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Discover Online LPN Programs in TN: Best in Tennessee for 2024

If you’re interested in online LPN programs in TN, you’ll find quality hybrid options to meet your needs that meld practicality with convenience. Find spotlight programs below and get answers to your FAQs.

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Author: Jenna Tidd
Editor: Mikalee Byerman

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Aerial view of downtown Nashville, Tennessee at dawn, showcasing a mix of modern and historic buildings. The skyline is mirrored in the Cumberland River, with prominent bridges connecting both sides. Green spaces and trees surround the urban landscape.

As a prospective nurse in Tennessee, you’ve likely done your research on the different ways to get your nursing license. By now you know that becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) offers a shorter, more affordable route to doing so than earning a bachelor’s degree and gets you into your chosen field more quickly.

On the whole, most online LPN programs can be completed in four to six semesters, as opposed to the typical four years you’d devote to a BSN. There are even fast-track LPN programs that take less than a year. This fact alone may inspire you to search for top online LPN programs in TN that will give you the flexibility and convenience you need. Fortunately, Tennessee has many high-quality schools that offer students scheduling flexibility and hybrid options to accommodate their work and lives.

We created this guide to help you achieve your nursing career goals. Below, we highlight three schools in Tennessee with quality LPN programs, explain the steps you must take to become an LPN, explore the job outlook and earning potential for LPNs, and share some important online resources. With this information, you’ll have a solid foundation to build on as you narrow your search for online LPN programs in TN.

A Closer Look at Online LPN Programs in Tennessee

You may be wondering what to look for when researching online LPN programs in TN. To give you a place to start, we chose three options that are good examples of what a high-quality practical nursing program offers. This list allows you to compare a few stand-out schools and get a feel for what factors are most important to you.

Herzing University

Prospective nursing students interested in online LPN programs in TN may appreciate Herzing University’s hybrid licensed practical nursing diploma program. It offers nursing students flexible scheduling options, rolling admission, and lifelong career coaching and consists of 37 credits that can be completed in 12 months. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, the program can also be used as a stepping stone to more advanced nursing degrees, such as BSN or MSN.

Students may complete the general education classes online, which consist of English, Medical Terminology, and Anatomy & Physiology. The core nursing courses take place onsite at its Nashville campus.

The LPN program admissions requirements include a high school diploma or GED, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0, and a minimum composite core of 48 on the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). Applicants must also meet with a university advisor for an admissions interview.

South College

Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), South College’s licensed practical nurse certificate program teaches students essential skills such as patient-centered care, critical thinking, effective communication, patient education, and cultural sensitivity. The program can be completed in four consecutive quarters of full-time enrollment, which equals 44 weeks. Although this certification program happens onsite at one of its many campuses, South College also offers other medical courses online that build on what students learn during their LPN course.

Tuition rates are tiered according to how many credits students take each quarter. For example, if you take 10 to 20 credit hours, you’ll pay a flat rate of $5,500. The LPN Certificate program requires a total of 59 credits. To offset tuition costs, South College offers the TN Promise scholarship and participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program to assist members of the military.

Applicants must supply proof of a high school diploma or GED, and applicants from the Atlanta campus must have completed 17.5 quarter credits of general education courses.

Tennessee College of Applied Technology

When it comes to online LPN programs in TN, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology offers students a convenient alternative with their licensed practical nurse program that includes a hybrid option of online classes three days per week. This full-time diploma program takes 12 months to complete with a time commitment of 30 hours per week. Before enrolling in the hybrid program, prospective students must have already passed two prerequisite courses: Anatomy and Physiology and Dosage Calculations.

This LPN program covers basic nursing skills, nutrition, conditions of illness, and treatment for obstetric, pediatric, geriatric, and medical-surgical patients.

The total tuition for the program is $5,403, plus an additional $1,735 for books and supplies. Tennessee residents in need of financial aid for their LPN program can apply for the Wilder-Naifeh Technical Skills Grant, which awards $2,000 towards tuition. The state also offers the Tennessee Promise, a scholarship and mentor program that pays tuition not covered by other financial aid programs.

Tennessee Licensing Information and Requirements

Each state board of nursing has its own specific requirements for becoming a nurse. Below, we show you how to become an LPN in Tennessee by explaining each of the necessary steps. They are listed in sequential order, so you don’t have to wonder what to do first.

Background Check

You will most likely have to pass a criminal background check twice to become an LPN in Tennessee. Many schools require it at the beginning of nursing programs to ensure a safe clinical environment, and the Tennessee Board of Nursing also requires it when you apply for licensure. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) carry out the check. To complete the process, you will also have to submit electronic fingerprints through the Tennessee Department of Health.

