How Much Do Nurses Make in Tennessee?

The nurse’s salary in Tennessee is $72,480, representing registered nurses’ median annual wage.

Nurses are critical in the healthcare system, providing medical care services to patients in Tennessee and the United States. The average salary for nurses in Tennessee is $72,480. However, this figure varies on different factors, such as the specific type of nursing job, the location and size of the healthcare facility, and the level of education and experience of the individual nurse. 



The average salary for nurses in Tennessee is like a starter car in a racing competition. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the top-performing vehicles, but with some modifications and upgrades, it can still compete with the best. Similarly, while the RN salary in Tennessee may be lower than the national average, nurses who invest in further education and training can enhance their skills and qualifications, leading to higher-paying opportunities. Just like a driver who upgrades their car’s engine and tires, a nurse who invests in their education and skills can accelerate their career and earn more in the long run.

Average RN Salaries in Tennessee

RN salaries in Tennessee vary based on different factors such as experience and location. Though the average salary for an RN in Tennessee is lower than the national average, there are ample opportunities for career advancement and increased earnings. If that made you curious to know more about the average salary in Tennessee, keep reading.

RN salary range 

RNs enjoy a competitive salary in Tennessee, making it an appealing career option for those interested in healthcare. With an average annual wage of $72,480, RNs in Tennessee earn a comfortable living. This annual earning potential translates to a $31.63 hourly median salary per hour.

Average salary by years of experience

RNs can expect their salaries to increase in Tennessee as they gain more field experience. According to data, those with less than one year of experience earn an average salary of $99,772 per year. RNs with 1-2 years of experience earn an average salary of $107,246 annually, a significant increase from their starting salary. Such data shows that gaining even a year or two of experience can positively impact RNs’ wages.

Further data suggest that those who have been in the profession for longer are more likely to earn higher salaries. More particularly, the data shows that RNs with more than ten years of experience earn significantly more, with an average salary of $130,402 annually.

Tennessee RN Salary Adjusted for Cost of Living

Tennessee-based RNs receive an annual income of around $72,321, adjusted to reflect the cost of living. The advantage of residing in Tennessee is that its cost of living ranked #42 when compared to the national average, resulting in RNs benefiting from more affordable prices for essential items like food, housing, and transportation compared to their counterparts in other states.

Highest-Paying Cities in Tennessee for RNs

Checking the highest-paying cities for RNs in Tennessee is an essential step future nurses should consider because it helps make informed decisions about where to work and live. Understanding the variation in pay across different cities can help RNs determine where they can have the most significant impact and advance their careers.

According to data, Johnson City, TN, is the highest-paying for RNs near Tennessee, with an annual salary of $131,962. Memphis, TN, ranks second on the list with an average salary of $121,748 annually. Murfreesboro, TN, ranks third on the list with an average salary of $120,708 annually. 

Check below for the highest-paying cities in Tennessee for RNs.


How Much Do Similar Professions Get Paid in Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the healthcare industry offers a variety of career paths for those interested in pursuing a career in nursing. RNs play a crucial role in providing quality patient care, but they are not the only nursing profession in the state. Other nursing professions, such as nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses (LPN/LVNs), and nurse practitioners (NPs), also play a vital role in the healthcare system. 

In terms of salary, the pay scale for these professions can vary greatly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual pay for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, LPN/LVNs, and NPs in Tennessee is $174,170, $97,920, $46,540, and $99,330, respectively. Therefore, these similar professions to RNs have varying salaries, with nurse anesthetists earning the highest and LPN/LVNs making the lowest among the four professions listed.

Comparing RN Salaries in Tennessee to Other States

Based on data from the BLS, Tennessee is among the states that offer comparatively lower salaries to registered nurses when compared to other states. This puts Tennessee in a group of twelve states, including Puerto Rico and South Carolina, where RNs earn an annual salary in the lower range, with figures ranging from $37,360 to $74,330.

On the other hand, the highest-paying states for RNs are as follows:

California – $133,340

Hawaii – $113,220

Oregon – $106,610

Massachusetts – $104,150

Alaska – $103,310

How Can You Boost Your RN Salary in Tennessee?


RNs in Tennessee have the opportunity to boost their salary through a variety of strategies. Here are three ways to potentially increase your RN salary in Tennessee:

  • Pursue advanced education: One of the most effective ways to increase your RN salary in Tennessee is to obtain advanced education. Consider pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. 
  • Specialize: RNs who specialize in a particular area of nursing may earn higher salaries than those who work in more general areas. 
  • In addition, obtaining certification in a specialty area can also increase your earning potential. 
  • Work in high-demand areas: Some areas of nursing have a higher demand than others, which can result in higher salaries for RNs. Researching job openings in high-demand areas can help you identify potential opportunities to increase your salary.

What Are the Job Prospects for Nurses in Tennessee?

The outlook for nurses in Tennessee appears promising, as there is a predicted 6% increase in job opportunities. This indicates a rising need for skilled nurses to deliver top-notch healthcare in various healthcare environments. 


In conclusion, nurse salaries in Tennessee can vary depending on several factors, including experience and location. While the average salary for an RN in Tennessee is lower than the national average, nurses have many opportunities to advance their careers and increase their earning potential. Overall, nursing remains a highly respected and rewarding profession in Tennessee, with opportunities for growth and advancement.

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