How to Become a Nurse Administrator in Tennessee

Registered nurses who want to advance in their careers might consider becoming a nurse administrator. If you are someone who exemplifies qualities such as leadership, organization, compassion and the ability to train and teach, you may be looking at a career as a nurse administrator.

A nurse administrator’s role combines business and administrative duties in a healthcare setting. They are ultimately responsible for recruiting nurses, training them, ensuring the department they are over runs smoothly and keeping track of fiscal responsibilities and other nursing operations.

Nurse Administrator Requirements in Tennessee

To be eligible for this position in Tennessee, you may have to advance your education before starting because most employers require at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Some might even prefer the added skills a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree achieves. Other required skills could include experience in nursing leadership roles such as head nurse or charge nurse before being considered for the position. Here we will go over all the requirements and offer you a list of accredited colleges that can help you achieve your career goals.

Whether you’re a registered nurse (RN) with an associate degree, already have a bachelor’s degree, or are an LPN, you will need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). This degree is an advanced undergraduate degree for nurses that focuses on research, safety, and health promotion in the healthcare society. This degree may also focus on leadership and advanced critical thinking concepts.

Most employers with nursing administrator roles to fill will require a BSN to even be considered, while also giving preference to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree holders. Employers will also require an unencumbered nursing license and up-to-date CPR and first aid certifications. You will also need plenty of nursing experience to become nurse administrator. The average required experience is between three to five years in leadership roles such as head nurse or something similar.

If you already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, you may be eligible to enroll in an accelerated BSN degree program if the school of your choice offers it. This way you can finish your BSN in less time than it would take to go the traditional four-year route.

Top Nursing Schools for Aspiring Nurse Administrators in Tennessee

There are plenty of options for nursing schools in Tennessee, and you don’t have to choose any of our recommendations. Some schools are not accredited by either the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), which may keep you from achieving your desired career. Employers may not recognize a degree from schools that do not have one or both of these accreditations, and some schools will not accept transfer credits. Just keep this in mind while doing your research. All the colleges in this list are accredited by the CCNE or the ACEN.

These schools are among the highest-rated and awarded universities in the state of Tennessee. They all have high graduate percentages and National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) pass rates. This is the examination nurses have to pass in order to be licensed.

1. The University of Tennessee Knoxville

UT Knoxville offers several routes to your nursing education. They have programs that will gain you a traditional four-year BSN degree, an RN to BSN degree program, an accelerated BSN program, as well as a bachelor’s in nursing with honors. The accelerated BSN program is for students who already hold a BS degree in another field and want to change their career to nursing. Here full-time students will be able to get a BSN degree in approximately two years.

If you’re an RN with an associate degree, you can take the RN to BSN program, which will keep you from having to take a year worth of prerequisites like mathematics, basic biology, and English. Full-time students in this program will be able to get a BSN degree in approximately two years instead of four.

The honors program at the University of Tennessee (UT) is for solid, intellectual students who plan on continuing their education to get a graduate degree in nursing. This program offers academically enhanced courses in small class settings.
The approximate in-state tuition for students enrolled in UT is $13,264 per year. This university boasts a 98% NCLEX annual pass rate.

2. Union University

Union University only has about 3,000 students per year, so you get a small, private school experience. In fact, the faculty-to-student ratio is 10 to 1. Union University has campuses located in Jackson, Hendersonville, Memphis and Germantown. They offer traditional BSN programs as well as accelerated and RN to BSN programs.

The RN to BSN option is primarily online, aside from a few general education requirements that will have to be completed on campus. Students will be able to complete their BSN degree in as little as 18 months. After students finish this program, they can also go on to get their Master of Science in Nursing degree, which is also online.

The tuition for Union University is a little higher because it is considered a smaller, private school. The average annual tuition is $32,620. Union University has a 94% NCLEX passing rate.

3. Tennessee Technology University

Tennessee Technology University is the least expensive on our list, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be getting a discounted education. The cost for students is only about $8,934 per year, but their NCLEX pass rate is an impressive 99%. Students can get their BSN through the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing, which focuses on healthcare needs in rural and semi-rural communities. The first couple of years in this program help students learn critical thinking, apply nursing theory and processes, as well as tending to the ill and infirm. Clinicals are set in primarily urban settings in major hospitals, primary care facilities, state health departments and private offices.

Potential students who already have an RN degree can jump into the RN to BSN program or RN to MSN program and Tennessee Technology University to get an extra edge to their nurse administrator career.

4. The University of Memphis

The University of Memphis is a substantial 1,600-acre campus that has about 22,000 students per year. The average annual tuition rate for this university is $9,936, and they boast an annual NCLEX pass rate of 88%. These numbers aren’t quite as high as the previous colleges, but they are still very good. University of Memphis (UofM) might be a more accessible college to be accepted into because they have recently increased the number of nursing students admitted from 150 to over 250.

UofM has programs for all stages of nursing. They have a traditional BSN, an RN to BSN, accelerated BSN, an MSN degree program, even post- MSN studies and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.).

The University of Memphis RN to BSN program is entirely online with courses by faculty that are student focused. These are seven-week-long courses. Students in this program can potentially finish in as little as 12 months. Most traditional systems take up to 24 months to complete. You could get done an entire year early and start on your nurse administrator career that much sooner.

The MSN degree program has three different concentrations, one being a concentration in Executive Leadership, which will help you on your track to becoming a nurse administrator. With this degree and concentration, it might be just the thing that pushes your resume to the very top of the stack.

5. Belmont University

Belmont University is a private Christian-based university located in Nashville. It may cost a bit more than traditional university paths at a yearly average of $35,650, but for students who thrive on smaller class sizes, this might be a good option for you. The student-to-faculty ratio is a small, 13 to 1.

Belmont University offers a traditional BSN degree and an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree for students already holding a BS degree, as well as MSN and beyond.

The MSN degree offers an intense, accelerated program that is completed in four semesters that will result in a total of 41 credits. The traditional program takes seven semesters to complete 41 credits. The difference is that the accelerated program has students taking approximately three to five courses per semester. At the same time, the traditional is slightly more relaxed because they take between one to four classes per semester.

Average Salary for Nurse Administrators in Tennessee

Nurse administrators in Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree can earn an average of $94,000 annually. The same job can increase approximately $30,000 per year for nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing degree.

With nurse administrator jobs expected to grow 30% over the next five to 10 years, now is a great time to increase your education.