In 1872, the first class of nursing students began training at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston, Massachusetts. Since that time, nursing schools around the Bay State have been hard at work, preparing students for careers in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes and doctors’ offices.

Nursing can be a tough job, and so nursing schools in Massachusetts work to put their students through a rigorous education that can teach them about the skills and tools they need to deliver quality care. Continue reading below to find out how to become a nurse in Massachusetts, including the standards that must be met to earn a license and professional associations that can help working nurses stay at the forefront of their field.

Best Nursing Schools in Massachusetts

There are 44 nursing schools in Massachusetts, which can make it difficult for prospective students to choose among all the available program options. Whether you’re looking to enter the field for the first time or move up the ladder in your existing career, it’s important to make sure that you choose a nursing degree or certificate program that can help you get there.

To help prospective students make as informed a choice as possible, we dug into the statistics and ranked the best nursing schools in Massachusetts on both the graduate and undergraduate levels. These lists, which are based on information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), can be found below; check the bottom of the page for details on the methodology we used to put these rankings together.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$970
Undergraduate graduation rate
56%
Undergraduate retention rate
78%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
88%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$910
Undergraduate graduation rate
52%
Undergraduate retention rate
79%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
89%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$970
Undergraduate graduation rate
55%
Undergraduate retention rate
74%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
87%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$970
Undergraduate graduation rate
54%
Undergraduate retention rate
75%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
90%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Undergraduate tuition
$13,110
Undergraduate graduation rate
45%
Undergraduate retention rate
79%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
81%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$970
Undergraduate graduation rate
66%
Undergraduate retention rate
77%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
88%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$624
Undergraduate graduation rate
20%
Undergraduate retention rate
60%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
94%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$600
Undergraduate graduation rate
22%
Undergraduate retention rate
53%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
81%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$624
Undergraduate graduation rate
9%
Undergraduate retention rate
57%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
74%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$3,186
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
8
Graduate Tuition
$27,216
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$13,524
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$11,489
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$14,304
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
5
Graduate Tuition
$22,633
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
5
Graduate Tuition
$20,556
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
1
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$13,392
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
3
Graduate Tuition
$14,106
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$14,994
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0

Nursing Accreditation in Massachusetts

Newcomers to the nursing field have a lot to learn, and an accredited nursing school is the place to learn it. Accredited schools have had their curriculum, research, clinical experiences and faculty scrutinized and approved by an impartial national or regional accrediting agency. Here are a few examples of administrative bodies that evaluate nursing programs in Massachusetts and award accreditation to those that make the grade:

  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges

Massachusetts Nursing Licensure

In order to earn a job as a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) after completing a degree program, nursing school graduates are required to earn a license from the Massachusetts Board of Registered Nursing. This process entails passing the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) or the National Council Licensure Examination for practical nurses (NCLEX-PN); demonstrating good moral character; and paying the nursing board a $230 fee.

Similarly, those who want to become a nurse practitioner (NP) or other advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) must receive the appropriate credentials before they can begin practicing. At this level, nurses must earn at least a master’s degree in their specialized area of nursing; prove they have completed coursework in pathophysiology, pharmacotherapeutics and advanced physical assessment; demonstrate good moral character; and pay an application fee of $150.

For more information about the licensing process for nurses in Massachusetts, log on to www.mass.gov/orgs/board-of-registration-in-nursing.

Massachusetts Nursing organizations

The best nurses tend to be ones who recognize that learning doesn’t end when school does. Joining a professional association in Massachusetts can be an excellent way to find opportunities to learn new skills and advance your understanding of nursing theory. Below are some examples of Massachusetts nursing organizations that can help nurses access these opportunities.

  • Massachusetts Nurses Association

    The Massachusetts Nurses Association has been the voice of nurses in the state since 1903. Members gain access to practice resources, career services and continuing education, as well as discounts on products and services from companies such as T-Mobile, Six Flags New England, Hewlett-Packard and Legal Shield.

  • Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses

    The MAPHN is dedicated to strengthening public health nursing around the state. Member benefits include mentoring, career development and advocacy services. The group also recognizes excellence in the public health nursing field by bestowing awards on notable members.

  • Massachusetts School Nurse Organization

    In order to support school nurses in Massachusetts, this group organizes educational conferences, distributes publications dedicated to industry news, offers networking opportunities and conducts research to help the community. The MSNO also offers scholarships to nursing students who want to work for schools in the state.

