Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are in high demand in Massachusetts, in part due to the nursing shortage and a slightly higher average number of older adults in the state than the U.S. population. LPN programs make it easy to enter the healthcare field and offer the opportunity to earn an income while completing a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program if you desire.
LPN Salary in Massachusetts
Average LPN Annual Salary
Average LPN Hourly Wage
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
The average LPN salary in MA is $60,400 per year, which ranks LPN jobs in MA as third among all states. However, the MA cost of living index is 129.9, making MA the sixth-most expensive state in which to live.
A significant determining factor is the cost of housing. In MA, the cost of living index for housing is 173.6, again ranking sixth in the nation. The only states with more expensive average housing costs are Hawaii, California, New York, Oregon, and Maryland. The cost of groceries, utilities, and transportation also contribute to this figure. The index for these factors in MA hovers between 108.9 and 114.5 — just over the average cost of living in the United States.
Highest-Paying Cities for LPNs in Massachusetts
As you look for an LPN job in MA, salary likely ranks among the most important criteria. BLS data indicates that the top city for an LPN salary in MA is the Boston-Cambridge-Nashua area, with an average salary of $60,580.Boston is the capital of MA and its most populous area. Cambridge, on the bank of the Charles River, is part of the Boston metropolitan area and home to Harvard University. The next four highest-ranking metropolitan areas for LPN salaries in MA are Barnstable Town, Springfield, Leominster-Gardner, and Providence-Warwick.
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Job Outlook for LPNs in Massachusetts
In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services projected a shortage of LPN jobs in MA of 3,600 by 2030, along with a national shortage of 151,500. The shortage varies substantially by state, with 33 states projected to have a shortfall in 2030, led by Texas and Pennsylvania.
Some of the contributing factors are an aging population, an aging workforce, and nursing burnout. However, the unprecedented health conditions in 2020 likely have had an impact. Experts estimate more nurses retired in 2020 than ever recorded, and another 500,000 could retire by 2022. Projections Central reports a 2.3% employment growth rate for LPNs in the state from 2018-2028.
Top-Rated Hospitals for LPNs in Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report has ranked the best hospitals in the U.S. for over 30 years based on factors, such as physician data, patient experience, survival rates, and information about specialized staff and technology. The best hospitals in MA are ranked in specialty areas and procedures and conditions, such as hip replacements, rather than broad specialties like orthopedics.
Massachusetts General HospitalThis 999-bed research hospital has an average ICU nurse-to-patient ratio of at least 1-to-1. They use a patient care delivery model that focuses on relationship-based care, ranking nationally in 16 adult specialties and five children's specialties.
Brigham and Women's HospitalThis 793-bed teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School employs more than 3,500 nurses, 77% of whom hold a BSN degree. The hospital boasts a robust nursing center for excellence with academic partnerships that support advanced education.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterThis teaching hospital, also associated with Harvard Medical School, hosts 673 beds with a staff of nearly 3,000 nurses. The hospital encourages advanced education, awarding $130,000 in scholarships each year.
Lahey Hospital and Medical CenterThe 396-bed nonprofit teaching hospital staffs 1,500 nurses and assistants in hospital and outpatient clinics. The hospital ranks high for its six adult specialties and six procedures and conditions.
Baystate Medical CenterThis 980-bed medical center, spread across five hospitals, serves as the teaching arm of the University of Massachusetts. Baystate Medical Center is the region's only level I trauma center. The hospital hosts nearly 800 medical students, fellows and interns, and 12,000 nursing students each year.
License Requirements for LPNs in Massachusetts
To earn an LPN job in MA, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. Earning an LPN license requires you to demonstrate completion of a board-approved program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). Massachusetts general law also requires proof of good moral character if you answer "yes" to questions indicating you have a criminal or disciplinary history.
Beginning in 2018, each new nurse must also demonstrate that they have completed a one-time course on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of people with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. The fee for your initial license is $230 each time you apply. MA does not have a "graduate nurse" designation, so you may not start work until you have passed the NCLEX-PN and your license number appears on the Massachusetts Health Professions License Verification site.
Licenses expire at midnight on your birthday in odd-numbered years. You can renew a license online by providing documentation indicating 15 completed hours of continuing education and attesting that you will comply with mandatory abuse reporting laws. If you have had disciplinary action or criminal offense since your last renewal, you must also provide documentation of good moral character as defined by the state law.
The board does not keep a list of approved continuing education programs. You must ensure that these programs meet the board's regulatory requirements. The board provides a checklist to help you make this determination.
Frequently Asked Questions About LPNs in Massachusetts
How do I become an LPN in MA?
You must first attend an accredited program and ensure that it has received approval from the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. After graduation, take the NCLEX-PN and complete a one-time course in diagnosing, treating, and caring for people with dementia.
How long does it take to be an LPN in Massachusetts?
You can complete most programs in MA in 1-2 years. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing offers the NCLEX-PN continuously throughout the year, which you must pass after graduation to practice. If you fail your first test, you may take it again after 45 days.
What can LPNs do in Massachusetts?
LPNs work under RNs and physicians in MA, performing direct care tasks. These duties include administering medication; inserting, caring for, and removing intravenous lines; administering blood products; and getting blood samples.
Are LPNs in demand in Massachusetts?
LPNs remain in demand in MA due to the nursing shortage, an aging population, and an aging workforce. In MA, 14% of the population are senior adults, and 32% live alone.
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