In September 2019, Tennessee experienced a 3.4% unemployment rate. At this low rate, job-seekers have a much easier time finding employment in Tennessee's largest employment sectors (e.g., education, healthcare, and management) than in years past. Salaries in the aforementioned fields boast $47,740-$97,770 per year on average.
Additionally, Tennessee's low cost of living means that each dollar can go further than in other states. Even in Tennessee's largest city, Memphis, residents spend 34% less on housing and 9% less on groceries than the national average.
Top 10 Online Colleges in Tennessee
- Milligan College - Johnson City, TN
- King University - Bristol, TN
- The University of Tennessee - Knoxville, TN
- Middle Tennessee State University - Murfreesboro, TN
- Lipscomb University - Nashville, TN
- Johnson University - Knoxville, TN
- Union University - Jackson, TN
- Bryan College - Dayton, TN
- Trevecca Nazarene University - Nashville, TN
- The University of Tennessee - Martin, TN
2020 Best Online Colleges in Tennessee
To obtain a career in Tennessee that confers a high salary, you typically need some education or training beyond high school. Fortunately, many of the best online colleges in Tennessee offer excellent programs that can prepare you for a new job.
Online learning boasts many advantages, especially for prospective students who work full time, raise a family, or possess other responsibilities. Online courses often use an asynchronous curriculum, meaning that professors do not make learners attend class at set meeting times. Also, students can access a school's support resources (e.g., career counseling, academic advising) from a computer or phone. Learners who live near campus can take advantage of on-campus resources.
This article introduces the 25 best online colleges in Tennessee. In the following paragraphs, you can learn more about each school's academic programs, student support services, and financial aid opportunities, among other valuable information. The embedded links can take you to a school's website, where you can continue your research. Most importantly, each website includes contact information for admissions and financial aid advisors. These highly trained professionals can answer any questions.
Finally, as you read, please remember that some information may have changed since this article's publication. Always double-check with a school before applying.
|Johnson City, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 64%||
Graduate and professional options at Milligan include six online graduate programs and three online adult degree programs. In adult degree programs, students can apply an associate degree or transfer credit toward a bachelor's in business administration, information systems, or nursing. This top online Tennessee college also offers a master's in information systems, and doctoral students can earn a degree in ministry.
Online students can access a host of valuable student services. Milligan's Center for Calling and Career Development offers one-on-one advising sessions, resume critiques, and mock interviews. The career center also features the College Central Podcasts, which convey valuable job search skills. Additionally, learners who need mental health services can turn to the Milligan Counseling Center.
Prospective students can speak to admissions counselors over the phone or through video conferencing. The Milligan website features in-depth guides for each program. Also, incoming adult degree-seekers can take prerequisite courses at a reduced tuition rate.
|Bristol, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Online programs at King include 12 bachelor's degrees and one associate degree. The latter prepares students to transfer to a bachelor's completion program at King or another accredited school. Popular bachelor's programs at this top online Tennessee university include English, healthcare administration, and religious studies. Additionally, the university boasts two online master's programs and one graduate certificate in nurse education.
King employs enrollment counselors, tuition planners, and success coaches to ensure that online learners graduate and find a fulfilling career. Enrollment counselors answer prospective students' questions, and success coaches stay with degree-seekers from enrollment to graduation. Additionally, King boasts many informative guides that help learners explore career trends that apply to different majors.
All prospective students speak to an enrollment counselor before applying. King accepts up to 76 transfer credits for undergraduate programs and six transfer credits for graduate programs. Also, the university accepts GED scores from first-time applicants. Finally, in-state students may qualify for state-funded scholarships or grant opportunities such as TN Hope.
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville
|Knoxville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 70%||
One of the most popular public research universities in Tennessee, UT Knoxville offers two online undergraduate programs -- an RN-to-BSN track and a social work degree. Both degrees require that students possess an associate degree, and the RN-to-BSN program requires a valid nursing license. Fortunately, UT Knoxville offers all general education courses (e.g., English, natural science, foreign language) entirely online.
One Stop Student Services at UT Knoxville provides valuable information concerning tuition, fees, and orientation, among other topics. Additionally, degree-seekers at this top online Tennessee university benefit from a set curriculum that features 2-5 courses each semester.
UT Knoxville admits new students in the spring and fall semesters, and transfer credit must reflect a minimum 2.5 undergraduate GPA. Application materials for both programs also include an essay. Out-of-state degree-seekers pay only a slightly higher tuition rate than in-state learners. Students may qualify for up to $5,000 per year in scholarship opportunities. Other automatic merit scholarships award $1,500-$3,000 per year.
