How to Become an LPN in Tennessee – An Easy Guide

How to Become an LPN in Tennessee - An Easy Guide

Interested in joining the nursing field?

Want to help people and care for others?

Don’t want to go through the pains of becoming an RN or a doctor?

Well then, aiming to become a Licensed Practical Nurse is one of the best decisions you could make. 

Why? Because it’s rewarding, fulfilling, well-paying, and achievable. 

A career as an LPN ticks most boxes, but that isn’t the problem. The problem is, how can you become one?! 

Well, we are here to solve exactly that!

Nursing guides are typically riddled with complicated jargon and endlessly long requirements, but not this one.

Below, we’ve gone in-depth, providing you with everything you need to know about how to become an LPN in Tennessee in 4 simple, easily digestible steps. 

We’ll also answer common questions, such as:

  • How much do LPNs make in Tennessee?
  • Is Tennessee an NLC State?
  • How difficult is the NCLEX exam?

So, let’s dive straight into it!  

How to Become an LPN in Tennessee – 4 Simple Steps

Below are the 4 simple steps to becoming an LPN in Tennessee:

Step #1: Enroll in a State-Approved LPN Program 

Step #2: Get Your LPN License

Step #3: Land Your First Job

Step #4: Keep Your License Active

Let’s have a deeper look at each one.

Step #1: Enroll in a State-Approved LPN Program 

The key to success starts with receiving a quality education. 

Going to a good school usually means you will receive the knowledge and skills crucial for every LPN. 

It will also give you an edge over other LPNs when you apply for a job. 

So, start looking for some great nursing institutes.

State-Approval and Accreditation

When you’re looking for reputable institutes, first of all, look for the ones which are state-approved.

To find a list of LPN schools approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing (BON), you can go here

Accreditation is another layer of making sure you enroll in a quality program. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) has a list of all the accredited LPN institutes.

Program Cost

Program cost is an important factor to keep in mind when selecting a nursing school. 

On average, enrolling in LPN programs in Tennessee costs $2,120 – $33,590 for a diploma course and $6,480 – $48,230 for an associate degree.

It’s best to ask the school where you are enrolling if the costs already cover the textbooks, uniforms, and other materials. 

But if a program seems too expensive, don’t give up right away. Try asking the school if they have financial assistance programs or grants. 

Program Length

LPN programs usually last 12-18 months, depending on whether you are studying full-time or part-time. 

Program Content

LPN programs include classroom instruction, laboratory tasks, and clinical training.

You can expect to take subjects such as:

  • Communicable Diseases
  • Gerontological Nursing
  • Culturally Congruent Care
  • End–of–Life Care
  • Supervision
  • Ethics and Unethical Conduct
  • Critical Thinking
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Leadership

You will also be taught necessary skills which you will get to practice and apply in real-life settings. 

You will be exposed to different healthcare settings where you can experience the work of an LPN under the supervision of RNs. 

Admission Requirements

To enroll in an LPN program, you’ll need to meet the following prerequisites:

  • a high school diploma or the equivalent, such as the General Educational Development
  • At least 17 years old
  • CPR certification
  • a copy of college transcripts (if applicable) 
  • full immunization and vaccination
  • completion of all prerequisite courses

These requirements may vary by institution, so it’s best to ask them directly. 

However, it’s good to know ahead of time what you may be asked to submit. 

Step #2: Get Your LPN License

The first step on your journey is getting an education, but after that, you’ll need to get licensed to join the ranks of licensed practical nurses.

A nursing license demonstrates to others that you are qualified and authorized to practice as an LPN. 

Well, how can you obtain your license? 

There are two main ways to gain an LPN license in Tennessee:

  • Examination
  • Endorsement

The examination route is for those who have never taken the NCLEX before and have not been licensed as LPNs. 

The endorsement route is for those who are already LPNs in another state but want to practice in Tennessee or want to make Tennessee their permanent residence. 

Licensure by Examination

All aspiring LPNs need to go through the NCLEX exam. This is the national test that evaluates if you have what it takes to work as an entry-level LPN.

It is 5-hours long and has 85-205 questions on a multitude of topics ranging from basic nursing fundamentals to advanced caring strategies. 

