How to Become a Registered Nurse in Tennessee

Tennessee map

Have you ever considered working in the healthcare sector?

A career as a registered nurse might pique your interest.

It’s a highly respected profession and is vital to healthcare.

Registered Nurses (RN) roles are versatile.

They work in hospitals and ambulances and provide care and treatment.

Becoming a registered nurse can be achieved by completing an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

After meeting the educational requirements, you will be required to pass the NCLEX Exam.

5 Registered Nurse Schools in Tennessee

1. Chattanooga State Community College

Chattanooga State Community College Logo

Chattanooga State Community College offers a sought-after associate’s degree in nursing that will enable students to qualify and become registered nurses.

There are two programs.

The day program can be completed in two years and comprises four clinical program courses.

The night program can be completed in two and a half years and includes five clinical program courses.

Graduates of the program are well-prepped for writing the NCLEX RN Licensure to obtain the title of a registered nurse.

This program is unique because it offers a comprehensive day and night curriculum with leadership support and the latest information on practicing as an RN.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) accredited the program.

The total in-state tuition is $8,799.00 per annum.

2. Excelsior College (now University) TN

Excelsior College Logo

Excelsior College (now University) TN offers unique online Nursing Degree programs.

You can earn an associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree in nursing.

The program is conducted online, and depending on the program you choose, the length of the program is counted in credit hours.

These programs help graduates to prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam.

This program is unique because it offers state-of-the-art online tuition and prepares students to excel and meet the challenges and changes in nursing science.

Excelsior University offers affordable, inexpensive nursing degrees to suit the average earner’s budget.

Tuition is charged in-state at $110.00 per credit hour and out-of-state at 355.00 per credit hour.

The rates exclude exam fees and other fees.

The program is accredited, and two types of higher education accreditation have been granted.

Institutional accreditation applies to the entire college or university, and specialization applies to specific departments and programs.

The Middle States Commission has accredited Excelsior University for Higher Education.

3. Nashville State Community College

Nashville State Community College Logo

Nashville State Community College offers a Nursing Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) Degree program.

The program is full-time and comprises 4 semesters.

Graduates do qualify after completing the program to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination.

The theoretical framework of this program makes it unique because it sees the practice of nursing as an art and looks at medicine holistically.

The budget is reviewed annually to keep the costs as low as possible.

The in-state tuition is $199:00 per credit hour.

The associate degree program has received full accreditation from the Tennessee Board of Nursing or Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

4. Jackson State Community College

Jackson State Community College Logo

Jackson State Community College offers an entry-level associate degree program and can continue to the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level.

The course duration is two years and comprises four semesters, with the first semester beginning in the fall.

This nursing program prepares graduates to meet the requirements to pass the NCLEX-RN to begin practicing as an RN.

The nursing faculty offers an excellent curriculum and enables students to keep up with the challenges and demands of nursing science.

The annual tuition at this school is $4,023 for in-state residents.

The Associate Degree of Applied Science in Nursing program is approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education (ACEN).

5. Walters State Community College

Walters State Community College Logo

Walters State Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing.

The program duration is four semesters long and comprises two years.

This program prepares graduates to take the National Council Licensing Exam for Registered Nurses, and once approved, the graduate is eligible to practice nursing in the healthcare profession.

This program looks comprehensive, provides state-of-the-art facilities at affordable prices, and equips graduates with high-quality nursing qualifications that meet international standards.

ACEN currently accredits all nursing programs.

In-state tuition at Walters State Community College is approximately $168.00 per credit hour.

Registered Nurse Schools in Tennessee – Summary Table

Top 5 Schools in Tennessee

School NameAddress
Chattanooga State Community College4501 Amnicola Hwy, Chattanooga, TN 37406
Excelsior College7 Columbia Cir, Albany, NY 12203
Nashville State Community College120 White Bridge Rd, Nashville, TN 37209
Jackson State Community College2046 North Pkwy, Jackson, TN 38301
Walters State Community College500 S Davy Crockett Pkwy, Morristown, TN 37813


Registered nurses working in Nashville, Tennessee, are compensated based on their qualifications and years of experience.

The salary range for an RN, depending on the exact position in this city, is $55,361 to $99,281.

The salary will also depend on the facility that the RN is working in.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of Registered Nurse (RN)s in Tennessee

City NameSalary
Johnson City$57,800
* Salary information last updated 2024

Regional Salary in Tennessee

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Chattanooga, TN-GA5,060$72,330$34.77$81,760$50,680
Clarksville, TN-KY1,450$71,800$34.52$95,040$48,460
Cleveland, TN550$75,810$36.45$94,650$49,660
Jackson, TN2,400$63,690$30.62$78,680$55,490
Johnson City, TN2,360$69,260$33.3$96,450$48,160
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA2,280$67,050$32.24$82,280$48,180
Knoxville, TN7,890$66,540$31.99$80,200$48,790
Memphis, TN-MS-AR12,360$74,450$35.8$101,480$51,550
Morristown, TN540$63,630$30.59$77,220$47,020
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN21,400$77,240$37.13$106,510$53,080
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Registered Nurses, OCC Code 29-1141, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a license to work as a registered nurse in Tennessee?

Yes, you need a license to work as a registered nurse in Tennessee.

The board grants licenses to graduates of approved nursing schools who are permitted to take the NCLEX and pass the exam.

Is being an RN stressful?

This is a very demanding and stressful job.

Is RN a good career choice?


There is a demand for registered nurses across the US.

In addition, the salary is competitive, and there are excellent advancement opportunities.

Is Tennessee a compact state?

Yes, Tennessee is a member of the nurse license compact and is a compact state.

Nurses who hold licenses in other compact states do not require a license to practice there, except if they change their residency.

How long is an RN license valid?

The license is valid for two years.

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