2021 - Best LPN Programs in Tennessee

Last Updated/Verified: Aug 4, 2021

Tennessee ensures safe patient care by licensing health professionals, enforcing standards, and educating the public about quality health care. In order to enter this rewarding career area, individuals can complete one of the state’s approved licensed practical nurse (LPN) programs. The state’s nursing jobs are on the rise according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics prediction—LPN jobs are expected to increase by 9% per year by 2029. Read on to find out how to become an LPN in Tennessee in as little as one year. LPNs in Tennessee earn approximately $19.29 per hour, which equates to an average annual salary of $40,120. This is roughly $6,930 per year less than the national average.

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Are you looking to become a licensed practical nurse in Tennessee? The school you choose is important when it comes to getting your license. Approved programs in Tennessee are offered at community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools - we list 21 schools across the state. After careful review of NCLEX-PN exam first-time pass rates over the past several years, we have ranked the top 10 programs. For more information on our LPN program rankings, see our Methodology page.

To see all the top ranked LPN programs in Tennessee click here.

Details on Tennessee LPN Schools & Classes

With over 15 schools in the state offering LPN programs, prospective students can choose one that suits their needs. Part-time or full-time, day or evening schedules – there is something for just about everyone. A traditional full-time program will take students just about a year to complete, while part-time students will finish in closer to two years. The curriculum of a practical nursing program consists of nursing theory courses, lab skills, and clinical hours. Popular course titles include:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing Care
  • Drug Calculations
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing
  • Maternity and Pediatric Nursing
  • Understanding Medical/Surgical Nursing
  • Nutrition and Diet

Accreditation

Searching for an accredited program is always a smart idea. There are national accrediting agencies such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) that evaluate and endorse practical nursing programs, and smaller regional ones as well. Students are also advised to choose a program that is approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

Admission Requirements

Students should ensure that they are well-qualified for a practical nursing program before applying, as admission can be competitive. Common requirements include:

  • High school graduate or GED completion (transcripts and scores must be submitted)
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses
  • Attending a mandatory program information session may be required
  • Provide immunization records
  • Submit a completed application

Tuition and Costs

Program cost is on the minds of most prospective practical nursing students. Generally, expenses are broken into the following categories: tuition, mandatory school fees, and supplies (textbooks, scrubs, etc.). Transportation and room/board expenses are not usually included in a school’s fees but should be factored into the total cost if applicable. Financial aid is typically available for students who need assistance. As an example, tuition and fees for the LPN program at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Nashville cost an estimated $10,000, which includes books.

For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Tennessee LPN to RN/BSN programs page.

Tennessee LPN Licensing Requirements

Tennessee requires individuals seeking to become an LPN in the state to attend a Board-approved nursing program and pass the NCLEX. Licensed LPNs in Tennessee are required to submit proof of competence within 30 days of a written request by the board, and each licensee must maintain evidence of compliance for 4 years from when the requirements are completed. Acceptable competencies include:

  • Employer evaluation.
  • Peer letter providing evaluation of nursing performance.
  • Patient letter giving evidence of relationship.
  • Nursing Contract renewal.
  • Self-evaluation based on competence standards.
  • Continuing national certification.
  • Documenting 2 nursing goals and how those were met.
  • Letter from an agency where volunteer hours were logged.
  • Teaching documentation from a nursing school
  • Evidence of 5+ hours continued education.
  • Published article relevant to nursing
  • Completion of a nursing refresher course.
  • Completion of comprehensive orientation program.
  • Official transcript showing two hours nursing credit.
  • Successful retake of NCLEX

NCLEX Exam Information

Upon graduating from an approved LPN program, students must then take and pass the NCLEX-PN examination in order to be eligible for licensure. This exam tests a nurse’s competency and covers many aspects of nursing. For more detailed information on this exam, view our comprehensive guide here. We also recommend taking the NCLEX-PN practice test in order to study for the exam and get a feel of what the questions will be like.

LPN Reciprocity and NLC

Tennessee is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which means that nurses in compact states must register a primary state of residence, but can work in multiple compact states without additional licensure. As part of the NLC, nurses working in other NLC states do not require an additional license to practice in the state of Tennessee. LPNs outside of the NLC area can apply for a Tennessee license by endorsement if he or she has completed an equivalent state-approved nursing program and passed the NCLEX-PN or State Board Test Pool Examination (SBTPE). To apply for licensure, the applicant must submit the following:

  • Application and licensure fee ($115).
  • Headshot (passport-style) photo.
  • Nursing diploma or official transcript from a state-approved nursing program.
  • Criminal background check.

Foreign applicants, seeking to work as an LPN in Tennessee, must submit his or her official school transcripts or a Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS) evaluation. The applicant must also submit a headshot (passport-style) photo, Declaration of Citizenship, and submit to a criminal background check.

2021 TN NCLEX-PN Pass Rates and Statistics

  • Total Number of State Approved LPN Schools: 21
  • Total Number of Test Takers in 2020: 1,213
  • 2020 Average Statewide Tennessee NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 88.2%

Top Ranked Tennessee LPN Programs

1

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Athens

1635 Vo-Tech Dr, Athens, TN 37303 - (423) 744-2814 - Visit Homepage

The Athens campus of Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) continues to bridge the nursing shortage through its LPN program. Over three semesters, students learn the basic nursing skills needed to care for injured, ill, and infirmed patients with efficiency and compassion.