But before you can take it, you need to register for the exam through the Tennessee Board of Nursing. 

Here’s what you’ll have to do:

  1. Complete the online LPN registration form. Attach the following:
  • A passport-style photograph signed and dated on the front. 
  • Completed declaration of citizenship form 
  • Current, unexpired driver’s license 
  1. Request official transcripts (issued from your school directly to the Board)
  2. Complete and submit the Criminal Background Check form
  3. Register with Pearson Vue for the NCLEX and pay the $200 examination fee. 

If the licensing board has determined that you are qualified to practice, they will issue you an Authorization to Test form via email from Pearson Vue (ATT). Be sure to schedule your exam as per the ATT’s instructions.

Once you pass the exam, you will receive your license!

NOTE: If you want to succeed, you’ll need to practice with sample exam papers and past paper exams. Here is an NCLEX practice test if you want to get a feel of the exam.

Licensure by Endorsement

Are you already an LPN in another state? 

Want to move to Tennessee and continue being an LPN without going through the exams?

Well, you can benefit from endorsement. 

If you are an LPN elsewhere who wants to become an LPN in Tennessee, all you have to do is apply for licensure through endorsement. 

This is what you need to provide:  

  • Criminal background check
  • Verification of licensure in another state
  • Completed online application, which includes:
  • Passport type photograph
  • An official transcript from a state-approved nursing program
  • Declaration of Citizen Form

Tennessee is currently a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) State. This means that if you are an LPN from another NLC state who wants to practice in Tennessee, you can do so without having to apply for a license by endorsement. 

Your multistate will be recognized in Tennessee. 

Step #3: Land Your First Job!

Students find that studying is often a huge challenge, but when they’ve graduated and come into the real world, they find that finding a job is even harder! 

Well, don’t fret just yet, because we’ve got some good news.

LPNs are in demand! More people are looking for healthcare services, especially because the elderly population and the number of people with chronic diseases are growing. 

That’s where you come in.

LPNs are in demand in nursing care facilities, home healthcare agencies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, outpatient clinics, community centers, correctional facilities, etc. 

You can even go for less conventional jobs, such as insurance companies, health stores, personal care stores, etc. 

Step #4: Keep Your License Active

Congratulations, you’ve got your first job! It’s great fun, but don’t let your license expire.

That’s right; licenses do expire.

Two years from the date of acquisition, you will need to renew your license. If you fail to renew, your license will be deactivated and eventually expire.

So, how do I renew my license?

Tennessee gives many options for license renewal.

One method is by completing 5 hours of continuing education. Continuing education can be done online or in person but just make sure you get it done. 

To read more about the other methods for license renewal, you can visit this site

FAQs about Becoming an LPN in Tennessee

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions students and aspiring nurses ask. 

How much do LPNs make in Tennessee?

LPNs in Tennessee make a mean wage of $43,620 annually. 

This is lower than the national mean wage.

However, the actual amount you earn will depend on what city you are in, where you are working, how many years of experience you have, and other factors. 

If you are a valuable team player, you can increase your chances of bigger pay. 

Is Tennessee an NLC State?

Yes! Tennessee is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). 

This allows LPNs in Tennessee to practice in other NLC states without having to apply for a separate license in those states. 

This means you will not just be limited to working in Tennessee alone. You can even seek job opportunities in other states!

LPNs from other states can also practice in Tennessee more readily. 

How difficult is the NCLEX exam?

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is the exam that will determine if you can become an LPN or not, so it is reasonable to assume that it will be challenging.

We suggest you take a practice test here to get a feel of what to expect before diving headfirst into studying.

More practice is required if you get between 50 and 70 questions wrong on the practice test; if you get fewer than 30 questions wrong, you should be good.

Make sure you put in lots of time studying regardless of the outcome.

Wrapping it up

Becoming an LPN isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. 

Every goal worth achieving takes time and effort.

But if you follow our four-step guide, you will have a clear direction and will be able to accomplish your goal more smoothly. 

Don’t forget to enroll in a good school, prepare well for the NCLEX, find the job that suits you best, and keep your license active. 

Remember, dream big and work hard!

We wish you all the best! 

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