Best Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Programs

March 3, 2022 , Modified on May 24, 2022 · 6 Min Read

NPs complete nurse practitioner programs, Tennessee licensing checks, and national certification to begin their careers. Read on to learn about the education and training necessary to enter this fast-growing, highly rewarding profession.

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Best Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Programs
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The demand for qualified nurse practitioners (NPs) continues to rise across Tennessee, offering opportunities for fulfilling, lucrative careers. Working under the supervision of physicians, NPs in Tennessee help meet patient healthcare needs in every part of the state.

Explore the top-ranked MSN programs in Tennessee with this guide. Read on to learn how long it takes to become an NP, what to look for in a nurse practitioner program, job outlook statistics, and salary data.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best acute care nurse practitioner programs, making it easier to find a program that works for you. We base our methodology on metrics that matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Keep reading to learn more about nurse practitioner programs, or go straight to our list of the best NP programs in Tennessee.

What Can You Do With a Nurse Practitioner Degree?

Anurse practitioner degreeprepares graduates to pursue employment in one of the fastest growing and highly paid nursing careers. Thesegraduate-trained advanced practice registered nurses(APRNs) address chronic, acute, and preventive healthcare needs for patients of all ages. They can diagnose medical conditions, order tests, and prescribe medications.

While NPs possess more autonomy and offer a higher level of care than registered nurses, their responsibilities depend on their specialty, population areas, and state license requirements. While some states authorize independent practice roles for these nurses, NPs in Tennessee must work under the supervision of physicians.

FNPs provide primary care to patients throughout the life span with an emphasis on preventive healthcare. As one of the most popular and in-demand nurse practitioner roles, FNPs earn anaverage base salary of over $98,000, according to May 2022 Payscale data.

ACNPs care for acutely and critically ill patients with serious conditions that require medical or surgical intervention. Despite the long shifts and challenging conditions, ACNPs find their work professionally fulfilling, with an average base salaryof more than $105,000, as of May 2022.

PNPs specialize in caring for children from birth through the age of 21. These NPs focus on well-child care and the treatment and prevention of pediatric acute and chronic conditions. As of May 2022, Payscale data indicates that nurses working in this high-demand specialty earn anaverage base salaryof $93,360, with top earners making over $119,000 a year.

Featured Online MSN Programs

What To Look For in a Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Program

What should you look for when evaluating nurse practitioner programs in Tennessee? The key indicators described below can help you find the school that best fits your personal needs and career goals.

Each NP program sets specific eligibility requirements. Make sure that you have the necessary degrees, test scores, licenses, and work experience to qualify for admission.

Take some time to explore core and elective courses, required credit hours, available specializations, and course delivery formats. Does the curriculum reflect your interests and allow you enough flexibility?

While every NP degree requires clinicals, each program determines where students can fulfill clinical placements and the time spent in clinical rotations. Find out where enrollees perform their clinical experiences, the expected time commitment, and whether the program assists with placement.

Aspiring nurse practitioners should only consider programs at regionally accredited colleges and universities. They should also select NP programs that hold programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing(ACEN). Accreditation establishes the quality of the program and ensures that graduates have adequate preparation to practice as NPs.

MSN programs in Tennessee can take 1.5-3 years, depending on curriculum requirements and clinical experience. Some schools offer online formats, along with bridge and accelerated programs, which can degree timelines.

This figure tells you what percentage of a program's graduates passed the National Council Licensure Examination on the first try. Use this metric to receive an indication of overall program quality and teaching practices. Consistently high pass rates serve as a benchmark for the instructional quality of a nursing program.

This metric tells you what percentage of enrollees have completed their programs. Graduation rates may indicate the level of support available to students, the competitiveness of the program, and the ease of fulfilling curricula requirements.

Applying to a Nurse Practitioner Program in Tennessee

Nurse practitioner schools in Tennessee typically require each applicant to have completed a BSN degree, pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and hold an unencumbered RN license. Some programs admit ADN graduates directly into MSN programs. Almost all MSN programs require applicants who have at least one year of clinical experience as an RN.

Most NP programs require prerequisites in statistics. An applicant typically must hold an ADN or BSN degree and submit official transcripts, a resume, and 2-3 letters of recommendation. In some cases, a candidate completes a personal essay or interview.

Most nurse practitioner programs in Tennessee require an overall minimum 3.0 GPA. Some schools waive GRE score requirements for applicants with high GPAs.

Why Is Nurse Practitioner Program Accreditation Important?

As the single most important factor to consider when choosing a degree, accreditation demonstrates that a school's programs, faculty, and support services meet appropriate quality standards.

Regionally accredited schools have undergone formal reviews by one of the six regional accrediting bodies approved by the U.S. Department of Education. Nursing schools also seek programmatic accreditation from either the CCNE or ACEN to ensure their graduates meet quality standards for professional practice.

Accreditation also affects educational and employment opportunities. Students who attend unaccredited programs may not qualify for federal financial aid or receive consideration for admission to accredited graduate programs in the field.

Coursework completed at an unaccredited school may not be transferable. Most employers will not hire graduates of unaccredited nursing programs. State nursing boards only authorize licenses for graduates of accredited programs.

Paying for a Nurse Practitioner Program in Tennessee

The cost of a nurse practitioner degree depends on several factors. Before enrolling in an MSN program, research the overall length of time needed to complete the degree, along with any residency and clinical requirements. Consider how these factors will affect living expenses and any personal or professional commitments.

Some programs may restrict students from working while enrolled in school. Out-of-state students may pay higher tuition rates than Tennessee residents.

