How to Become a Nurse in Tennessee

The Tennessee Board of Nursing distributes professional nursing licenses to students in the Volunteer State. In order to be able to prepare students for their licensing tests and for a career in nursing, nursing schools in Tennessee must meet the board’s requirements for approval. Nursing programs in Tennessee offer opportunities for students to gain their LPN, RN and APRN licenses or CNA certificates in order to begin their nursing careers.

As of 2017, there were 59,350 RNs, 6,550 nurse practitioners and 24,000 LPNs employed in the state. RNs made a mean annual wage of $60,050, nurse practitioners made a mean annual wage of $93,970, and LPNs made a mean annual wage of $38,910.

How to Get Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certification in Tennessee

To work as a certified nurse aide (CNA) in Tennessee, candidates must be certified and registered with the Tennessee Nurse Aide Registry. In the Volunteer State, individuals must complete an approved CNA education program and apply for registration within 24 months. The individual must pass an exam that is part skills assessment, part written exam and apply for registration with the Tennessee Department of Health. After the individual passes the exam, they will be registered with the state’s nurse aide registry.

Nurse aides may view their certification status through the Tennessee Department of Health’s website or by calling the department. Every two years, CNAs in Tennessee must recertify in order to stay on the registry. Recertification does not require a fee, but CNAs must prove that they worked at least one shift of eight hours or more in the past two years in order to qualify.

How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in Tennessee

In the state of Tennessee, licensed practical nurse (or LPN) licenses require a similar application process to obtaining an RN license in the state. Tennessee nursing licenses for LPNs require that applicants either already hold a license in another state and apply by endorsement or by examination. Students must submit to a criminal background check and fingerprinting six weeks before graduation and register with Pearson VUE for the NCLEX-PN two weeks before graduation from an approved LPN training program. The NCLEX-PN fee for LPNs is $100.

Students must then graduate and apply for their licensure by sending their official transcripts, unopened, from the school to the board. The fee to retake the exam is $110, and the fee to apply by endorsement is $115. Individuals must renew their LPN licenses every two years, and the cost to renew is $100. LPNs who require a reinstatement of their licenses must pay a prorated fee of $200.

How to Get a Registered Nursing (RN) License in Tennessee

In order to obtain a Tennessee nursing license, individuals must either have a registered nursing (or RN) license in another state or take an exam. Students applying for a Tennessee RN license by examination must submit to a criminal background check as well as fingerprinting six weeks before their graduation date from an approved nursing program. Two weeks before their graduation date, they must register with Pearson Vue for their National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and pay their exam fee, which is $100. Retake exam fees are $110.

After graduation, students must offer their official transcripts to the board and upload proof of their citizenship, a passport picture and a declaration of their citizenship. After passing the NCLEX, their nursing licenses will be mailed to them. Individuals who choose to apply by endorsement must pay $115. RNs must renew their licenses every two years in Tennessee, and the fee for license renewal is $100. As a reminder, the administration office of the Tennessee Nursing Board sends a renewal notice to RNs at least 45 days before their licenses expire.

How to Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) License in Tennessee

To become an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Tennessee, candidates must hold an advanced nursing degree at the master’s level or higher. Applicants must also have an active Tennessee RN license and be nationally certified in an APRN specialty through a certifying body such as AANP, PNCB, or NCC. It is also possible to obtain a Tennessee RN license and a Tennessee APRN license at the same time.

To apply, the candidate must have official transcripts sent directly to the board, fill out the online application, and provide their official national certification number as well as their declaration of citizenship. Finally, they must upload a copy of their RN license and submit to a criminal background check. The fee for the APRN application in Tennessee is $210. APRN license holders must renew their licenses every two years, and license renewal requires a fee of $110.