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
- Which career path will you take – Business, Nursing, Education, Psychology? Something else? GCU offers more than 100 majors to get you started!
- Colangelo College of Business: Features more than 25 programs from the bachelor through the master's level, including several high-demand MBA programs and an accelerated accounting degree.
- College of Nursing and Health Care Professions: Rich 25-year history providing outstanding health care and nursing degree programs, including an RN to BSN program & master's in nursing degrees.
- College of Education: Whether you are looking to start or advance your career as a teacher or administrator, GCU offers bachelor’s and master’s in education degrees in key areas.
- College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Provides a job focused education and features a variety of programs from counseling and psychology to justice studies, history and English literature.
- Does something else interest you? GCU also offers programs in Doctoral Studies; Theology; Science, Engineering & Technology; and Fine Arts & Production. Speak with an enrollment counselor today!
- Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership
- M.S. in Nursing with an Emphasis in Leadership in Health Care Systems (Bridge)
- Doctor of Nursing Practice
- And more...
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
- Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.
- As a regionally accredited, private, online and graduate-focused university, NCU offers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, technology management, education, and psychology, as well as doctoral and master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy.
- Doctor of Education - Nursing Education
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
Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.
You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.
- MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
- RN to MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
With over 80 years of academic achievements, Jacksonville University is a traditional, longstanding institution consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's best colleges.
- MSN Clinical Nurse Educator
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...
- Practical Nurse (LPN)-CERT
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