The current national nursing shortage will spark unparalleled growth for nursing careers. Employment in the health care industry will increase more than 15% between 2020 and 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With an impressive number of hospitals and medical research facilities, Massachusetts is one of the best areas to build a nursing career. If you want to break into the field of nursing, there are many accredited, high-quality accelerated nursing programs in MA.
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Why Study Nursing in MA?
Boston, MA, and the surrounding areas are an excellent location to study nursing and establish a career. Liberal and socially conscious, many hospitals and nursing schools promote gender and racial equity. Living in or around Boston is more expensive than in other urban areas, but a nursing salary will allow you to live comfortably. In 2018, the BLS found that RNs made an average of nearly $75,000 per year, while nurses with DNP and MSN degrees typically take home more than six figures in the first five years.
Nursing Careers in MA
According to Glassdoor, RNs in Boston and the surrounding suburbs make about $67,579. Indeedprojects that RNs in the state of MA earn about $30 per hour and $10,000 in overtime annually. Like many states, Massachusetts is currently experiencing a nursing shortage. But by 2030 the state of MA will likely have a surplus of 2000 nurses, so nursing candidates should act quickly.
|1||Boston College||Newton, Massachusetts|
|2||University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth||Dartmouth, Massachusetts|
|3||College of Our Lady of the Elms||Chicopee, Massachusetts|
|4||Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences||Boston, Massachusetts|
|5||Simmons University||Boston, Massachusetts|
Top 15 Accelerated Nursing Programs in MA
Massachusetts is home to several acclaimed nursing colleges. We ranked the top 15 accelerated nursing programs in the state:
The Direct Entry Doctor of Nursing Practice Program (DNP)enrolls students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing who wish to obtain their DNP in half the time. The Connell School of Nursing students participate in classes and clinical rotations with some of the best and brightest in the health care industry. For more than 70 years, this private, not-for-profit institution has taught intellectually challenging courses with a focus on racial justice and inclusivity.
Candidates complete clinical hours in more than 85 local hospitals and health care facilities, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs Lowell Outpatient Clinic. Faculty include Ann Wolbert Burgess, a pioneer in safeguarding sexual assault victims in medical settings.
First-year students, underrepresented students, and participation in the Montserrat Program (great financial need) are eligible to become Seacole Scholars. Scholarship opportunities include the Robert Wood Johnson/AACN New Careers in Nursing Program, the Helene Fuld Health Trust, and the HRSA National Health Service Corps.
University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
As the only public research institution in the state, the University of Massachusetts ranks among the top 250 institutions for higher learning in the world. UMass Dartmouth is located about one hour outside of Boston and around thirty minutes away from Providence, Rhode Island. More than 73,000 students attend UMass campuses, with nearly 7,000 students enrolled at the Dartmouth location.
UMass Dartmouth only has one of the most well-known accelerated nursing programs in MA: the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. The program’s hybrid format caters to working professionals and non-traditional students. The typical financial aid award package ranges from around $500 to $5500. In 2019, 100% of graduates passed the NCLEX-RN exam, with the average annual exam pass rate up to 98%.
College of Our Lady of the Elms
The Accelerated Second Degree in Nursing (ASDN) program takes 20 months to complete, with a path of study divided into two academic years and a summer semester. Each cohort is limited to 24 students, and fewer than 2,000 students are on campus. More than 95% of students receive financial aid, and the average award package is $34,000. Transfer students can receive scholarships of up to $17,000.
Regionally acclaimed for its rigorous academics and mission trips to Jamaica, Elms College produces knowledgeable and compassionate nursing professionals. The Judeo-Christian institution welcomes students of all beliefs and faith while offering Catholic services and spiritual, extracurricular opportunities.
Expert faculty and small class sizes make the ASDN program highly competitive, and candidates are encouraged to apply early. Dismissal for academic or clinical reasons from another nursing program nullifies eligibility for admission. The average NCLEX-RN exam pass rate is 97%.
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Located in the Longwood Medical and Academic sector of Boston, the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree program at MCPHS runs year-round to help nursing students master the core competencies of nursing. In 2018, the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2018 awarded MPCHS #1 in America for earning power. In only 32 months, graduates increase their chances of joining a league of the nation’s most successful working professionals.
Students complete clinical hours through a combination of onsite simulation and patient assessment laboratories in metropolitan hospitals. In 2019, 91% of nursing students enrolled at the Boston campus passed the NCLEX-RN exam.
MPCHS provides financial aid to 98.3% of incoming students with an average of $12,308 per award package. Students who earn a full-time degree at MCPHS are eligible for the MCPHS Advantage Scholarship that covers 100% tuition for an MCPHS graduate degree.
For non-traditional students who want to change career paths, Simmons University offers several pathways into the nursing field. Unlike many colleges in and around Boston, Simmons University offers an undergraduate program exclusively for women.
The Dorothea Lynde Dix Scholars Program allows adult students age 24 and older to complete their BSN in 16 months or two years. The online RN-BSN program(also known as [email protected]) prepares Registered Nurses without a BS degree to become Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs) in as soon as 32 months. For applicants who want a higher-level career in the field, the Nursing + Nursing (4+1)program combines a BSN and MSN degree into five years of study. Each accelerated degree program helps students hone their critical reasoning skills and knowledge of inpatient care.
