Become a Nurse in Massachusetts: Education, Licensure, Requirements
There are many paths to become a nurse in MA. The path you take will largely depend on the type of nurse you’d like to become and your current or prospective level of education. The higher your education level, the more options you’ll have to choose where and how to pursue your career in nursing.
Different states may have different nursing license requirements. The following guide covers general Massachusetts nursing license requirements, education requirements, Massachusetts nursing salaries and more.
While the requirements for becoming a nurse in MA vary depending on the specific field of nursing, the general steps are about the same. If you need more information about nursing in Massachusetts and how to begin this career, the following steps may help you learn more about the basic requirements.
Complete Minimum Education Requirements
The degree you’ll want to earn depends on the type of nursing career you’re planning to pursue. Most nursing positions in Massachusetts require a bachelor’s degree while others require a master’s in nursing degree. In addition to traditional Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree programs, online MSN programs are also available.
Nursing Licenses in Massachusetts
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
Psychiatric Nurse Mental Health Clinical Specialist
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Nurse Practitioner (NP)
Registered Nurse (RN)
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Pass Exam and Get a Nursing License in MA
To practice nursing in Massachusetts, you’ll need to pass the required NCLEX-RN exams to become a licensed nurse. Depending on the type of licensure you plan to obtain, you may also have to fulfill some additional prerequisites to become licensed in MA. Refer to the state’s Bureau of Health Professions Licensure for information about the nursing license requirements.
The following nurse licensure information for Massachusetts was retrieved from Mass.gov.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Massachusetts
Education: Master’s degree or higher from an APRN program accredited by a board-recognized national certification body
Examination: Varies with certification
$150 application fee
Certification examination fee (varies for different certifications)
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) from the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)
Clinical Nurse Specialist from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
Certified Nurse Midwife from American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB)
Nurse Practitioner from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), ANCC, National Certification Corporation (NCC), Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) or the American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation (AACN)
Psychiatric Nurse Mental Health Clinical Specialist from the ANCC
Endorsement: Available through verification by the board of nursing, subject to a verification fee. Contact the board of nursing in the state where the original license was held to determine the verification fee.
Additional Information: An active registered nurse license is required for application. Enrollment in MassHealth is mandatory for all Massachusetts APRNs.
Renewal: Renewal fees are $180 per renewal period.
For many types of nursing careers, the median annual nursing salary in MA is significantly higher than in other parts of the United States. Only the median salary for nurse midwives in the state’s Providence-Warwick region was somewhat lower than the U.S. median salary for that occupation. Annual median salaries for nurse anesthetists ranked highest in pay in the United States at the state level.
Projected job growth for some nursing occupations in Massachusetts lags behind the national averages for those occupations. The type of nursing career with the highest projected job growth in MA is nurse practitioner.
United States (2021-2031): 8% (faster than average)
Massachusetts (2020-2030): 13%
Compact State Status
The Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) status enables nurses who hold one license to practice in multiple states. This can be especially important for traveling nurses who want to work across state lines and become a nurse in MA.
If you want to become a nurse in Massachusetts, it’s important to become familiar with education and licensure requirements. Below, we address some commonly asked questions regarding nursing in Massachusetts.
How can I apply for a Massachusetts nursing license?
You can apply for a nursing license through the Massachusetts Bureau of Health Professions Licensure. Before becoming eligible for licensure, you must complete certain education requirements and pass the appropriate exam for your level of nursing. You can apply and pay online. Click to see the nursing license requirements in MA in detail.
How long does it take to get a nursing license in Massachusetts?
After your application has been approved, you will typically receive your license to practice in Massachusetts within three to four weeks, but it may vary depending on the type of license you are seeking. To ensure that your application is processed efficiently, be sure to collect all required documentation before applying.
How much does a Massachusetts nursing license cost?
Licensure application fees in MA are higher than renewal fees. As stated in the “Maintain and Renew Licensure in MA” section above, application fees are $230 while renewal fees are $120–$180, depending on your type of license. You can conveniently renew your license and pay online.
How do I renew my Massachusetts nursing license?
To practice nursing in Massachusetts, you must renew your license every two years. This process can be started up to 90 days before the license’s expiration. You can renew online or by mail. The fees associated with renewal vary depending on what type of nursing license you have.
Is Massachusetts a Nurse Licensure Compact state?
Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) states allow nurses who hold one license to practice in other states as long as those states have also enacted NLC legislation. Massachusetts is not currently a Nurse Licensure Compact state, but there is pending legislation that, if enacted, will allow the NLC.
Last updated in November 2022
This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.