All Nursing Courses in Kenya: Admissions, Universities, Fees, and Durations For 2024

Discover everything about Nursing Courses in Kenya, including admission requirements, top universities, course durations, and fee structures

Jan 2, 2024 - 08:11
Jan 2, 2024 - 08:13
All Nursing Courses in Kenya: Admissions, Universities, Fees, and Durations For 2024
All Nursing Courses in Kenya: Admissions, Universities, Fees, and Durations For 2024

In the heart of Kenya's robust healthcare system, nursing stands as a beacon of care, compassion, and clinical expertise. This noble profession, deeply woven into the fabric of Kenyan society, serves as the backbone of medical services across the country. From bustling city hospitals to remote rural clinics, nurses are the unsung heroes, tirelessly working to ensure the health and well-being of the nation.

Imagine a career that merges the science of healthcare with the art of human compassion—a career where every day presents an opportunity to make a tangible difference in people's lives. This is the world of nursing in Kenya, a realm where professionals dedicate their lives to caring for the sick, aiding in recovery, and being a comforting presence in times of distress. Whether it's providing critical care in intensive care units, assisting in surgeries, or offering emotional support to patients and families, nurses in Kenya embody a rare blend of empathy and expertise.

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Overview of Nursing Courses in Kenya

The landscape of nursing education in Kenya is as diverse as it is comprehensive, offering multiple pathways for aspiring nurses. Prospective students have a range of options, from certificate courses to advanced degrees, catering to different educational backgrounds and career aspirations.

1. Certificate in Nursing: The Starting Point

For many, the journey into nursing begins with a Certificate in Nursing. This course, taking approximately two and a half years to complete, is the foundational step in the nursing profession in Kenya. It requires a minimum KCSE aggregate grade of C- and specific subject combinations relevant to nursing​​. This course is accessible across the country, including in Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) campuses, ensuring that no matter where you are in Kenya, the path to a nursing career is within reach.

2. Diploma in Nursing: A Step Further

The Diploma in Nursing elevates the nursing education a notch higher. Candidates aspiring for this course need a minimum KCSE mean grade of C or its equivalent. Remarkably, this course is also accessible to certificate holders who comply with the set guidelines​​. This program opens doors to more advanced roles in the nursing field, setting the stage for a more specialized career path.

3.Higher Diploma: Specialization in Nursing

For nurses looking to specialize, the Higher Diploma offers a focused approach. This course is tailored for those who have completed a basic diploma in nursing or a related field and have a minimum of two years of work experience​​. It's a pathway to specialized roles and leadership positions in the nursing sector.

4. Post Basic Diploma Courses: Honing Skills

Post Basic Diploma courses provide specialized training in areas like cardiac and community nursing. These courses require a basic diploma and a minimum of two years of practical experience in the relevant field​​. They represent an opportunity for nurses to sharpen their skills in specific areas of interest.

5. University Degree in Nursing: Academic Excellence

At the apex of nursing education is the University Degree in Nursing. To enroll in this course, candidates must achieve a minimum score of C+ in relevant cluster subjects, including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and English/Kiswahili. The degree course is also open to outstanding diploma students, offering a more academic and research-oriented approach to nursing​​.

6. Short Nursing Courses and Nursing Aide Courses: Additional Learning Opportunities

Apart from these core courses, there are short nursing courses like Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), catering to both individuals and organizations​​. The Nursing Aide Course, taking two years, focuses on day-to-day patient care and requires a minimum grade of C in KCSE with specified grades in Biology, Chemistry, and English​​.

Admission Requirements for Nursing Courses in Kenya

The journey to becoming a nurse in Kenya starts with understanding and meeting the admission requirements. These prerequisites are essential for ensuring that candidates are well-prepared for the rigorous demands of nursing education and the profession itself.

General Admission Criteria: Setting the Foundation

The general admission requirement for nursing courses in Kenya is a KCSE (Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education) qualification. However, the specific grade requirements vary based on the level of the nursing course one intends to pursue​​.

