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The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

Maura Deering, J.D.NurseJournal Rankings Team
Updated August 29, 2023
Massachusetts nurse practitioner programs prepare master's- or doctoral-level advanced RNs who can expect a high projected employment growth rate and six-figure salaries.
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Nurse practitioner programs in Massachusetts graduate highly trained nursing professionals. These nurses are ready to earn board certification in a specialization and pursue advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licensure.

This guide offers all you need to know about the best nurse practitioner (NP) programs in Massachusetts, including what to look for in a school, how to apply, and where to find help with funding.

Explore our list of top Massachusetts nurse practitioner programs and learn about your post-graduation opportunities and salary potential.

We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nurse practitioner programs in Massachusetts, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: Academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

At a Glance: The Top NP Programs in Massachusetts

  1. Northeastern University
  2. University of Massachusetts-Lowell
  3. University of Massachusetts-Boston
  4. MGH Institute of Health Professions
  1. Endicott College
  2. MCPHS University
  3. American International College
  4. Salem State University

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Using Our Rankings: What To Look For in a Massachusetts Nurse Practitioner Program

The search for your ideal NP program starts with defining your goals, interests, and resources. Metrics like available specializations, clinical formats, and program lengths highlight your best options.

Data points, such as accreditation and board certification rate, indicate which programs will best prepare you for your future career.

Bear in mind that master of science in nursing (MSN) programs across the country are slowly phasing out; employers will require a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) from nurse practitioners come 2025. States may decide on their own how to proceed. Learn more about the difference between MSN vs. DNP degrees.

Admission Requirements

Checking the program admission requirements ensures that you meet the minimum standards and improves your chances of applying to schools that will accept you.


As an RN, you likely have a specialty area in mind, such as family, gerontology, neonatal, pediatrics, psychiatric, or women’s health. Make sure the programs that interest you offer the specialization you’d like to pursue.

Clinical Experience

NP programs require clinical rotations, and some programs offer assistance with securing positions. If not, consider how and where you will find opportunities that work for your schedule and location.


It’s important to attend an accredited school and program. Not only does accreditation signify academic quality, but certification boards require graduation from an accredited program, as do many employers. State licensure boards also require you to attend an accredited program.

Program Length

Most NP programs take two years to finish, but may take longer if you enroll part-time. You can complete the program faster if you opt for an accelerated or bridge program.

Nurse Practitioner Board Certification Rate

Before spending an average of two years on your NP education, you’ll want to be confident that the program will prepare you to pass your board certification exam and qualify you for APRN licensing.

Why Is Nurse Practitioner Program Accreditation Important?

The programs listed in this guide all hold accreditation from organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

The reasons you want to confirm programmatic accreditation include the following:

  • Accreditation entails regular and rigorous academic review to ensure that the programs prepare NPs for success
  • Doctoral nursing programs may not accept transfer credits from non-accredited master’s programs
  • Certification boards require graduation from accredited programs
  • You may not qualify for federal financial aid if you enroll in an unaccredited program
  • Degrees from accredited programs look better on resumes, and some employers and state licensure boards may require them

Learn More About the Best Massachusetts Nurse Practitioner Programs & Schools

See our methodology to learn more about how we create our rankings.
#1 The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

Northeastern University

  • Location-markerBoston, MA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$54,360
  • Out-of-state$54,360
  • Retention Rate97%
  • Acceptance Rate20%
  • Students Enrolled22,905
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment48%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

  • Location-markerLowell, MA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$15,078
  • Out-of-state$33,004
  • Retention Rate84%
  • Acceptance Rate75%
  • Students Enrolled18,150
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment99%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts-Boston

  • Location-markerBoston, MA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,187
  • Out-of-state$34,649
  • Retention Rate76%
  • Acceptance Rate80%
  • Students Enrolled16,259
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment100%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

MGH Institute of Health Professions

  • Location-markerBoston, MA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$73,200
  • Out-of-state$73,200
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled1,269
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment100%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

Endicott College

  • Location-markerBeverly, MA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$34,470
  • Out-of-state$34,470
  • Retention Rate83%
  • Acceptance Rate70%
  • Students Enrolled4,287
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment44%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