Middle Tennessee State University
|Murfreesboro, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
MTSU's online degrees include five bachelor's completion programs, eight master's programs, and one doctoral program. Popular undergraduate degrees include criminal justice and integrated studies, and graduate students can prepare for leadership positions in fields such as business, education, and nursing. Additionally, some programs include prior learning assessment (PLA), allowing qualified degree-seekers to earn credit for professional experience.
The MTSU Writing Center provides services exclusively to online learners, and distance education students can also access online tutoring 24/7 through Smarthinking software. The Center for Counseling and Psychological Services also features one-on-one counseling sessions. Degree-seekers can access this top online Tennessee university's IT help desk during university business hours.
Undergraduate applicants should possess an associate degree, significant college credit, or training that satisfies PLA requirements. In-state students save approximately 66% on tuition compared to out-of-state learners. Financial aid opportunities include the Nontraditional Student Scholarship and the Kazimour Scholarship, among others.
|Nashville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 59%||
A Christian university located in Nashville, Lipscomb offers 11 online undergraduate programs. Bachelor's degrees that lead to in-demand careers include business leadership, data analytics, and public administration. Additionally, non-degree-seeking learners can earn an undergraduate certificate in entertainment management or technology management.
Student support services at this top online Tennessee university include virtual office hours and multiple tutorials that explain how to use library search tools. Learners approaching graduation can contact the Career Development and Student Employment Center to network and craft a resume.
Prospective students can contact an admissions counselor at any time. Most programs accept up to 30 transfer credits, and freshman applicants must possess a high school diploma that reflects a minimum 2.0 GPA. Degree-seekers can pay a per-credit tuition rate or a flat fee for four months of unlimited courses. The latter option appeals to students who can learn at an accelerated rate.
|Knoxville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
JUTN's 24 online degrees and certificates include 10 certificate programs in areas such as translation consultancy and biblical interpretation. Students can also earn an associate in interdisciplinary studies, an excellent choice for degree-seekers planning to transfer to a bachelor's completion program. Additionally, graduate students can earn a master's in intercultural studies or a doctorate in leadership studies, among other options that lead to a career in ministry or business.
Each degree and certificate website features a list of potential careers, and at the Career Services Center, learners at this top online Tennessee university can receive one-on-one career counseling support. JUTN provides additional resources to veterans. The school boasts six in-depth career search guides for distance learners.
Prospective undergraduate degree-seekers should possess a high school diploma and ACT or SAT scores. Some programs also require recommendation letters, and graduate applicants must submit an admissions essay. Finally, Tennessee and Florida residents may qualify for institutional aid.
|Jackson, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 68%||
UU's online degrees feature associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. The associate in professional studies can transfer to a four-year school, and nurses with an associate degree should consider the entirely online RN-to-BSN program. The university also offers an online BSN-ro-MSM program with two concentration options, education and administration. Additionally, UU offers three hybrid graduate programs in nursing.
Distance education students at this top online Tennessee university benefit from an asynchronous curriculum and excellent student support services. Online learners can access UU's Writing Center or Center for Academic Success. The KeyStone Program supports undergraduates by providing a graduation roadmap that students create with an advisor's help.
Application requirements vary depending on the degree level. Prospective bachelor's students should possess an associate degree or adequate transfer credit. Some undergraduate students may qualify for the TN Hope scholarship, and veterans and service members can receive additional financial aid through the Yellow Ribbon Program.
|Dayton, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Online bachelor's completion programs at Bryan include business administration, applied psychology, and criminal justice. Students with some college credit but no degree can earn an associate degree in business. This top online Tennessee college also offers four graduate degrees in areas such as business and human services, along with two graduate certificates in human resources and marketing.
The Academic Success Center at Bryan allows distance education students to make an appointment for a virtual tutoring session. Learners can also ask to work with a specialist at the Bryan Writing Studio. Additionally, the college library hosts many digital resources that allow students to complete academic research.
Prospective bachelor's students should possess an associate degree or ample transfer credit. Bryan also awards credit to incoming students who pass a prior learning assessment.
Trevecca Nazarene University
|Nashville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Through Trevecca Online, distance education students can earn an associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree in one of over 20 areas. Associate degrees prepare learners for entry-level positions in the business or community and services fields. Master's degrees at this top online Tennessee university include business, instructional design, and library and information science. Additionally, the university's single specialist program conveys in-demand instructional leadership skills to practicing teachers.
Student support at Trevecca starts with how the university structures each program. All programs use a cohort learning model, meaning that degree-seekers can forge a professional bond with one another. Also, learners take only one course at a time. Additionally, students who need help with coursework can turn to the Center for Student Development.
