Find a nursing school near you

Programs include LPN/LVN, ADN, BSN, MSN, and more

Registered nurses (RNs) play a crucial role in healthcare. RNs independently administer many healthcare activities, and they often oversee a team of licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants. Aspiring RNs must complete a prelicensure degree program in professional nursing and successfully pass the NCLEX-RN national exam to gain licensure.

Prelicensure programs in Tennessee
Nursing students can select one of three prelicensure pathways in Tennessee: a two-year associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), or a direct-entry master of science in nursing (MSN). The ADN pathway provides the fastest route to initial RN licensure, although many ADN graduates later return to school part-time to earn their BSN degree. Tennessee is home to twenty state-approved ADN programs and 25 prelicensure BSN programs. The state also has a handful of direct-entry MSN programs, which enable bachelor’s degree-holders from non-nursing fields to gain RN licensure efficiently.

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Registered nursing careers in Tennessee
Major Tennessee nursing employers like Tenet Health are frequently hiring newly minted RNs. Outsourced placement firms like MedPro Staffing actively recruit RNs for many of the state’s smaller healthcare providers. The state’s 58,000 RNs earn a competitive median annual salary of $56,000. BSN-educated nurses typically earn top-quartile pay of $66,000 or more annually. MSN-educated nurses can earn $75,000-135,000 per year, depending upon their chosen field of specialization.

To help Tennessee’s aspiring RNs select the best school, we have profiled all of the state’s prelicensure programs. You’ll find them ordered below by their students’ recent performance on the NCLEX exam.

Featured Schools

Chattanooga

Chattanooga State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Southern Adventist University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Chattanooga State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.8% 2009 to 2012
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.8% 2009 to 2012
Southern Adventist University
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.8% 2009 to 2012

Knoxville

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Direct Entry MSN: 100.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2010)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Pellissippi State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.6% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2012)
South College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Roane State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 94.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Tennessee Wesleyan University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
School Program NCLEX score Time period
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Direct Entry MSN 100.0% 2009 to 2010
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.9% 2009 to 2012
Pellissippi State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.6% 2012 to 2012
South College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.6% 2009 to 2012
Roane State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 94.6% 2009 to 2012
Tennessee Wesleyan University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 93.5% 2009 to 2012

Memphis

Southwest Tennessee Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2011)
  • Direct Entry MSN: 92.1% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
University of Memphis
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Baptist College of Health Sciences
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Concorde Career College - Memphis
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Southwest Tennessee Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 98.8% 2009 to 2012
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.0% 2009 to 2011
Direct Entry MSN 92.1% 2011 to 2012
University of Memphis
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 95.5% 2009 to 2012
Baptist College of Health Sciences
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 94.6% 2009 to 2012
Concorde Career College - Memphis
Associate's Degree in Nursing

Nashville

Middle Tennessee State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 96.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Belmont University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Trevecca Nazarene University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 94.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Vanderbilt University
  • Direct Entry MSN: 93.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Columbia State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 93.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Cumberland University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 86.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Tennessee State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 83.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 81.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Nashville State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 80.0% NCLEX pass rate (2012 through 2012)
Lipscomb University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 78.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Fortis Institute - Nashville
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Middle Tennessee State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 96.4% 2009 to 2012
Belmont University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 95.8% 2009 to 2012
Trevecca Nazarene University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 94.4% 2009 to 2012
Vanderbilt University
Direct Entry MSN 93.8% 2009 to 2012
Columbia State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 93.0% 2009 to 2012
Cumberland University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 86.1% 2009 to 2012
Tennessee State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 83.1% 2009 to 2012
Associate's Degree in Nursing 81.9% 2009 to 2012
Nashville State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 80.0% 2012 to 2012
Lipscomb University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 78.3% 2009 to 2012
Fortis Institute - Nashville
Associate's Degree in Nursing

Other Tennessee cities

Austin Peay State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 98.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Motlow State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 98.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Union University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 97.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Lincoln Memorial University
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 96.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 93.5% NCLEX pass rate (2011 through 2012)
University of Tennessee at Martin
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Cleveland State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Tennessee Technological University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 95.7% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Jackson State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 95.2% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Dyersburg State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.8% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Carson-Newman University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.5% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Northeast State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 91.4% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Bethel University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 91.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
King University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 90.6% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
East Tennessee State University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.3% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Milligan College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 89.0% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Martin Methodist College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing: 88.9% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Walters State Community College
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing: 88.1% NCLEX pass rate (2009 through 2012)
Freed-Hardeman University
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Tusculum College
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
School Program NCLEX score Time period
Austin Peay State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 98.6% 2009 to 2012
Motlow State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 98.4% 2009 to 2012
Union University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 97.0% 2009 to 2012
Lincoln Memorial University
Associate's Degree in Nursing 96.4% 2009 to 2012
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 93.5% 2011 to 2012
University of Tennessee at Martin
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 95.9% 2009 to 2012
Cleveland State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.7% 2009 to 2012
Tennessee Technological University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 95.7% 2009 to 2012
Jackson State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 95.2% 2009 to 2012
Dyersburg State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.8% 2009 to 2012
Carson-Newman University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.5% 2009 to 2012
Northeast State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 91.4% 2009 to 2012
Bethel University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 91.3% 2009 to 2012
King University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 90.6% 2009 to 2012
East Tennessee State University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.3% 2009 to 2012
Milligan College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 89.0% 2009 to 2012
Martin Methodist College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing 88.9% 2009 to 2012
Walters State Community College
Associate's Degree in Nursing 88.1% 2009 to 2012
Freed-Hardeman University
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Tusculum College
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
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