Becoming an RN in Massachusetts
Interested in the growing professional nursing field? You can become a registered nurse by completing an approved degree program, scoring well on national board exams, and then passing a background check by the board in your own state.
- Earn your RN-to-BSN online from Capella University
- Graduate and Undergraduate Degrees and Postgraduate Certificates in Nursing
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing for the Registered Nurse
In Massachusetts, you can earn a professional nursing, or RN license, with any of four degrees: associate’s, baccalaureate, diploma, or master’s. In the past, it was common for nurses to get their education through a hospital-based diploma program. One remains in Massachusetts: at Brockton Hospital. This program has been in operation since 1897. During the past century, colleges and universities have taken over the role of educating nurses. Today, most registered nurses enroll in either ADN or BSN programs for initial licensing. Candidates who already have a baccalaureate in another field may opt for a direct entry master’s.
All RN programs will prepare you for the NCLEX certification exam at the same level. However, some programs will go above and beyond the licensing requirement. They will give you preparation for careers in education, public health, and management, and also provide a better foundation for specialized education and advanced practice. Nationwide, there is a trend for magnet hospitals to prefer candidates with a BSN (baccalaureate) degree or higher. During economic crunch times, other facilities may prefer this training as well.
A Variety of Education Pathways Depending on Your History
Prior education or prior health care experience can reduce the time it takes you to get your degree. Second degree students may opt for either an accelerated second bachelor’s or a master’s. Some schools offer both options. Students can expect to get credit for general studies classes completed in the past, though they often have to take a few program-specific prerequisites.
Accelerated BSN programs are usually year-round intensives. Students complete the same class work and clinical hours as traditional students, but they may take fewer semesters to do so. Direct entry master’s programs, on the other hand, can take a variety of different forms. Often they allow students to complete a BSN and receive RN licensing en route to a master’s. According to MGH Institute of Health Careers, this allows a student to begin working in the field while completing additional coursework in a specialty area. By the end of this type of program, the student will have an APN as well as RN status. Some other direct entry master’s programs prepare students for advanced generalist positions.
Licensed practical nurses and paramedics both have advanced placement opportunities in Massachusetts. There are more programs for LPNs than paramedics, and in some cases, they are shorter. If you are considering one of theses options to save time, you’ll want to contact multiple schools to find out about prerequisites and pacing as well as how long it will take you before you can start classes.
Registered Nursing Career Outlook in Massachusetts
In 2005, the Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing issued a report that made some rather dire predictions. By 2010, they said, the shortage of nurses would become “unacceptably dangerous”
Around the country, the AACN reports, economic recession has slowed the nursing shortage, but not prevented it. Of concern are changes in demographics; this includes workforce demographics as well as those of the population as a whole. Occupation trends projected 18% growth in Massachusetts during 2008 to 2018.
The Application Process
The real crux of the nursing shortage in Massachusetts is a lack of nursing educators. Since there are a limited number of slots, the application process can get pretty competitive. Of course the competitive process also ensures that more of the students who enroll will actually graduate. The Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing notes that attrition has been a problem in nursing programs.
If the application process seems intimidating, bear in mind that schools are looking for indicators that you’ll complete the program in a timely manner and then pass the NCLEX exam. Successful candidates score well on academic tests and maintain strong GPAs, particularly in prerequisite coursework. Some programs value leadership and other personal attributes.
Associate Degree Programs Approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing
Holyoke Community College
Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing Program
Massachusetts Bay Community College
Massasoit Community College
Middlesex Community College
Mount Wachusett Community College
North Shore Community College
Northern Essex Community College
|Quinsigamond Community College|
670 W. Boylston Street
Worcester, MA 01606
Roxbury Community College
Springfield Technical Community College
Anna Maria College
Atlantic Union College
Berkshire Community College
Bristol Community College
Bunker Hill Community College
Cape Cod Community College
Greenfield Community College
BSN Programs Approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing
American International College 1000 State Street Springfield, MA 01109
College of Our Lady of the Elms
|Curry College |
1071 Blue Hill Avenue
Milton, MA 02186
|Endicott College |
376 Hale Street
Beverly, MA 01915
Fitchburg State College 160 Pearl Street Fitchburg, MA 01420
Mass. College of Pharmacy & Health Science
|Regis College |
235 Wellesley Street
Weston, MA 02493
Salem State College of Nursing
|Simmons College |
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
University of Mass/Amherst Arnold House
University of Mass/Boston
University of Mass/Dartmouth
University of Mass/Lowell
Worcester State College