The world — and Tennessee, specifically — needs more good nurses like you, and you deserve the opportunity to make more money while playing a more valued role in your patients’ care as a registered nurse. In fact, a recently published Tennessee Hospital Association workforce study found that in 2021, the state had a shortage of 15,700 RNs needed to keep its quality of healthcare comparable with national averages.
Enter a fast, convenient education option: the LPN to BSN program, designed for working practical nurses like you who want to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and become a licensed RN. Though there are only a few on-campus or online LPN to BSN programs in Tennessee, each will teach you the necessary skills to elevate your career.
Nurses with a BSN degree are in demand in Tennessee, so we’ve thoroughly researched available LPN to BSN bridge programs to help you make an informed decision. This guide covers top programs, course details, the salary bump you can expect after making the move, and much more. Keep reading to get started on your LPN to BSN journey and find the program that’s right for you.
Best LPN to BSN Programs in Tennessee for 2023
Is this your year to take your nursing career to the next level? Below, we’re highlighting some of the top LPN to BSN programs in Tennessee that offer the necessary student support and academic excellence you’ll need to start or enhance your career. Begin your school search by looking at these three high-quality programs, and make 2023 the year you open the door to your future as a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree.
East Tennessee State University
The LPN to BSN program at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and takes four semesters to complete once all university core requirements have been met. With the BSN nursing core completed, students will be awarded 23 credits based on the knowledge they gained from their completed LPN program. BSN classes are held one to three days a week in the evenings depending on the semester (fall, spring, or summer), with the clinical portion of the program scheduled for the third and fourth semesters. Clinicals are held in the evenings or on weekends, depending on clinical site availability at approved locations across Tennessee. Students should enroll at ETSU as a Health Professions/Nursing Interest (HPNU) major and plan on applying to the program once all prerequisites have been met. The program’s first-time pass rate for the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN) has been above 80% for 4 of the last 5 years.
South College’s LPN/BSN program is accredited by the CCNE and is available at the Knoxville, Nashville, and Atlanta campuses, with more locations in the works. The first one or two years are spent completing university core requirements and the LPN/BSN program’s prerequisites, after which the nursing courses can be completed in six quarters. It’s a rigorous program, and students should expect to spend about 20 hours in class each week and the same amount of time, if not more, studying and preparing at home. The program requires 180 quarter credits (the equivalent of 120 semester credits), over half of which are nursing-specific. Required nursing courses include classes like Pathophysiology, Physical Assessment, Pharmacotherapeutics for Nursing Practice, Mental Health Nursing, and Maternal Infant Nursing Care.
Herzing University’s bridge program can be completed on campus or online (as a hybrid or completely online); both the on-campus and online LPN to BSN programs in Tennessee happen through the Nashville campus. It takes a total of 28 months to complete. Students can complete university core classes online while taking face-to-face nursing courses on campus, or they can complete both university and nursing core courses online and opt to do clinicals and intensives at a designated Herzing site or partner site. Students can transfer up to 90 of the required 120 credits. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the nursing program has been approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing. Example classes students will take include Nursing Pathophysiology, Mental Health Nursing, Nursing Informatics, Medical-Surgical Nursing, and Policy, Trends, & Ethics in Nursing.
FAQs About LPN to BSN Programs in Tennessee
What additional nursing skills and knowledge will I gain in an LPN to BSN program in Tennessee?
The point of an LPN to BSN bridge program is to build upon the knowledge you gained in your LPN education and through your subsequent experience in the nursing field. Through our research of Tennessee’s LPN to BSN programs, we’ve found that the following are common skills and knowledge you’ll learn from a sampling of these programs:
- Support other healthcare disciplines to coordinate holistic healthcare
- Integrate information technologies and the use of informatics when assessing, planning, intervening, and evaluating safe and ethical nursing practice
- Integrate nursing research into evidence-based practice
- Demonstrate leadership to positively influence healthcare policy, using quality, safety, and regulatory standards.
- Adapt and utilize therapeutic communication
- Use and apply your skills to serve as the key connection between doctors and patients
How long does it take to complete an LPN to BSN program in Tennessee?
As you research Tennessee LPN to BSN programs, you’ll find that the length of the program differs between schools. ETSU’s program can be finished in 4 semesters after all university core courses are completed, while Herzing University’s program takes a total of 28 months. If you’ve already finished university core courses or the program you’ve chosen accepts transfer credits, then your program could be shorter.
How much do LPN to BSN programs in Tennessee cost?
The price of on-campus or online LPN to BSN programs in Tennessee will vary depending on the school. The cost will differ if your courses can be completed entirely online (you won’t have to pay on-campus fees or pay for transportation costs) or if you’ve already completed many general education or transferable nursing courses. Assuming you’ll need to take every course in the program and that you’ll be taking courses on campus, below is a list of three programs and their corresponding costs.
East Tennessee State University
LPN to BSN
Total Credits: 120
$4,900/semester (~$409/semester credit)
LPN to BSN Bridge Program
Total Credits: 120
Total Credits: 180 (quarter credits)
What are the admission requirements for LPN to BSN programs in Tennessee?
Though it’s likely that admission requirements will differ from school to school, below is a list of admission requirements you might see as you try to find the right Tennessee LPN to BSN program for you:
- Admission application
- Previous college transcripts
- Proof of unencumbered LPN licensure
- Completed or in the process of completing general education courses
- Minimum GPA of 2.5 (South University, Herzing University) or 3.0 (ETSU)
- Completed prerequisite courses
- Background check
- Drug test
- Nursing orientation
What should I look for in an LPN to BSN program in Tennessee?