  • Massachusetts Association of Nurse Anesthetists

    An affiliate of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, this organization offers a job center, newsletters and peer assistance to its members. The MANA also hosts annual events where members can support each other.

Massachusetts-Specific Continuing Education

The Massachusetts Board of Registered Nursing requires professionals to renew their license every two years. Part of the renewal process includes completing 15 hours of state-approved continuing education (CE) coursework, which can be delivered through workshops, home study courses, web-based programs, lectures or academic classes.

Some of the topics that students may study during their CE courses include women’s health, child abuse, domestic violence, pain management and legal issues in nursing. Certification of your completed CE courses may be requested by the MBRN at any time.

Hospitals in Massachusetts

More than 60 percent of nurses nationwide work in a hospital environment, so it can help to have information about the various hospital facilities in your state before you graduate and start seeking employment. Here’s a quick rundown of a few of the largest hospitals in Massachusetts.

  • Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston)Since 1811, Massachusetts General Hospital has been dedicated to delivering quality care to the community, irrespective of patients’ socioeconomic status. As a result, the facility handles a high number of cases, including over 100,000 emergency room visits and 42,000 operations each year. The Research Institute here is the largest hospital-based research program in the country, with a yearly budget of over $900 million.
  • Charlton Memorial Hospital (Fall River)Charlton Memorial Hospital, which is part of the Southcoast Health System, is the only facility in the Fall River area that provides services like elective coronary angioplasty and open heart surgery. In addition, the hospital is known for its innovative testing technologies, including imaging products like CT scans and MRIs.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston)Brigham and Women’s Hospital — a teaching hospital of the Harvard medical school — is internationally renowned for its strong focus on research and its inpatient and outpatient care. The facility has a range of clinical areas in which it particularly excels, including primary care, women’s health, lung health and the battle against cancer.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  1. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  2. American Hospital Directory, Accessed August 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  3. Historical Highlights, Mass.gov, Accessed August 2018, https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2016/07/xi/nursing-historical-timeline.pdf
  4. Statistics about Massachusetts nursing licensees, Mass.gov, Accessed August 2018, https://www.mass.gov/service-details/statistics-about-massachusetts-nursing-licensees
  5. College of Nursing, UMass Amherst, Accessed August 2018, https://www.umass.edu/nursing/about
  6. Accreditation, Curry College, Accessed August 2018, https://www.curry.edu/programs-and-courses/undergraduate-programs/majors-minors-and-concentrations/majors/nursing/about/accreditation.html
  7. About, Simmons College, Accessed August 2018, http://www.simmons.edu/academics/schools-departments/school-of-nursing/about/accreditation-and-licensure
  8. Accreditation, MCPHS University, Accessed August 2018, https://www.mcphs.edu/about-mcphs/accreditation
  9. Accreditations, Northeastern University, Accessed August 2018, https://absn.northeastern.edu/about-northeastern/accreditations/
  10. Nursing Licenses, Mass.gov, Accessed August 2018, https://www.mass.gov/nursing-licenses
  11. Renew your nursing license, Mass.gov, Accessed August 2018, https://www.mass.gov/how-to/renew-your-nursing-license
  12. Resources for Massachusetts Nurses, Nurse.org, Accessed August 2018, https://nurse.org/resources/nursing-career-massachusetts/
  13. MNA CE Online, Massachusetts Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, https://www.massnurses.org/nursing-resources/continuing-education/courses
  14. Mandatory Continuing Education for nurses, Mass.gov, Accessed August 2018, https://www.mass.gov/service-details/mandatory-continuing-education-for-nurses
  15. Massachusetts: Board of Nursing CE Requirements, Nurse.com, Accessed August 2018, https://www.nurse.com/state-nurse-ce-requirements/massachusetts
  16. Massachusetts Nurses Association, Accessed August 2018, https://www.massnurses.org/
  17. Massachusetts Association of Public Health Nurses, Accessed August 2018, https://www.maphn.org/
  18. Massachusetts School Nurse Organization, Accessed August 2018, http://www.msno.org/
  19. Massachusetts Association of Nurse Anesthetists, Accessed August 2018, https://www.masscrna.com/
  20. Massachusetts General Hospital, Accessed August 2018, https://www.massgeneral.org/
  21. Charlton Memorial Hospital, Accessed August 2018, https://www.southcoast.org/locations/charlton-memorial-hospital/
  22. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Accessed August 2018, https://www.brighamandwomens.org/

 

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