Tennessee Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide

The following guide to nursing schools in Tennessee is designed to provide you with important information on the many undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, including profiles of several, in the state. Students pursuing a nursing degree in Tennessee have a full range of concentrations from which to choose, including pediatric nurse practitioner, nurse midwifery, nurse administration, nurse educator, women’s health nurse practitioner, and adult gerontology nurse practitioner. Some colleges and universities in Tennessee, including Vanderbilt University, feature nursing programs that can be completed entirely online. Numerous schools also offer programs that allow students to earn a bachelor’s or a master’s in nursing online.

Nursing Program Stats

  • 17 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • 29 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • 17 colleges and universities offer a master’s or advanced degree in nursing.
  • 5 schools ranked in US News Best Nursing Graduate Schools in 2017 for Master’s in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs: Belmont University (#157, MSN; #127, DNP), East Tennessee State University (#115, MSN; #81, DNP), University of Memphis (#209, MSN; DNP not ranked), University of Tennessee-Knoxville (#48, MSN; #68, DNP), Vanderbilt University (#15, MSN; #11, DNP).

Institution-Wide Facts

  • Highest graduation rate: Vanderbilt University 92%.1
  • Highest transfer-out rate: Cumberland University 43%.1
  • Highest net price: Belmont University $32,672.1
  • Lowest net price: Southwest Tennessee Community College $4,375.1
  • Annual undergrad tuition range for schools in Tennessee with a bachelor’s in nursing program: $8,830 – $30,581.2

Following you will find more in-depth information regarding associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s in nursing programs offered by Tennessee’s colleges and universities.

NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in Tennessee

The following table allows you to easily compare not-for-profit Tennessee nursing schools on a variety of factors. Click on the arrows in the top row to sort the table. In addition to seeking a program that leads to licensure in your desired area of nursing, it’s advisable to consider accreditation as a factor in your decision. If you are considering education beyond the associate’s level, know that a degree from a school that holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a common requirement for admission to master’s degree, ADN/LVN and RN to BSN, and specialized certificate programs. You should also check to ensure that the school you are considering is approved or accepted by the Tennessee Board of Nursing (https://www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-professional-boards/nursing-board/nursing-board/about.html).