Trevecca admits new learners in the spring and fall semesters. Also, the university does not charge out-of-state students a higher per-credit tuition rate. Active duty military personnel receive an automatic 10% tuition discount.
The University of Tennessee-Martin
|Martin, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
At UT Martin, students can select from eight online bachelor's degrees. Popular degrees include business administration and nursing. Additionally, one program features a degree completion option: agricultural business with a focus in veterinary technology and management. Online students can also earn this degree over four years by starting as a freshman.
The Virtual Writing Center at UT Martin provides one-on-one support to degree-seekers who make an appointment during business hours. Students use Zoom software to connect to highly trained professionals. Learners who need academic guidance at this top online Tennessee university can also contact advisors at the Student Success Center or the Paul Meek Library.
UT Martin accepts the GED or HiSET and uses a 21 ACT and 980 SAT score cutoff. Some applicants who do not meet application requirements may still receive conditional admission. Both in-state and out-of-state students may qualify for an automatic merit scholarship that awards $5,000 per year. Out-of-state degree-seekers with an excellent high school GPA may also receive an out-of-state tuition waiver.
East Tennessee State University
|Johnson City, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 41%||
ETSU's online undergraduate degrees include both entirely online programs (e.g., human services, sociology) and hybrid programs (e.g., early childhood development, English) that require some courses on the university's Johnson City campus. Additionally, this top online Tennessee university boasts a broad selection of entirely online and hybrid graduate programs in areas such as business, educational leadership, and public health.
The Center for Academic Achievement at ETSU provides virtual tutoring sessions. Degree-seekers enrolled in a master's or doctoral program can consult the university's electronic thesis and dissertation website for research and writing assistance.
Some courses use a synchronous curriculum. Prospective students can take one or more free courses through ETSU's Pathway to College Credit program.
Transfer credit must reflect a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA. Freshman, transfer, and graduate students may qualify for an institutional scholarship, and interested degree-seekers should submit FAFSA results and a scholarship application by the March 1 deadline.
Lincoln Memorial University
|Harrogate, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
At LMU, online degrees include one bachelor's program, four master's programs, and two doctoral programs. Undergraduates can earn an RN-to-BSN degree, while master's students can train for a leadership position in business, education, or nursing. Additionally, this top online Tennessee university's doctoral programs in nursing and medical science attract nurse practitioners and physician assistants who want to make a lasting impact on the medical field.
LMU provides its online degree-seekers with valuable success tools, including an in-depth student handbook and curriculum guide. Online students can access all of LMU's academic support services, including advising and tutoring. Additionally, valuable career-planning tools include a personality assessment and mock interviews.
Application deadlines and requirements vary by program. RN-to-BSN applicants must possess an active nursing license, and graduate programs may ask for a professional license or set work requirements throughout the program. The university works closely with students to locate outside scholarship opportunities.
|Cleveland, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
Lee's adult and online learning programs appeal to working professionals who need a flexible program to increase their career and salary potential. Students can select from six undergraduate degrees in areas such as criminal justice and ministry leadership. This top online Tennessee university's master's programs include business and music education. Additionally, non-degree-seeking learners can select from five one-year certificate programs in Christianity-related topics.
Lee promotes students' academic success by encouraging learners to take only one seven-week course at a time. Also, all incoming students complete a comprehensive online orientation before registering for courses. Learners who need academic help can receive it by making a virtual session appointment through the William G. Squires Library website.
The school accepts prospective undergraduates with a GED, and Lee asks that all undergraduate applicants have three years' work experience in any field. Application requirements to graduate programs include two academic references and a minimum 2.75 GPA.
The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga
|Chattanooga, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 45%||
UTC Learn Online provides distance education students with six online degrees from which to choose. Undergraduates can complete an RN-to-BSN track through the university's Gateway Program, which uses a cohort learning model and features two start dates each year. Master's degree-seekers can learn in-demand nursing, engineering, computer science, or business administration skills. Additionally, UTC boasts three hybrid graduate programs.
Like on-campus students, all online degree-seekers at UTC receive an academic advisor. University librarians help online learners through virtual sessions, and e-learning students can access all of the library's academic search engines. Additionally, this top online Tennessee university's Writing and Communication Center provides one-on-one help with writing, speaking, and other communication skills.
Applicants to the RN-to-BSN program submit undergraduate and high school transcripts, along with proof of an active nursing license. Graduate programs require undergraduate transcripts and GRE or GMAT scores. Incoming students may qualify for an institutional, endowed, or departmental scholarship, some of which require a separate application.