Overall Score: 95.31 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools
2

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Oneida/Huntsville

355 Scott High Drive, Huntsville, TN 37756 - (423) 663-4900 - Visit Homepage

Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT)-Oneida/Huntsville is located in Huntsville, Tennessee. TCAT-Oneida/Huntsville provides competency-based training, offering a practical nursing diploma program that prepares students for healthcare careers in just 12 months. This full-time program consists of 1,296 clock hours of classroom and clinical education.

Overall Score: 94.83 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools
3

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Paris

312 S. Wilson Street, Paris, TN 38242 - (731) 644-7365 - Visit Homepage

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Paris provides a practical nursing program that can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Enrolled students complete 1,296 clock-hours of instruction over 12 months of study, gaining valuable knowledge in how to care for patients in a professional medical setting. Courses taken include Maternity Health, Worker Characteristic, and more.

Overall Score: 94.57 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools
4

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Elizabethton

426 Tennessee 91, Elizabethton, TN 37643 - (423) 543-0070 - Visit Homepage

The Elizabethton campus of Tennessee College of Applied Technology is home to a full-time, 1,296 clock-hour practical nursing program. Students are prepared to care for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and more through classroom learning and hands-on experiences. Concepts included in the curriculum include geriatrics, pediatrics, common emergencies, and others.

Overall Score: 93.86 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools
5

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Nashville

100 White Bridge Pike, Nashville, TN 37205 - (615) 425-5500 - Visit Homepage

Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) - Nashville provides competency-based training through traditional and distance learning that is economical and accessible to all residents of the state. Its practical nursing program offering prepares students to care for patients across the lifespan in area hospitals, doctor's offices, and other medical facilities.

Overall Score: 93.15 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools
6

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Memphis

550 Alabama Ave, Memphis, TN 38105 - (901) 543-6100 - Visit Homepage

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Memphis offers a 12-month, full-time practical nursing program. The mission of the program is to train students to provide quality care to patients as entry-level healthcare providers. Students learn through classroom lectures, clinical participation, and labs.

Overall Score: 93.12 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools
7

South College

400 Goodys Ln, Knoxville, TN 37922 - (865) 251-1800 - Visit Homepage

South College offers students a popular practical nursing program at its Knoxville (Parkside) and Nashville campuses in Tennessee. The PN curriculum teaches students critical thinking, organization, and communication skills alongside clinical nursing education to prime them for career success.

Overall Score: 93.05 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools
8

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Harriman

1745 Harriman Highway, Harriman, TN 37748 - (865) 882-6703 - Visit Homepage

The Harriman campus of Tennessee College of Applied Technology offers a 12-month practical nursing program for interested students in the area. Those enrolled learn the skills needed to provide care under the direction of a registered nurse, physician, or dentist. Day and night courses are generally available to accommodate busy schedules.

Overall Score: 92.87 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools
9

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Hartsville

716 E McMurry Blvd, Hartsville, TN 37074 - (615) 374-2147 - Visit Homepage

Tennessee College of Applied Technology's Hartsville campus prepares career-oriented students for practical nursing careers via its renowned program. Upon completion of the classroom and clinical portions of the curriculum, students are well prepared to provide hands-on care to patients of all ages.

Overall Score: 92.56 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools
10

Chattanooga State Community College

4501 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37406 - (866) 547-3733 - Visit Homepage

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Overall Score: 91.67 - Compare Program to Nearby Schools

Continued List of All Programs in Tennessee

RankedProgramScore
#11 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Morristown
821 W Louise Ave, Morristown, TN 37813
(423) 586-5771
91.30
#12 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Crossville
910 Miller Avenue, Crossville, TN 38555
(931) 484-7502
90.27
#13 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Knoxville
1100 Liberty Street, Knoxville, TN 37919
(865) 546-5567
89.78
#14 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Livingston
740 High Tech Drive, Livingston, TN 38570
(931) 823-5525
89.19
#15 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Hohenwald
813 West Main Street, Hohenwald, TN 38462
(931) 796-5351
88.46
#16 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Dickson
740 Hwy 46 S, Dickson, TN 37055
(615) 441-6220
87.02
#17 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Pulaski
1233 East College Street, Pulaski, TN 38478
(931) 424-4014
84.23
#18 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Jackson
2468 Technology Center Drive, Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 424-0691
83.18
#19 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Murfreesboro
1303 Old Fort Pkwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37129
(615) 898-8010
82.28
#20 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Ripley
127 Industrial Drive, Ripley, TN 38063
(731) 635-3368
81.92

Programs Not Included In Rankings

Program
The Healthcare Institute
7253 Winchester Rd, Memphis, TN 38125
(901) 244-0844

Are we missing your school's program or need to make changes to the information listed? Please contact us.

Additional TN Nursing Resources

LPN Salary in Tennessee

The table below lists career information collected by the BLS for licensed practical nurses in Tennessee. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Nashville, Davidson, Murfreesboro, Franklin7,030$20.75$43,150
Memphis3,890$20.74$43,150
Knoxville2,840$18.47$38,420
Chattanooga1,880$19.02$39,560
Johnson City1,150$18.11$37,660
Kingsport, Bristol, Bristol1,030$17.05$35,460
Jackson930$17.49$36,380
Clarksville720$19.52$40,590
Morristown390$17.88$37,200
Cleveland240$18.16$37,780