Becoming an LPN in Tennessee

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 12% per year by 2026. Read on to find out how to become an LPN in Tennessee in as little as one year.

 

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Best LPN Programs in Tennessee

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 19 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 5 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 in to 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 $3,738. Textbooks and supplies will run an additional $2,821.

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 eNLC

Tennessee is a member of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), 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 eNLC, nurses working in other eNLC states do not require an additional license to practice in the state of Tennessee. LPNs outside of the eNLC 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 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.

LPN Salary in Tennessee By Area

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, Franklin6,150$19.18$39,900
Memphis2,740$19.95$41,500
Knoxville2,540$18.09$37,620
Chattanooga1,690$17.21$35,810
Johnson City1,120$16.76$34,870
Jackson930$15.98$33,230
Clarksville860$19.45$40,450
Kingsport, Bristol, Bristol860$16.35$34,010
Morristown480$16.13$33,560
Cleveland420$17.71$36,840

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

Top Ranked Tennessee LPN Programs

1

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Nashville

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

Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) takes the lead in providing premier workforce development programs throughout the state. . TCAT-Nashville provides competency-based training through traditional and distance learning that is economical and accessible to all residents of the state. The Practical Nursing Program is approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

Overall Score: 96.80 - Request Info on Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Nashville
2

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Knoxville

1100 Liberty Street, Knoxville, TN 37919 - (865) 546-5567 - Visit Homepage

Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT)-Knoxville is located in Knoxville, Tennessee. TCAT-Knoxville is the premier provider of workforce development programs throughout the state. The practical nursing program prepares graduates with the background and skills to give knowledgeable, basic nursing care to patients with varying degrees of physical needs.

Overall Score: 93.70 - Request Info on Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Knoxville
3

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 through both traditional and distance learning, providing high-quality training that is economically accessible to all residents of the state, while also providing premiere workforce development.

Overall Score: 92.90 - Request Info on Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Oneida/Huntsville
4

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Dickson

740 Hwy 46 S, Dickson, TN 37055 - (615) 441-6220 - Visit Homepage

Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT)-Dickson is located in Dickson, Tennessee. TCAT-Dickson is committed to education that promotes diversity, that is economical and accessible to all residents of Tennessee, and that provides the highest-quality of student instruction, utilizing both traditional coursework and distance learning, ensuring student success.

Overall Score: 92.50 - Request Info on Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Dickson
5

Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Livingston

740 High Tech Drive, Livingston, TN 38570 - (931) 823-5525 - Visit Homepage

The Practical Nursing Program at Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Livingston prepares graduates to confidently conquer the (NCLEX-PN), used to obtain nursing licensure in Tennessee. Practical Nursing is an entry level nursing program and graduates are prepared with the background and skills to give knowledgeable care to patients.

Overall Score: 92.50 - Request Info on Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Livingston

Continued List of All Programs in Tennessee

RankedProgramScoreDetails
#6 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Morristown
821 W Louise Ave, Morristown, TN 37813
(423) 586-5771 Visit Homepage
91.50Request Information
#7 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Athens
1635 Vo-Tech Dr, Athens, TN 37303
(423) 744-2814 Visit Homepage
91.30Request Information
#8 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Jackson
2468 Technology Center Drive, Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 424-0691 Visit Homepage
90.50Request Information
#9 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Pulaski
1233 East College Street, Pulaski, TN 38478
(931) 424-4014 Visit Homepage
90.30Request Information
#10 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Hohenwald
813 West Main Street, Hohenwald, TN 38462
(931) 796-5351 Visit Homepage
89.60Request Information
#11 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Elizabethton
426 Tennessee 91, Elizabethton, TN 37643
(423) 543-0070 Visit Homepage
88.70Request Information
#12 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Memphis
550 Alabama Ave, Memphis, TN 38105
(901) 543-6100 Visit Homepage
87.70Request Information
#13 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Paris
312 S. Wilson Street, Paris, TN 38242
(731) 644-7365 Visit Homepage
86.60Request Information
#14 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Ripley
127 Industrial Drive, Ripley, TN 38063
(731) 635-3368 Visit Homepage
86.10Request Information
#15 Chattanooga State Community College
4501 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37406
(866) 547-3733 Visit Homepage
84.10Request Information
#16 Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Hartsville
716 E McMurry Blvd, Hartsville, TN 37074
(615) 374-2147 Visit Homepage
81.80Request Information

Programs Not Included In Rankings

ProgramDetails
Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Crossville
910 Miller Avenue, Crossville, TN 38555
(931) 484-7502 Visit Homepage
Request Information
Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Harriman
1745 Harriman Highway, Harriman, TN 37748
(865) 882-6703 Visit Homepage
Request Information
Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Murfreesboro
1303 Old Fort Pkwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37129
(615) 898-8010 Visit Homepage
Request Information

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