SchoolADN or LVN ProgramBSN ProgramGraduate Nursing ProgramACEN/CCNE Accred.*NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate**# TakingNCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate^# TakingNet Price^^
Austin Peay State UniversityNoYesYesACENN/AN/A92%90$12,081
Baptist College of Health SciencesNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A89%143$9,096
Belmont UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A83%126$32,672
Bethel UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A100%13$17,662
Carson Newman UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A90%40$16,662
Chattanooga State Community CollegeYesNoNoACEN78%10497%158$7,638
Christian Brothers UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/AN/AN/A$15,556
Cleveland State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A82%68$4,797
Columbia State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A87%92$6,465
Cumberland UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A81%114$17,118
Dyersburg State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A88%85$5,855
East Tennessee State UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A88%182$14,646
Excelsior CollegeYesYesYesNoN/AN/A77%31N/A
Freed-Hardeman UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A78%18$16,754
Jackson State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A96%89$8,987
King UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A73%49$18,504
Lee UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/AN/AN/A$18,139
Lincoln Memorial University (ADN)YesYesYesACENN/AN/A91%119$15,791
Lincoln Memorial University (BSN)YesYesYesACENN/AN/A91%86$15,791
Lipscomb UniversityNoYesNoACENN/AN/A93%68$24,222
Marian UniversityNoYesNoNoN/AN/A90%51N/A
Martin Methodist CollegeNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A54%48$23,560
Middle Tennessee State UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A87%106$11,000
Milligan CollegeNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A87%31$19,460
Motlow State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A93%55$8,307
Nashville State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A100%30$4,776
Northeast State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A87%68$6,401
Pellissippi State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A89%74$7,235
Roane State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A91%82$9,150
Southern Adventist UniversityYesYesYesACENN/AN/A82%175$20,614
Southwest Tennessee Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A75%61$4,375
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-AthensYesNoNoNo86%37N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-CrossvilleYesNoNoNo92%38N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-DicksonYesNoNoNo93%89N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-ElizabethtonYesNoNoNo90%111N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-HarrimanYesNoNoNo89%36N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-HartsvilleYesNoNoNo86%50N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-HohenwaldYesNoNoNo87%55N/AN/A$10,437
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-KnoxvilleYesNoNoNo93%109N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-LivingstonYesNoNoNo86%80N/AN/A$4,726
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-MemphisYesNoNoNo78%54N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-MorristownYesNoNoNo89%70N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-MurfreesboroYesNoNoNo78%55N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-NashvilleYesNoNoNo85%84N/AN/AN/A
Tennessee College of Applied Technology-ParisYesNoNoNo96%67N/AN/A$7,519
Tennessee State University (ADN)YesYesYesACENN/AN/A73%81$9,604
Tennessee State University (BSN)YesYesYesACENN/AN/A78%40$9,604
Tennessee Technological UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A95%108$14,518
Tennessee Wesleyan UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A89%55$10,754
Treveca Nazarene UniversityNoYesNoCCNEN/AN/A82%17$17,156
Tusculum CollegeNoYesYesNoN/AN/A50%26$18,385
Union UniversityNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A95%138$25,166
University of MemphisNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A85%267$13,154
University of Tennessee-ChattanoogaNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A88%68$13,224
University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleNoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A89%132$19,960
University of Tennessee-Health Science Center (BSN)NoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A100%33N/A
University of Tennessee-Health Science Center (MSN)NoYesYesCCNEN/AN/A100%1N/A
University of Tennessee-MartinNoYesNoACENN/AN/A100%33$8,288
Vanderbilt University (MSN)NoNoYesCCNEN/AN/A94%137$22,937
Walters State Community CollegeYesNoNoACENN/AN/A90%112$4,829

*The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits ADN/ASN/BSN programs. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits BSN/MSN/DNP programs.4,5
**NCLEX-PN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.6 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
^NCLEX-RN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016.6 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
^^The National Center for Education Statistics calculates net price from the total estimated cost of attendance, including includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses, for in-state students minus the average financial aid award (such as grants and scholarships).

Schools in Tennessee with Nursing Degrees

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Associate’s in Nursing Programs

Chattanooga State Community College
Chattanooga State Community College offers several programs that lead to an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (AASN). In addition to daytime and nighttime programs for prospective nurses pursuing first-time RN licensure, the school offers LPN to RN and Paramedic to RN transition programs with accelerated tracks. All RN programs at Chattanooga State Community College are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and qualify graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Admission to these programs is competitive and is based in part on academic success in prerequisite and general education courses and scores on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS).

Southwest Tennessee Community College
Southwest Tennessee Community College’s Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree program offers two tracks to completion: a generic track for first-time students and an LPN Mobility Track for those who are currently licensed practical nurses. Classes are primarily held on the school’s Union Avenue Campus in Memphis. Typical courses in the program include Mental Health Nursing, Dosages and Solutions, and Management in Nursing. Students also complete clinical practice in a variety of healthcare settings. Spaces in the program are limited and there is a competitive admissions process. The AAS in Nursing program at Southwest is approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing and holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs

Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University confers the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to students who successfully complete the four-year, 120 credit program. Students enter the nursing program in the junior year and will take 59 credits in the nursing major to fulfill degree requirements. Graduates of the program meet eligibility requirements to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Students may be eligible for departmental scholarships and scholarships awarded by the National Student Nurses Association. Registered nurses, who already hold an associate’s degree in nursing, may opt for the nursing department’s RN to BSN program.