Funding sources include federal subsidized loans or private loans, work-study programs through schools, or tuition remission from employers.

Learn More About the Top NP Programs in Tennessee

  1. Tennessee Technological University
    Location

    Cookeville, TN

    Established in 1815, Cookeville-based Tennessee Tech boasted more than 10,000 students in 2019. This public institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    Learners can complete the university's master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner (MSN-FNP) degree in only two years. The 46-credit curriculum includes classes like healthcare policy, advanced role development, and theoretical foundations. MSN-FNP requirements also include adult, women's, and pediatric primary care practicums and a final preceptorship. In-person experiences must total a minimum of 540 hours.

    This program trains students to provide holistic care across the human lifespan and prepares candidates for FNP national certification exams.

    Campus: Cookeville

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

    Tuition: •   $690/credit for in-state students
    •   $963/credit for out-of-state students

    Admission Requirements: •   Bachelor's in nursing
    •   Minimum 3.0 GPA
    •   RN license
    •   Prerequisite or intended coursework in statistics
    •   Letter of intent or cover letter
    •   CV or resume
    •   Three reference letters

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Program: Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  2. East Tennessee State University
    Location

    Johnson City, TN

    ETSU was established in 1911 as East Tennessee State Normal School. As of fall 2018, this public university has educated over 15,000 learners, and more than 3,000 students earned degrees during the 2017-18 school year. ETSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    While the school's master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program may require 51 course and experiential learning credits, coursework reflects candidates' individual goals. Degree-seekers who want to qualify for a national certification assessment may complete specialized coursework. General classes address policy, research, and pharmacology.

    All candidates complete a final experience or comprehensive exam and multiple practicums. Ninety-eight percent of 2018 alumni passed family nurse practitioner certification exams.

    Campus: Johnson City, Tennessee

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

    Tuition: •   $601/credit for in-state, online students
    •   $841/credit for nonresident, online students

    Admission Requirements: •   RN license
    •   Bachelor's degree
    •   Minimum 3.0 GPA
    •   Prerequisite coursework in statistics
    •   Resume or CV
    •   Three recommendation letters

    Minimum Time Commitment: Four semesters

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Program: Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  3. Middle Tennessee State University
    Location

    Murfreesboro, TN

    Located in Murfreesboro, Middle Tennessee State University began in 1911 as a teaching college. In 1925, the school started conferring four-year degrees. Enrollment for this public school surpassed 21,000 per year in 2016-19. The university holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    The School of Nursing's master of science in nursing with a family nurse practitioner concentration requires 42 credit hours. Students complete courses in health promotion, health assessment, and pharmacology, and earn clinical hours in family healthcare diagnosis and management.

    The program is open to Tennessee residents only.

    Campus: Murfreesboro, Tennessee

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education; Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

    Tuition: $617/hour for in-state, eCampus students

    Admission Requirements: •   RN license
    •   Bachelor's in nursing
    •   Minimum 3.0 GPA
    •   Prerequisite coursework in statistics
    •   Tennessee residency

    Minimum Time Commitment: Four semesters

    On-Campus Requirements: No

    Programs: Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

  4. Austin Peay State University
    Location

    Clarksville, TN

    APSU was chartered in 1927 and now serves 11,048 learnersU.S. News & World Report ranks APSU 23rd for top public schools, eighth for most innovative schools, 34th for best colleges for veterans, and 58th for regional universities in the South. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    APSU offers a master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner program. The degree requires 43 hours, three campus experiences, and 600 hours of clinical fieldwork, including primary care practicums and a family practice residency.

    The curriculum prepares learners for American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Credentialing Center certification exams.

    Campus: Clarksville, Tennessee

    Type: Public

    Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

    Tuition: •   $450/credit for in-state students
    •   $727/credit for out-of-state students

    Admission Requirements: •   RN license
    •   Bachelor's in nursing
    •   Minimum 3.0 GPA
    •   Resume
    •   Goal statement
    •   Prerequisite coursework in statistics

    Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months

    On-Campus Requirements: Yes

    Programs: Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner

    School Site: Tuition | Financial aid

Common Questions About Nurse Practitioner Programs


How much do nurse practitioners make in Tennessee?

According to May 2021 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, NPs in Tennessee earn an average annual salary of $95,120. The state employs over 11,360 nurse practitioners, ranking among the top five states for NP employment. Nurse practitioners with DNPs or in-demand specializations such as psychiatry, geriatrics, or obstetrics/gynecology can expect to earn higher salaries.

Are nurse practitioners in high demand in Tennessee?

Projections Central places Tennessee among the top ten states for nurse practitioner job growth, with a projected 34.7% increase from 2018-2028. Northwest Tennessee, East Tennessee, and the upper Cumberland regions are projected to have the greatest overall job growth for NPs. Job growth has been driven primarily by the increase in the aging population experiencing chronic diseases, nurse retirement and turnover, and a primary care physician shortage.

How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner in Tennessee?

While the length of time varies depending on an individual's educational path, most NPs spend approximately six years becoming NPs. Earning an ADN and/or BSN and passing the NCLEX-RN exam takes 2-4 years. Most NPs work for 1-2 years as RNs before returning to school to pursue two-year MSN degrees. Students who enroll in accelerated direct-entry programs can earn their degrees in as little as three years.

Can nurse practitioners practice independently in Tennessee?

Tennessee is one of 11 states with the highest level of restrictions for advanced practice registered nurses, including NPs. The state requires an NP to work under collaborative practice agreements with a physician. However, while nurse practitioners cannot work with full autonomy, their supervising physician does not need to be present or at the same practice as the NP.


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