University of Memphis
|Memphis, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
At UofM Global, online students can earn a degree or certificate in one of 13 undergraduate and graduate focus areas. Popular undergraduate degrees include real estate, healthcare leadership, and African and African American studies. Unique graduate certificates at this top online Tennessee university include multimedia storytelling and social media analysis and strategy. Additionally, graduate degree-seekers can select from more than a dozen master's degrees and certificates in health- and medicine-related topics.
Online learners can access academic advisors through UofM's online advising menu. Learning support resources include information on success strategies, along with free online tutoring sessions. Additionally, online learners can speak to highly trained librarians by making a virtual appointment.
First-time and transfer applicants submit the same application, and graduate programs may require additional materials (e.g., standardized test scores, recommendation letters). Online students pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.
|Lebanon, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
CU Online's five online degrees include RN-to-BSN and MBA options, along with three additional master's programs in education, sports management, and nursing. CU designed each program for working adults, meaning that students can receive a large amount of transfer credit and enjoy an asynchronous curriculum. Additionally, all professors who instruct online courses also teach students on CU's Lebanon, Tennessee, campus.
Academic resources at CU include the Office of Student Success, which offers both one-on-one and small group virtual tutoring sessions. Student success advisors also teach valuable academic skills (e.g., time management) and can connect learners with other university counselors, if necessary.
Prospective degree-seekers do not need to submit standardized test scores or recommendation letters. This top online Tennessee university boasts a competitive per-credit tuition rate, and incoming students may qualify for an institutional scholarship or grant. Applying to scholarship opportunities requires a separate application.
|Nashville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Welch features four entirely online programs: general associate, associate in ministry, associate in business, and bachelor's in Christian ministry. The general associate degree transfers to many accredited bachelor's completion programs, while the other associate degrees prepare learners for entry-level positions. Additionally, the bachelor's program accepts freshmen and transfer students.
Learners who need academic support can submit a tutoring request form. The Welch Library also boasts success resources. Students can access research tutorials and more than a dozen specialized electronic resources on topics such as style guides, sermon indexes, and the latest biblical research.
Welch uses rolling admissions, and incoming students can start a program on one of seven dates throughout the year. Application requirements include a high school diploma or GED. This top online Tennessee university accepts learners ages 23 and older. All degree-seekers submit FAFSA results and may qualify for federally backed grants or loans.
Austin Peay State University
|Clarksville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
At APSU, degree-seekers can earn an online BA or BS in one of 11 areas. Majors that prepare students for in-demand careers include medical laboratory science, computer science, and nursing. All courses follow an asynchronous curriculum, and degree-seekers use Desire2Learn software to access course content. Additionally, all assessments take place online.
APSU's advisors help students with enrolling, selecting courses, and planning for life after graduation. At the Office of Student Research and Innovation, learners can research both scholarship and career opportunities. Additionally, the Military Student Center ensures that active duty service members and veterans make the most of their federal tuition benefits.
Undergraduate admission requirements at this top online Tennessee university include a high school diploma or GED and a satisfactory performance on the SAT or ACT. Transfer credit should reflect a minimum 2.0 GPA. Finally, some degree-seekers may qualify for the TN Hope scholarship, among other state and federal financial aid opportunities.
|Jefferson City, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 46%||
Carson-Newman's online degrees include both undergraduate and graduate options. The university boasts bachelor's programs in business administration, nursing, and organizational leadership. Graduate students can select from three master's options: business, education, and family nurse practitioner. This top online university in Tennessee also offers two doctoral programs in education specialist and education.
The Student Success Center at Carson-Newman provides degree-seekers with valuable resources. Learners can make an appointment for a virtual tutoring or career development session. Through the center, students can also find a graduation plan, GPA calculator, and mental health counselors.
Undergraduate applicants must possess a high school diploma and submit ACT or SAT scores. Incoming freshmen and transfer students may qualify for an automatic merit-based scholarship that awards up to $14,000. Veterans and active duty service members receive a tuition reduction through the Yellow Ribbon Program.
Christian Brothers University
|Memphis, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 43%||
CBU's College of Adult and Professional Studies offers adult learners six online programs: four associate degrees and two bachelor's degrees. Students can earn an associate in general studies, applied health services, business studies, or professional psychology. The two bachelor's degrees -- business, professional psychology -- both offer multiple concentration options. Additionally, all programs use a synchronous curriculum with class meetings in the evenings.
Before new students register for courses at this top online Tennessee university, they meet with an enrollment advisor to craft a unique graduation plan. As degree-seekers near graduation, they can search for open positions on the university's online job board or attend an on-campus career fair.
