Tennessee LPN Requirements and Training Programs

TennesseeNurses play an integral role in almost every medical experience patients undergo on the road to wellness. Intensive training prepares them to assume a wide range of duties and responsibilities to assess and meet patients’ health care needs before, during, and after a physician’s visit, treatment, or surgery. Training to become an LPN is one of the fastest ways to enter the nursing profession. Due to the extent of education and scope of practice, LPNs represent an important “middle ground” in the nursing career ladder. There has been much debate on the phasing out of this profession, particularly in hospitals. However, many administrators agree that disregarding the importance of the role will have far-reaching consequences on the health care system. LPNs deliver critical care to patients daily. Contrary to popular belief, they cannot be replaced by CNAs as their skills and learning exceed that of nursing assistants. They provide valuable support to overworked RNs and physicians in private practices who cannot afford to employ registered nurses.

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LPN Training Tennessee: Prerequisites and Program Content

Practical nursing education is designed to prepare students for employment as Licensed Practical Nurses. The program includes theory and clinical practice in core areas such as pediatric, medical, obstetric, geriatric, and surgical nursing. Enrollment into a program requires advanced planning as most schools require applicants to complete a criminal background check and physical before commencing studies.

Candidates do not need prior experience in nursing to enter and succeed in the program as instructors cover all the areas they need to assume the role of a practical nurse. Students learn the body’s functions and how mental and emotional well-being affect a person’s health. They learn sound principles for developing, implementing, and evaluating a patient care plan for each patient.

The curriculum includes but is not limited to, didactic instruction and clinical practice in the various fields of nursing in acute care, long-term care, and community settings. It also includes the role and function of practical nurses, nutrition, personal, family, and community health concepts, body structure and function, mental health concepts, human growth and development over the life span, interpersonal relationship skills, pharmacology, current issues in nursing, legal aspects of practice, and the administration of medication.

It is important to enroll in a board approved program – a school that has gone through the approval process with the Tennessee Board of Nursing. This requirement is not only good for Tennessee licensure but also for other states if you plan to apply to another state board for licensure in the future. Failure to complete a board-approved program could result in denial of your eligibility to take the NCLEX, or the board could request that you complete further education to fill the deficiencies in your training.

Mandatory information sessions set up by most schools provide details of the program requirements and opportunities for financial aid. The sessions save time, money and frustration associated with enrollment into the program. A program administrator will supply the applicant packet outlining the prerequisite course requirements and details for preparing for the entrance exam (TEAS, COMPASS or otherwise). The session will also provide details as it relates to criminal background screening and physical and immunization requirements.

Successful completion of the program will confirm your eligibility to take the NCLEX-PN for licensure as an LPN in the state. The Tennessee Board of Nursing has the final say on your eligibility for the state exam.

Duration and Cost of Training: Through the Tennessee College of Applied Science (various campuses), training to become a practical nurse is affordable – perhaps, the most affordable in the nation. Tuition and fees are an estimated $4,113 plus $2,233 for textbooks and supplies. Related expenses such as uniform, admissions fees, criminal background clearance, TB clearance, liability insurance, lab and clinical supplies will cost an extra $300. Students are responsible for transport to and from the clinical sites. The estimated costs are based on TN residency in-state tuition. The time for completing the program is 12 months based on a full-time schedule. Part-time students need an additional 6 to 8 months to complete the program.

NCLEX Tennessee

Sometime after graduation, you will need to pass the NCLEX-PN for licensure in Tennessee. The national exam is the same exam used for licensure in other states. The Tennessee State Bard bears the responsibility of authorizing candidates for the exam. You must begin the application process after graduation by submitting an application to the Board and registering for fingerprints. At the same time, you must register for the licensing exam with the testing agency – Pearson Vue. Registration is available online or by phone and the $200 fee is payable using a credit or debit card.

The BON will review your credentials submitted with the application for licensure and authorize you to take the test. The authorization prompts Pearson Vue to send out the Authorization to Test (ATT). This vital document usually arrives via email to the address you provided during registration. It contains an authorization number, your candidate identification number, and expiration date. This information is necessary to schedule a convenient test date. You must schedule the test within the window granted by the ATT. Failure to do so will require another application and fee as the dates are not extendable.

The NCSBN advises that you review the Candidate Bulletin thoroughly before registering for the exam and even after completing registration. The Bulletin outlines the steps for registering and provides details on preparing for the exam, what to bring on exam day and an overview of the Computer Adaptive NCLEX. Every candidate should review the booklet as part of the preparation for success.

