January 16, 2022

Overview of Nursing Schools in Tennessee

  • There are 44 nursing schools in Tennessee. The CCNE accredits 19 nursing schools and the ACEN accredits 27 schools in Tennessee.
  • On average, attending an RN program in Tennessee will cost you between $4,575.00 and $30,357.00 per year.
  • In Tennessee, the average undergraduate student borrows between $4,725.00 and $14,000.00 per year.
  • Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, and a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will take about 4 years to complete.
  • The average, the NCLEX passing rate range for Tennessee ADN students is between 75.63% and 96.50%.
  • On average, the NCLEX passing rate range for Tennessee BSN students is between 69.86% and 100.00%.
  • The average annual salary for a registered nurse in Tennessee is between $52,080 to $111,220 a year.
  • Registered Nurses (RN) throughout the country and in Tennessee can expect a favorable job growth of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026 which much faster than the average for all occupations.

Nursing Programs Recommended by Our Education Experts

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

About Nursing Schools in Tennessee

Healthcare is constantly evolving and nursing schools in Tennessee are responding to meet the need of nursing students. They are offering new ways for nurses to expand their education and professional reach. Up until recently, hospitals were designed as the focus of bedside care to patients that experience health disruption. The guidelines in the Affordable Care Act require registered nurses to be health leaders and provide health prevention to the masses. Registered nurses are encouraged to pursue higher education to meet the challenges of the complex and evolving healthcare system. The new responsibilities of nurses are challenging but can present wonderful opportunities and rewards.

In our Tennessee RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Tennessee RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Tennessee, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Tennessee RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs1629
Average NCLEX Passing Rate89.63%88.77%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range75.63% to 96.50%69.86% to 100.00%
Average Net Price$9,722.56$15,625.39
Average Net Price Range$4,575.00 to $26,647.00$7,531.00 to $30,357.00
Average Student Loan$9,290.93$17,663.68
Average Student Loan Range$2,500.00 to $21,565.00$11,128.00 to $27,000.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for Tennessee StateBSN Rankings for Tennessee State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Tennessee

Best Nursing School Programs State

To help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Tennessee and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 15 ADN degree programs and 25 BSN degree programs in Tennessee. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Tennessee to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

#1

Jackson State Community College

  • 2046 North Pky, Jackson, TN - 38301-3797
  • (731) 424-3520
  • Grade: (A) 99.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Jackson State Community College is located in Jackson, Tennessee.  The average RN program requires 60 credits and their RN program requires 65 for degree completion.  They offer an RN program and an LPN Mobility option, allowing the LPN advanced placement into the program.
#2

The University of Tennessee-Martin

  • 544 University Street, Martin, TN - 38238-0002
  • (731) 881-7000
  • Grade: (A) 98.89%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
The University of Tennessee - Martin is located in Martin, Tennessee.  UTM offers a traditional BSN program and an online BSN program.  UTM also recognizes nursing student excellent with Sigma Theta Tau (Pi Tau Chapter), which is an international honor society for nursing.
#3

The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

  • 615 McCallie Ave, Chattanooga, TN - 37403-2598
  • (423) 425-4111
  • Grade: (A) 98.78%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#4

Carson-Newman University

  • 1646 S Russell Ave, Jefferson City, TN - 37760
  • (865) 471-2000
  • Grade: (A) 98.52%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN
Carson-Newman University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee.  They offer two avenues towards a nursing degree - the traditional BSN degree, which is 8 semesters over 4 years, or the accelerated BSN degree, which is 8 continuous semesters.
#5

Chattanooga State Community College

  • 4501 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN - 37406-1097
  • (423) 697-4400
  • Grade: (A) 98.22%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Chattanooga State Community College is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The Baroness Erlanger Nursing Program offers an AAS in nursing; this program is subdivided into day and night programs.  They also offer an AAS Transition track, which is available to LPNs and paramedics.  Paramedics are accepted into the night program, and
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#5

Nashville State Community College

  • 120 White Bridge Rd, Nashville, TN - 37209-4515
  • (615) 353-3333
  • Grade: (A) 98.22%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#6

