Nurse Practitioner Programs in Tennessee: Facts & Figures

According to the Tennessee Center for Nursing [PDF], the shortage of nurses in the state is predicted to grow to 15,000 by 2020. That means that in 8 years, there may be as many as 15,000 unfilled registered nurse employment opportunities, which is bad news for people in need of nursing care and treatment. A combination of issues, including low recruitment of new nurse practitioners, low retention of current nurses, and the high number of nurses retiring each year, have contributed to this deficit.

Nurses applying for licensure in Tennessee must submit their applications to the Tennessee Board of Nursing, which offers licensing services for the following nursing careers:

  • Registered Nurses
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), such as Nurse Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Anesthetists, and Clinical Nursing Specialists.
  • Licensed Vocational or Practical Nurses (LVN/LPN)
  • Certified Nurse’s Assistants and Aides (CAN)

Nursing Licensure in Tennessee

Tennessee has been a member-state of the Nurse Licensure Compact since 2003, and as such, the state allows licensed nurses from other Compact member-states to practice without reapplying for licensure. For nurses who wish to apply for their first nursing license, or renew an existing one, the process is as follows:

  1. Complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). This test is approved by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, although it is administrated by a testing corporation. Many states require NCLEX registration through Pearson Vue.
  2. Submit an online or paper application, depending on the type you are applying for.
  3. Submit your fingerprints for verification (you may or may not be required to do this, depending on the type of license you apply for and whether it is your first time applying.)
  4. Provide proof of continued competency. Rather than requiring a standard number of work or education hours, the Tennessee nursing board [PDF]allows nurse license applicants to prove their competency in a variety of ways, including through positive evaluation by a previous employer, publication of nursing research, or participation in approved refresher courses.

Average Nursing Salaries in Tennessee

All salary data is as of May, 2011.

The mean annual wage for nurses in Tennessee is $60,660, and the major metropolitan areas surrounding Memphis and Nashville offer the best wages in the state, with their means hovering around $60,000. The table below compares mean wages for RNs in across the state of Tennessee with the national mean. All data provided by The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Area Registered Nurses Average Salary
United States 2,724,570 $69,110
Tennessee 60,570 $60,660
Chattanooga, TN-GA 6,120 $57,490
Jackson, TN 2,380 $53,860
Knoxville, TN 9,870 $60,480
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 12,890 $65,950
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN 14,000 $64,460

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