When looking for a program, there are several things you should look for. You’ll want to check that the program is approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing as well as accredited by national nursing associations such as the ACEN or CCNE. You’ll want to make sure the university itself is regionally or nationally accredited as well. You will also need to make sure the program will prepare you for the NCLEX exam and meets all the requirements for licensure in Tennessee.
Can I get financial aid to help pay for my LPN to BSN program in Tennessee?
There are several different opportunities for financial aid to help you pay for college. There are federal aid grants, such as those received from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), scholarships from the specific school you’re attending for a variety of academic and performance levels, work-study programs, and more. Tennessee offers state assistance programs for education as well, such as the Student Assistance Award and the Tennessee Hope Scholarship. There are also student loan options from the government or other private entities — though loans will need to be paid back with interest, which can contribute to the accrual of debt. For more financial aid opportunities, check out our nursing scholarship guide and main financial aid guide.
Inside Look at Online LPN to BSN Programs in Tennessee
Online programs are becoming more and more popular for a variety of reasons. Online classes can be taken from your own home, and many of them are asynchronous, meaning you can complete your coursework around your busy schedule. All coursework, such as readings, video lectures, assignments, and quizzes, can be taken online.
The only available online LPN to BSN program in Tennessee is offered through Herzing University. Because an LPN to BSN program requires hands-on training, you’ll need to plan on completing the clinicals or practicum work on campus or at an approved clinic near your home. If you do choose an online program, you’ll need to be prepared with a computer, an internet connection, and the self-discipline to manage your time efficiently. For more information, you can check out our online LPN to BSN programs page.
Common Questions About Online LPN to BSN Programs in Tennessee
Are hybrid and online LPN to BSN programs in Tennessee more affordable than campus programs?
There are some schools that offer lower tuition for online credits than for on-campus credits. However, even if the tuition isn’t more affordable for online degrees, you will still be saving money by not procuring housing close to campus, paying on-campus fees, and needing to commute to and from the campus.
Can I finish my LPN to BSN program in Tennessee faster by taking coursework online?
This will depend entirely on the program you are taking. Usually, online courses take the same amount of time as other courses. However, online classes can usually be taken year-round, meaning you won’t have to wait for a specific time of year to take your classes, and you may be allowed to take online courses concurrently with other on-campus nursing courses.
Will earning a degree through an online LPN to BSN program in Tennessee or through a hybrid program impact my ability to get licensed?
No, you can still get licensed by completing your degree online. However, when picking a program, you need to make sure the program is offered through an accredited university and preferably with the program itself being accredited by the CCNE or ACEN. It also needs to meet all Tennessee requirements for licensure. Most programs will highlight on their website whether they prepare you for the NCLEX exam and meet the requirements for licensing.
Will employers care if I took some of my LPN to BSN classes online?
The format of your class shouldn’t make a difference to employers, and in most cases, they won’t even know what format classes were in unless you choose to tell them. Whether a degree is earned online or on campus is not typically noted on your degree certificate. With online learning becoming increasingly common, the modality is often just as effective as on-campus classes and can be even more rigorous. You should not be denied a position simply because you took your classes online.
How Do I Go from Being an LPN to a BSN Nurse in Tennessee?
If you have your LPN and you want to earn your BSN, your first step is to find an accredited LPN to BSN bridge program. Once you’ve researched your options and picked a program, then you’ll complete the required classwork that will consist of general courses, specialized nursing courses, and required clinicals that will help you put your knowledge into practice. The program you choose should adequately prepare you to take the NCLEX-RN exam — the certification exam that you’ll need to pass to receive your nursing license.
As you near the end of your program, you’ll need to start submitting the necessary documents to the Tennessee Board of Nursing as part of your nursing application. The following items are what you’ll need to submit:
- Fingerprint Criminal Background Check — 6 weeks prior to graduation
- Start Nursing Application — 4 weeks prior to graduation
- Current Photograph
- Current unexpired driver’s license
- Register, pay for, and take the NCLEX-RN exam — 2 weeks prior to graduation
- Request Official Transcript and send to TN Board of Nursing — after graduation
LPN to BSN Salary and Employment Trends in Tennessee
If you’re still considering whether enrolling in an on-campus or online LPN to BSN program in Tennessee is right for you, it may be helpful to review salary and employment potential after earning your bachelor’s degree. Below, we’ll offer insights into the median salaries of both LPNs and BSN-holding RNs, the average increase in salary after earning a bachelor’s degree, and the potential job growth for both positions in the next 10 years.
How much more can I make going from an LPN to BSN in Tennessee?
The median annual earnings for an LPN ranges from about $38,000-$47,000, while the median annual earnings for an RN (most but not all of whom hold a bachelor’s degree) is roughly $59,000-$64,000. In Tennessee, transitioning from an LPN to an RN position usually brings with it at least a 30% raise, and in some cases, an increase of more than 50% in annual earnings. Below is a table comparing metro areas within Tennessee to give you a better idea of the earning rates and salary increases between LPNs and RNs.
|LPN Median Annual Earnings||RN Median Annual |
|Annual % Earnings|
|Johnson City, TN||$37,500||$59,960||60%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021
What’s the job market like for BSN nurses in Tennessee vs. LPNs?
While there is a growing need for both LPNs and RNs in Tennessee, the demand for registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree is more than twice as high as that for licensed practical nurses. This is because earning a bachelor’s degree provides you with increased knowledge, skills, and experience. As such, there’s a higher demand for BSN nurses, and they are paid considerably more. The table below shows the projected number of new jobs and job growth rate within the next 10 years.
|Job Growth Rate|
|Average Annual Openings|
|LPNs in Tennessee||4,240||16.5%||2,520|
|RNs in Tennessee||10,870||16.9%||4,700|
Source: Projections Central