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 Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 16 29
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 89.63% 88.77%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 75.63% 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 Detail ADN Rankings for Tennessee State BSN Rankings for Tennessee State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Tennessee

Best Ranked RN Programs in TennesseeTo 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


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98.44 ADN Jackson State Community College 1 17 Jackson

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.

Public Campus ACEN See School Details
98.37 ADN Chattanooga State Community College 2 20 Chattanooga

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 are accepted on even-numbered years.

Public Campus ACEN See School Details
98.00 ADN Nashville State Community College 3 28 Nashville Public Campus ACEN See School Details
93.89 ADN Lincoln Memorial University 4 143 Harrogate

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.

Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online ACEN See School Details
93.70 ADN Motlow State Community College 5 150 Tullahoma

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.

Public Campus ACEN See School Details
93.56 ADN Pellissippi State Community College 6 156 Knoxville

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, and Strawberry Plains campuses.

Public Campus ACEN See School Details
92.74 ADN Roane State Community College 7 189 Harriman Public Campus ACEN See School Details
92.37 ADN Columbia State Community College 8 206 Columbia

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 at MTSU.

Public Campus ACEN See School Details
91.22 ADN Dyersburg State Community College 9 250 Dyersburg Public Campus ACEN See School Details
91.04 ADN Walters State Community College 10 255 Morristown Public Campus ACEN See School Details
88.67 ADN Northeast State Community College 11 339 Blountville Public Campus ACEN See School Details
87.70 ADN Cleveland State Community College 12 379 Cleveland Public Campus ACEN See School Details
87.70 ADN Southern Adventist University 12 379 Collegedale Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online ACEN See School Details
81.19 ADN Southwest Tennessee Community College 13 576 Memphis

Southwest Tennessee Community College is located in Memphis, Tennessee.  STCC offers an AAS in Nursing: Generic Track and LPN Mobility Track.  STCC has nationally ranked for their degree programs for minorities and African Americans, such as “number one in the top 100 Associate Degree producers for total minorities in business operations support and assistant services – Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 2014” and “number two in the top 100 Associate Degree producers for African-Americans in business operations support and assistant services – Diverse: Issues in High Education, 2014.”

Public Campus ACEN See School Details
77.04 ADN Tennessee State University 14 640 Nashville Public Campus, Online ACEN See School Details
100.00 BSN The University of Tennessee-Martin 1 1 Martin

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.

Public Campus, Online See School Details
98.52 BSN Bethel University 2 12 McKenzie Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online CCNE See School Details
97.04 BSN Carson-Newman University 3 41 Jefferson City

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.

Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Hybrid, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
96.48 BSN Tennessee Technological University 4 55 Cookeville

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 for in-state tuition and $661 per credit hour for non-resident students.

Public Campus, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
96.30 BSN Lincoln Memorial University 5 60 Harrogate

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.

Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online ACEN See School Details
95.15 BSN Lipscomb University 6 86 Nashville Private Not-For-Profit Campus See School Details
95.07 BSN The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 7 90 Chattanooga Public Online See School Details
94.85 BSN Austin Peay State University 8 99 Clarksville

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.

Public Campus, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
94.30 BSN Union University 9 122 Jackson

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 and the opportunity to take ministry trips internationally.  They offer a traditional BSN program, an LPN to BSN program, which takes two years to complete, an RN to BSN program, which is completed online in 8 months, and a First Step to BSN program, which is designed for adult learners with little college experience, readying them for the accelerated BSN program.  The ABSN program is designed for students of the First Step program and students with  prior bachelor’s degree.

Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Hybrid ACEN, CCNE See School Details
93.67 BSN The University of Tennessee 10 147 Knoxville Public Campus, Hybrid ACEN, CCNE See School Details
92.96 BSN Tennessee Wesleyan College 11 172 Athens

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.  They offer a BSN degree.

Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online See School Details
92.89 BSN Middle Tennessee State University 12 176 Murfreesboro

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.

Public Campus, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
91.07 BSN East Tennessee State University 13 240 Johnson City Public Campus, Hybrid, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
88.63 BSN Belmont University 14 305 Nashville

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 accelerated BSN program, and an RN to BSN program.

Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Hybrid ACEN, CCNE See School Details
88.15 BSN Milligan College 15 317 Milligan College Private Not-For-Profit Campus CCNE See School Details
88.11 BSN University of Memphis 16 319 Memphis

University of Memphis is located in Memphis, Tennessee.  The Loewenberg College of Nursing.  They offer a traditional BSN program, an accelerated option for students with a prior bachelor’s degree, and an online RN to BSN program.  They also offer a freshman pre-admission to the BSN program option – students must apply in their senior year of high school.  This allows entrance into the program during the second semester of sophomore year, or earlier if the student has AP or dual enrollment credits.

Public Campus, Hybrid, Online ACEN, CCNE See School Details
88.00 BSN Trevecca Nazarene University 17 325 Nashville Private Not-For-Profit Campus See School Details
85.07 BSN Freed-Hardeman University 18 395 Henderson Private Not-For-Profit Campus CCNE See School Details
84.00 BSN Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences 19 412 Memphis

Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences is located in Memphis, Tennessee.  The college seeks to educate healthcare professionals, from nurses to respiratory therapists.  They offer a traditional BSN program, which utilizes plenty of hands on experience in simulation labs to practice nursing skills, or an RN to BSN program, where the learner can choose an online program or a blended program – a mixture between online and hands-on learning.

Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online CCNE See School Details
83.37 BSN Cumberland University 20 431 Lebanon Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online CCNE See School Details
82.56 BSN King College 21 445 Bristol Private Not-For-Profit Online See School Details
81.07 BSN South College 22 466 Knoxville

South College is located in Knoxville, although they do have several other campuses.  They offer an ADN degree at an outlying campus.  At their Knoxville campus, they offer a BSN program.  Online, they offer the RN to BSN program.  Students that are out-of-state are eligible for the RN to BSN program, although clinical experiences must meet certain requirements so not all facilities may be eligible.

Private For-Profit Campus See School Details
68.63 BSN Tusculum College 23 525 Greeneville Private Not-For-Profit Campus CCNE See School Details
64.89 BSN Martin Methodist College 24 531 Pulaski Private Not-For-Profit Campus, Online CCNE See School Details