15 Best Online RN to BSN Programs in Tennessee 2019

Nursing in Tennessee is a field full of surprises. It’s a state of complexities and variety, from the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the Mississippi Delta in the west, all with their own unique medical and healthcare concerns. Tennessee has three major metropolitan cities booming with people – Nashville, Memphis, and the rapidly-rising Chattanooga – as well as remote rural regions with spread-out villages and towns. As such, the top nursing schools Tennessee hospitals and doctors rely on have to be well-versed in rural and urban healthcare, diverse populations (with particular need for minority nurses), and everything from the most fundamental preventative care to the most advanced medicine.

It’s a task that the many accredited nursing schools in Tennessee are entirely up for. In the 21st century, to meet the growing demand for BSN-trained nurses, online RN to BSN programs in Tennessee have expanded widely, with nearly two dozen fully online and hybrid programs out there, of varying quality and reputability. For working nurses looking for BSN programs Tennessee nurses can trust, TopRNtoBSN has compiled a ranking of the best accredited online RN to BSN programs in Tennessee.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Online RN to BSN Programs in Tennessee

To rank the best RN to BSN online programs in Tennessee, TopRNtoBSN editors searched out accredited nursing schools offering fully online, hybrid, and low-residency BSN programs Tennessee nurses can trust. From there, programs were ranked according to data from three sources:

  • Cost (IPEDS)
  • Reputation (Niche)
  • Graduate Employment Rate (College Scorecard)

With this triangulated score, students can trust that TopRN’s ranking will point them to online RN to BSn programs in Tennessee that will give them the best of all possible worlds – excellent education and training, a trusted name on the job market, and real results, preferably with an affordable tuition rate.

1. Baptist College of Health Sciences

The Baptist College of Health Sciences RN to BSN online program offers both flexibility and quality in one of the best accelerated nursing programs Tennessee has to offer. This program lets you set your own pace. In fact, you can get your BSN in as little as one year if that works for you. You can complete your program entirely online, or you can choose a blended program that puts you in a classroom once a week. Either way, Baptist college has full accreditation from the CCNE, so if you want to pursue nursing in Tennessee, this school will help you get there.

Baptist College, as the name implies, has deeply rooted Christian values. As such, BCHS prepares students for a life of leadership and service to others, with one of the top nursing schools Tennessee students can believe in. Because nursing is, by nature, a service to others, Baptist College considers it extremely important, and it shows. If you come from a Christian background and consider your nursing career a calling, then you might choose Baptist College, which provides “Higher Education With a Higher Purpose.”

Format: Online – 12 month
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

2. University of Tennessee Health Science Center

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s RN to BSN online program is available in two paths: a full time and a part time program. Students who choose the full time route graduate in 12 months, while the part time route lasts for 17 months. These programs teach a holistic approach to nursing, helping nurses to see the whole patient, not just the illness or injury. Accredited by the CCNE, UT offers two of the best BSN programs Tennessee has to offer.

The University of Tennessee has several campuses and a large student body, which means that it has a lot of resources for nursing in Tennessee. The UT Health Science Center came together in 1911, combining the University of Tennessee’s medical and health sciences programs at its Memphis, TN, location, though some programs are housed or have extensions at other UT campuses. RN to BSN students can take advantage of these resources in their own research and study. UT has a long history, and it values its traditions, while continuing to push forward innovation in medicine and health.

Format: Online – 12 month
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

3. University of Tennessee – Knoxville

The University of Tennessee Knoxville RN to BSN online program allows students to complete all coursework online, but students still have access to the College of Nursing’s cutting-edge resources. Faculty and staff at UTK maintain communication with online students, so if you ever have any questions, you’ll know exactly how to ask. Among the accredited nursing schools in Tennessee, UTK is one that prepares nurses to handle changes in the medical field.

UT Knoxville is the flagship of the University of Tennessee system, dating back to 1794, making it one of the oldest public research universities in the nation. With a world-class College of Nursing, UTK emphasizes leadership and communication among nurses, while preparing new nursing students for the complexities of modern nurses – social responsibility, technology, the economics of healthcare, and more. For nursing in Tennessee, the University of Tennessee is one of the top nursing schools Tennessee nurses trust.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

4. Union University

Union University’s RN to BSN online program that provides working nurses with the support they need to complete their BSN (from an ADN) in only 18 months. So long as all prerequisistes and general education courses are up to date, all coursework can be completed in a fully online format. However, as a Christian school Union requires some religious prerequisite classes which students will need to take on-campus, if they do not have transferable credits. One of the best faith-based BSN programs in Tennessee, Union is a fully-rounded education, highly regarded among CCNE-accredited nursing schools in Tennessee.

