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Joseph Mitchell
Joseph Mitchell


If you are interested in pursuing higher education online in the Volunteer State, this guide provides you with helpful information. Topics covered include an overview of accredited online colleges in Tennessee, tuition costs, financial aid opportunities, and the kinds of jobs you can pursue after earning an online degree in Tennessee.


According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Tennessee maintains 105 degree-granting postsecondary institutions. Of these 105 schools, the NCES counted 23 as public, four-year universities and 13 as public, two-year institutions. The NCES counted 34 schools as for-profit institutions, with the remaining 71 operating as nonprofit institutions.

According to NCES data, in the fall of 2016, higher education institutions in Tennessee enrolled 321,751 students. In the 2018-2019 academic year, CollegeBoard found that the average in-state tuition and fees for four-year public schools in Tennessee is $9,950 and the average in-state tuition and fees for two-year public schools is $4,560.

Many out-of-state students can find tuition breaks at accredited online colleges in Tennessee. The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) works in 16 member states to improve public education, including Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Below, are our rankings of the best online four-year programs in Tennessee. Our profiles examine how schools approach online education and list their services for distance students and their popular, fully online degrees. After reviewing the best online schools in Tennessee, explore our state resources, like a database of every college and university in Tennessee or our index of popular in-state scholarships.

Johnson University, located in Knoxville, opened its doors in 1893 as a school dedicated to providing education of preachers, missionaries, teachers, and business professionals around the world. The university developed distance learning programs more than a century ago and has consistently expanded their available online degrees and programs as learning technology improves.

Today, this Tennessee Bible college's online programs include associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in areas of business, ministry, leadership, and counseling. Students may also earn specialized certificates to enhance their education and skills.

Affiliated with Christian churches and churches of Christ, the school provides Bible-based education integrated with an arts and science curriculum. Applicants must have earned a high school diploma or submit scores from a high school equivalency exam. Johnson University welcomes transfer applicants and accepts credits earned at schools with regional, national, or professional accreditation.

The accelerated online degree programs feature seven-week courses, with two sessions per term. The school uses the Sakai online learning system, which provides tools for communication, collaboration, and assignments. Most courses allow flexibility for students in reviewing class assignments and materials, such as recorded lectures or discussion forums. Distance students may contact faculty, access academic services, and utilize resources from the virtual library.

King University in Bristol, Tennessee, one of the top accredited online colleges in Tennessee, provides career-focused online education in areas of business, teaching, liberal arts, and nursing, with associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees available from the seven academic schools. The accelerated, year-round instructional model allows students to complete their degree in as little as 16 months. Classes range from 5-8 weeks in length, with multiple starting dates each year.

The University of Memphis offers more than 60 degrees through its fully online Global Campus. This accredited online college in Tennessee offers majors in arts, business, education, engineering, humanities, social science, and healthcare, with bachelor's and graduate degrees.

Faculty members from the West Tennessee campus lead asynchronous classes through the eCourseware learning management system. All undergo extensive training in delivering engaging and effective instruction using distance technology. A SmartStart assessment helps students determine if they have the skills necessary to succeed in an online learning environment, such as time management and self-regulation.

Online students enjoy many support services, including online tutoring, tech support, and specialized software for class projects like creating surveys or hosting a web conference for group projects. A career services department assists with career assessments, resume preparation, online practice interviews, and job boards. The library provides the "Ask-A-Librarian" service as well as access to online databases and subscriptions, inter-library loans, and research assistance.

In addition to its Global Campus, UofM participates in the TN eCampus, offering students the opportunity to take online college courses with Tennessee Board of Regents schools across the state. This program makes additional classes available to students and helps them stay on track to graduation.

Carson-Newman University, a private liberal arts college located in Jefferson County in East Tennessee, opened its doors in 1851. Today, the school remains affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and serves more than 2,000 students each year as one of Tennessee's premier Bible colleges online and on campus.

Carson-Newman developed its online degrees with distance learners in mind. Online bachelor's degrees require students to have earned at least 48 credits transferable credits before beginning coursework. Undergraduate degree options include business administration, nursing, organizational leadership, and interdisciplinary studies. The school confers master's degrees in social entrepreneurship, business administration, education, and nursing, with specialist and doctorates in education also available.

Carson-Newman offers generous transfer policies. Students who have graduated from a community college can consider their general education requirements met, expediting their degree-completion process. Learners can apply credits earned at regionally accredited schools to their degree plan and seek credits for military training, portfolio assessment of work and life experiences, or through college-level exams. Licensed registered nurses can earn up to 30 credits for their professional expertise and transfer up to 90 credits toward their bachelor's degree.

Carson-Newman maintains regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, ensuring graduates earn a degree recognized by employers and other educational institutions. Online students work closely with student success advisers to plan a course of study and complete required orientation. The Edvance360 platform provides asynchronous class scheduling with multiple communication and collaboration tools available. Online students also have access to online tutoring services, library resources, and career services.

Tennessee Technological University remains one of the most affordable accredited online colleges in Tennessee, with numerous accolades for its "best value" degrees. U.S. News & World Report found students from TTU graduate with the least amount of student debt from 2015-2019.

This public, four-year university in Cookeville serves more than 10,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. The school's business, education, and nursing graduate programs attract the most students at the school, pointing to one of the reasons TTU launched its online master's degrees. Students can choose from master's degrees in business administration, accounting, exercise studies, professional studies, nursing, and curriculum and instruction. Licensed teachers can complete additional endorsements online, as well.

Their master of business administration program includes fully online courses or hybrid instruction with optional networking meetings held regularly in Nashville. Not only does TTU maintain institutional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but its business programs have earned accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Students who already possess an undergraduate degree may also pursue a second degree in accounting from TTU.

The school also offers undergraduate degrees in interdisciplinary studies and professional studies through partnerships with the TNeCampus, an online consortium of courses designed to pool resources of the Tennessee Board of Regent participating schools. The professional studies degree offers concentrations in health administration, information technology, international organizational leadership, and organizational leadership.

The school welcomes transfer credits from regionally accredited schools, maintains transfer agreements with community colleges across the state, and participates in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway program, which guarantees a student admission to the university and that all community college courses will apply to their degree. Students may earn up to 12 elective credits for work or volunteer experience related to their course of study, credits for military training, or by passing specific exams.

Students integrate faith and biblical teaching with a holistic liberal arts education at Nashville's Trevecca Nazarene University. One of the top Tennessee Bible colleges, online programs offer the opportunity to earn a degree while continuing to work or care for a family. Trevecca offers two associate degrees, six bachelor's degrees, and nine graduate degrees, all without on-campus requirements.

All online classes offer accelerated formats that allow students to focus on one class at a time with asynchronous scheduling. Most programs utilize a cohort system that enables students to move through their coursework together, building strong relationships and professional connections. Admission to bachelor's programs requires completion of at least 40 credits, but the online associate degrees welcome students with proof of high school graduation or equivalent and some computer proficiency. 041b061a72


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