How to become a registered nurse in Massachusetts – RN in Massachusetts

The mission of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth through the fair and consistent application of the statutes and regulations governing nursing practice and nursing education.

Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 13, sections 13, 14, 14A, 15 and 15D and Chapter 112, sections 74 through 81C authorize the Board of Registration in Nursing to regulate nursing practice and education.

Official website:

Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Massachusetts

1. Take college prep classes in high school:

In addition to a U.S. high school education or the equivalent, to become a registered nurse (RN) in Massachusetts you should take the following classes in high school and you will have a head start on your nursing class prerequisites at college:
– English – 4 years
– Math – 3-4 years (including algebra and geometry)
– Science – 2-4 years (including biology and chemistry; physics and computer science are recommended)
– Social Studies – 3-4 years
– Foreign Language – 2 years

Check out nursing prerequisites at colleges you are considering. Individual nursing schools vary in their nursing course prerequisites. Talk to your high school guidance counselor and check out the nursing schools you are considering.

2. Choose the type of nursing school you want to attend

Usually there are three types of pre-licensure nursing programs:

– Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) – Takes 2-3 years. Offered at many community colleges. Prepares you to provide registered nursing care in numerous settings.
– Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) – Takes 4 years. Also referred to as Baccalaureate degree. Offered at many State Universities and some private colleges. Prepares you to provide registered nursing care in numerous settings and to move to administrative and leadership positions.
– Entry Level Masters Program in Nursing (ELM) – Designed for adults who have a baccalaureate degree in another field and wish to become registered nurses. Takes 1-2 years depending on how many nursing course prerequisites you have already completed. Graduate receives a masters degree.

3. Select a college and apply for admission

Visit the website’s and campuses of the colleges in the geographic areas of interest to you. Find out which entry exams are required at the colleges you are considering. Apply at more than one college to give yourself options. Many colleges have limited space for nursing students.

Approved RN Programs list in Massachusetts:

4. Apply for financial aid

Opportunities abound for scholarships, loans and loan forgiveness programs.

5. Obtain an RN license

To practice as an RN in Massachusetts, you must be licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. You must meet educational requirements, pass a criminal background check and pass the national licensing examination.

To apply for licensure:

To register for the NCLEX exam please visit: