Becoming a Nurse in Tennessee
In order to become a nurse in Tennessee, there are certain credentials that need to be earned. The Tennessee State Nursing Board distributes professional nursing licenses to students in the Volunteer State. In order to prepare students for their Tennessee nursing license and for a career in nursing, nursing schools in Tennessee must meet the board's requirements for approval.
Online nursing programs in TN offer opportunities for students to begin their nursing careers by gaining their licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licenses or certified nurse aid (CNA) certificates.
In May 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) outlined salaries for the different types of nurses. There were 62,250 RNs, 11,360 nurse practitioners (NPs), and 22,780 LPNs employed in the state. RNs make a mean annual wage of $66,680, whereas the amount is $95,120 for NPs and $43,620 for LPNs.
There are various types of nursing degrees and nursing certifications, depending on the education a student has already achieved. Options range from associate degrees (ADN) all the way up to a master's in nursing degree (MSN). This article is designed to cover all the online nursing programs in Tennessee while providing details on application requirements and renewals.
Nursing Degrees by State
How To Get CNA Certification in Tennessee
To work as a CNA in Tennessee, candidates must be certified and registered with the Tennessee Nurse Aide Registry. In the Volunteer State, individuals must complete an approved CNA education program and apply for registration within 24 months. The individual must pass an exam — which is part skills assessment, part written exam — and apply for registration with the Tennessee Department of Health. After the individual passes the exam, they will be registered with the state's nurse aide registry.
CNA Certification Renewals
Nurse aides may view their certification status through the Tennessee Department of Health's website or by calling the department. Every two years, CNAs in Tennessee must recertify in order to stay on the registry. Recertification does not require a fee, but CNAs must prove that they worked at least one shift of eight hours or more in the past two years in order to qualify.
How To Get an LPN License in Tennessee
After completing an online LPN program in TN, students can apply for their licenses. LPN licenses require a similar application process to obtaining an RN license in the state. Tennessee nursing licenses for LPNs require that applicants already hold a license in another state and apply by endorsement, or they can apply through the examination process. Students must submit to a criminal background check and fingerprinting six weeks before graduation and register with Pearson VUE for the PN-version of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) two weeks before graduation from an approved LPN training program. The NCLEX-PN fee for LPNs is $100.
Students must then graduate and apply for their licensure by sending their official transcripts (unopened) from the school to the board. The fee to retake the exam is $110, and the fee to apply by endorsement is $115.
LPN License Renewals
Individuals must renew their LPN licenses every two years, and the cost to renew is $100. LPNs who require reinstatement of their licenses must pay a prorated fee of $200.
How To Get an RN License in Tennessee
Online RN programs in Tennessee are designed to prepare students for obtaining licensure. There are also online LPN to RN programs in TN that provide an alternative path to licensure.
In order to obtain a Tennessee nursing license, individuals must either have an RN license in another state or take an exam. Students applying for a Tennessee RN license by examination must submit to a criminal background check as well as fingerprinting six weeks before their graduation date from an approved nursing program. Two weeks before their graduation date, they must register with Pearson Vue for their NCLEX and pay their exam fee, which is $100. Retake exam fees are $110.
After graduation, students must offer their official transcripts to the board and upload proof of their citizenship, a form of government ID, and a declaration of their citizenship. After passing the NCLEX, their nursing licenses will be mailed to them. Individuals who choose to apply by endorsement must pay $115.
RN License Renewals
RNs must renew their licenses every two years in Tennessee, and the fee for license renewal is $100. As a reminder, the administration office of the Tennessee Nursing Board sends a renewal notice to RNs at least 45 days before their licenses expire.
How To Get an APRN License in Tennessee
To become an APRN in Tennessee, candidates must hold an advanced nursing degree at the master's level or higher. Applicants must also have an active Tennessee RN license and certification in an APRN specialty through a certifying body, such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB), or the National Certification Corporation (NCC). It is also possible to obtain a Tennessee RN license and a Tennessee APRN license at the same time.
To apply, the candidate must have official transcripts sent directly to the board, fill out the online application, and provide their official national certification number as well as their declaration of citizenship. Finally, they must upload a copy of their RN license and submit it to a criminal background check. The fee for the APRN application in Tennessee is $210.
APRN License Renewals
APRN license holders must renew their licenses every two years, and license renewal requires a fee of $110. Nurses who work in Tennessee do not have to complete any continuing education hours in order to renew their licenses. However, licenses must be renewed each year.