Tennessee’s need for highly educated nurses continues to grow due to nursing shortages that show no signs of abating. (Tennessee is one of 33 states expected to experience a nursing shortage through 2030.) Fortunately, the state’s nurses are rising to the occasion, with data from the Tennessee Board of Nursing revealing a steady rise in the number of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) registered nurses.
The total number of doctorate-trained RNs in Tennessee totaled 1,090 in 2018, with the vast majority of these degrees—989—being a DNP. Just 101 Tennessee RNs held a PhD. In 2014, there were 832 nurses in Tennessee with a doctorate. By 2017, this number had risen to 993 and then to 1,090 in 2018.
The DNP degree—the highest clinical degree available in nursing—allows many nurses to rise through the ranks, assuming such advanced nursing positions as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), nurse administrators and executives, and nursing educators. It also affords nurses an opportunity to enjoy higher salaries.
For example, according to a 2018 Advance Healthcare Network national survey, DNP-prepared nurse practitioners earned, on average, $7,683 more than their MSN-prepared counterparts – that’s a 7% difference.
Statewide Salary Data for DNP-Educated APRNs and More in Tennessee
DNP-educated nurses in all their various roles are consistently recognized for earning top salaries (Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, 2018):
- Nurse Administrators and Executives – $ 118,140-$161,900
- Nurse Practitioners – $113,960-$129,340
- Nurse-Midwives – $97,740-$104,770
- Nurse Educators – $84,430-$108,920
- Nurse Anesthetists – $166,740-$195,300
Salaries for DNP Nurses in Tennessee’s Major Cities
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development provides salary information for DNP-educated advanced nursing professionals in the major cities of the state (2018):
Nurse Administrators and Executives
- Chattanooga: $122,510-$165,250
- Cleveland: $97,910-$115,390
- Jackson: $99,190-$124,890
- Knoxville: $115,750-$158,710
- Memphis: $128,570-$173,010
- Nashville: $127,310-$180,160
- Chattanooga: $63,270-$71,830
- Knoxville: $81,160-$106,350
- Memphis: $70,080-$79,970
- Nashville: $101,650-$126,450
- Chattanooga: $126,340-$150,680
- Jackson: $105,730-$123,600
- Knoxville: $110,130-$125,670
- Memphis: $122,800-$138,110
- Nashville: $103,230-$124,030
- Nashville: $96,480-$103,150
- Jackson: $201,380+
- Knoxville: $166,590-$196,100
- Memphis: $173,770-$199,880
- Nashville: $162,490-$175,620
An Overview of Hourly Wages for Tennessee’s DNP-Educated Nurses
A 2019 Medscape Compensation Report found that 78% of APRNs are paid overtime for their work. In other words, the majority of these nursing professionals are paid an hourly wage.
The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development provides hourly wages for DNP-educated nursing professionals, as of 2018:
- Nurse Administrators: $56.80-$77.84
- Nurse Practitioners: $54.79-$62.18
- Nurse Anesthetists: $80.16-$93.90
- Nurse-Midwives: $46.99-$50.37
Salary and employment data compiled by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development in May of 2018 – (https://www.jobs4tn.gov/vosnet/Default.aspx). Salary data represents state and MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
All salary and job growth data accessed in December 2019.
This page includes salaries that fall within the 75th and 90th percentiles for each nursing role to account for the fact that DNP-educated nurses are recognized as earning more than master’s-prepared nurses in the same roles.