Being a nurse in Tennessee has its challenges, with the state’s population experiencing a high prevalence of cigarette use, mental distress, and those with multiple chronic conditions compared to other states. Like all RNs, you play a vital role in addressing health concerns and providing quality care to a diverse range of patients. And if you’re like most RNs, you’re a lifelong learner, which makes you an excellent candidate for pursuing higher education through an advanced degree.
You’re also located in a great state. Tennessee hosts some of the highest-ranked nursing programs in the country, including East Tennessee State University College of Nursing and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga School of Nursing.
Whether you are a nurse looking for future leadership positions or feel it’s time to invest in the best courses that help you meet modern health demands, exploring today’s RN to MSN bridge programs in Tennessee is a great way forward.
Nursing School Spotlights: Best RN to MSN Programs in Tennessee
A RN to MSN program in Tennessee can help you bypass the BSN entirely, going directly from an ADN to an MSN. We’ve identified three programs that let you expand your RN career by giving you an MSN degree, often with online courses.
Whether you’re looking to maximize cost, time, or opportunities, these RN to MSN bridge programs in Tennessee are a good place to start your research. Learn how these programs offer academic excellence, student support, and flexibility.
East Tennessee State University
The RN to MSN program at East Tennessee State University has a solid reputation for graduating students in as little as five months with full-time status, although part-time options are available. The program includes between 420 and 540 clinical hours, as well as courses such as “Health Promotion and Research,” “Leadership and Professional Practice,” and “Advancing to Professional Practice.” The majority of the courses can be completed online.
In addition to giving students who complete this program a fully accredited master of science in nursing degree, you’ll get to choose from one of four concentration areas: family nurse practitioner, nursing administration, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and nursing education. Students need permission to change between concentrations, however, as this may change how long it takes them to finish their required coursework.
Admission requirements include the RN license, essay, transcripts of previous coursework, and the application with the application fee.
The Whitson-Hester School of Nursing at Tennessee Tech is the online RN to MSN program available for students with an RN license and a bachelor’s degree in any subject. The degree program is entirely online and includes 50 credit hours of coursework. Students can seek their Advanced Practice licensure as an FNP after successful completion in as few as eight to nine semesters of work and just two courses each semester.
Requirements include an RN license in Tennessee or the state where you will complete clinicals, along with three letters of recommendation. You’ll also need a bachelor’s degree with a 3.0 GPA, and an associate’s in nursing. Statistics coursework is also required, although you can finish this as part of this RN to MSN bridge program.
Courses include advanced pharmacology, primary care pediatrics and women’s health clinicals, and advanced nursing research. Program enrollment is available in the fall and spring semesters only.
With three available RN to MSN programs to choose from, Tennessee’s Union University may be a top pick for those looking for ultimate flexibility. Pick the nursing administration, education, or nurse practitioner track, and get your full MSN degree even without a BSN.
Both the nursing administration and education tracks are available for full-time and part-time students and give you access to online coursework. The nurse practitioner track is full-time only and requires in-person classes on Thursdays.
The program has fall admission only, but degrees can be earned in as little as four semesters for full-time students (or seven for part-time students). Requirements vary by track, but students will need (at a minimum) their RN licensure and associate of nursing degree. Not all concentrations require a bachelor’s degree. A 3.0 GPA on the last 60 credit hours of college coursework is preferred.
FAQs: RN to MSN Programs in Tennessee
What Can You Do with an MSN in Tennessee?
The MSN offers many opportunities to treat patients and lead other healthcare professionals in Tennessee. What you choose to do with your degree depends on your personal interests and the concentration in which you earned your online degree. Some choose to go on to get their nurse practitioner license, but this is just one avenue to explore.
Other career options for online RN to MSN graduates in Tennessee include nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse educators. For those who don’t mind taking even more coursework and testing, the doctorate of nursing degree is also an option. Keep in mind that only some schools that offer online RN to MSN programs in Tennessee offer doctorate nursing degrees.
Will I Earn My Bachelor’s Degree During My RN to MSN Program?
Not every online RN to MSN program in Tennessee offers BSN degrees. Some don’t require a bachelor’s to enroll, while others require a bachelor’s in any field. Every school is different, so it’s important to research carefully. Here are some examples to help:
East Tennessee State requires prospective students to hold a bachelor’s degree in any field to enroll in their online RN to MSN program.
Union University doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree to enroll in its RN to MSN program. Still, you will have to take general education requirements such as Christian studies, English Composition I and II, and humanities to earn your MSN degree.
What Additional Nursing Skills and Knowledge Will I Gain in an RN to MSN Program in Tennessee?
Not only do the RN to MSN bridge programs in Tennessee give you quality learning time with knowledgeable professors and nurses in your field, but you’ll also gain experience in clinical settings to help you care for patients.
Some of the courses you’ll take in your program include scientific writing and research, healthcare policy, and leadership courses. Most of the programs available today also spend some time discussing the different healthcare needs of various people groups, such as pregnant women, those in urban areas, or the aging population.
Expect to see other courses offered depending on the concentration you choose as well.
In Tennessee, How Long Does It Take To Complete an RN to MSN Program?
Your completion time in an RN to MSN bridge program will vary depending on whether you pursue full-time or part-time enrollment. The program at Tennessee Tech, for example, can be completed in eight semesters, with two courses a semester.
East Tennessee State University gives full-time students a program that can be done in just five months. Those taking just one or two courses a year, however, will need to spend much longer in school to complete their RN to MSN bridge program.
In Tennessee, How Much Do RN to MSN Programs Cost?
