How To Become A Nurse In Tennessee

Tennessee nursing licenses are issued by the State Board of Nursing under the Tennessee Health Department. The board, created in 1911, is responsible for the licensing, education and practice of registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) in the “Volunteer State.”

Nurses are in demand in Tennessee which, like most other states in the Union, is experiencing a nursing shortage. A projection of nursing supply and demand commissioned by the Tennessee Center of Nursing, funded by Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and conducted by the Tennessee Hospital Association, found that over the next few years, demand will exceed supply. This gap will grow each year with a total shortage of over 9,000 RNs predicted by 2020.

Tennessee Has Most Critical Nursing Shortage of 16-State Area

A similar study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) predicts a much greater nursing shortage for Tennessee. Data extracted from the DHHS report shows that Tennessee is projected to have the most critical shortage of all the 16 states in the Southern Regional Education Education Board (SREB) area by 2020.

The state nursing board also approves nursing programs in Tennessee and only graduates of approved schools of nursing are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), which is required for RNs and LPNs to practice.

There are two major categories of nurses. LPNs can work in a doctor’s office or clinic, long-term care facilities, and hospitals. They must be supervised by either an RN or physician. LPN training is usually a 12-month program through a community or technology center. In Tennessee, LPN programs are based in the Tennessee Technology Centers located throughout the state.

RNs provide and supervise patient care delivery in many healthcare settings and have critical roles in hospitals, clinics, health departments, surgical centers, physician’s practices, long-term care, rehabilitation care, insurance companies, school systems, and employee health in many industrial settings.

Salaries Vary in Different Regions of the State

In Tennessee RN salaries vary with the region of the state where Memphis is the major city in West Tennessee, Nashville the largest in Middle Tennessee and Chattanooga in East Tennessee, The median salary for a registered staff nurse in Memphis is $62,080 a year, $61,298 in Nashville and $61,339 in Chattanooga.

Acute care hospitals pay the best as well as some of the larger hospital groups. Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) based in Nashville, is the largest owner of private health care facilities in the world, operating 162 hospitals in 20 states. Big employers like HCA pay anywhere from $21 to $35 an hour.

There are three educational pathways to becoming a RN: a two-year associate degree through a college or university, a three-year diploma program (usually associated with a hospital), or a four-year baccalaureate degree through a university. In Tennessee, only associate and baccalaureate degree programs are available through many state and private colleges and universities.

Nursing Schools in Tennessee

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Programs:

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Locations: Grand Prairie

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With over 80 years of academic achievements, Jacksonville University is a traditional, longstanding institution consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best colleges.

Programs:

  • RN to BSN (licensed RNs only)

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We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.

Programs:

  • BS in Nursing (RN to BSN)
  • BSN completion program for Registered Nurses is available entirely online.
  • The RN to BSN program is designed to help students advance their career, or prepare for post-graduate opportunities.
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  • Regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

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  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN)

Miller-Motte Technical College (MMTC) has a history of helping students succeed through hands-on education and career training. Our faculty and staff work to ensure that when you've completed your program, you're truly ready to begin your career.

Programs:

  • Medical Assisting - Associate of Applied Science
  • Medical Clinical Assistant - Diploma
Locations: Chattanooga

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Programs:

  • Medical Assisting, Associate of Science
  • Medical Assisting, Diploma
Locations: Murfreesboro
  • Flexible, online and on-campus program available.
  • Capstone projects and clinical practicums that can help prepare students for more career opportunities.
  • Students learn from instructors with experience in the health care field.
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  • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
  • Medical Assisting

The goal of Virginia College lies in its responsibility to its students, the technical and business communities, and the general citizenry. We have a long history of offering new direction to students.

Programs:

  • Medical Assistant Associate's Degree
  • Medical Assistant Diploma
Locations: Chattanooga

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Miller-Motte Technical College (MMTC) has a history of helping students succeed through hands-on education and career training. Our faculty and staff work to ensure that when you’ve completed your program, you’re truly ready to begin your career.

Miller-Motte Technical College (MMTC) will help you choose your ideal career before you get started and assist with real-world employment after you’re done with school. We have a wide range of resources to help you every step of the way. 

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Locations: Chattanooga

Nursing School Locations

East Tennessee State University
807 University Parkway
Johnson City, TN 37604
(423) 439-1000

University of Memphis
3720 Alumni Avenue
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-2000

University of Tennessee
Health Science Center
910 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38163
(901) 448-5500

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
320 Student Services Building
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 774-1000

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