Becoming an LPN in Tennessee
Tennessee ensures safe patient care by licensing health professionals, enforcing standards, and educating the public about quality health care. As part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), additional licensure is not required for other NLC state nurses to practice in Tennessee. Nurses licensed outside of the NLC can become licensed by endorsement, while new applicants can apply by examination. The state’s nursing jobs are on the rise according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics prediction—LPN jobs are expected to increase by 28% per year by 2024.
Tennessee has almost 20 approved nursing programs offering the required curriculum for licensure. These programs are made of private nursing schools, community colleges, and vocational high schools in both large and small cities across the state. Over the last few years, we've been collecting data from NCLEX-PN testing. To help you decide on which school is best for you, we've compiled a ranked list of the top 5 LPN schools in the state of Tennessee. For more information on school rankings, see our Methodology Page.
To see all the top ranked LPN programs in Tennessee click here.
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.
Board of Nursing Applications:
Keep in mind that this is a physically demanding job. Physical strength and endurance challenges are part of being an LPN—patients may require moving, machinery may need to be pulled and pushed to its destination, and long periods of standing are inevitable.
Tennessee is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact 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 Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), nurses working in other NLC states do not require an additional license to practice in the state of Tennessee. Although, LPN's 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 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.
Licensed LPN's 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
Learn more about Tennessee LPN Jobs & Employment Outlook.
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.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Nashville, Davidson, Murfreesboro, Franklin||6,150||$19.18||$39,900|
|Kingsport, Bristol, Bristol||860||$16.35||$34,010|
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Tennessee LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Continued List of All Programs in Tennessee
821 W Louise Ave, Morristown, TN 37813
1635 Vo-Tech Dr, Athens, TN 37303
2468 Technology Center Drive, Jackson, TN 38301
1233 East College Street, Pulaski, TN 38478
813 West Main Street, Hohenwald, TN 38462
426 Tennessee 91, Elizabethton, TN 37643
550 Alabama Ave, Memphis, TN 38105
312 S. Wilson Street, Paris, TN 38242
127 Industrial Drive, Ripley, TN 38063
4501 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37406
716 E McMurry Blvd, Hartsville, TN 37074
Programs Not Included In Rankings
910 Miller Avenue, Crossville, TN 38555
1745 Harriman Highway, Harriman, TN 37748
1303 Old Fort Pkwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37129
Additional TN Nursing Resources
- Tennessee State Board of Nursing
425 Fifth Avenue North
1st Floor - Cordell Hull Building
Nashville, TN 37247
Phone: (615) 532-5166
- Tennessee Nurses Association
545 Mainstream Drive, Suite 405
Nashville, TN 37228-1296
Phone: (615) 254-0350
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