As a private school accredited by CCNE, Union University expects excellence from its students. As a result, BSN graduates are well prepared to handle all of the challenges that come with a nursing career. Along with one of the best accelerated nursing programs Tennessee can offer, Union also emphasizes community service. Students and faculty from Union frequently take medical mission trips to serve developing countries. If you want a personal and meaningful education, Union may have what you need.

Format: Online – 18 months
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

5. University of Tennessee – Martin

The University of Tennessee Martin RN to BSN online program is accredited by the ACEN. In addition to advanced healthcare courses, UT Martin teaches nursing students about the specific issues that nurses face today. Nursing students also learn how to make the most of their research and how to use the latest technology. For nursing in Tennessee, UT Martin provides a solid foundation, making it one of the top nursing schools Tennessee nurses choose time and again.

As we mentioned earlier, the University of Tennessee provides a lot of resources for its students. The College of Nursing at UT Martin is no acception. This campus has the technology and innovation that they need to provide a completely up to date education. Although this program is entirely online, you’ll absolutely reap the benefits of getting your degree from a school with all the resources one of the best accredited nursing schools in Tennessee can offer.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

6. University of Memphis

The University of Memphis RN to BSN online program can be completed in as few as 12 months, one of the best accelerated nursing programs Tennessee has on tap. The University of Memphis offers a lot of flexibility with its program. This RN to BSN program won’t let students waste time or money. Students have Credit by Exam (CBE) and other options that save time and prevent students from re-learning old information. If you want flexibility while attending one of the top nursing schools Tennessee can offer, the University of Memphis has you covered.

The University of Memphis has a hands-on approach to learning that dates all the way back to its forming as a normal school in 1912 (an innovative hands-on teacher training program) and that continues today in the College of Nursing, one of the best nursing schools in Memphis, Tennessee. Though RN to BSN students work exclusively online, their education focuses on real-world applications. Committed to both research and academics, this university fosters passion for lifelong learning and nursing in Tennessee.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

7. Milligan College

Milligan College’s RN to BSN online program boasts the lowest tuition costs in the region and even has low costs compared to the rest of the state. Students do participate in clinicals, but they do so in their own regions, so there’s no need for travel. Faculty and staff will work with prospective students to help them figure out the best pathway for their education. For personalized online RN to BSN programs in Tennessee, check out Milligan College.

Like a few others on this list, Milligan College is a Christian liberal arts school and one of the top nursing schools Tennessee students trust. It takes a holistic and well-rounded approach to education, and it has traditions dating back to the 1950s. Faith and academics overlap at Milligan. If you want a faith-based approach to education but can’t afford the tuition at other Christian colleges, Milligan may just be the right choice for nursing in Tennessee.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

8. University of Tennessee – Chattanooga

The University of Tennessee Chattanooga RN to BSN online program emphasizes the needs of working nurses and takes as little as 16 months to complete – one of the fastest accelerated nursing programs Tennessee students will find. The course developers built it knowing that most nurses will want to keep working while furthering their educations. CCNE accredited and rated one of the Top Online schools by the SR Education group, UTC provides one of the best online RN to BSN programs in Tennessee.

One of the fastest-growing and most vibrant cities in the South, Chattanooga is on the rise, and so is UTC. It has a beautiful campus in an equally beautiful city, which you’ll get to see for orientation. (Don’t worry, this is the only time you’ll have to show up on campus.) The schools prides itself on being “not too big, not too small.” While online students have access to all kinds of resources, they also have access to faculty and staff members if they need academic help. The future of nursing in Tennessee looks like UT Chattanooga.

Format: Online – 16 months
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

9. Tennessee Wesleyan College

Tennessee Wesleyan College’s RN to BSN online program is one of the fastest accelerated nursing programs Tennessee has available. Students can earn their degree in as few as 3 semesters, which is perfect for working nurses. Since this program is entirely online, Tennessee Wesleyan has invested a lot of effort in creating a user-friendly platform. Tuition is already affordable, and online students are eligible for state and federal financial aid as well. If “affordable” and “easy to navigate” are at the top of your priorities list, this is one of the best online RN to BSN programs in Tennessee.

