How to Become an RN in Massachusetts
Becoming a registered nurse (RN) in Massachusetts takes dedication, discipline and the desire to help others. RNs are required to complete an approved nursing program and pass the state mandated National Council for Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) before being employed as a registered nurse.
RNs must acquire at least an Associate’s degree in order to take the NCLEX-RN exam, but an RN with just an Associate’s degree will have a difficult time finding an entry level position without experience as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or licensed practical nurse (LNP). Nursing students who complete a nursing program that results in a diploma or certificate will not be allowed to take the NCLEX-RN. Many RNs often bypass the Associate’s degree and take on the Bachelor of Science in nursing degree program.
Nursing programs must be accredited and approved by the Massachusetts Board of Nursing (MBON). In Massachusetts, there are 22 schools that offer Associate’s degrees and 20 schools that offer Bachelor’s degree, 14 schools that offer a Master’s degree and 7 schools that offer a Doctoral degree in nursing.
The average salary for an RN in Massachusetts is $76,000. Salary depends on education, nursing specialty, years of experience, level of responsibility, geographic location and type of facility where employed. Salaries will be found to be higher in and around major metropolitan areas than in less populated suburban and urban areas. The average starting salary for a nurse is $58,000 and the maximum end of the pay scale is about $110,000. The average salary for an RN in the city of Boston is $94,000 and the maximum end of the pay scale is $141,000.
An RN takes on a variety of duties, and duties will vary depending on the facility where employed, but typical duties include supervising licensed practical nurses (LPN) and certified nursing assistants (CNA), perform diagnostic testing, treating medical emergencies, establish treatment plans, observe and record patient behavior, operate medical equipment and dispense medication. RNs may also become director of nursing and supervise the entire nursing staff or become a nursing instructor. RNs find employment in nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, visiting nurse and hospice organizations, vacation organizations, private duty care, correctional facilities and schools and government institutions.
Nurses in Massachusetts are licensed by the MBON and the license must be valid in order to work. Currently, there are more than 135,000 active nursing licensees in Massachusetts and of those 118,000 are RNs. Massachusetts is not a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact and nurses licensed in other states must apply for a Massachusetts Nursing license by endorsement.
Upon graduation, graduates must apply to take the NCLEX-RN. The application to test is submitted to the MBON, and the exam is administered by Pearson VUE. 90.5% of RN candidates pass the NCLEX-RN the first time. There is an application fee paid to the MBON and an exam fee paid to Pearson VUE. The application submitted to the MBON includes education verification, criminal background check, fingerprint card, documentation of identification and a passport type photograph. The graduate should also apply to Pearson VUE at the same time. When the MBON approves the application, the graduate is issued an authorization to test (ATT). The graduate will have 45 days to take the exam and the clock starts ticking the day the ATT is issued. The graduate can take the exam at any one of the testing centers in the Commonwealth, or if a testing center in another state is a more convenient location, the graduate may opt for that location.
RNs are required to renew their license every two years and licenses expire on the RNs birthday of the even year. There is an additional fee added to the total charge if the application is received after the official renewal date.
RN Degree Programs in Massachusetts
- There's still time to apply to Grand Canyon University and pursue your education. Learn more today!
- Study on your schedule - GCU offers many programs 100% online to fit your busy lifestyle.
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- Degrees in business, education, nursing, humanities and social sciences, theology and more. Find the degree that fits you.
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- Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
- M.S. in Nursing: Nursing Leadership in Health Care Systems
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Earn your degree from Lincoln College of New England. Over 30 undergraduate programs are available in Health Sciences, Business, Communications, Hospitality, and more. Financial aid is available for those who qualify
- RN to BSN
Established in 1897, Bradley University is a private, independent institution of higher learning in Peoria, Illinois. Inspired by our founder, notable philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley, we pursue excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and service; and we celebrate leadership, integrity, diversity and collaborative learning. Today, we offer an impressive array of more than 130 undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs across five colleges and the Graduate School.
- Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Leadership Track (MSN to DNP)
- Online Master of Science in Nursing (BSN to MSN-FNP)
- Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner Track (BSN to DNP)
- And more...
For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.
- Master of Science in Nursing
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University. We offer online programs focused on doctoral and master’s degrees in the schools of business and technology management, education, psychology and marriage and family sciences.
- Doctor of Education - Nursing Education
New England Institute of Technology is a private, non-profit, co-educational technical university offering over 50 Associate in Science, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs. As a leader in technical career education in southern New England, New England Institute of Technology (also known as New England Tech or NEIT) is committed to providing hands-on technological programs that prepare graduates for positions of leadership in the technical, industrial, business, and allied health communities. Most of our associate degree programs can be completed in as little as 18 months, and bachelor’s degree programs in as little as three years. Last year, over 3,000 students chose New England Tech for the hands-on laboratory and classroom training that provides the necessary skills to begin their technical careers.
- AS - Nursing
100% Online & No Standardized Testing
We are committed to helping you achieve your goals and complete your degree as quickly as possible.
- Master of Science in Nursing: Nursing Administration
- Master of Science in Nursing: Nurse Educator
Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017
- MSN Nursing Administration & Leadership (Master of Science) - Online
- Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publishers of G.I. Jobs®.
- Each program is designed to instill the knowledge, ethical values, and interpersonal skills of professional practice and to foster values of social responsibility.
- Offers several flexible learning options, including a blended format that combines campus and online learning.
- Several scholarship opportunities are available for students who qualify.
- Forensic Psychology (MA) (Online)