Nursing CE Requirements in Tennessee (2023)

Nursing CE Requirements in Tennessee

Nursing CE requirements in Tennessee can be quite confusing.

This is especially true since you need to fulfill a combination of other pre-requisites rather than just taking continuing education.

If you’re confused already, then we don’t blame you. 

So, to make it a lot simpler, we’re going to break down the nursing CE requirements and other pre-requisites for YOU. This way, you’ll have a clear picture of what you need to know when renewing your nursing license. 

So shall we? 

Tennessee Nursing CE Requirements

If you’ve got a boatload of work on your hands, you might not have time to scan through the whole article. So instead, check out this table that gives you the essentials:

CNA(Certified Nursing Assistant)No CE Required! 

Must have worked as a nurse aid for at least 8 hours in the last 24 months
LPN(Licensed Practical Nurse)5 CE hours every 2 years PLUS another pre-requisite 

If not practicing — 10 contact hours every 2 years
RN(Registered Nurse)5 CE hours every 2 years PLUS another pre-requisite 

If not practicing — 10 CE hours every 2 years
APRN(Advanced Practical Registered Nurse)5 CE hours every 2 years
If not practicing — 10 CE hours every 2 years 

For APRNs with Certificate of Fitness (CF): Additional 2 CE hours must be on prescribing controlled substances (must cover the Tennessee Chronic Pain Guidelines)

If you do have time, then check out further details below. 

Tennessee CNA Continuing Education Requirements

Although Certified Nursing Assistants in Tennessee don’t have continuing education requirements, it doesn’t mean they don’t have to renew their certification. They should renew it every 2 years. 

To be eligible for that, The Tennessee Board of Nursing requires CNAs to work for at least 8 hours within the 24 months directly before their certification’s expiry. 

And, you must receive compensation. Voluntary work won’t count towards your renewal.

For that, your employer must complete a form to validate your employment. 

Now, if you aren’t able to meet this requirement, your certification will lapse. To reinstate it, you have to retake the CNA competency evaluation.

Tennessee LPN Continuing Education Requirements

If you hold an LPN license, then you need to fulfill 2 pre-requisites to renew. 

You can combine any 2 items below to fulfill your renewal requirements.

  • 5 hours of continuing education. If you are not practicing, you will need 10 CE hours. 
  • Current national certification evidence
  • Satisfactory evaluation regarding your performance from your employer or peer
  • Satisfactory nurse-patient relationship evidenced by a patient or family member
  • Renewal or re-appointment to a nursing position
  • Publishing an article related to nursing within the renewal cycle
  • Completing a nursing orientation program or a nursing refresher course and providing a letter indicating satisfactory completion
  • A letter from the time you volunteered as a nurse in an agency
  • Completion of two nursing credits through an official transcript
  • Retaking the NCLEX
  • Write about two nursing goals and how you achieved them in the last 24 months. 
  • Evaluation of yourself using the standards of competence listed in the rules. You must come up with a written report for this.

Tennessee RN Continuing Education Requirements

Registered Nurses in Tennessee have similar renewal requirements to those of LPNs.

You also have the option to combine any 2 of the following items to get your license renewed at the end of 2 years:

  • Copy of a satisfactory employer evaluation
  • Letter from a peer providing a satisfactory evaluation of your nursing performance
  • Letter from a patient or family member giving evidence of a satisfactory nurse/patient relationship
  • Copy of a contract of renewal or re-appointment to a nursing position
  • Written self-evaluation based on the standards of competence listed in the rules
  • Evidence of current national certification
  • A document that identifies two nursing goals and how you met these goals
  • A letter from the agency where you volunteered as a nurse
  • Documentation from a school of nursing stating that you participated in the  education of nursing students (RNs only)
  • Certificate/evidence of 5 contact hours of continuing education (for RNs who are not practicing, 10 contact hours will fulfill the competency requirement)
  • Copy of a published article relevant to nursing written by the licensee
  • Letter of satisfactory completion of a nursing refresher course
  • Letter of satisfactory completion of a comprehensive nursing orientation program
  • Official transcript (may be student issued) demonstrating two hours of nursing credit
  • Evidence of successfully retaken NCLEX

Continuing education is the most basic option. If you choose this, you need to complete 5 CE hours – 10 if you are not practicing.  

Now,  all these hours are elective. It means you can go with subjects that are genuinely interesting to you. It’s also an excellent opportunity to learn more about topics most relevant to your current role.

Tennessee APRN Continuing Education Requirements 

All Advanced Practical Nurses in Tennessee must maintain national certification. It’s one of your requirements for license renewal. 

You can combine this with one item from the options presented to the LPNs and RNs. These include:

  • 5 contact hours within 24 months (10 hours if you’re not practicing)
  • Documentation on items listed above (please check the LPN or RN list)
  • Self-evaluation using the standards of competence as a basis
  • Detailing how you achieved two nursing goals during the renewal cycle

If you carry a Certificate of Fitness, you have other requirements.

Besides holding current national certification and choosing one of the options listed above, you need additional 2 CE hours that focus on the prescription of controlled substances. These must include instruction covering the Tennessee Chronic Pain Guidelines. 

If you have prescriptive authority, you also need to submit a copy of the current collaborative request or an APRN supervisory request (formerly referred to as Notice and Formulary).

Frequently Asked Questions

To know even more about nursing CE requirements in Tennessee, let’s answer some of the FAQs.

How often do nurses need to renew their licenses in Tennessee?

All nurses must renew their licenses every 24 months (2 years). The expiration date falls on the last day of your birth month.

The Tennessee Board of Nursing sends out notices approximately 45 days before your license or certification expires. However, regardless of whether you get it or not, it is your responsibility to ensure you complete the renewal process before the deadline. 

What does NOT count as paid work for CNAs in Tennessee?

CNAs need 8 paid hours for their certification renewal. However, where you put in this time is crucial.

Work hours in companion services, private duty services, or private physicians’ offices won’t count towards renewal. The same applies if you were a sitter.

Which organizations can give national certification for APRNs in Tennessee?

There are several outfits where you can secure your national certification. The most popular ones are the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), and the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).


Whether you’re a CNA, an LPN, an RN, or an APRN, you can find your nursing CE requirements in Tennessee here. More than that, you get a complete list of the other things you need to complete your license renewal.

It’s challenging to keep all this information straight when times are busy, but now you have a single reference source.

Now that you know what’s needed, you can go out and do it. You can also visit the Tennessee Board of Nursing’s website if you need additional information.

Good luck!

Last updated: April 1, 2023 (Requirements taken from Tennessee BON website)

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