Nursing is ideal for energetic individuals who enjoy helping others and who thrive under pressure. The healthcare field is growing rapidly, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 15% job growth for registered nurses by 2026. Tennessee needs more nurses to address issues such as an aging population, an increasing number of people living with chronic conditions, and soaring healthcare costs. Nurses also alleviate the stress on Tennessee’s healthcare system caused by a shortage of primary care doctors.
Those looking for a nursing school online will find numerous nursing schools in Tennessee. Online RN to BSN programs in Tennessee are ideal for practicing nurses who want to grow their skillset and increase their earning potential. To earn your degree quickly, consider accelerated nursing programs in Tennessee. Regardless of the type of online nursing degree you earn, Tennessee presents ample employment opportunities, so you can quickly put your knowledge into practice.
How to Become a Nurse in Tennessee
After earning a degree from one of the nursing schools in Tennessee, the process for becoming a nurse is similar to that in other states. Nurses in all states must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to receive their license. Unique aspects of earning a nursing license in Tennessee include licensing costs and procedures.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
The minimum degree required to become a nurse is an associate degree in nursing (ADN). ADN holders are qualified to take the licensing test required to become a registered nurse. Those interested in earning a bachelor’s in nursing should consider online BSN programs in Tennessee. Most registered nurses earn at least a bachelor’s in nursing, and many advanced nurses need a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). To teach nursing to college students, you will need the highest degree in nursing: a doctor of nursing practice (DNP).
Earn Your Nursing Degree
Students interested in earning an online nursing degree should research online RN programs in Tennessee. Most nursing schools in Tennessee have prerequisites, such as undergraduate coursework in anatomy and medical terminology. Most Tennessee nursing schools require a clinical internship, fellowship, or practicum, which students typically complete at a local healthcare facility. Program completion time depends on the specific degree; most students require four years to earn a BSN, but some programs offer an accelerated path that takes 12 to 20 months.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
The amount of time needed to study for the NCLEX varies by individual. The NCLEX costs $200. You will have six hours to complete the RN exam or five hours to complete the PN exam. Online nursing degree programs prepare students for the exam, but practice tests and exam-specific studies are recommended. Earning a nursing license does not guarantee a job, but it does qualify graduates for positions.
Nursing Licensure in Tennessee
To get your nursing license in Tennessee, you first need to earn a nursing degree. ADN and BSN programs in Tennessee are available online. These online nursing degrees qualify you to take the NCLEX-RN, after which you may practice as an RN.
To become an advanced practice nurse, you will need an advanced degree from one of the nursing schools in Tennessee. Advanced degree program options include doctor of nursing practice programs and online MSN programs in Tennessee. Advanced practice nurses must earn nursing licensure and national certification.
Nursing Licensing Costs in Tennessee
Exam Fee $100
Endorsement Fee $115
Renewal Fee $100
Career Outlook for Nurses in Tennessee
Tennessee offers a variety of nursing career options, but the most popular occupation is general registered nurse. Tennessee’s high rates of chronic disease increase demand for registered nurses. Because Tennessee faces a major shortage of primary care doctors, advanced practice nurses, who take on some duties traditionally performed by doctors, are in high demand and earn high salaries.
Nurse practitioners have advanced clinical training and are authorized to perform many tasks traditionally allocated to primary care doctors. In Tennessee, nurse practitioners earn a mean wage of $45.09 per hour, and Tennessee’s percentage of nurse practitioners is higher than most states. Nursing schools in Tennessee offer online nursing degrees for aspiring nurse practitioners.
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Biggest Hospitals in Tennessee
The type, number, and quality of hospitals impacts job prospects for recent graduates of online nursing degree programs. States with more large hospitals tend to have more job openings for nurses. Additionally, hospitals provide opportunities for fellowships and internships for nursing students. Two of Tennessee’s largest hospital systems are detailed below.
- Vanderbilt University Medical Center: VUMC serves more than 1.6 million patients each year and employs 19,600 workers. Consistently ranked as one of the top hospitals in the country, VUMC is among the top ten grant awardees for medical research from the National Institutes of Health. Vanderbilt offers many opportunities to students and trainees, with 2,555 students pursuing health sciences degrees in the hospital system.
- The University of Tennessee Medical Center: UT’s 609-bed hospital in Knoxville serves as the region’s academic medical center. The hospital has a level-one trauma center and the area’s only heart hospital and transplant center. Annually, the medical center serves more than 27,734 admissions and more than 82,000 emergency room visits.
Additional Nursing Resources in Tennessee
Tennessee Nurses Association
TNA has been a voice for professional nursing in Tennessee since 1905. The association advances the nursing profession, encourages future nursing leaders, and improves healthcare in the state. TNA’s website offers RNs continuing education resources, event information, details about healthcare-related legislation, and a career center.
Tennessee Action Coalition
TAC advances nurse leadership in Tennessee through initiatives such as regional nurse leadership programs, student engagement, legislative bootcamps, and a nursing workforce symposium. The organization’s website offers resources for nurses and student nurses, including webinars and coalition reports.
Tennessee Student Nurses Association
TSNA offers resources for students at nursing schools in Tennessee. Membership is open to students preparing for initial licensure and to RNs enrolled in bachelor’s completion programs. The group organizes an annual conference, has student committees, and offers educational resources on its website.
Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Association
This organization increases the visibility and credibility of nurse practitioners within the Tennessee healthcare community. Its website offers a directory of nurse practitioners in the state, a career center, and recent news. Membership includes networking opportunities and workshop discounts.
Tennessee State Council Emergency Nurses Association
Tennessee ENA represents nurses in Tennessee, provides leadership in the field, and is committed to the advancement of emergency nursing. Its website offers resources for emergency nurses, including links, news, and information from meetings.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Tennessee