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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Massachusetts

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 7/5/2023

Many schools in Massachusetts offer online nursing degrees, providing students with an array of programs from which to choose. These colleges have online nursing programs at every degree level, from an associate in nursing to a master's in nursing. Browse our list of the best accredited online nursing programs in the state. Learn about licensure and how to become a nurse after earning your degree.

Our 2023 list includes colleges in Massachusetts that offer online nursing programs and have available NCLEX data, so you can easily determine which online nursing program results in graduates with the best pass rate.

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Online Nursing Degrees You May Be Interested In

2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Massachusetts

School NCLEX Pass Rate Online Enrollment
Anna Maria College 97.0% 352
Simmons University 97.0% 3,008
Worcester State University 96.0% 181
Endicott College 95.0% 1,223
University of Massachusetts - Amherst 90.0% 3,499
University of Massachusetts - Boston 90.0% 1,444
Fitchburg State University 88.0% 1,787
Northeastern University 88.0% 209
Curry College 85.0% 139
American International College 84.0% 227
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Becoming a Nurse in Massachusetts

It takes hard work to become a nurse in Massachusetts, but you may find a rewarding career at the end of the road. It all starts with graduating from a nursing education program, which could anything from a licensed practical nurse (LPN) diploma to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. You also need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) that's relevant for your level of nursing practice.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing awards licenses for LPNs, registered nurses (RNs), and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Massachusetts also has a state program overseeing certified nurse aides (CNAs). In addition to licensure by exam, Massachusetts offers licensure by reciprocity pathways for nurses who have an equivalent license from another state.

Massachusetts is experiencing a critical nurse shortage exacerbated by the stresses of COVID-19 and budget cuts. The state's aging population is also a concern. More than one-fifth of the state's population is projected to be individuals age 65 or older by 2030, and this population typically needs more long-term care than other groups. The state may have plenty of jobs for nurses in the near future, but the current nurse workforce reports dissatisfaction with the work climate in healthcare.

To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:

Nursing Degrees by State

How To Get Certified Nurse Aide Certification in Massachusetts

A CNA assists patients in daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, turning, repositioning, and feeding. The Nurse Aide Registry Program monitors all aspects of CNA certification in the state. 

Individuals interested in pursuing Massachusetts CNA certification must graduate from an approved training program. After completing this training, candidates must apply to take a nurse aide competency exam. This test consists of a skills section and a written portion.

CNA certification is valid for two years. Individuals are eligible to renew as long as they've worked doing nursing-related services for at least one eight-hour period during their two-year registry period. The expiration date for a new certificate will be determined by adding two years to the last known date of employment.

How To Get a Licensed Practical Nurse License in Massachusetts

An LPN works alongside RNs and physicians to provide patients with the advanced, quality care they need. Duties of an LPN range in scope from assisting in bathing and dressing to monitoring vital signs, cleaning wounds, giving injections, and monitoring medical equipment.

To receive a Massachusetts LPN license by the examination path, individuals must meet the following requirements:

Candidates may apply for licensure after completing these tasks. Reciprocity candidates must submit proof of licensure in another state along with $305 in total fee payments.

LPN licenses must be renewed every two years. Licenses expire at 11:59 p.m. on an individual's birthday in odd-numbered years. Individuals must complete 15 contact hours of continuing education prior to renewing. Individuals can renew up to 90 days before their expiration. 

How To Get a Registered Nurse License in Massachusetts

RNs work as part of a healthcare team of care providers to monitor a patient's vital signs, administer medication, draw blood, perform diagnostic tests, and provide emotional support to patients. 

RN license applicants first need to earn an accredited Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. After this, they have to pass the NCLEX-RN. This test evaluates an individual's aptitude in four main areas: health promotion and maintenance; psychosocial integrity; physiological integrity; and safe, effective care environment. Applicants for license by reciprocity must demonstrate that they passed the NCLEX and earned licensure in another state.

Individuals must also comply with good moral character requirements, as defined by state law, to receive a Massachusetts RN license.

RN licenses must be renewed every two years. Licenses expire at 11:59 p.m. on an individual's birthday in even-numbered years. Individuals can renew their Massachusetts nursing license online up to 90 days before their expiration date as long as they've completed the mandatory 15 contact hours of continuing education. 

Our resources on how to become a neonatal nurse, a pediatric nurse, or a travel nurse give information about three popular RN specialties.

How To Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License in Massachusetts

APRNs hold an advanced degree (a Master of Science in Nursing or higher) and are authorized by the board to engage in high-level nursing activities. These might include consultations, referrals, diagnosis, and medication prescriptions. Massachusetts recognizes these five clinical categories for APRNs: 

Nurse practitioner

Certified nurse midwife

Certified nurse anesthetist

Psychiatric clinical nurse specialist

Clinical nurse specialist

Each APRN candidate must prove that they hold an active nursing certification in one of these recognized specialties, as issued by the relevant certifying agency.

First-time applicants for a Massachusetts APRN license must provide proof of the following:

  • Current RN licensure
  • Official final transcripts from all nursing degree programs
  • Current APRN certification from a board-approved national certification organization
  • Good moral character, as defined by Massachusetts state law

APRN authorization (along with an individual's RN license) expires at 11:59 p.m. on an individual's birthday in even-numbered years. Individuals can renew up to 90 days before their expiration and must complete 15 contact hours of continuing education during the two-year licensure period.

Review our How To Become a Nurse Anesthetist, Guide to Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees, and 2023 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs pages for more information about education and career paths for nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists.

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