Healthcare is constantly evolving and nursing schools in Tennessee are responding to meet the need of nursing students. They are offering new ways for nurses to expand their education and professional reach. Up until recently, hospitals were designed as the focus of bedside care to patients that experience health disruption. The guidelines in the Affordable Care Act require registered nurses to be health leaders and provide health prevention to the masses. Registered nurses are encouraged to pursue higher education to meet the challenges of the complex and evolving healthcare system. The new responsibilities of nurses are challenging but can present wonderful opportunities and rewards.

In our Tennessee RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Tennessee RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Tennessee, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Tennessee RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs1629
Average NCLEX Passing Rate89.63%88.77%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range75.63% to 96.50%69.86% to 100.00%
Average Net Price$9,722.56$15,625.39
Average Net Price Range$4,575.00 to $26,647.00$7,531.00 to $30,357.00
Average Student Loan$9,290.93$17,663.68
Average Student Loan Range$2,500.00 to $21,565.00$11,128.00 to $27,000.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for Tennessee StateBSN Rankings for Tennessee State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Tennessee

Best Ranked RN Programs in TennesseeTo help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Tennessee and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 15 ADN degree programs and 25 BSN degree programs in Tennessee. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Tennessee to provide our state rankings. View our methodology


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98.44 ADNJackson State Community College117 Jackson

Jackson State Community College is located in Jackson, Tennessee.  The average RN program requires 60 credits and their RN program requires 65 for degree completion.  They offer an RN program and an LPN Mobility option, allowing the LPN advanced placement into the program.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
98.37 ADNChattanooga State Community College220 Chattanooga

Chattanooga State Community College is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  The Baroness Erlanger Nursing Program offers an AAS in nursing; this program is subdivided into day and night programs.  They also offer an AAS Transition track, which is available to LPNs and paramedics.  Paramedics are accepted into the night program, and are accepted on even-numbered years.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
98.00 ADNNashville State Community College328 NashvillePublicCampusACENSee School Details
93.89 ADNLincoln Memorial University4143 Harrogate

Lincoln Memorial University is located in Harrogate, Tennessee.  They offer a variety of undergraduate options for their nursing students – an ASN program, a BSN program, and an RN to BSN program.  The RN to BSN program is offered completely online.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineACENSee School Details
93.70 ADNMotlow State Community College5150 Tullahoma

Motlow State Community College is located in Tullahoma, Tennessee.  They offer an AAS – Two-Year Path to RN ad AAS – One-Year Path, LPN to RN.  They also have articulation programs in place so that students may elect to transfer to a four-year university after graduation.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
93.56 ADNPellissippi State Community College6156 Knoxville

Pellissippi State Community College is located in Knoxville, Tennessee.  They offer an RN degree with a traditional pathway and a bridge pathway; the bridge pathway allows LPNs and EMT-P students to enter the program during the summer semester.  This program is offered at three of Pellissippi’s campuses: Blount County, Magnolia Avenue, and Strawberry Plains campuses.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
92.74 ADNRoane State Community College7189 HarrimanPublicCampusACENSee School Details
92.37 ADNColumbia State Community College8206 Columbia

Columbia State Community College is located in Columbia College.  They offer both an RN program and an LPN to RN Bridge Program.  They also offer a 3+1 partnership with Middle Tennessee State University, which allows RN to complete general education requirements at Columbia State, with the final year being completed at MTSU.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
91.22 ADNDyersburg State Community College9250 DyersburgPublicCampusACENSee School Details
91.04 ADNWalters State Community College10255 MorristownPublicCampusACENSee School Details
88.67 ADNNortheast State Community College11339 BlountvillePublicCampusACENSee School Details
87.70 ADNCleveland State Community College12379 ClevelandPublicCampusACENSee School Details
87.70 ADNSouthern Adventist University12379 CollegedalePrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineACENSee School Details
81.19 ADNSouthwest Tennessee Community College13576 Memphis

Southwest Tennessee Community College is located in Memphis, Tennessee.  STCC offers an AAS in Nursing: Generic Track and LPN Mobility Track.  STCC has nationally ranked for their degree programs for minorities and African Americans, such as “number one in the top 100 Associate Degree producers for total minorities in business operations support and assistant services – Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 2014” and “number two in the top 100 Associate Degree producers for African-Americans in business operations support and assistant services – Diverse: Issues in High Education, 2014.”

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
77.04 ADNTennessee State University14640 NashvillePublicCampus, OnlineACENSee School Details
100.00 BSNThe University of Tennessee-Martin11 Martin

The University of Tennessee – Martin is located in Martin, Tennessee.  UTM offers a traditional BSN program and an online BSN program.  UTM also recognizes nursing student excellent with Sigma Theta Tau (Pi Tau Chapter), which is an international honor society for nursing.