The examination is usually the last step before licensure. After the Board receives the results from Pearson Vue, it will issue the license within one business day. The results are reported as pass/fail, but the Board won’t report it as such. Candidates will know they passed once they see a verifiable license number on the Board’s website. The original license will be available by mail within two weeks.

If you fail the exam, you will receive a notice by mail and an enhanced candidate performance report, which will identify your weak areas, and documents to reapply to retake the licensure exam.

Tennessee LPN Licensure Requirements

Tennessee law requires nurses to obtain licensure by examination or endorsement before practicing in the state. Practice includes work for compensation, orientation and the execution of any duty that requires the knowledge and skills of a trained nurse.

All applicants for initial licensure on Tennessee must submit to a criminal background check. Candidates must complete electronic fingerprinting through IdentoGO, Tennessee’s vendor of choice. Registration for fingerprinting is available online or through the toll-free number (855) 226-2937. Online registration allows for faster processing and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The electronic fingerprinting fee is $38 payable using a credit card online. Candidates can also pay in the form of money order or cashier’s check at the fingerprinting site.

The fingerprint card will be sent to the TBI and FBI for reading and reporting. The process takes approximately 7-10 business days, and the report will be forwarded to the Tennessee Board once available.

Tennessee enacted the Nurse License Compact in 2002. Tennessee LPNs with an unencumbered multistate license will have the privilege of practicing in other compact states. Similarly, LPNs with a valid and active multistate license may practice in Tennessee. If the LPN changes his or her primary state of residence to Tennessee, he or she must obtain a license in the state.

The Board of nursing will issue a single state license to an applicant who plans to practice in Tennessee but lives in another state.

Licensure By Examination

An applicant for licensure by exam must be a graduate of an approved practical nursing program to be eligible to take the licensure exam. The examination applications are available at Tennessee Schools of Nursing and are not available for download. Graduates of nursing programs outside of Tennessee must contact the Board to request an examination packet.

Call the Board using the information provided below to request the application packet.

Submit the following documents with the completed and notarized application for licensure:

  • The licensure and regulatory fee of $115. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the Tennessee Board of Nursing.
  • Affix one professional passport type photo to the application. The photo should show your head and shoulders and your full legal signature and date on the front of the photo.
  • Send a copy of your nursing transcript to verify your education. If you completed your nursing education in a foreign country, you must include a Copy of Certificate from Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing School (CGFNS) or school transcript.
  • Submit your registration for electronic fingerprinting to IdentoGo to complete the criminal background check.
  • Complete the Declaration of Citizenship form and include a copy of the required documents to support your declaration.
  • A written letter of explanation and official court documents if you answer “yes” to any criminal history questions.
  • Register for the NCLEX-PN on Pearson Vue’s website.

Licensure By Endorsement

Applicants for licensure by endorsement must be graduates of an educational program in practical nursing approved by the licensing agency in the state of original licensure. Applicants must declare Tennessee as their primary state of residence and provide supporting documents to receive a multi-state license.

Submit the following to the Board of Nursing:

  • The completed and notarized application for endorsement.
  • The licensure and regulatory fee of $115. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the Tennessee Board of Nursing.
  • Affix one professional passport type photo to the application. The photo should show your head and shoulders and your full legal signature and date on the front of the photo.
  • Send a copy of your nursing transcript to verify your education. If you completed your nursing education in a foreign country, you must include a Copy of Certificate from Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing School (CGFNS) or school transcript.
  • Submit your registration for electronic fingerprinting to IdentoGo to complete the criminal background check.
  • Complete the Declaration of Citizenship form and include a copy of the required documents to support your declaration.
  • A written letter of explanation and official court documents if you answer “yes” to any criminal history questions.
  • Verification of license from the state of original licensure. Use Nursys for license verification if your state participates, or mail the Request for Verification of License document to the state where you were originally licensed. The licensing agency should complete the form and mail to the Board of Nursing.

The application will be processed in 4 to 6 weeks. You can use the Health Professionals Verification on the Board’s website to check the status of your license.

Renewing Your LPN License

The due date for renewing your LPN license is the last day of your birth month. Registration is biennial. The Board makes provision for online renewal and may request evidence of satisfactory health, character and practical nursing competence from licensees with expired or lapsed licenses.

