Tennessee Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2024

AKA: Tennessee NP License, APRN Licensure


by NursePractitionerLicense.com Staff

Updated: February 13th, 2024

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Tennessee

Follow below to learn how to become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Tennessee.

Earn Your Initial Registered Nurse (RN) license

Already have your RN License?  Skip to the next section

If you haven’t taken the NCLEX exam before or you have an RN license from a non-compact state, you’ll need to get an RN license valid in Tennessee. There are two ways to go about this; by examination or by endorsement.

RN by Examination

If you’ve never taken the NCLEX exam before, you can apply to the board for an RN license here.

Additionally, you will need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • You must upload some documents which include your declaration of citizenship or proof of citizenship and a passport photograph with a legal signature and date.
  • You must also complete a criminal background check. If you have a history of crime, then you’ll have to submit certified copies of the arrest warrant, the disposition, and the completion of judgment. A letter of explanation will also be required by the board.
  • Your transcripts and degree must be submitted to the board directly from the institution you graduated from.
  • You’ll be required to register with NCLEX for testing at a fee of $200 through Pearson Vue. The Authorization to Test (ATT) will be sent to you via email from Pearson Vue.

No fee is required by the board for an initial RN license in Tennessee. All of the items listed above must be provided to be eligible for the exam with NCLEX. The processing time at the board can take around 6 weeks from when your transcript is received and the day you applied. A delay in the processing can be a result of a criminal history or missing documents.

RN by Endorsement

If you have an RN license from a non-compact state, then you’re required to take this route of RN licensure in Tennessee.

  • A criminal background check will be required. A guide for completing the check is available here.
  • You’ll need to verify your original license from the non-compact state at the Nursys site. For states who are not recognized with Nursys, you can contact the particular state’s board to complete the verification of licensure form which should be forwarded to the Tennessee Board of Nursing afterward. Some of these states include California, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, and Louisiana-PN.  If the exam you took for the original license was the State Board Test Pool Examination(SBTPE), you’ll also be accepted by the board as long as your score meets the approved standard.

If you meet the requirements above, then you can take the online application here at a non-refundable fee of $115.  The following documents must be uploaded to complete the application:

  • A clear passport-type photograph signed and dated on the front no more than 6-months prior to application.
  • Your degree and transcripts mailed directly to the board from the school where you completed your nursing program. The board does not approve internet transcripts. The nursing program from which you graduated must be approved by the board.
  • You are required to submit a declaration of citizenship form, as well as proof of citizenship documentation such as a national ID or driver’s license.
  • If there was a history of crime in your CBC, you’ll require documents relevant to the conviction such as the disposition, the warrant, and completion of judgment. You’ll also need to submit a letter of explanation to the board.

The processing period can take up to six weeks upon submission of the application. To check the status of your application, check here.

Advanced Education Requirements

The work role of a nurse practitioner entails much more than that of a registered nurse. Therefore, the Tennessee nursing board requires that you go through further training and education to prepare you for the role. All aspiring NPs are expected to have gone through a board-approved advanced nursing program, that awards you with at least a master’s degree in preparation for the role. The degree attained is required to be in a specialty of nursing recognized by Tennessee.

Depending on the population focus, clinical hours will differ and you’ll need to meet all the requirements set by your certification agency. Usually, 500 hours of clinical practice is the norm. A course in pharmacology is a prerequisite for APN aspirants who seek prescriptive authority.

If you were nationally certified as an APN in a given APRN-NP specialty by July 1, 2005, then the master’s degree should not be considered as a major requirement as you will not be held to it only if you earned an RN license that allowed you to practice in Tennessee at the qualifying date.

National Certification

After the successful completion of your post-basic nursing program in your APN specialty, the next requirement is to become certified by a nationally certifying body through an exam. All you’ve learned so far through the NP journey will be tested and certification awarded to well-deserving candidates. The certification is proof that you’ve gone through all the required training and education to become an NP. The certifying agency must however be nationally accredited and approved by the board. In Tennessee, some of the approved certifying agencies are;

  • American Midwifery Certification Board
  • National Certification Corporation
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioner
  • National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • American Association of Critical care Nurses
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board

Getting Licensed to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee

To gain final authority to practice as an APN in Tennessee, you must apply for Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) licensure here. You’ll be required to provide a passport-type photograph legally signed on the front by you (be careful so as not to let your signature conceal your face). There’s an affidavit found at the bottom of page 3 of the application form which you’re expected to sign in the presence of a Notary Public.

Official copies of your transcripts and degree from your post-basic nursing program should be forwarded directly from the institution where you completed the program to the board. You’ll also need to verify your national certification. So, you’ll have to contact the appropriate certifying agency to send the verification to the board.

Complete all forms, including the Mandatory Practitioner Profile Questionnaire at the end of the application.  A copy of your RN license will also be required. The applications, documents, and fee of $210 in money order or check payable to the Tennessee Board of Nursing, should be mailed to the board at:

Tennessee Board of Nursing

227 French Landing

Suite 300, Heritage Place, Metro Center

Nashville, TN 37243

The APN licensure application includes prescriptive authority. However, an NP may not be granted a license with prescriptive authority in cases where the pharmacology qualifications is lacking according to requirement standards.