For those seeking to become nurses in Massachusetts, the licensing and education process is fairly straightforward. What follows is a rundown on the basics of both, along with some sites to access more detail where necessary.
To start: in order to practice nursing in Massachusetts, all nurses must hold a valid, current license issued by the state the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing.
All registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must pass a professional licensing exam after completing an approved nursing program. To register for the exam, two fees are required, an application fee of $230 and a registration fee of $200.
Two applications must be made. One application goes to the company that administers the test, Pearson and the other to the company the Massachusetts Board uses to handle applications.
Detailed information on this process can be found at www.pcshq.com/?page=health,MA-examination, which is the site that provides professional credentialing services.
Both of these steps can be taken simultaneously, after which applicants receive an Authorization to Test email from Pearson withing a few days. Exams can be scheduled at the site of choice in Massachusetts or another state.
Nurses with valid or past licenses can apply for licenses via endorsement for a cost of $275. International candidates must show evidence of high school graduation or the equivalent, along with proof of a nursing degree education.
Detailed information about procedures for doing this can be found here.
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- Practical Nurse (LPN)-CERT
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For LPNs, the licensing process is similar to the procedures and requirements for RNs. LPNs must enroll and graduate from an approved nursing program to be eligible for the state exam.
In addition, RN students are eligible for the practical nursing exam if they have completed coursework that is the equivalent of that of a practical nursing program. The form for eligibility for the test can be found at www.pcshq.com.pdf.
Applicants for the state exam must read the relevant statutes and regulations, which can be found on the Pearson/PCS site. They also must register with the testing company (www.pearsonvue.com/nclex) prior to scheduling the exam.
Once again, two separate fees are involved, one for $200 and another for $230. After that they will receive a test authorization email. Once they have received this, the test must be taken within 60 days.
Candidates who pass can verify their license on the Board site within a few days, while those who do not will receive diagnostic information, although they aren’t allowed to retest for 45 days.
Out-of-state LPN candidates can be licensed by endorsement if they have graduated from an LPN or RN program approved by the Massachusetts board, whether the program is in Massachusetts or out of state.
They are also eligible if they have withdrawn from an RN program in good standing, have passed the licensing exam and can provide documentation evidence of good character.
In both scenarios, a fee of $275 is required for endorsement.
Detailed information on all of these processes and procedures for LPNs can be found at the MA board of nursing.
For those with multi-state nursing licenses, it should be noted that Massachusetts is not part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC), which currently includes 24 states. Legislation for the Commonwealth to become part of this compact is currently pending.
Education Requirements for RNs
All RNs must attend a nursing program approved by the Massachusetts Board. These programs include associate and baccalaureate degrees, nursing diplomas and direct entry masters programs.
Information about these programs can be found at www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/boards/mnecpro.pdf.
A partial list of board-approved programs includes the Assabet Valley Regional Technical School in Marlboro, the Medical Professional Institute in Malden, the Mildred Elley School in Pittsfield and Blue Hills Regional Technical School.
A full list can also be found at the aforementioned site in this section, The website http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/quality/boards/rnnecpro.pdf. When accessing this list, its important to differentiate between board-approved and non-approved programs, as there are several different categories and breakdowns provided in the list.
Salary and Career Info
The interactive chart above is a visual representation of the annual salary of Massachusetts licensed nurse compared to the national annual salaries, all based on the latest May 2013 Occupational Employment Statistics figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Education Requirements for LPNs
The education process in Massachusetts is analogous for LPNs. They must enroll in an approved nursing program, and once again there are potential issues with approved and non-approved programs.
Examination rates and admission policies are an important part of the process, along with financial considerations and job availability in different parts of the state.
In addition, RN students who withdraw in good standing can take the PN test provided they can show evidence of having completed coursework that is equivalent to that found in a practical nursing program.
Educational eligibility information can be found at www.pcshq.com. All coursework must have been completed within five years of the withdrawal date.