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.


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
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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
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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 View School Profile

Midway University

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

Thomas More College

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

Western Kentucky University

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

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

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

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.