Education and Training

To become an LPN in Tennessee, you must successfully complete an accredited practical nursing program and pass the nursing exam. An acceptable practical nursing program consists of 550 hours of classroom instruction and over 400 hours of clinicals. Most of this teaching and experience covers medical-surgical nursing. That said, there are other key areas that you will spend significant time on, primarily mother and infant care, which takes 60 hours. Mental health and pediatrics are also thoroughly covered. Whether you take classes onsite or online, you will have to complete important hands-on skills under the supervision of a licensed nurse.

Professional Nursing Examination

Upon graduating from an LPN program, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN, the licensing examination designed to determine if you meet the minimum standards of nursing competency. Before taking the exam, you’ll need to fill out the application, pay the fee, pass another background check, and submit an official transcript from an approved LPN program. LPN students can apply four weeks before graduation and must wait up to six weeks after graduation for it to process. The fee for taking the NCLEX-PN the first time is $100. If you fail, you must wait at least 45 days before retaking it, and the fee is $110.

Renewal of Licensure & Continuing Education

In Tennessee, LPNs must renew their licenses every two years. If you’re currently practicing at the time of renewal, you need five hours of continuing education (CE) to be eligible. If you’re not actively working as a nurse, you’ll need 10 hours of CE credits. You’ll receive a renewal notice in the mail about 45 days before your license expires, and you can renew your license online up to 60 days before it expires. However, if the system is undergoing upgrades, you will receive your renewal notice earlier than usual. In such cases, early renewal won’t affect your license expiration.

Career and Earning Potential for Tennessee LPNs

When committing substantial time and money to a career, it’s wise to research the opportunities within your chosen field after graduation. The 2023 Tennessee State Employer Demand Trends for Nursing Professionals report reveals that average hourly wages for Tennessee LPNs grew by 25% between 2012 and 2022. Additionally, according to the Projections Central data below, jobs are expected to grow at an impressive rate of 16.5% for the rest of the decade, significantly higher than the country’s average growth rate of 9.3%. Experts project that Tennessee will have 2,520 LPN jobs available each year.

As is typical for many states, location matters when it comes to potential earnings. Jobs tend to be more plentiful and higher paying in larger cities. Nashville offers the best salaries, ranging from $38,100 to $60,700, with a median salary of $49,390. Memphis isn’t far behind with a median salary of $48,100, although the 10th percentile salary dips to $35,310.

Throughout the rest of the state, the median salary ranges from $41,000 to $48,000, with Kingsport LPNs earning the least. Essentially, salaries in the 10th percentile fall in the $30,000s, median salaries in the $40,000s, and salaries in the 90th percentile in the $50,000s (with the exception of Nashville at $60,000).

New Jobs
Job Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings

Source: Projections Central

Location10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
Chattanooga, TN$36,990$47,660$57,130
Clarksville, TN-KY$37,400$46,730$57,020
Cleveland, TN$36,670$45,490$54,460
Jackson, TN$33,730$41,330$51,790
Johnson City, TN$30,950$45,140$51,810
Kingsport, TN$29,270$43,180$55,890
Knoxville, TN$37,110$47,070$56,200
Memphis, TN$35,310$48,100$56,950
Morristown, TN$35,670$42,610$50,060
Nashville, TN$38,160$49,390$60,700

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Resources for Tennessee LPN Students and Professionals

  • American Nurses Association: Since 1896, the ANA has advocated for nurses on important healthcare issues. They have members in all 50 states, and the organization promotes safe, ethical work environments, high-quality care, and the well-being of nurses. Membership includes benefits like career and networking opportunities, important healthcare policy information, and tuition discounts.
  • National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses: The NALPN welcomes both licensed LPNs and students into their organization. For over 70 years, they have supported nurses through continuing education, scholarships and resources, certifications, professional advice, and networking. Every year, members can attend their annual convention, where nurses are recognized and awarded for their achievements.
  • National Student Nurses’ Association: As a national nurse organization with 60,000 members, the NSNA offers nursing students extensive career development support while they prepare for initial licensure. Members enjoy access to resource guides, NCLEX resources, career tools, and networking tools. They are also eligible for awards, scholarships, discounted training materials, and help with NCLEX prep.
  • Tennessee Board of Nursing: The authority on all things nursing in Tennessee, this site holds all the need-to-know info regarding licensure, applications, renewals, and reinstatements. You can also find details about continuing education, license verification, legislative updates, and frequently asked questions. This is a vital resource for new and experienced nurses alike.
  • Tennessee Nurses Association: The Tennessee Nurses Association began in 1905 with the goal of passing a law to regulate nursing, resulting in the Nurse Practice Act. Becoming a member gives you access to financial, insurance, travel, and education benefits. The association holds conferences, administers scholarships, and keeps members informed on important legislative changes that affect nurses.
  • Tennessee Student Nursing Association: Created by and for student nurses, this organization supports nursing students preparing for initial licensure. They promote skills development and high-quality healthcare while inspiring a sense of community. Members also take an active role in their community with blood drives, food drives, and more.