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Average RN Salary in Tennessee: See How Much TN Nurses Make

NurseJournal Staff
Updated September 8, 2023
Nursing or considering nursing in Tennessee? This guide to RN salaries in Tennessee has the information you need to compare and negotiate offers or a raise.
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Are you considering working as a registered nurse (RN) in Tennessee, or already practicing there and hoping to negotiate a raise? Whatever your goal, this guide to RN salaries in Tennessee provides valuable data on the cost of living.

We also cover where registered nurse salaries in Tennessee are highest, and typical salary ranges. Keep reading for the information that can help you meet your financial goals.

  • Average Tennessee RN Salary: $66,680 (Ranks NUMBER among all states)
  • Hourly Tennessee RN Salary: $32.06
  • Projected Tennessee RN Employment Growth (2018-2028): 12.3%

Source:BLS, Projections Central

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Average RN Salaries in Tennessee

The average annual registered nurse salary in Tennessee is $66,680, while the average hourly salary is $32.06. In neighboring Kentucky, the average annual salary is 8.6% higher, at $67,260.

Most registered nurse salaries in Tennessee fall between $59,470 and $77,290. The median RN salary in Tennessee is $62,390, lower than the national median annual RN salary of $77,600, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, Tennessee’s lower cost of living affects the earning power of RN salaries in Tennessee.

Infographic of registered nursing salary data in Tennessee. The average annual RN salary is $66,680. The average hourly RN salary is $32.06. Average RN salaries range from $48,190 among the bottom 10th percentile of earners to $81,950 among the top 90th percentile of earners.
Tennessee RN Salary Range
PercentileAverage Annual RN SalaryAverage Hourly RN Salary
50% (Median)$62,390$30.00


Tennessee RN Salary, Adjusted for Cost of Living

The cost of living index compares the cost of specific goods and services, including housing, transportation, food, and clothing, across the United States as a whole and in specific regions. The national average cost is set as 100 for easy comparisons.

In Tennessee, the cost of living index is 92.2, which makes it the 37th highest state for overall cost of living. In other words, living in Tennessee is 7.8% cheaper than living in the United States overall.

With this adjustment, the average registered nurse salary in Tennessee has the purchasing power of $71,881. This places the average RN salary in Tennessee 45th among all states in the country.

  • Average RN Salary Adjusted for Cost of Living: $71,881 (Ranks 45th among all states)
  • Cost of Living Index (RPP): 92.2 (7.8% less than the U.S. average)

Highest-Paying Cities for RNs in Tennessee

The Nashville metro area, famous for country music, has the highest RN salaries in Tennessee, at an average $70,900. Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which includes several magnet hospitals, is based in Nashville. Private healthcare system Ascension also has several hospitals in the Nashville area.

In the Memphis region, Methodist Le Bonheur is one of the largest and highest-ranked hospital networks. Memphis is also home to the world-renown St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Erlanger Health System is based in Chattanooga and is the largest hospital in the area. In the Clarksville region, which has the fifth-highest registered nurse salaries in Tennessee, Gateway Medical Center and Tennova Healthcare are the main providers.

Highest-Paying Cities for RNs in Tennessee
CityAverage RN Salary
Nashville — Davidson — Murfreesboro — Franklin, TN$70,900
Memphis, TN — MS — AR$68,510
Chattanooga, TN — GA$65,590
Clarksville, TN — KY$65,190
Johnson City, TN$65,090


Average Salaries for Other Nursing Roles in Tennessee

While RN salaries in Tennessee are significantly higher than the state average salary for all jobs, $49,330, you may want to increase your earnings even more. Earning a graduate degree and becoming an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) is one of the most promising ways to do this.

If you earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree, you can become a nurse midwife or nurse practitioner. The highest-paid nursing job in Tennessee, nurse anesthetist, earns 90% more than the average RN salary in Tennessee. Becoming a nurse anesthetist requires earning a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree.

  • Nursing Assistants: $28,900
  • LPN/LVNs: $43,620
  • Nurse Midwives: $99,250
  • Nurse Practitioners: $176,020
  • Nurse Anesthetists: $95,120


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