Tennessee Wesleyan College has a very small student body. As a result, students and faculty form a very tight-knit culture. Though RN to BSN students take their classes online, they still get the results of this small-school feel. Faculty and staff are always available if students have questions about a class or program. This college has earned several awards over the years, so take a look if you want an excellent academic experience and the finest education in nursing in Tennessee.

Format: Online – 12 months
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

10. Tennessee State University

Tennessee State University’s RN to BSN online program is one of the fastest from accredited nursing schools in Tennessee. They call it a “career mobility program,” and students can graduate in as few as 12 months. Though admission only takes place once a year, everything else about the program is flexible. Want to take all of your classes online? No problem. Want to mix online classes with on-campus learning? You can take that route, too. On top of its flexibility, TSU also provides affordability. If you want career advancement for nursing in Tennessee, TSU provides exactly that.

TSU is the best of the nursing schools in Nashville, the heart of Tennessee. Students who take classes on campus will get a taste of Nashville culture, which goes far beyond its famed country music. These students can also explore TSU’s lush acres in between classes. This school boasts a diverse student body, affordability, and a culture of excellence. In fact, this school lives up to its motto: “Excellence is our habit!” especially with the quickest accelerated nursing programs Tennessee has produced.

Format: Online – 12 months
Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

11. Cumberland University

Cumberland University’s RN to BSN online program helps nurses keep their current work schedules while advancing their careers in nursing in Tennessee. Cumberland designed the program to acclimate students to online learning while preparing them for the future of nursing and monitoring current trends. This program does not require clinicals. Instead, nurses will complete course projects in their own work environments. Look into this program if you want to attend one of the top nursing schools Tennessee students could want.

Cumberland University has been educating students for almost 200 years. As a liberal arts school, it takes a wholehearted, holistic approach to learning. This school helps students develop habits for lifelong learning, which is vital for nurses. As a quickly growing university, Cumberland continues to add new and exciting resources to its classrooms. It’s the perfect school for those who want to blend the liberal arts method with contemporary studies.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

12. King University

Whether you want some classroom time or to complete your degree entirely online, King University’s RN to BSN online program has the option that you want. With either program, students graduate quickly, advancing their careers without disrupting their regular lives. Instead of using fixed admission dates, King University’s RN to BSN program accepts students on a rolling basis, which means that you can get started when you’re ready. If you need flexibility with the accelerated nursing programs Tennessee nurses want, King College might just be the right choice for you and your career.

King University, a Presbyterian school, blends a liberal arts education with contemporary degrees. Students who take classes on campus will enjoy some of east Tennessee’s beautiful scenery. The US News and World Report has ranked King University as one of the Best Regional Universities in the South for nearly 30 years in a row. In 2016, the Brookings Institution rated King 3rd in Tennessee for “preparing students for high paying careers.” If you want a school that can give you a great ROI for nursing in Tennessee, King University is the way to go.

Format: Online – 16 months
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

13. Lincoln Memorial University

The Lincoln Memorial University RN to BSN online program was designed to open doors for nursing students. Students who graduate from this online program are equipped to either pursue an MSN or go straight into career advancement. The course curriculum prepares students to work with all demographics and age groups. Classes also help students expand their research, informatics, and leadership abilities. For one of the most multifaceted BSN programs Tennessee has to offer, check out LMU.

Lincoln Memorial’s namesake, Abraham Lincoln, once imagined a quality university for Appalachia. LMU grew from that vision more than 100 years later. This university takes its legacy very seriously. In fact, students take classes about Lincoln’s impact on society. For nursing students, this means that social justice and diversity will become priorities as they care for their patients. That helps Lincoln Memorial stand out among the top nursing schools Tennessee nurses have at their service.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: ACEN
Cost: $$$$$

14. Carson-Newman University

The Carson-Newman University RN to BSN online program suits full-time working nurses. Apart from clinicals and practicum, everything about this program exists online. The classes have no mandatory login times, so you get some flexibility with your courses. Even the clinicals offer flexibility because students can complete them in their own workplaces. These courses prepare students not only for better nursing practices, but also for research opportunities and leadership. For those who want to start or continue nursing in Tennessee, Carson-Newman can help with those career goals.

