Registered Nurse Schools in Tennessee with Program Overviews

Jul 24, 2019

Tennessee has more than 40 colleges that offer registered nursing programs. Learn about the degree programs, tuition info and program options for the ten largest schools to make an informed education decision.

Essential Information

There are a lot of schools in Tennessee that offer nursing programs that qualify students to take the licensing examination required to become a registered nurse (RN). Such programs lead to the award of associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees; higher level programs allow for career advancement into specializations, supervisory positions, or work as a nurse practitioner. All nursing programs incorporate clinical and/or practicum requirements.

Below are brief overviews of the largest schools registered nursing degree programs, along with a table comparing each school's offerings and tuition information.


Austin Peay State University

Austin Peay State University's 200-acre campus is located in Clarksville. The School of Nursing offers several programs, all of which prepare students for the licensure examination. Options include a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, an RN to BSN program for licensed nurses who wish to earn a degree and a master's degree program in nursing. Students in the nursing program need to complete 30 hours or more of prerequisite and general education classes before starting core classes. Students are also required to complete clinicals in local acute-care and community-based medical sites.

East Tennessee State University

Graduates from the bachelor's degree program at East Tennessee State University, located in Johnson City, are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam, become licensed and start working as an RN. The school's BSN program offers several program options, including a traditional 4-year degree program, a program for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to become RNs, an RN to BSN program and an accelerated degree program for students with a degree in a different field. Students have access to several resources to support them during their nursing education, including a learning resource center, clinical skills lab and a simulation lab, which imitates real medical scenarios. Nursing students have the opportunity to become class officers or join organizations such as Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the Student Nurses Association.

Middle Tennessee State University

Murfreesboro-based Middle Tennessee State University's School of Nursing offers a 4-year BSN program in addition to an RN to BSN program, an LPN to BSN program and several master's degree options. Entry into the nursing program is competitive. Students are required to maintain at least a 2.8 grade point average during their first 3 semesters of general education courses and nursing program prerequisites. The curriculum combines classes in nursing theory with hands-on clinical experience. It is designed to help students develop critical thinking skills, professional leadership skills and a firm foundation in practical nursing skills. The nursing school has several simulation labs that imitate real-life medical situations, allowing students to gain hands-on experience and develop key decision making and critical thinking skills.

Pelllissippi State Community College

The nursing program at Pellissippi State Community College, located in Knoxville, is designed to prepare students to take the NCLEX-RN exam and gain an entry-level job as an RN. The 2-year, 66-credit associate's degree program combines general education courses in algebra, English and public speaking, with core courses such as anatomy and physiology and nursing fundamentals. The college's Placement Office helps students with job searching by offering help with job placement, employment counseling and seminars in resume writing and interviewing strategies.

Southwest Tennessee Community College

Southwest Tennessee Community College, in Memphis, has a 65-credit associate's degree program in nursing. The curriculum combines courses in anatomy and physiology, nutrition and math with core nursing classes such as adult health, family nursing, pediatric nursing and clinical experience. Before graduates can be eligible to apply for RN licensure, they must take an NCLEX-RN review course. The college's Career Services Department offers job postings, career fairs and informative seminars to help prepare students for getting a job after graduation.

Tennessee State University

The Division of Nursing at Tennessee State University, located in Nashville, offers several degree programs for aspiring nurses. The 4-semester associate's degree program combines 24 semester hours of general education classes with 36 semester hours of core classes in nursing and biology. It prepares students for the NCLEX-RN exam and gives them the skills needed to work as a nurse. The 4-year BSN program teaches students about core nursing concepts and prepares them with the skills needed to analyze health problems, effectively care for patients and communicate with patients and health professionals.

Tennessee Technological University

The 4-year bachelor's degree program at Tennessee Technical University in Cookeville prepares its students to work as generalist nurses. Students in the traditional BSN program spend their first 2 years completing general education requirements. The last 2 years are spent completing clinicals and taking core nursing courses such as pediatric nursing, medical-surgical nursing and mental health nursing. After graduation, the university also offers a 3-day, on campus review program. Students have the option of attending school part-time during the first 2 years; however, once they begin completing core nursing requirements, students must be prepared to go to school full-time. The school also offers an RN to BSN program and a master's degree program in nursing.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, based in Chattanooga, offers small classes and clinical groups, enabling students to get individual attention while gaining the skills needed to work as a nurse. Graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam or go on to graduate study in the school's master's degree program. The school has a state-of-the-art simulation lab and boasts an overall NCLEX pass rate of 100 percent. In addition to its traditional BSN program, the School of Nursing also has master's and doctorate degree programs.

The University of Tennessee Knoxville

Graduates from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville's School of Nursing can expect to have a strong foundation in leadership skills and clinical abilities. The bachelor's degree program places an emphasis on maintaining, promoting and restoring health, integrating themes such as diversity, compassion and holism to prepare students to work as caring, skilled professionals. In addition to its bachelor's degree program, the university also has an accelerated BSN program for students with a bachelor's degree in a different field, an RN to BSN program for students with a diploma or associate's degree in nursing, and several post-graduate programs.

University of Memphis

The Loewenberg School of Nursing at Memphis-based University of Memphis, offers a learner-centered environment It has a bachelor's degree program to prepare students for becoming licensed RNs, as well as a master's degree program with several concentrations, including family nurse practitioner, nursing administration and nursing informatics. The BSN program prepares its graduates with strong decision-making and leadership skills and the ability to use the latest research and technology to improve patient care and health outcomes.

Career Requirements

The Tennessee Board of Nursing requires that registered nurses (RNs) graduate from an approved school of nursing before they can be eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) for state licensure.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type & Setting Registered Nurse Programs Offered Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Austin Peay State University 4-year; public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing
$8,159 (in-state undergraduate),*
$23,399 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$9,345 (in-state graduate),*
$21,927 (out-of-state graduate)*
East Tennessee State University 4-year; public; small city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
$8,935 (in-state undergraduate),*
$27,199 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$10,315 (in-state graduate),*
$25,453(out-of-state graduate)*
Middle Tennessee State University 4-year; public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Professional Science,
Master of Science in Nursing
$8,858 (in-state undergraduate),*
$27,098 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$9,864 (in-state graduate),*
$24,876 (out-of-state graduate)*
Pellissippi State Community College 2-year; public; large suburb Associate of Applied Science in Nursing $4,276 (in-state undergraduate),*
$16,564 (out-of-state undergraduate)*
Southwest Tennessee Community College 2-year; public; large city Associate of Applied Science in Nursing $4,255 (in-state undergraduate),*
$16,543 (out-of-state undergraduate)*
Tennessee State University 4-year; public; large city Associate of Applied Science in Nursing,
Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing
$8,792 (in-state undergraduate),*
$21,512 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$11,076 (in-state graduate),*
$22,716 (out-of-state graduate)*
Tennessee Technological University 4-year; public; remote town Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing
$8,731 (in-state undergraduate),*
$24,595 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$11,283 (in-state graduate),*
$25,803 (out-of-state graduate)*
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 4-year; public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
$8,664 (in-state undergraduate),*
$24,782 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$10,020 (in-state graduate),*
$18,084 (out-of-state graduate)*
The University of Tennessee Knoxville 4-year; public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing
$13,006 (in-state undergraduate),*
$31,426 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$13,120 (in-state graduate),*
$31,308 (out-of-state graduate)*
University of Memphis 4-year; public; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing
$9,317 (in-state undergraduate),*
$21,029 (out-of-state undergraduate),*
$10,697 (in-state graduate),*
$19,481 (out-of-state graduate)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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