.

  • Health Systems Management: Healthcare is a growing field in Kentucky, so healthcare-related roles will continue to be in demand. Health systems management is an ideal concentration for an MBA student interested in healthcare.
  • Entrepreneurship: New businesses and startups are always popping up. Entrepreneurship teaches you to create your own businesses or help build a small business into something bigger.
  • Human Resources Management: Major industries have extensive human resources departments. This is a safe, lucrative field, and jobs in HR can be found in every major company. A concentration and MBA could help secure an HR position at a large business.

Accreditation in Kentucky

The best online MBA programs in Kentucky are offered through accredited institutions. These schools meet the strict academic and ethical standards set by quality control organizations known as accrediting bodies. Depending on the accrediting body that assesses a school, it may be considered regionally or nationally accredited. Most nationally accredited schools are for-profit, vocational, or technical institutions, while nonprofit schools typically receive regional accreditation.

Of the two types, regional accreditation is generally considered more prestigious. Credits earned at a nationally accredited school are less likely to transfer than those from their regionally accredited counterparts. If you want to improve your career prospects with an online MBA, Kentucky is home to many regionally accredited institutions.

Kentucky Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

Kentucky recently experienced a boom in job growth thanks to changes in federal laws. Kentucky's economy is projected to grow by roughly 2-2.5% annually. Currently, Kentucky's growth relates directly to the health of the federal government.

The boom in healthcare jobs has been a driving force behind Kentucky's recent growth.

Office and administrative positions are projected to be the biggest contributors to job growth in Kentucky over the next 5-10 years. MBA graduates can explore many roles in this growing field, whether they want to work in human resources, finance, or another business field. Interestingly, no specific job in office or administration is projected to see massive growth. Instead, healthcare jobs continue to experience the fastest growth. The boom in healthcare jobs has been a driving force behind Kentucky's recent growth. A specialization in health systems management can help MBA grads tap into this industry.

Online MBA graduates seeking a job in Kentucky should prepare to move to an urban area. One of the biggest employers in Kentucky, the healthcare industry, resides largely in urban areas such as Louisville and Lexington. Other top employers, such as the auto industry, maintain plants outside of the largest cities.

Top Employers in Kentucky

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
Humana Inc. Louisville Medical Insurance 10,000
Norton Hospital Behavioral Louisville Healthcare 10,000
St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood Healthcare 7,000
Source: Career One Stop

Earning an online MBA with a health systems concentration provides a clear path to these businesses. Individuals can also explore other business roles within the healthcare industry. For example, large businesses need human resource managers and financial managers. To find a job at a large business, students should consider their desired position and pick the online program that best fits their goals. While not every MBA graduate finds their desired role in healthcare, job opportunities abound.

Earning Potential with an MBA in the State of Kentucky

Better education often leads to higher pay, and an online MBA is no exception. According to state data, an individual with a graduate degree in business earns a median of $21,000 more a year than a graduate with a bachelor's degree. Part of this can be attributed to specializations. As students specialize their degree, niche roles with high pay can open up. For example, an MBA with a specialization in human resources allows the graduate to find a high-paying HR position. Students with bachelor's degrees often do not have the level of education in business or the specialization to qualify for these positions.

Salary for Graduate Business Majors (2015)

Major Median Annual Salary
Business Management and Administration $65,000
General Business $78,000
Source: Center on Education and the Workforce

Careers for MBA Grads in Kentucky

Potential careers for those who have earned an online MBA in Kentucky vary depending on the company they work for, their concentration, and the area they choose to work. Because a few industries dominate Kentucky's job market, graduates will likely work in healthcare, auto, aerospace, or food and beverage in an office role.

Health Systems Manager

Also known as medical and health services manager, this role is growing much faster than the average position, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports median pay of $99,730. Health services managers develop goals, recruit staff, train new hires, create schedules, and find ways to make their department more efficient.

Financial Manager

Financial managers keep track of an organization's finances, from creating financial strategies to providing reports. This role includes market analysis, investing strategies, and reviewing reports, all in an effort to cut costs. While not required, a master's degree is preferred by many employers. The BLS reports a median income of $127,990 for 2018.

Management Analyst

Management analysts gather information, analyze the data, and recommend a solution. These professionals often interview and communicate with executives. The BLS states that management analysts earned a median wage of $83,610 in 2018. To become a management analyst, an MBA is preferred.

Top Executive

Top executives run entire departments and organizations, create long-term plans, oversee activities, and communicate with other executives to improve operations. With an MBA, students can earn many different executive positions, including CFO and CEO. The BLS reports an annual median pay of $104,980 for top executives, although pay can climb much higher.

Research Analyst

A research analyst, or market research analyst, looks at market trends and forecasts future changes. Other tasks include gathering data, analyzing the data using software, and preparing reports to show results. According to the BLS, research analysts earned a median income of $63,120 in 2018.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Kentucky

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.

Online MBA Programs in Surrounding States

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