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Inside the Best Online Master’s Programs in Tennessee (TN)

Looking to level up your earnings? Get a big boost in your annual wages after obtaining a master’s degree online from a top program in Tennessee.

Author: OMD Staff

Editor: Staff Editor

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A red barn and two tall silos on a farm with a bare tree and cloudy sky in the background.

Do you love to help others? The state of Tennessee anticipates a growing need for people like you. Recently, the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development compiled a list of in-demand occupations from now until 2026, and it is dominated by helping professions like nurse practitioners, education administrators, healthcare social workers, librarians, and speech-language pathologists. To get started in one of these careers, however, you’ll need a master’s degree.

Fortunately, many universities offer fully online master’s programs in Tennessee for the degrees required for these professions as well as many others. If you’re already working full time or have family obligations that prevent you from returning to school, the programs outlined below are ones you can complete from home and on your own schedule.

Top-Rated Online Master’s Programs in Tennessee for 2024

Many of the online master’s programs in Tennessee require no campus visits and are asynchronous, meaning students tackle course materials and assignments on their own schedule, from anywhere with an Internet connection. This type of online learning is great for students with full-time jobs or family obligations, as there are no specific times students must be online to satisfy the course requirements. However this format also presents challenges, as students must be self-motivated to keep up with the assigned work and instructors may not be available to offer guidance in person, as they would in a typical on-campus class.

Online master’s degree programs in Tennessee are available through both private and public universities, including the state’s public university system, The University of Tennessee, which has five campuses. One of those campuses is highlighted in our picks for the best online master’s degree programs in Tennessee.

Before we get to the list of top online master’s programs in Tennessee, we have one note: “Best” can be subjective, as everyone has different needs in terms of their higher education. The three schools we selected are highlighted due to the variety of quality master’s programs, flexibility, and reasonable costs. If you find that these programs aren’t a fit, use them to gauge other schools you’re considering.

The flagship campus of The University of Tennessee system — one of the top 50 public schools in the U.S. according to U.S. News & World Report 2022 — offers a variety of master’s programs that can be completed fully online. The 22 online-only graduate tracks include master’s degrees in legal studies, computer science, business administration, and more. Depending on the degree, tuition starts around $700 per credit hour, totaling about $21,000 for a complete program. The university says that most students pursuing an online master’s degree are eligible to apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to help cover the cost of tuition. Those working full time may also be eligible for employer sponsorship.

Aimed at those who are currently working, all of Tennessee Tech’s online master’s degree programs can be completed asynchronously. The most popular programs are Curriculum & Instruction (MA), Business Administration (MBA), and Nursing (MSN), however the school also offers online master’s programs in Engineering Management, Exercise Science, Accounting, Community Health and Nutrition, and more. Based in Cookeville, Tennessee Tech’s 30-credit degree programs start at $19,000. Many of the online graduate degree programs at Tennessee Tech qualify for employer reimbursement, and the school encourages students to fill out a FAFSA to qualify for federal aid.

Murfreesboro-based Middle Tennessee State University boasts of being the number-one source of college graduates for the Greater Nashville economy. The school has been named to The Princeton Review list of the best 388 colleges in the U.S. four years in a row and is popular with transfer students. The online, asynchronous graduate degree programs include more than a dozen choices, ranging from aeronautical science to finance to music education. The school’s tuition rate is in line with similar programs in the state; a 30-credit degree costs around $19,000 (see the tuition schedule here). To fund their studies, Middle Tennessee State University encourages online master’s program students to fill out the FAFSA, seek private scholarships, and apply for student loans as needed.

Types of Online Master’s Programs Available in Tennessee

Many different types of online master’s degree programs are available across Tennessee’s public and private universities, from master of arts to master of science to master of business administration. Whatever your career goals are, there’s surely an online master’s degree program in Tennessee that fits your needs.

Full-Time Online Master’s Programs in Tennessee

Many online master’s degree programs in Tennessee aim to be flexible to fit students’ lives, whether they’re attending school full time or holding down a nine-to-five job. Obviously, students who attend full time can earn their degrees faster. For example, The University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s Online MS in Computer Science can be completed in 24 months when students take classes on a full-time schedule. Tennessee Tech’s Master of Accountancy can be completed in one year full-time or two years part-time.

Part-Time Online Master’s Programs in Tennessee

By attending an online master’s program in Tennessee part time, students can tackle classes at night or on weekends at a pace that’s slower than full-time studies. Tennessee State University’s online Master of Science in Data Science gives students six years to complete the program. The Master of Science in Digital Marketing program at East Tennessee State University offers 12-month and 24-month options to complete the program.