Tennessee Tech University
Tennessee Tech University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program requires students to complete all prerequisite and general coursework in the first two years of the program. Students then apply to the nursing major and are chosen largely based on their grade point average. The nursing curriculum spans two years and consists of coursework, labs, and clinical practicums. Nursing students may want to join such campus organizations as the TTU Student Nurses Association or, if academically eligible, the Iota Beta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society for nursing students. Graduates of the BSN program are eligible to sit for National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

Marian University at St. Thomas Health
Marian University at St. Thomas Health in Nashville offers an online Accelerated BSN (ABSN) program designed to allow students who have a bachelor’s degree in subjects other than nursing to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing in 16 months of study. Prior to enrollment, students must have completed the ABSN prerequisites. After enrollment, students will complete 64 credits in professional nursing courses touching on nursing theory and skills practice, including hands-on clinical labs and 750 hours of hospital clinical rotations. The four-semester program combines eight and 16-week courses in such topics as Maternity Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, Pediatric Nursing, and nursing research. Marian University’s accelerated nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Master’s in Nursing Programs

University of Tennessee
Graduate students pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) at the University of Tennessee have a full menu of concentrations from which to choose, including nurse anesthetist, nursing administration, adult health, family nurse practitioner, global disaster nursing, pediatric nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse clinical specialist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and psychiatric clinical specialist. Minors are also available in gerontology, education, and statistics. Students with a minor must complete an additional three courses to fulfill degree requirements. All graduate students, regardless of the concentration, must complete both core and advanced practice core courses in theoretical foundations in nursing, nursing research, physical assessment, clinical pharmacology, and pathophysiology for nursing practice.

Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program features 15 concentrations in areas including adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, emergency nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, nursing informatics, and women’s health nurse practitioner. Students may also opt for the online MSN in health systems management or may pursue a dual concentration in women’s health nurse practitioner and adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. Both full-time and part-time study are permitted. Some concentrations offer a hybrid format with both online and in classroom classes. All graduate students complete nine credits of core courses and an additional 25 credits in concentration-specific classes. Applicants must already possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), must hold a current registered nurse’s license, and must submit GRE scores.

Student Reviews

Note: Student Reviews are based on the experiences of a few individuals and it is unlikely that you will have similar results. Please review the “Data, Student Reviews and Other Information” section in our Terms of Use and Disclaimers.

Baptist College of Health Sciences
1003 Monroe Ave
Memphis, TN 38104
(901) 575-2247

Student Review: “Nursing school is one of the hardest things I have ever endured. I started my journey two years ago in a nursing class called Basic Skills. Basic Skills for me felt a lot like basic training in the military, it’s where you learn the foundations of nursing practice. You learn how to make beds, give bed baths, administer medication, Foley catheter insertion, and other skills like dressing wounds. Don’t let the word “basic” fool you: this class was not easy. At the beginning of the course, our professor told us to look to our right and then to our left. She said to remember that the person sitting on either side may or may not be at our graduation After preparing and searching high and low I typed out my appeal letter with the evidence that these test questions were reasonably, especially since they were not consistent among the other courses. As a nurse, I will have to advocate for patients that have way bigger battles and fears than I have ever had to face. He wanted to know that I would not give up even if it seemed impossible, even if I was scared or doubtful I did it my best.” – Student at Baptist College of Health Sciences

East Tennessee State University
1276 Gilbreath Dr
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-1000

Student Review: “ETSU was a very challenging program. The classes required extensive and exhaustive studying, and the professors were extremely demanding. I felt that there were many instances of unfair expectations on their part but was able to pass classes with good grades nonetheless. I appreciate the challenge now that I am a nurse but do feel strongly that better organization of the classes would benefit the students. I truly enjoyed the expansive clinicals that I attended and feel like they taught me more than any of my classes did. I also think that being a member of the very supportive Student Nurse Association was a great benefit to me. Overall, I am happy with my choice to attend ETSU CoN but do not feel as though I was prepared as well as many of my colleagues.” – Student at East Tennessee State University

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report Best Nursing Grad Schools Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-nursing-schools
3. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges/
4. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
5. Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): https://directory.ccnecommunity.org/reports/accprog.asp
6. Tennessee Board of Nursing: https://www.ncsbn.org/Tennessee.htm