Certificate in Nursing: The Initial Step

For the Certificate in Nursing, which serves as the entry-level course, applicants are required to have a minimum KCSE aggregate grade of C-. Additionally, they must have passed in relevant subject combinations that align with the nursing field. This ensures that students have the basic knowledge necessary to embark on their nursing education journey​​.

Diploma in Nursing: Raising the Bar

The Diploma in Nursing demands a higher academic threshold. Candidates must have attained a KCSE mean grade of C or its equivalent. This level also opens doors for certificate holders in nursing, provided they adhere to specific guidelines and have the correct subject combination. This level is crucial as it begins to introduce more complex nursing concepts and practices​​.

Higher Diploma in Nursing: Advancing Further

For nurses aspiring to specialize and enhance their qualifications, the Higher Diploma is the next step. Eligibility for this level requires successful completion of a basic diploma in nursing or a relevant field and at least two years of work experience. This experience requirement is pivotal as it ensures that candidates have practical exposure to nursing, which is vital for advanced studies​​.

Post Basic Diploma Courses: Specialized Training

To enroll in Post Basic Diploma courses, which focus on specialized areas like cardiac or community nursing, candidates must hold a basic diploma from recognized institutions. Additionally, a minimum of two years of practice in the relevant field is required. This ensures that students have both the academic and practical groundwork necessary for specialization​​.

University Degree in Nursing: Academic Excellence Requirements

For a degree in nursing, the bar is set higher with a required minimum score of C+ in the relevant cluster subjects. These include Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, and English/Kiswahili. Outstanding diploma students with a credit or above are also eligible, highlighting the importance of academic excellence and dedication in nursing studies​​.

Universities and Colleges Offering Nursing in Kenya

Kenya boasts a rich array of educational institutions offering nursing courses, each contributing uniquely to the fabric of nursing education. These range from universities to specialized colleges, covering various ownership models like government, private, and faith-based institutions.

Universities Pioneering Nursing Education

Kenyan universities offer comprehensive nursing programs, often leading to a Bachelor's degree. Renowned institutions like the Aga Khan University, Chuka University, and Kenyatta University, among others, are pivotal in shaping future nursing professionals. These universities provide an academic and research-oriented environment, ideal for students seeking a profound understanding of nursing and healthcare​​.

Government Colleges: Accessible Nursing Education

The government of Kenya, recognizing the critical need for qualified nurses, has established numerous colleges under its purview. Notable among these are the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Kenyatta National Hospital Training Center. These institutions are known for their rigorous training and extensive facilities, making them a popular choice for nursing aspirants​​.

Private Colleges: Diverse and Specialized Training

Private colleges in Kenya offer a variety of nursing courses, often with specialized focuses. Institutions like the Cicely McDonell School of Nursing and Getrude’s Children’s Hospital School of Nursing in Nairobi provide tailored programs catering to specific areas of nursing. These colleges are known for their flexibility and personalized approach to education​​.

Faith-Based and Mission Colleges: A Holistic Approach

Faith-based and mission colleges add a unique dimension to nursing education in Kenya. These include the AIC Kapsowar School of Nursing and the Consolata Nyeri School of Nursing, among others. These institutions often emphasize a holistic approach to nursing, integrating spiritual and moral values into their curriculum​​.

KMTC: A Keystone in Nursing Education

The Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC), with its branches spread across the country, is a cornerstone of nursing education in Kenya. It offers a range of courses from certificate to diploma levels, making nursing education accessible to a wide demographic. KMTC's extensive network ensures that no matter where you are in Kenya, quality nursing education is within reach​​.

Nursing Course Durations and Fees in Kenya

Understanding the Time and Financial Commitment

Embarking on a nursing course in Kenya is a significant commitment, both in terms of time and finances. Understanding the duration and cost of these courses is crucial for prospective students planning their education and careers in nursing.