LPNs must fulfill continued competency requirements and maintain acceptable proof of competence for at least four years. Active LPNs must maintain two of the following documents:

  • Documentation of a satisfactory employer evaluation
  • Letter from a peer indicating satisfactory evaluation of your nursing performance
  • Letter from a patient or family member indicating their satisfaction with your performance
  • Copy of your nursing contract of renewal or re-appointment
  • A copy of your self-evaluation performed using the standards of competence
  • Evidence of current national certification
  • Evidence of voluntary service from the agency where you volunteered
  • Evidence of participating in the education of nursing students from a school of nursing
  • Certificate of completing a minimum 5 hours of continuing education
  • A copy of a nursing-related article you wrote
  • Certificate of completion of a nursing refresher course
  • Letter indicating completion of a comprehensive nursing education orientation
  • Official transcript indicating two hours of nursing credit
  • Evidence of successful completion of the NCLEX if you retake the exam.

Salary and Job Outlook LPNs Tennessee

Nursing is a high demand occupation with numerous career opportunities in Tennessee. Employment for LPNs is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The projected increase is due to the rising long-term care needs of a rapidly growing senior population and to the overall growth of health care needs.

A large number of licensed practical nurses are expected to retire over the coming decade, which will create potential vacancies for new graduates. The job prospects are even better for LPNs, who are willing to work in Tennessee’s rural and medically underserved areas.

While there’s been a decline in employment opportunities for LPNs in hospitals, employment is favorable in nursing care facilities and home health care. There are many hospitals that publish the occasional vacancy for LPNs, but competition for those positions is fierce and only available for LPNs with years of experience.

New graduates may find employment, within 12 months of graduating, at nursing homes, home health care agencies, clinics or physicians’ offices. Jobs are also available in ambulatory surgical centers, emergency medical centers, correctional facilities, insurance companies, and health maintenance facilities.

The median annual wage for licensed practical nurses in Tennessee was $36,420 in May 2014. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,450, and the top 10 percent earned more than $46,980.

Contact the Board of Nursing
Tennessee State Board of Nursing
425 Fifth Avenue North
1st Floor – Cordell Hull Building
Nashville, TN 37247
Phone: (615) 532-5166
Fax: (615) 741-7899

Tennessee Board of Nursing Approved Training Programs and NCLEX Pass Rates

Athens, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Athens
1635 Vo-Tech Dr, Athens, TN 37303
(423) 744-2814
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 85%

Chattanooga, TN LPN Training Programs:
Chattanooga State Community College
4501 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37406
(866) 547-3733
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 78%

Crossville, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Crossville
910 Miller Ave., Crossville, TN 38555
(931) 484-7502
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: N/A

Dickson, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Dickson
740 Hwy 46 S, Dickson, TN
(615) 441-6220
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 92%

Elizabethton, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Elizabethton
426 Tennessee 91, Elizabethton, TN 37643
(423) 543-0070
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 86%

Hohenwald, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Hohenwald
813 West Main Street, Hohenwald, TN
(931) 796-5351
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 86%

Hartsville, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Harstville
716 E Mcmurry Blvd, Hartsville, TN 37074
(615) 374-2147
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 78%

Huntsville, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Oneida/Huntsville
355 Scott High Drive, Huntsville, TN
(423) 663-4900
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: N/A

Jackson, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Jackson
2468 Technology Center Drive, Jackson, TN 38301
(731) 424-0691
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 91%

Knoxville, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Knoxville
1100 Liberty Street, Knoxville, TN
(865) 546-5567
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 96%

Livingston, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Livingston
740 High Tech Drive, Livingston, TN 38570
(931) 823-5525
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 87%

Maryville, TN LPN Training Programs:
Blount Memorial Hospital
907 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville, TN 37804
(865) 983-7211
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 71%

Memphis, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Memphis
550 Alabama Ave, Memphis, TN 38105
(901) 543-6100
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 88%

Morristown, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Morristown
821 W Louise Ave, Morristown, TN 37813
(423) 586-5771
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 94%

Nashville, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Nashville
100 White Bridge Pike, Nashville, TN
(615) 425-5500
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 97%

Paris, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Paris
W.j. Neese Campus, 312 S. Wilson Street, Paris, TN 38242
(731) 644-7365
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 92%

Pulaski, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Pulaski
1233 East College Street, Pulaski, TN 38478
(931) 424-4014
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 90%

Ripley, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Ripley
127 Industrial Drive, Ripley, TN 38063
(731) 635-3368
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 81%

Shelbyville, TN LPN Training Programs:
Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Shelbyville
1405 Madison Street, Shelbyville, TN 37160
(931) 685-5013
NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: N/A

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