Austin Peay State University

  • 601 College St, Clarksville, TN - 37044
  • (931) 221-7011
  • Grade: (A) 97.52%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
Austin Peay State University is located in Clarksville, Tennessee.  They offer a traditional BSN program and an online RN to BSN program.  The traditional program is for pre-licensure students and students with a prior bachelor's degree. The online program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis.
#7

Lipscomb University

  • One University Park Drive, Nashville, TN - 37204-3951
  • (615) 966-1000
  • Grade: (A) 96.78%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#7

Pellissippi State Community College

  • 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville, TN - 37933-0990
  • (865) 694-6400
  • Grade: (A) 96.78%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Pellissippi State Community College is located in Knoxville, Tennessee.  They offer an RN degree with a traditional pathway and a bridge pathway; the bridge pathway allows LPNs and EMT-P students to enter the program during the summer semester.  This program is offered at three of Pellissippi's campuses: Blount County, Magnolia Avenue,
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#8

Tennessee Technological University

  • 1 William L. Jones Drive, Cookeville, TN - 38505-0001
  • (931) 372-3223
  • Grade: (A) 96.70%
  • Programs: CNL, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, Bachelor, MSN
Tennessee Technological University is located in Cookeville, Tennessee.  The Whitson-Hester School of Nursing offer a BSN program, an accelerated BSN (ABSN) and an RN to BSN program.  Their RN to BSN program is an online program and is one of the most affordable options available, at $365 per credit hour
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#9

Columbia State Community College

  • 1665 Hampshire Pike, Columbia, TN - 38401
  • (931) 540-2730
  • Grade: (A) 96.63%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Columbia State Community College is located in Columbia College.  They offer both an RN program and an LPN to RN Bridge Program.  They also offer a 3+1 partnership with Middle Tennessee State University, which allows RN to complete general education requirements at Columbia State, with the final year being completed
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#10

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

  • 527 Andy Holt Tower, Knoxville, TN - 37996
  • (865) 974-1000
  • Grade: (A) 96.52%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate
#11

Bethel University

  • 325 Cherry Ave, McKenzie, TN - 38201
  • (731) 352-4000
  • Grade: (A) 96.44%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#12

Lincoln Memorial University

  • 6965 Cumberland Gap Pkwy, Harrogate, TN - 37752-9900
  • (423) 869-3611
  • Grade: (A) 96.15%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor
Lincoln Memorial University is located in Harrogate, Tennessee.  They offer a variety of undergraduate options for their nursing students - an ASN program, a BSN program, and an RN to BSN program.  The RN to BSN program is offered completely online.
#13

Tennessee Wesleyan College

  • 204 East College Street, Athens, TN - 37303
  • (423) 745-7504
  • Grade: (A) 95.15%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
Tennessee Wesleyan College is located in Athens, Tennessee.  They boast that their student to faculty ratio is 12:1.  92% of their classes have 30 or fewer students.  The Fort Sanders Nursing Department has a partnership with Covenant Health and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, providing extensive resources for clinical experience.
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#14

Union University

  • 1050 Union University Dr, Jackson, TN - 38305-3697
  • (731) 668-1818
  • Grade: (A) 94.37%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursingg, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, LPN to BSN, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
Union University is located in Jackson, Tennessee, with 2 other campuses in Germantown and Hendersonville.  They are proud to boas that their student to faculty ratio is 10:1 and 85% of their faculty have the highest degree possible in their field.  Their nursing program offers state-of-the-art equipment to practice skills
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#15

Middle Tennessee State University

  • 1301 East Main Street, Murfreesboro, TN - 37132
  • (615) 898-2300
  • Grade: (A) 93.74%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN
Middle Tennessee State University is located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  They offer a traditional BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  MTSU has multiple simulation labs where students may practice their nursing skills; the labs have low-, medium- and high-fidelity simulators that mimic real-life situations.
#16

Dyersburg State Community College

  • 1510 Lake Rd, Dyersburg, TN - 38024-2411
  • (731) 286-3200
  • Grade: (A) 93.48%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#17