MCPHS University

  • Location-markerBoston, MA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$33,600
  • Out-of-state$33,600
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate91%
  • Students Enrolled7,501
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment44%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

American International College

  • Location-markerSpringfield, MA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$38,220
  • Out-of-state$38,220
  • Retention Rate70%
  • Acceptance Rate69%
  • Students Enrolled2,612
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment7%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 The Best Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

Salem State University

  • Location-markerSalem, MA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$910
  • Out-of-state$7,050
  • Retention Rate74%
  • Acceptance Rate87%
  • Students Enrolled7,242
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment98%
  • AccreditationYes

Applying to a Massachusetts Nurse Practitioner Program

When researching NP programs in Massachusetts, pay attention to the admission requirements, including minimum GPAs, test scores, and prerequisites.

You may also need certain levels of work experience, sometimes specialty-specific. For example, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) need two or more years of critical-care experience.

Start compiling your admission materials early: order transcripts, write personal essays, and solicit recommendations.

While schools and programs may vary on application criteria, the list below covers typical requirements:

Admission Requirements

  • checkBachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited program
  • check3.0 GPA
  • checkRN license
  • checkPrerequisite courses: Anatomy and physiology, Microbiology, Nutrition, Human growth and development, Statistics, Basic life support

Admission Materials

  • checkOfficial transcripts
  • checkPersonal statements
  • checkTwo professional references
  • checkResume
  • checkAcademic writing sample
  • checkAdmissions interview

Paying for Nurse Practitioner Programs

Like admission requirements, tuition and costs vary by program. Factors that influence cost include program length, full- or part-time enrollment, state residence, public or private institutional status, and your ability to continue working while studying.

Many students find they need help paying for their NP program and can access a variety of financial aid options.

NP programs in Massachusetts may offer their own scholarships, or you can tap into private scholarships and grants, often listed on schools’ websites. Federal and private loans are another source of funding.

Loan forgiveness programs help you repay your debts. Your post-graduation employer may offer tuition reimbursement, or you can apply for federal loan repayment options if you’re willing to spend a couple of years working with an underserved population, in the military, or in a rural community.

What Can You Do With a Degree from a Nurse Practitioner Program?

A two-year master of science in nursing (MSN) can facilitate career advancement, expand employment opportunities, and lead to higher salaries.

While an MSN currently meets the minimum educational requirements for becoming an NP, many NP programs in Massachusetts award doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees.

As touched on earlier, this shift anticipates a future change to the minimum standards, from MSN to DNP. DNPs can take 3-4 years to finish, but licensed RNs can earn their doctorates sooner through RN-to-DNP bridge programs.

NPs specialize in areas that include acute care, adult-gerontology, family, neonatal, pediatrics, psychiatric, and women’s health.

The Massachusetts nursing board licenses NPs as APRNs. Annual salaries for Massachusetts NPs average $129,540 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s projected employment growth for NPs is 55.7% for 2020-2030.

Frequently Asked Questions About Massachusetts Nurse Practitioner Programs

How do I become an NP in Massachusetts?

The first step is to earn a nursing diploma, associate degree, or bachelor’s degree and pass the NCLEX for your RN license. RNs often gain work experience before entering a graduate nursing program (MSN or DNP). The last steps are passing the board certification exam in your specialty area and obtaining your APRN license.

How long does it take to become a nurse practitioner in Massachusetts?

The time it takes to become an NP in Massachusetts depends on your starting point and degree choices. If you don’t yet have your RN license or BSN, you will need to spend four years in nursing school, then at least two additional years earning your MSN or DNP. If you already hold an RN license, you will spend 2-4 years in a graduate nursing program.

What can nurse practitioners do in Massachusetts?

NPs specialize in a patient population and provide primary care services. Their job duties are similar to those of physicians. NPs can choose to work with older adults, children and teenagers, families, or focus on women’s health or neonatal care. Psychiatric-mental health nurse practice is another option.

Can an NP have their own practice in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts nurse practitioners have full practice authority, which means they can practice independently and provide comprehensive primary and acute care services and prescribe medications without the oversight of a physician. Not many states grant full practice authority at the application stage like this.

Explore Other Massachusetts Nursing Programs

December 1, 2022. Note: The ranking list and school descriptions on this page were created and reviewed independently by our Rankings Team.