Last Updated/Verified: November 8th, 2022
Tennessee provides diverse healthcare opportunities to those who want to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), with a broad range of practical nursing programs across the “Volunteer State.”
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Studying for an LPN program — sometimes referred to as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) program in Tennessee — can take as little as nine months, a significantly quicker timeframe than a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Upon graduation, LPMs find work at hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other healthcare providers in Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and elsewhere.
LPNs in Tennessee: Quick Facts
- It typically takes around 9-12 months to achieve an LPN diploma, a much quicker timeframe than a four-year Registered Nurse (RN) program.
- The average base salary for a Tennessee LPN is $22.36 per hour, or $40,136 a year, according to Indeed.com.
- The average overtime salary is $6,970 a year.
- The most popular benefits are 401(k)s, referral programs, paid-time-off, license reimbursement, and tuition reimbursement.
- The LPN job outlook is positive with a 14.2 percent increase by 2028, according to research from Projections Central.
There are LPN schools across Tennessee, but Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga offer the most programs. Students can study for an LPN on a full-time or part-time basis.
Overview of LPN Schools in Tennessee
As of June 2021, the Tennessee Board of Nursing, responsible for regulating nursing in the State of Tennessee, has approved 25 practical nursing schools. (The Board reviews its list of approved schools every three months.) These institutions offer RPN programs that cover topics such as
- Patient care
- Infection control
- Vital signs collection
- Human growth and development
- General nursing care
Specialist courses include disciplines such as maternity care, pediatric care, geriatric care, and mental health.
Many LPN programs in Tennessee take place at Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT), which has 27 campuses throughout the state.
Two organizations recognize LPN programs in Tennessee:
- The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), responsible for maintaining the educational quality of all colleges, community colleges, and learning institutions in the Southern United States.
- The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), responsible for maintaining the educational quality of nursing programs at the associate, diploma, baccalaureate, and graduate levels.
The Tennessee Board of Nursing also recognizes LPN programs in the state.
LPN Admissions Requirements
Most LPN programs in Tennessee require applicants to have completed:
- A high school diploma. GED, or equivalent with a GPA of 2.75+
- Prerequisite courses for the LPN program with a C+ average
- A good score on the ATI TEAS exam
Applicants also need to pass a drug test and background check. Each school will have additional requirements for its LPN programs.
Tuition & Costs
LPN students cover the cost of tuition and program supplies. If students live on campus, they will also typically pay for accommodation and general living expenses.
Tuition fees vary significantly between LPN schools in Tennessee. For example, tuition costs $4,393 at Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology Newbern and around $10,600 at Chattanooga College.
Some schools offer LPN students grants and other financial aid to reduce or eliminate tuition costs, while some healthcare providers reimburse tuition upon graduation.
LPN Licensing Requirements in Tennessee
It’s quicker to become an LPN than an RN. LPN programs typically take 9-12 months, while nursing degrees last for four years.
Checklist to become a Tennessee LPN
- Get an LPN diploma.
- Apply for a license from the Tennessee Board of Nursing.
- Complete a CPR course and get a CPR card.
- Pass the NCLEX-PN exam.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) administers the National Council Licensure Examination for Practice Nurses (NCLEX-PN) in Tennessee via the Tennessee Board of Nursing. The NCLEX-PN tests students on topics like competency, health maintenance, physiological integrity, and safe and effective care. Nurses must pass this exam before getting a job with a healthcare provider in Tennessee.
- LPNs entering Tennessee from other states become licensed through endorsement. They must have a license from another state.
- LPNs entering Tennessee from other countries become licensed by completing the NCLEX-PN exam and passing an evaluation from the Commission of Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).
LPN Salaries in Tennessee
LPNs in Tennessee earn an average base salary of $22.36 per hour or $40,136 a year, according to Indeed. Entry-level LPNs earn, on average, $37,778; LPNs with 3-5 years of experience earn $41,490; those with over ten years of experience earn $43,150.
Here are the biggest metropolitan areas in Tennessee with the highest-paying LPN salaries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN ($45,650 per year)
- Memphis, TN-MS-AR ($44,650)
- Clarksville, TN ($43,490)
- Chattanooga, TN-GA ($43,350)
- Knoxville, TN ($41,190)
LPNs with specific certifications typically earn more than the average base salary. For example, an LPN with a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) certification can expect a higher salary than an LPN without this license.
Job Outlook for LPNs in Tennessee
Tennessee has a shortage of nurses, so healthcare providers are enticing entry-level LPNs with benefits such as flexible schedules, sign-on bonuses, and a generous amount of paid-time-off.
Overall, the job outlook for LPNs in Tennessee is bright, with a 14.2 percent increase by 2028, according to Projections Central.
Top LPN Schools in Tennessee
5600 Brainerd Rd Suite B-38
Chattanooga, TN 37411
A full-time practical nursing program taking as little as 12 months to complete, making it an attractive alternative to a four-year nursing degree. Students learn in small class sizes and get an abundance of real-world training experience.
Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology Newbern
340 Washington St
Newbern, TN 38059
A full-time vocational program that attracts students from across Tennessee and beyond. The 12-month course runs from May every year and clocks 1,296 classroom hours.
Tennessee College of Applied Technology Harriman
1745 Harriman Highway
Harriman, TN 37748
A vocational program that takes place at TCAT’s Harriman campus. This course prepares students for real-world nursing environments with a mix of academics and clinical practice.
South College Practical Nursing Program
400 Goody’s Lane
Knoxville, TN 37922
This LPN program combines classroom training and hands-on experience with successful learning outcomes. Students garner an incredible range of skills, such as patient care, nutrition, home health care, and care plan management.
Allied Health Careers Institute
1237 Commerce Park
Murfreesboro, TN 37013
A popular skills-based program that prepares students for the NCLEX-PN. Graduates work in various short-term and long-term care settings, including hospitals, doctors’ offices, and nursing homes.
Appalachian Regional Practical Nursing Program
355 Scott High Drive
Huntsville, TN 37756
This program prepares students for a successful career in nursing, mixing classroom-based and real-world learning. It takes place at a school with an 80 percent graduation rate and 84 percent job placement rate.
Jackson Regional Practical Nursing Program
2468 Technology Center Drive
Jackson, TN 38301
A program that provides students with real-world and classroom learning experiences. It takes place at TCAT’s Jackson campus.
Stones River Practical Nursing Program at TCAT Murfreesboro
1303 Old Fort Parkway
Murfreesboro, TN 37129
A fast-paced and exciting nursing program at TCAT’s Murfreesboro campus that offers clinical experience. After graduation, nurses can work for a medical provider immediately.
The Healthcare Institute
7235 Winchester Rd
Memphis, TN 38125
A popular full-time program that provides intensives nursing training to students of all ages and backgrounds. The Healthcare Institute boasts high graduation and job placement rates and provides the community with highly skilled healthcare workers.
Tennessee Valley Regional Practical Nursing Program
1405 Madison Street
Shelbyville, TN 37037
LPN graduates from this nursing program at TCAT’s Shelbyville campus have long and rewarding careers at hospitals, medical centers, and other healthcare facilities.
Learn more about becoming an LPN in Tennessee:
Tennessee Board of Nursing: Created in 1911, the state board of nursing’s mission is to safeguard nursing training in the State of Tennessee.
North Cordell Hull, 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N
Nashville, TN 37243
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC): The agency responsible for educational quality at learning institutions across the Southern United States, including LPN schools in Tennessee.
1866 Southern Lane
Decatur, GA 30033
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN): The agency responsible for administering the NCLEX-PN exam.
111 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2900
Chicago, IL 60601-4277