Prospective students can speak to an admissions counselor during university business hours. CBU awards credit for both prior college courses and experiential learning credit (e.g., CLEP, challenge exams, work portfolios). All degree-seekers pay the same the same per-credit tuition and fees, and incoming learners with an excellent high school GPA may receive a $10,000-$15,000 per year CBU Merit Scholarship.
Southern Adventist University
|Collegedale, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 52%||
The Online Campus at Southern boasts four types of online programs: undergraduate, graduate, dual-enrollment, and teacher training. Undergraduates can complete a degree in a hybrid format, and graduate degree-seekers can enter a fully online MBA, MSN, MSN/MBA, or doctorate in nursing program. Additionally, this top online Tennessee university also offers some hybrid graduate programs
Southern's website offers many tips to help prospective and current students succeed in online courses. Online learners can also access a host of virtual resources, including in-depth guides on how to use Proctor U software. Additionally, McKee Library boasts multiple tools that online learners can use to perform academic research.
Prospective students can submit GED scores, and Southern uses a 19 ACT and 960 SAT score cutoff. Some applicants who do not meet all application requirements may still receive conditional admission. Financial aid opportunities include merit scholarships for both freshmen and transfer students. These awards pay up to $6,000 per year.
|McKenzie, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 27%||
Adult undergraduate online programs at Bethel include associate and bachelor's degrees, as well as certificates. Programs that lead to in-demand careers include the RN-to-BSN track, business management, and special education. Additionally, the business management and organizational leadership programs at this top online Tennessee university both boast three concentration options.
Online students can access academic and career advisors at any time. At the Office of Career Development and Calling, learners can research how to write a cover letter and resume, gain interviewing skills, and take a personality or career assessment. Online students can also access Bethel's physical and mental health counseling services.
Undergraduate applicants must possess a high school diploma that reflects a minimum 2.5 GPA. Incoming students can either apply transfer credit toward a degree or earn credit by passing one or more DSST exams. Learners can find DSST test-prep resources on the Bethel website. Online students may qualify for merit-based scholarships, and some scholarship opportunities award full tuition.
Tennessee Wesleyan University
|Athens, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 40%||
Nontraditional students should consider TWU's adult and online programs. Degree-seekers have four options: a bachelor's completion program in management excellence, a bachelor's completion program in professional leadership and criminal justice, RN to BSN, and an MBA. Additionally, all programs at this top online Tennessee university use an asynchronous curriculum.
Academic success at TWU starts with a student orientation that introduces learners to the university's multiple student resources. The university's Office of Career Development helps degree-seekers explore job and internship opportunities, write a resume, and hone interviewing skills, among other valuable services. Also, students can access TWU's Student Success Center to connect with peer tutors.
Online undergraduate programs require applicants to possess an associate degree or significant transfer credit. The professional leadership and criminal justice program also has an age and professional experience requirement. Incoming degree-seekers can apply to over 130 scholarship opportunities by submitting one financial aid application.
Tennessee State University
|Nashville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 29%||
Distance education at TSU features over two dozen online bachelor's and master's degrees. Undergraduates interested in professional studies can select from four concentration options, and MSN students have three specializations from which to choose, including nursing education. Additionally, this top online Tennessee university offers six hybrid graduate degrees.
All online learners complete the TSU eLearn Student Orientation before registering for courses. This orientation covers study habits and skills, among other information. Students can access an in-depth distance learning guide to explore the latest information about academic counselors, virtual tutoring sessions, and academic online tutorials.
TSU grants guaranteed admission to applicants who possess a minimum 3.2 high school GPA. Other freshman application requirements include ACT or SAT scores, and transfer credit should reflect a minimum 2.0 undergraduate GPA. Incoming undergraduate and graduate students interested in financial aid should submit TSU's online scholarship application to apply to all institutional and departmental scholarships.
|Greeneville, TN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 33%||
Tusculum's adult and online studies include both undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduates can select from an associate in general studies -- a degree that transfers to many bachelor's completion programs -- or a bachelor's in business administration. The online bachelor's program features a generous credit transfer policy that allows some learners to earn a degree in just two years. Additionally, graduate students can earn a master's in business administration, curriculum and instruction, or talent development.
All students at this top online Tennessee college receive an academic advisor, a highly trained professional who acts as a mentor. Adult and online studies professionals can also help learners during college business hours. Library resources include one-on-one counseling sessions with a college librarian.
Tusculum admits new degree-seekers in the fall, spring, and summer terms. Applicants to undergraduate programs can submit GED scores.