PublicCampus, OnlineSee School Details
98.52 BSNBethel University212 McKenziePrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
97.04 BSNCarson-Newman University341 Jefferson City

Carson-Newman University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee.  They offer two avenues towards a nursing degree – the traditional BSN degree, which is 8 semesters over 4 years, or the accelerated BSN degree, which is 8 continuous semesters.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
96.48 BSNTennessee Technological University455 Cookeville

Tennessee Technological University is located in Cookeville, Tennessee.  The Whitson-Hester School of Nursing offer a BSN program, an accelerated BSN (ABSN) and an RN to BSN program.  Their RN to BSN program is an online program and is one of the most affordable options available, at $365 per credit hour for in-state tuition and $661 per credit hour for non-resident students.

PublicCampus, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
96.30 BSNLincoln Memorial University560 Harrogate

Lincoln Memorial University is located in Harrogate, Tennessee.  They offer a variety of undergraduate options for their nursing students – an ASN program, a BSN program, and an RN to BSN program.  The RN to BSN program is offered completely online.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineACENSee School Details
95.15 BSNLipscomb University686 NashvillePrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusSee School Details
95.07 BSNThe University of Tennessee at Chattanooga790 ChattanoogaPublicOnlineSee School Details
94.85 BSNAustin Peay State University899 Clarksville

Austin Peay State University is located in Clarksville, Tennessee.  They offer a traditional BSN program and an online RN to BSN program.  The traditional program is for pre-licensure students and students with a prior bachelor’s degree. The online program can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis.

PublicCampus, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
94.30 BSNUnion University9122 Jackson

Union University is located in Jackson, Tennessee, with 2 other campuses in Germantown and Hendersonville.  They are proud to boas that their student to faculty ratio is 10:1 and 85% of their faculty have the highest degree possible in their field.  Their nursing program offers state-of-the-art equipment to practice skills and the opportunity to take ministry trips internationally.  They offer a traditional BSN program, an LPN to BSN program, which takes two years to complete, an RN to BSN program, which is completed online in 8 months, and a First Step to BSN program, which is designed for adult learners with little college experience, readying them for the accelerated BSN program.  The ABSN program is designed for students of the First Step program and students with  prior bachelor’s degree.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, HybridACEN, CCNESee School Details
93.67 BSNThe University of Tennessee10147 KnoxvillePublicCampus, HybridACEN, CCNESee School Details
92.96 BSNTennessee Wesleyan College11172 Athens

Tennessee Wesleyan College is located in Athens, Tennessee.  They boast that their student to faculty ratio is 12:1.  92% of their classes have 30 or fewer students.  The Fort Sanders Nursing Department has a partnership with Covenant Health and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, providing extensive resources for clinical experience.  They offer a BSN degree.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineSee School Details
92.89 BSNMiddle Tennessee State University12176 Murfreesboro

Middle Tennessee State University is located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  They offer a traditional BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  MTSU has multiple simulation labs where students may practice their nursing skills; the labs have low-, medium- and high-fidelity simulators that mimic real-life situations.

PublicCampus, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
91.07 BSNEast Tennessee State University13240 Johnson CityPublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
88.63 BSNBelmont University14305 Nashville

Belmont University is located in Nashville, Tennessee.  Belmont was named as the “Most Innovative” university by US News & World Report.  It is a Christian university that “…brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service.”  They offer a BSN program, an accelerated BSN program, and an RN to BSN program.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, HybridACEN, CCNESee School Details
88.15 BSNMilligan College15317 Milligan CollegePrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
88.11 BSNUniversity of Memphis16319 Memphis

University of Memphis is located in Memphis, Tennessee.  The Loewenberg College of Nursing.  They offer a traditional BSN program, an accelerated option for students with a prior bachelor’s degree, and an online RN to BSN program.  They also offer a freshman pre-admission to the BSN program option – students must apply in their senior year of high school.  This allows entrance into the program during the second semester of sophomore year, or earlier if the student has AP or dual enrollment credits.

PublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, CCNESee School Details
88.00 BSNTrevecca Nazarene University17325 NashvillePrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusSee School Details
85.07 BSNFreed-Hardeman University18395 HendersonPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
84.00 BSNBaptist Memorial College of Health Sciences19412 Memphis

Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences is located in Memphis, Tennessee.  The college seeks to educate healthcare professionals, from nurses to respiratory therapists.  They offer a traditional BSN program, which utilizes plenty of hands on experience in simulation labs to practice nursing skills, or an RN to BSN program, where the learner can choose an online program or a blended program – a mixture between online and hands-on learning.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
83.37 BSNCumberland University20431 LebanonPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details
82.56 BSNKing College21445 BristolPrivate Not-For-ProfitOnlineSee School Details
81.07 BSNSouth College22466 Knoxville

South College is located in Knoxville, although they do have several other campuses.  They offer an ADN degree at an outlying campus.  At their Knoxville campus, they offer a BSN program.  Online, they offer the RN to BSN program.  Students that are out-of-state are eligible for the RN to BSN program, although clinical experiences must meet certain requirements so not all facilities may be eligible.

Private For-ProfitCampusSee School Details
68.63 BSNTusculum College23525 GreenevillePrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
64.89 BSNMartin Methodist College24531 PulaskiPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampus, OnlineCCNESee School Details