Tennessee Nursing Schools with Degree Program Overviews

Jul 24, 2019

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

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Essential Information

In Tennessee, aspiring nurses have a variety of schools to choose from, the largest of which are primarily 4-year schools offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in nursing. These schools and a large community college offer students associate's and bachelor's degree programs that prepare them for registered nurse licensure exams. Most of these schools also offer master's and doctoral programs for students interested in advanced practice nursing. Undergraduate degree programs feature classroom work and clinical experience, while graduate degree programs emphasize research and generally require students to select a specific nursing field.

Career Requirements

To become registered nurses in Tennessee, individuals must first become licensed. Prospective RNs need to graduate from approved nursing programs and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Primary qualifications for becoming an advanced practice nurse in Tennessee include completing master's degree programs and passing national certification exams. All programs on this list are accredited and approved by the state to prepare students to sit for their selected certification or licensure exam.


Aquinas College

Nashville's Aquinas College features an associate's degree program that teaches students the fundamentals of nursing, pharmacology, clinical decision making and mental health nursing. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program trains students to care for patients in community health and clinical environments. An accelerated bachelor's degree program is available for practicing RNs. The college has a nursing students association, as well as a nursing honor society. The master's degree and post-master's certificate programs are intended for registered nurses who wish to become nurse and clinical educators.

Austin Peay State University

Austin Peay State University is found in Clarksville and has graduates who have obtained a high NCLEX-RN pass rate. The university has a traditional bachelor's degree program in nursing and an accelerated option for practicing RNs, which is available online. While enrolled in the bachelor's degree program, students are instructed in microbiology, anatomy, concepts of self-care, and adult health. They also participate in clinical experiences. There's also an online post-licensure undergraduate program and an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. Master's degree concentrations include family nurse practitioner, nursing informatics, nursing administration and nursing education.

Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences

Memphis's Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences offers a bachelor's degree program in nursing for pre-licensure students and a completion programs for students who are already licensed RNs. The college has an honor society for nursing that offers membership by invitation only. The nursing program has small classes and offers clinical experiences at local health care facilities. Students learn in a simulation lab and can earn learn online and in the classroom.

Belmont University

Belmont University is found in Nashville and offers three bachelor's degree options for nursing students, including a traditional BSN, an RN-BSN and an accelerated BSN for students with bachelor's degrees in different fields. In addition to nursing courses and clinical experiences, students also complete a senior practicum and capstone course. An MSN program and post-master's program for family nurse practitioners are available here. The post-master's program takes two years, and students can take on-campus classes on weekends, as well as online courses. Belmont also offers two types of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs for students with BSN and master's degrees. Belmont's simulation lab has human patient simulators, bedside computer charting, static mannequins, and digitalized video.

Carson-Newman University

Jefferson City's Carson-Newman University has a bachelor's degree program in nursing with several options. Students can enroll in a traditional BSN program, accelerated program, online RN-BSN program or an ROTC BSN program for students interested in joining the army and learning about military science. The university has a Student Nurses Association and combines practical experience with foundation coursework. The school's MSN program has specializations in family nurse practitioner and nurse educator. A post-master's certificate program is also available.

Chattanooga State Community College

Chattanooga's State Community College offers day and night nursing programs for its associate's degree in nursing. The day program can be completed in four semesters and the night program takes about five semesters. Studies include lifespan psychology, nutrition, and night nursing. Currently licensed practical nurses and paramedics can earn an associate's degree through the school's transition program.

Middle Tennessee State University

Middle Tennessee State University is found in Murfreesboro and offers several nursing programs through its School of Nursing. Students can find a traditional BSN and an RN-BSN program at the undergraduate level along with an MSN program with concentrations in family practice nursing, nurse education, and nursing administration. Post-master's certificate programs include nursing informatics, nursing administration, nursing education and advance practice. Entry into the bachelor's degree program is competitive, and students participate in healthcare research, clinicals, and a capstone course. Other features of the university include simulation labs and a continuing education program.

Tennessee State University

Nashville's Tennessee State University prepares individuals for licensure and employment through its associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs in nursing. Coursework is delivered through real-time video in the classroom and online. Each undergraduate program features an accelerated option for licensed practical nurses (associate's degree program) or RNs (bachelor's degree program). Students in the MSN program choose from concentrations in family nurse practice, nursing education, and holistic nursing.

University of Tennessee

The University of Tennessee is found in Knoxville and is home to eight nursing degree programs, including three bachelor's degree programs for traditional students, students with bachelor's degrees in other fields of study, and students who are licensed RNs. The accelerated bachelor's degree program can be completed in 12 to 18 months. The MSN program has concentrations in five areas, including a nurse anesthesia concentration that has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs. Nursing students interested in becoming educators, researchers or administrators might be interested in the university's PhD program. The institution's professional organizations include the Student Nurses Association and the Minority Student Nurses Association.

Vanderbilt University

Nashville's Vanderbilt University only offers graduate-level programs, including an MSN, Doctor of Nursing Practice and PhD program. Many of these programs feature online courses or other flexible learning options. Students in the MSN program can choose from several concentrations, including family nurse practitioner, palliative care, and women's health nurse. The Ph.D. program is designed for students interested in teaching at a postsecondary level or performing research. A variety of post-master's certificate programs and a postdoctoral program are also available here.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Nursing Degree Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Aquinas College 4-year, primarily associate's, private not-for-profit; large city Associate of Science in Nursing,
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
$25,600 per year**
Austin Peay State University 4-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Family Nurse Practitioner Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing
$8,159 (in-state)*
$23,399 (out-of-state)*
Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing $11,900*
Belmont University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing
$34,310*
Carson-Newman University 4-year, private not-for-profit; small suburb Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Post-Master's Certificate
$27,900*
Chattanooga State Community College 2-year, public; midsize city Associate in Applied Science in Nursing $4,063 (in-state)*
$15,727 (out-of-state)*
Middle Tennessee State University 4-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Post-master's Certificates
$8,858 (in-state)*
$27,098 (out-of-state)*
Tennessee State University 4-year, public; large city Associate in Applied Science in Nursing,
Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing
$8,792 (in-state)*
$21,512 (out-of-state)*
University of Tennessee 4-year, public; midsize city Bachelor of Science in Nursing,
Master of Science in Nursing,
Post-Master's certificates,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Nursing PhD
$13,006 (in-state)*
$31,426 (out-of-state)*
Vanderbilt University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Master of Science in Nursing,
Doctor of Nursing Practice,
Nursing PhD,
Post-Master's certificates
$49,816*

Source: *NCES College Navigator, **School's Website.

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