Course Durations: From Certificate to Degree

  • Certificate Courses: These foundational courses typically take 2 ½ years to complete. They provide the basic education required to start a career in nursing​​.
  • Diploma Courses: A step up from the certificate, diploma courses in nursing span approximately 3 years. This duration allows for a deeper dive into nursing practices and theories​​.
  • Degree Courses: For those pursuing a direct entry Bachelor's degree in nursing, the journey is typically 4 years long. However, those upgrading from a diploma can complete their degree in 2 ½ years, thanks to their prior experience and knowledge​​.

Fee Structures: An Overview

The cost of nursing courses in Kenya varies significantly depending on the institution and the level of the course. While specific fee details are often institution-specific, it is essential to understand that these costs can be a significant factor in choosing the right program.

  • Varied Fee Structures: Each institution in Kenya has its own fee structure for nursing courses. Prospective students should consult the specific college or university for detailed fee information​​.
  • Financial Planning: Understanding the fee structure is vital for financial planning. It enables students to arrange for funding, whether through savings, loans, scholarships, or sponsorships.

Nursing Salaries and Career Opportunities in Kenya

Embarking on a nursing career in Kenya not only fulfills a passion for healthcare but also offers tangible financial rewards and diverse career opportunities. Understanding the salary structure and job prospects is crucial for those considering or pursuing a career in nursing.

Nursing Categories and Salary Scales

  • Enrolled Nurses: These nurses start their careers at the lower grades, with salaries ranging from Ksh. 23,369 to Ksh. 59,644, depending on their job group and experience​​.
  • Registered Nurses: With higher qualifications, registered nurses earn between Ksh. 39,450 and Ksh. 119,730, reflecting their advanced skills and responsibilities​​.
  • Nursing Officers: At the top of the nursing hierarchy, nursing officers earn salaries from Ksh. 46,580 to Ksh. 144,220. Their roles often involve leadership and specialized responsibilities​​.

Allowances and Benefits

  • Nurses in Kenya are entitled to various allowances, including extraneous, house, non-practising, health risk, call, and commuter allowances. These can significantly augment the basic salary, providing additional financial benefits​​.

Average and Specialized Nursing Salaries

  • The average salary for a nurse in Kenya is around Ksh. 70,000 monthly, with a range extending from Ksh. 23,000 to Ksh. 140,000, depending on specialization and experience​​.
  • Specialized nurses, like those working in ICU or as theatre nurses, can earn substantially more, with ICU nurses earning around Ksh. 129,000 monthly​​.
  • At institutions like Kenyatta National Hospital, registered nurses earn an average of Ksh. 68,000 monthly, showcasing the competitive nature of salaries in government hospitals​​.

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What is the starting salary for a nurse in Kenya?

    • The starting salary varies depending on the level of training and the job category. For an enrolled nurse, the starting salary can range from Ksh. 23,369 to Ksh. 29,826​​.

Can I pursue nursing in Kenya if I have a D+ in KCSE?

    • Most nursing courses require a minimum grade of C- for certificate courses and a higher grade for diploma and degree programs​​.

Are there opportunities for further studies in nursing in Kenya?

    • Yes, nurses can pursue higher diplomas, post-basic diplomas, and degree programs for further specialization and career advancement​​.

How long does it take to become a registered nurse in Kenya?

    • It typically takes 3 years to complete a diploma in nursing, which is the minimum requirement to become a registered nurse​​.

Can I get a nursing job outside Kenya with a Kenyan nursing degree?

    • Yes, Kenyan nursing qualifications are recognized in many countries, but you may need to meet additional licensing requirements of the specific country.


Nursing in Kenya is more than just a profession; it's a commitment to the health and well-being of society. From the comprehensive educational pathways available across various institutions to the diverse career opportunities and competitive salary structures, nursing in Kenya offers a fulfilling and rewarding career. As the healthcare sector continues to evolve, the role of nurses remains integral, making it a noble and essential profession for the future of Kenya's healthcare system.

Joseph Richard Joseph Richard, a leading contributor to, uses his decade-long expertise in finance, business, and technology to offer clear, reliable guides and analyses. His work aids Kenyans in making informed financial and business decisions, earning him a reputation as a trusted industry authority.