Just like any program of study, there is a wide range of costs associated with completing any of the RN to MSN programs in Tennessee. Private schools may charge more, and you’ll also have higher costs if you didn’t get your bachelor’s degree before starting. In this case, you’d also need to fill in some holes in your course requirements.
Assuming you stay on track and have met all the requirements to start, here are some price tags you can expect to encounter when getting your degree.
RN to MSN Program
Total Credits: 50
Total program cost: $36,000 – $49,000
RN to MSN Program (Administrative)
$665/credit plus fees
Total program cost: $26,000+
East Tennessee Tech
RN To MSN
Total Credits: varies
Total cost varies (see a calculator for cost per course and additional fees)
Can I Get Financial Aid to Help Pay for My RN to MSN Program in Tennessee?
Anyone interested in these RN to MSN programs in Tennessee should fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is available for graduate students and undergrads. This is available beginning on Oct. 1 of every year, with funds often given to students by colleges on a first-come, first-served basis.
In addition, each school typically offers merit aid based on past performance and funds for students in need from its own aid pool.
While Tennessee doesn’t have as many notable nursing scholarships for graduate students, both the nursing scholarship guide and general financial aid guide may give you additional ideas for where to seek funding for your education.
In Tennessee, What Are the Admission Requirements for RN to MSN Programs?
While each RN to MSN bridge program in Tennessee has slightly different requirements, they all generally follow a similar path. You’ll need the following:
- An associate in nursing degree
- An RN licensure
- Possibly a BSN (although some don’t require a bachelor’s degree in any specific field—or at all)
- A 3.0 GPA or higher on your last 60 course credits
- A completed application with supplemental materials, which may include letters of recommendation, essays, or an application fee
Please also allow enough time for the college to review your application. Some may take up to six weeks to give you an answer. If you want to enroll next semester, for example, plan enough time to assemble your application packet and wait for an answer.
What Should I Look for in an RN to MSN Degree Program in Tennessee?
Before anything else, check that the Tennessee Board of Nursing accredits your choice of RN to MSN programs in Tennessee. They also can provide the passing rate for any nursing exams, as well as if the nursing programs are brand new, operating appropriately, or under review. You’ll also want to make sure that they have flexible start dates and online courses if that’s important to you.
Inside Look at Online RN to MSN Programs in Tennessee
It’s a common myth that graduate programs can’t be done online, and the number of online RN to MSN programs in Tennessee demonstrates just how flexible these learning opportunities really can be. Typically, the coursework is handled online, with the exception of some courses, such as those required for the nurse practitioner concentration. For the most part, however, all the clinicals can be done from your computer, and even those clinicals are scheduled to occur in communities near you.
Online programs offer those with demanding jobs or busy family lives a path to race ahead in their career. In fact, online students are likely to know how to successfully juggle coursework with their daily tasks.
Challenges may be more common in those final courses, where lectures or in-person labs are most likely to take place. Fortunately, instructors are accustomed to helping non-traditional students and those with busy schedules succeed. Read EduMed’s online RN to MSN to learn what you can expect before enrolling.
Can You Earn a Completely Online MSN Degree in Nursing?
While most of the RN to MSN bridge programs in Tennessee offer many online courses, most will have in-person requirements for the clinicals and labs requirements. This makes them less than 100% online, but even those clinicals are typically scheduled in your immediate area. Some programs, such as those designed for nurse practitioners, may have additional on-campus requirements.
Do Employers in Tennessee Accept Graduates from Online RN to MSN Programs?
The RN to MSN programs we’ve shared are all accredited by the Tennessee Board of Nursing, and you must already have your RN license to enroll in them. Once you have your degree completed, you will need to keep your RN license current, along with any training required by your employer. After earning your MSN, the state of Tennessee will require you to renew your RN license every two years, with additional licensing requirements for nurse practitioners.
In Tennessee, How Do I Go from Being an RN to an MSN Nurse?
There are two components to the RN to MSN program in Tennessee: licensure and education. Since the RN licensure is a requirement you need to meet before you apply to the MSN program, this is already done.
You’ll need to keep your license renewed every two years. From there, the degree program will take you from RN to your MSN degree. There are no additional “MSN nurse” requirements, but you will have to perform the extra courses and clinical needed to graduate.
After you graduate, you may be qualified to take the nurse practitioner exam. This is additional state licensure, similar to an RN, that needs to be updated with the state board of health in Tennessee.
To recap, you’ll need the
- RN license
- MSN degree
- Any additional specialty licenses for jobs you seek (such as nurse practitioner or APRN)
RN to MSN Salary and Employment Trends in Tennessee
While there are many reasons to pursue nursing, some are attracted to the salary potential and how it can provide a good income for those who excel in their field. And since the world is experiencing a nursing shortage, there are plenty of jobs for RN to MSN graduates in Tennessee. Here’s what you should know about pay trends.
How Much More Does an MSN Nurse Make in Tennessee?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a sharp increase in median income from RN to MSN. Nationally, the average salary for RN is $77,600, while those with an advanced degree make around $123,780. Tennessee shows similar trends between the designation of RN and those with an MSN degree. The annual average is $68,537 for Tennessee RNs; those with an MSN degree can see around $109,698 in the next year.
What is the Job Market Like for Registered Nurses with an MSN in Tennessee?
Nurses made up 62,000 jobs in Tennessee in 2021, and some of these included RNs with an MSN degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 6% growth in nursing jobs over the next decade and a 40% growth for those with advanced nursing qualifications (such as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives.) Based on these numbers alone, it’s likely that getting your MSN will put in into one of the healthcare professional categories with the most demand.