No-GRE Online Master’s Programs in Tennessee

Accelerated Online Master’s Programs in Tennessee

If you’re looking to change your career or up your earnings in the shortest amount of time possible, consider an accelerated online master’s degree programin Tennessee. With these programs, you can earn a master’s degree in as little as a year. Tennessee State University offers a 12-month MBA, and Tennessee Tech’s Master of Accountancy can be completed within a year.

In-demand Master’s Degrees in Tennessee

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Those interested in starting or leading a business would do well to pursue an online MBA. Not only is an MBA a flexible degree that opens many jobs to graduates, but it also offers the chance for students to specialize in fields such as healthcare, marketing, or music.

Quality Examples of Online MBA Programs

Master of Science in Computer Science

The need for workers skilled in technology will only increase in the coming years, especially as more businesses integrate artificial intelligence into their operations. Pursuing a master’s in computer science or a similar program in engineering gives you a jumpstart on this career field.

Quality Examples of Online Computer Science Programs

Master of Education (MEd)

If you’re passionate about education, an MEd program is the perfect way to build a career teaching others. Wherever your interests lie, you’ll find an online master’s degree in education program in Tennessee to fit your needs.

Quality Examples of Online MEd Programs

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

If there’s anything that’s dependable, it’s the growing need for medical professionals. Aside from medical school, students can pursue a master’s in nursing or healthcare administration, among other medical fields.

Quality Examples of Online MSN Programs

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

If you’re passionate about the fine arts, we have good news: There are online master’s programs in Tennessee to further your knowledge and accelerate your career. Whether you want to study creative writing, graphic design, painting, or another artistic avenue, you’ll find online programs in Tennessee that suit your needs.

Quality Examples of Online MFA Programs

How Much Does an Online Master’s in Tennessee Cost?

Taking the step to further your education is not only a big-time commitment but it’s also a financial commitment as well. The cost of a master’s program in Tennessee starts at around $19,000 and goes up to nearly double that. Planning how you will pay the bill — even before you start your online master’s program in Tennessee — is important. Thankfully, whether you take out a loan from a financial institution or family members, seek financial aid, or go on an installment plan, students have options.

School Name No. of Credits Cost/Credit Est. Tuition Cost

30

$1,313

$39,390

45

$730

$35,000

36

$610

$21,960

Tennessee’s Master’s Degree Funding Opportunities

To help reduce the burden of paying for a master’s degree program in Tennessee, you should strongly consider the many financial aid opportunities available. For those currently employed, that could be employer sponsorship programs, in which your employer covers some of the costs associated with pursuing your degree. There’s also financial aid for those who are eligible, as well as grants and scholarships. Here’s more information from online master’s programs in Tennessee:

Top Earning Careers with a Master’s in Tennessee

Earning an online master’s degree in Tennessee is a great way to boost your future earnings. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that those with a master’s degree can expect to earn about $10,000 more annually than those with a bachelor’s degree, and almost double that of those with a high school diploma. If you need help with choosing your degree, Tennessee’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development highlighted the five careers that require a master’s degree and are expected to be in demand for the next several years.

Nurse Practitioner

Working nurses see a big boost in their annual salaries by obtaining their master’s degrees. As the country deals with a shortage of medical practitioners, more nurse practitioners will be needed to fill the gap.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$99,330 38% MS in Nursing

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 2022; Fastest Growing Occupations; Tennessee’s In Demand Occupations to 2026

Education Administrator, Elementary and Secondary School

Although demand for education administrators — including elementary, middle, and high school principals — nationally is in line with other professions, Tennessee will see a big demand for these types of professionals within the next few years.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$87,560 1% MS in Education Administration

Sources: BLS, 2022; Occupational Outlook Handbook; Tennessee’s In Demand Occupations to 2026

Healthcare Social Worker

A great profession for empathetic people, healthcare social workers provide support to individuals, families, and others who are coping with chronic, acute, or terminal illnesses. Social workers are the bridges between clients and the resources they need.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$53,320 7% MS in Social Work

Sources: BLS, 2022; Occupational Outlook Handbook; Tennessee’s In Demand Occupations to 2026

Librarian

Looking for a profession that’s in line with your love of books and research? Consider a degree in library science. Those with this degree aren’t just limited to working in libraries — they are qualified to work for local governments, schools, and other organizations as well.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$55,820 3% MS in Library Science

Sources:BLS, 2022; Occupational Outlook Handbook; Tennessee’s In Demand Occupations to 2026

Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists help those who have communication disorders, such as speech impediments. They often work in schools, hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, or private practice.

State Median Annual Pay National Job Outlook Related Master’s Degree
$77,890 19% MS in Speech and Hearing Science

Sources: BLS, 2022; Occupational Outlook Handbook; Tennessee’s In Demand Occupations to 2026