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Massachusetts Nursing Schools and Programs

| NurseJournal Staff

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There are many benefits to working as a nurse in Massachusetts. The state offers one of the nation's highest wages on average for registered nurses (RN) and a variety of career opportunities.

RN employment
RN Job Growth
Annual Salary for Massachusetts Nurses
Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact State?

Why Attend a Nursing School in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts healthcare workers enjoy crucial benefits and excellent wages. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an RN in Massachusetts earns an annual mean wage of $96,250, compared to the national figure of $80,010.

In addition, Massachusetts currently suffers from a statewide nursing shortage. According to projections from the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Health Workforce Simulation Model, Massachusetts may not be able to meet the growing demand for nurses. For instance, HRSA expects Massachusetts to fall short of 3,600 licensed practical nurse (LPN) jobs by 2030.

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Nursing Program Requirements in Massachusetts

NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.3%
State Nursing Board: Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing


In Massachusetts, prospective nurses may begin the licensing process after earning an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor of science in nursing degree (BSN) from an accredited program. The state's Board of Registration in Nursing features a list of accredited programs and further licensing information on its website.

Massachusetts does not participate in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) which allows licensed nurses to practice in participating states without applying for a new license. A private company called Professional Credential Services, Inc. manages the licensing process in Massachusetts.

Nursing schools in Massachusetts have their own specific requirements; however, common requirements are detailed below by job title.

Certified Nurse Assistant

CNAs work under RNs and other healthcare professionals, providing patients with care. They help patients with basic needs, such as bathing, food preparation, and transportation. CNAs work in a variety of locations, including assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals.

CNA Program Requirements:

  • Application Requirements: High school diploma or GED; some programs do not maintain prerequisites besides being 18 years or older
  • How Long to Complete: 6-12 months
  • Accrediting Bodies: The Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification

Massachusetts Licensure Requirements:

  • Education: Accredited CNA program
  • Exams: Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation
  • Renewal Frequency: Two years
  • Continued Education: CNAs looking to advance their education can take an LPN bridge course.
Licensed Practical Nurse

An essential part of the healthcare system, LPNs assist other healthcare professionals and perform duties similar to CNAs. However, LPNs hold more responsibilities than CNAs, such as monitoring patients' vital signs, and they may administer treatments and medications. LPNs often work with a team of healthcare providers to support and rehabilitate patients.

LPN Program Requirements:

  • Application Requirements: High school diploma or GED
  • How Long to Complete: 1-2 years
  • Accrediting Bodies: Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing

Massachusetts Licensure Requirements:

  • Education: Accredited LPN program
  • Exams: NCLEX-PN
  • Renewal Frequency: Two years
  • Continued Education: LPNs can earn specialized certifications or earn an undergraduate degree and apply to be an RN.
Registered Nurse

Whether they are administering medications or coordinating treatment plans with a patient's family, RNs can be found throughout the healthcare system. RNs work in many different healthcare settings, including emergency rooms, hospitals, and nursing facilities. They generally possess more experience and education than CNAs and LPNs.

RN Program Requirements:

  • Application Requirements: Undergraduate degree (preferably a BSN)
  • How Long to Complete: 2-4 years
  • Accrediting Bodies: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

Massachusetts Licensure Requirements:

  • Education: ADN or BSN from an accredited nursing program
  • Exams: NCLEX-RN
  • Renewal Frequency: Two years
  • Continued Education: RNs may pursue a graduate degree or doctorate.
Nurse Practitioner

NPs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Other APRNs include certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or certified registered nurse anesthetist. NPs play a significant role in diagnosing and treating patients, performing many of the same duties as physicians. They may also prescribe medications.

NP Program Requirements:

  • Application Requirements: RN licensure
  • How Long To Complete: Six years
  • Accrediting Bodies: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education

Massachusetts Licensure Requirements:

  • Education: Master's degree in nursing or higher
  • Exams: Depends on specialty
  • Renewal Frequency: Two years
  • Continued Education: APRNs with a master's degree may pursue a doctorate.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Massachusetts

While Massachusetts boasts the sixth highest cost of living among the 50 states, nurses in Massachusetts enjoy wages well above the national average. According to BLS data, Massachusetts is one of the country's top-paying states, with RNs drawing an annual mean wage of $96,250 and LPNs earning 15% more than the U.S. average.

Thanks to the state's nursing shortage and high projected job growth rates for all healthcare professions, nurses seeking jobs in Massachusetts should enjoy a variety of career opportunities.

Nursing Level Salary Projected Job Growth
Certified Nurse Assistant $37,160 4.1%
Licensed Practical Nurse $60,400 2.3%
Registered Nurse $96,250 8.2%
Nurse Practitioner (APRN) $126,050 16.2%
Sources: BLS and Projections Central

Highest Paying Cities for Nurses in Massachusetts

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Registered Nurses

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for RNs
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua $93,120
Worcester $86,460
Leominster-Gardner $86,430
Barnstable Town $83,180
Springfield $81,480
Source: BLS

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nurse Practitioners

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Median Salary for NPs
New Bedford $136,000
Leominster-Gardner $127,570
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua $124,880
Springfield $115,940
Barnstable Town $112,600
Source: BLS

Frequently Asked Questions


How long does it take to become an RN in Massachusetts?

Prospective nurses must earn an ADN or a BSN before applying for RN licensure in Massachusetts. An associate degree takes the shortest amount of time to complete, requiring around two years of study. However, some employers prefer to hire BSN-holders. Some nursing schools in Massachusetts offer ADN-to-BSN bridge programs.

How do I become an RN in Massachusetts?

Prospective nurses in Massachusetts must complete a state-approved, accredited nursing program that provides the knowledge needed to pass the NCLEX-RN exam. Candidates must pass the NCLEX-RN before obtaining licensure.

What is the best nursing school in Massachusetts?

Finding the best nursing programs in Massachusetts depends on your specific needs and career goals. View some of our rankings by degree type to find the top nursing programs in Massachusetts.

How much is nursing school in Massachusetts?

A nursing school's cost depends on many factors, including location and degree type. For instance, Framingham State University represents the lower end of tuition costs at $11,380 per year, while Endicott College boasts much higher rates at $35,764 per year.

Resources for Nurses in Massachusetts

  • The historic MNA supports RNs and other healthcare providers as the Commonwealth's largest healthcare union, allowing every nurse to voice their views. The organization works to improve nurses' working conditions, increase pay, and improve policy.
  • This community of nurses strives to improve quality of care and help members better their careers. The association's code of ethics and standard outlines steps for advancing nursing practice and education.
  • MAPHN formed in 1996 in response to the state's lack of a unified public health nursing system. Officially incorporated in 1998, the association offers a professional network to help implement better health practices and improve public health education.
  • Founded by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in 2005, the Nursing and Allied Health Initiative develops and implements programs that address the state's nurse shortage. The organization fills an intermediate role among different branches in the public health education system.

Nursing in Surrounding States

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