Carson-Newman University blends faith, learning, and evidence-based practices in their courses. This school has a robust online learning community. It provides a lot of the personalization that online learning can sometimes lack. Students get to interact with their fellow learners as well as faculty and staff. This school has earned several different awards and accreditations, so it’s a perfect learning environment for those who want excellence in their education.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

15. East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University’s RN to BSN online program was designed for students who want “professional nursing practice, increased job opportunities, and higher salaries.” If you’re already an RN and want to climb up the career ladder, ETSU can help. Accredited by the CCNE, ETSU offers different tracks to a BSN degree. If you want flexibility with a chance to climb up the career ladder, ETSU has some great BSN programs in Tennessee that will help you meet your goals.

ETSU values academics and research equally, which is great news for nursing students. This school has all kinds of resources and technology available for students who want to make the most of their educations. ETSU faculty and staff members put students first, creating a culture of collaboration and respect. That culture means one of the top nursing schools Tennessee has ever created.

Format: Online
Program Accreditation: CCNE
Cost: $$$$$

What Do I Need to Apply for Online RN to BSN Programs in Tennessee?

A report issued by the Institute of Medicine in 2010 regarding the Future of Nursing, which was initiated by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, calls for increases in educational requirements for nurses. Of these requirements, the new proposal requires that, before 2020, 80% of all nurses receive their bachelor’s degree. There are only 55% of nurses meeting this requirement currently.

Therefore, nurses in Tennessee can research nursing schools in Nashville to achieve this goal. (Nashville is, incidentally, one of the highest-paying cities for nurses in the US). Many nursing schools in Memphis Tennessee offer online programs allowing nurses to continue working while simultaneously earning their degrees. Hospitals in Tennessee, like other states, are beginning to adopt the BSN as a minimum, so the nursing salaries Tennessee nurses can expect are going to hit a ceiling without the bachelor’s.

For those who are looking at the top nursing schools Tennessee, students can expect the following requirements for applying for an online RN to BSN program:

  • GPA of at least 2.8 or higher
  • At least 61 hours of courses in general education or other university required courses
  • All courses must have a minimum grade of C
  • All basic science course must be complete
  • Admission Assessment Examination
  • Varying years of experience (usually 1-5)
  • Unencumbered TN nursing license verification

For RN to BSN programs, TN nursing license verification is critical – only working nurses licensed in Tennessee can apply to an RN to BSN online program.

Will Getting My Bachelor’s in Nursing in Tennessee Help My Career?

The aforementioned report issued through the Institute of Medicine in 2010 sited the existing complexities today’s nurses encounter in the field routinely. Therefore, nursing in Tennessee benefits from those who advance their degrees. The main reason is that those nurses working in hospitals in Tennessee can improve upon their care their providing in complex situations. Therefore, it’s essential for nurses to look at the statistics in this report and understand that, in addition to experiencing financial stability, it’s also possible to receive job security as well. The best nursing salaries Tennessee nurses can expect are high indeed.

There are also many hospitals in Tennessee that are offering increases in nursing salaries Tennessee for those who complete their bachelor’s degrees, as well. These incentives are to help increase the number of nurses on staff who don’t have their BSN and encourage them to continue their education. Those who are already working as professional nurses in Tennessee may be experiencing difficulty with career advancement because they haven’t furthered their education. Some facilities are no longer offering jobs to RNs unless they have a BSN, so it’s become critical to secure these nursing salaries Tennessee with a BSN.

How Quickly Can I Get My BSN?

It isn’t uncommon for students researching BSN programs Tennessee to have concerns about how long it will take to earn their BSN through accelerated nursing programs Tennessee, mainly when they’re working a full-time job simultaneously. Under most circumstances, earning a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) in accelerated nursing programs Tennessee students will take approximately four years for completion. Those who wish to pursue their education online can reduce the amount of time it will take significantly while maintaining their current work schedules. Making this decision is an important one given the fact that there’s a shortage of nurses currently.

Students completing BSN programs Tennessee will find that emphasis is placed on critical thinking, communication, and leadership in addition to the clinical experiences derived from non-hospital settings. Accredited nursing schools in Tennessee offering RN-to-BSN programs are designed for registered nurses already possessing their ADN and would like to expand their skills and knowledge. In the state of Tennessee, the average amount of time it takes for an RN to BSN through accredited nursing schools in Tennessee is approximately one year of full-time study. Students who choose to participate in accelerated nursing programs Tennessee part-time can achieve this goal in about three years.