Nursing Schools in Tennessee – TN | Colleges | Degree | Education

Nursing Schools in Tennessee – TN

Tennessee is one of the nation's largest healthcare hubs, as it is home to HCA Healthcare, one of the country's largest healthcare providers, reports Forbes. Even so, the state is projecting an ongoing shortage of qualified nurses, as many who now work in the profession are approaching retirement age. For instance, healthcare facilities in Memphis and Shelby Counties have thousands of nursing vacancies, as reported by the Memphis Business Journal in February 2020.

Given the overall demand for nurses, those who seek to start or grow their nursing careers in Tennessee are likely to find ample opportunities in East, Middle, or West Tennessee.

Stay on this page to know how to become a nurse and what nursing salaries in Tennessee are like. We've presented facts and figures to help you make better decisions as you chart a nursing career for yourself in this state. For more information on the types of nurses and how to choose a good nursing school. Visit our Nursing Education, Schools and Career Overview.

What nursing schools are there in Tennessee?

Tennessee nursing schools are working to meet the nursing workforce gap, particularly in shortage areas. And to grow enrollment in nursing schools in Tennessee, institutions are looking for ways to provide students with a more enticing array of options.

We've handpicked a few nursing schools to show you the kind of nursing degree programs in Tennessee on offer. Take a look and see which might help you achieve your career goals.

  • Christian Brothers University (CBU) has expanded its nursing programs to include 4-year BSN programs designed to bring more nursing graduates into the workforce.
  • Union University offers more than two dozen tracks in their nursing programs. Apart from the traditional BSN, and a 2nd Degree BSN program for non-nursing students, they offer an online RN-BSN program. With multiple tracks for their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs, students can choose from full-time, part-time, online and blended options. The same flexibility exists for their DNP programs.
  • Belmont University offers the traditional BSN, an accelerated BSN for those who have completed an undergraduate program in a non-nursing people, an MSN in Family Nurse Practitioner and a DNP. With Nashville being a major healthcare hub, students can be exposed to a wide variety of healthcare settings. For students who would like to learn business skills along with a doctorate in nursing, the college offers the MSN-to-MBA-DNP.
  • Caylor School of Nursing, Lincoln Memorial University college offers an ASN, BSN, an online RN-BSN program, as well as graduate programs in four tracks: Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse Anesthesia, Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration. It also offers the DNP with full- or part-time study options.
  • The University of Tennessee in Knoxville (UTK), the flagship campus of the University of Tennessee system, offers a number of undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Clinical experiences are conducted at large hospitals, community clinics, health departments, and schools. To enhance collaboration and relationships between the two, Ph.D. and DNP students are educated together.

What financial aid can I get for nursing programs in Tennessee?

Nurses may be able to offset some of the cost of their nursing education programs through federal, state, institution, or grants and private nursing scholarships in Tennessee. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants are awards that you do not need to pay back. Keep in mind that if you plan to work in a designated nursing shortage area, you may be able to apply for nursing scholarships in Tennessee that are designed to provide such support.

Here are some examples of financial aid you may be able to apply for if you meet qualifying criteria, such as being a resident of Tennessee.

  • The Tennessee Nurses Association offers a number of scholarships to its members such as the RN-to-BSN scholarship.
  • The Alumni National Merit Scholarship can be awarded to a national merit finalist who chooses the University of Tennessee, Knoxville as a first-choice for education.
  • Female nursing students may apply for the Cheryl Dant Hennesy FFA Scholarship which may be awarded to candidates who demonstrate financial need and personal motivation to earn an associate or bachelor's degree in nursing.
  • The Ruby A. Brown Memorial Scholarship is primarily available to East Tennessee residents who are either looking to start a nursing career in public health or continue their education if they are already current public health nurses.

Students are encouraged to explore more options online or at their college office.

What do I need to know about nursing certification in Tennessee?

The Tennessee Board of Nursing is authorized to license Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) under the following roles:

  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nurse anesthetists
  • Nurse midwives
  • Clinical nurse specialists

To practice their profession, APRNS need to have a current nursing license, a graduate degree in a nursing specialty area from a Board-approved nursing program, three-quarter hours of pharmacology, national certification and evidence of specialized practitioner skills. Those who do not meet pharmacology requirements may not be given prescriptive authority.

National certifications that the Tennessee Nursing Board approves can be those accredited by national accrediting organizations such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

Do I need a nursing license in Tennessee? How do I apply for it?

Yes. The Tennessee Board of Nursing works under the Department of Health to safeguard public health by making sure that nurses who practice in the state of Tennessee are qualified and fully equipped to practice their profession. This is done through the nursing licensure process. Every Tennessee nurse needs to pass the National Licensing Examination (NCLEX) to obtain a nursing license. Licenses need to be renewed every two years. This can be done online, 60 days prior to expiration.

Continuing education requirements

License renewal may require RNs to maintain evidence that can demonstrate proof of competence such as a satisfactory employer or peer evaluation, a document that identifies two nursing goals and how these were met, satisfactory completion of a Board-approved refresher course, and/or certificate or evidence of 5 contact hours of continuing education.

APRNs generally need to maintain national certification, obtain two contact hours of continuing education related to controlled substance prescribing practices with Tennessee chronic pain guidelines, and meet at least one of the proof of competencies required for RNs.

What can I do with a degree in nursing in Tennessee?

Once you've completed one of the nursing degree programs in Tennessee, you can consider starting or continuing your career in diverse healthcare settings such as hospitals, nursing facilities, clinics, schools, or as a travel nurse.The tables below can help you gain more insights into metropolitan areas where nurses are most needed, and where you might be able to find better prospects for Tennessee nursing careers. Keep in mind that if you should choose to work in a designated nursing shortage area, you may be able to apply for nursing scholarships in Tennessee that award such services.

CareerTotal Employment
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses25,360
Nurse Anesthetists2,680
Nurse Midwives40
Nurse Practitioners7,850
Nursing Assistants29,200
Registered Nurses63,330
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,

CareerAnnual Mean WageBottom 10% Annual WageTop 10% Annual Wage
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses$41,270$32,020$51,320
Nurse Anesthetists$157,070$123,200$200,480
Nurse Midwives$90,070$54,640$116,370
Nurse Practitioners$96,510$61,900$128,460
Nursing Assistants$27,250$20,650$35,790
Registered Nurses$62,570$44,180$81,450
2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,


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