Motlow State Community College

  • 6015 Ledford Mill Road, Tullahoma, TN - 37388
  • (931) 393-1500
  • Grade: (A) 93.26%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
Motlow State Community College is located in Tullahoma, Tennessee.  They offer an AAS - Two-Year Path to RN ad AAS - One-Year Path, LPN to RN.  They also have articulation programs in place so that students may elect to transfer to a four-year university after graduation.
#18

Milligan College

  • 1 Blowers Blvd., Milligan College, TN - 37682
  • (423) 461-8700
  • Grade: (A) 92.89%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#19

Freed-Hardeman University

  • 158 E Main St, Henderson, TN - 38340-2399
  • (800) 348-3481
  • Grade: (A) 92.52%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#20

Belmont University

  • 1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN - 37212-3757
  • (615) 460-6000
  • Grade: (A) 91.74%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated BSN, APRN Certificate, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate
Belmont University is located in Nashville, Tennessee.  Belmont was named as the "Most Innovative" university by US News & World Report.  It is a Christian university that "...brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service."  They offer a BSN program, an
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#21

Walters State Community College

  • 500 South Davy Crockett Parkway, Morristown, TN - 37813-6899
  • (423) 585-2600
  • Grade: (A) 91.67%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#22

Cleveland State Community College

  • 3535 Adkisson Drive, Cleveland, TN - 37312
  • (423) 472-7141
  • Grade: (A) 91.56%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate
#22

King University

  • 1350 King College Rd, Bristol, TN - 37620-2699
  • (423) 968-1187
  • Grade: (A) 91.56%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor
#23

Roane State Community College

  • 276 Patton Lane, Harriman, TN - 37748
  • (865) 354-3000
  • Grade: (A) 91.44%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

Grade
University
Tennessee Rank
Degree
86.81 Southwest Tennessee Community College 13 ADN
78.15 Tennessee State University 14 ADN
88.89 University of Memphis 17 BSN
87.78 Trevecca Nazarene University 18 BSN
87.56 Cumberland University 19 BSN
87.04 East Tennessee State University 20 BSN
85.63 Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences 21 BSN
82.89 South College 22 BSN
79.00 Martin Methodist College 23 BSN
77.07 Tusculum College 24 BSN
70.93 Tennessee State University 25 BSN

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Tennessee

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Tennessee

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Tennessee offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

MSN Programs Recommended by Our Education Experts

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Tennessee  RN Licensing Requirements

Tennessee State Board of Nursing
710 James Robertson Parkway
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 741-3111

Fees:
Initial licensing fee, RN: $100
License renewal (every two years): RN: $100

Continuing Education Requirements:
No continuing education hours are required, though license renewal requires proof of continued competence.

RN Licensure by Exams

Candidates who completed an approved nursing program will be automatically presented to the Board for exam eligibility. Fingerprinting will be required in the process and candidates must use the company Identogo. Then, the candidate will register for the NCLEX through Pearson VUE and pay the $200 fee. When the candidate has received authorization to test (ATT), he/she will be able to schedule the exam.

RN License by Endorsement

Applicants who completed a program in one of the other 50 states will be able to apply for endorsement. The candidate must list all positions held in the previous five years and submit a transcript, copy of diploma, and verification of official licensure. There is a $115 fee for license by endorsement and the candidate must include a passport-type photo. The application is to be notarized before submission.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

Candidates who have been trained outside of the United States are encouraged to email the Board for instructions.

RN Salaries in Tennessee

Nurses who are looking to advance their careers can gain positive results from higher education. Baccalaureate-prepared nurses may take advantage of worthwhile areas such as:

  • Nurses in the armed forces with a bachelor’s may receive officer status and receive special benefits and advanced education opportunities
  • Opportunities in physician specialty areas and private practice like cosmetic surgery

Approximately 79,000 registered nurses have obtained licensure. It is predicted that there will be a 30% increase in shortages of nurses in Tennessee by the year 2020. Nurses in Tennessee earn, on average, $56,730. This varies and is dependent on the education and experience level of the nurse.

Tennessee Registered Nursing Salaries

Chattanooga has the highest amount of registered nurses employed across the state. In addition, Chattanooga also has the highest hourly mean wage and annual median wage.
Source: BLS, Department of Education, State Board of Nursing, Nursing School Websites.

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