Simmons University pledges to provide 100% of its first-year students with tuition assistance. Women of color can participate in the Dotson Bridge and Mentoring Program. The average first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate for graduates is around 90%.
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MGH Institute of Health Professions
The MGH Institute Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program (ABSN) degree program takes 16 months to complete. Students engage in hands-on learning at the Dr. Charles A. and Ann Sanders IMPACT Center and surrounding health care facilities. Founded by the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1873, the MGH Institute of Health Professions offers one of the oldest nursing programs in America. Each year, 1,215 students are enrolled at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
ABSN students can choose to work at more than 300 sites for clinical rotations, including Massachusetts General and Boston Children’s Hospital. A 6:1 student to faculty ratio allows BSN and MSN candidates to develop close relationships with their instructors.
MGH Institute provides job placement assistance to all ABSN graduates. Most students find employment in health care within three to six months after graduation. In 2019, the average NCLEX-RN exam pass rate was 94%.
For more than a century, Northeastern University has helped graduates become leaders in their fields. Today, the Accelerated Bachelor of Nursing (ABSN) degree program streamlines working professionals into nursing careers.
As a private R1 research university located in the heart of Boston, instructors are at the forefront of the health care industry. The Nursing department of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences connects students with more than 175 employers in and surrounding Boston. Upon graduation, one in three Bouvé finds employment.
The accelerated ASBN program takes as little as 16 months to complete a combination of online and onsite courses. Nursing simulation labs provide a realistic learning experience for distance learning. Clinical rotations are available in many specialty areas, including obstetrics and women’s health, and acute and critical care. Each year, nearly 90% of graduates pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
Since 1977, Curry College has filled the health care industry in Boston with extraordinary graduates. A private, not-for-profit institution, Curry College created the first nursing program in Massachusetts. The Accelerated Entry Level Baccalaureate Nursing Program (ACCEL) program supports adult learners who aim to earn a second bachelor’s degree in nursing.
The program takes 16 months to complete, and cohorts are limited to 30 students. Classes are full-time and held during daytime hours. In their final semester, students must attend four days per week for classes and clinical rotations in healthcare agencies and local hospitals.
The ACCEL program starts in January of each year on the Milton campus. Milton is just a 20-minute drive from Boston, providing nursing students with unlimited opportunities to connect with other health care professionals. The current NCLEX-RN pass rate is about 94%.
University of Massachusetts-Boston
The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program is one of UMass Boston’s most popular degrees, enrolling more than 13% of students. The College of Nursing and Health Sciences teaches nursing through a socially-conscious lens, introducing students to health equity and providing care for diverse patient populations. The RN to BSN program can be completed in three to five semesters, while the ASBN program takes only 12 months.
As one of six institutions in the state of MA’s public university system, tuition is slightly more affordable when compared to surrounding private colleges. Nearly 50% of students receive Pell Grants, and 36% receive another form of federal aid. Traditionally underrepresented students are eligible to receive the Marion E. Winfrey Diversity Leadership Scholarship.
TEAS scores are optional. The COHN plans to admit 48 students into the accelerated BSN in 2020-2021; their ultimate goal is to admit 90 students in 2022 and beyond.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
UMass at Amherst prepares Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree holders to excel in the fast-paced, ever-evolving health care industry. In 2019-2020, 85.7% of BSN graduates passed the NCLEX-RN exam, which exceeds the average rate for all students nationwide by more than 10%. Students must attend the program full-time for 17 months and complete at least 58 residence credits.
The College of Nursing prepares students to provide care to patients of all backgrounds throughout the life span. Learning outcomes are achieved using top-notch equipment in the simulation lab, as well as collaborating with health care professionals and members of the community.
Amherst is a popular area in Massachusetts for young professionals and university students. Faculty members regularly contribute publications in nationally recognized nursing journals and act as advisors for panels for organizations such as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI).
University of Massachusetts Medical School
For graduates who need an accelerated MSN program, the Graduate Entry Pathway (GEP) program at UMass Medical takes half the amount of time vs. a traditional Master’s program. Candidates must hold a current RN license and a Bachelor’s degree or higher in a non-nursing field. The pre-licensure component of the GEP program requires full-time study. Financial support is available through federal aid; scholarships become available after the first year of study.
The initial application process requires students to commit to a nurse practitioner track. Students select from concentrations such as Cancer Care, Critical Care, Nurse Educator, Palliative Care, and Women’s Health Care. Clinical hours are completed at UMass Memorial Medical Center, ranked the #6 best hospital in the state of Massachusetts by U.S. news. Located only 52 minutes outside of Boston, students can begin higher-level nursing careers in and around the city.
The Richard and Sheila Young School of Nursing at Regis College welcomes 3,000 nursing students each year for traditional and accelerated degree programs. Candidates can enroll in the RN-to-MSN, RN-to-BSN, Accelerated BSN, or Accelerated MSN program. During the program, nursing students meet their clinical requirements at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Massachusetts General Hospital, or the Franciscan Hospital.
Regis College boasts an impressive 87.8% pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam among accelerated BSN and MSN graduates. Located only 12 miles outside of Boston, nursing students have unlimited opportunities to network in the city while studying in one of the state of MA’s most attractive suburbs.
Salem State University
The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) at Salem State is ranked 7th in the state of Massachusetts. The program helps students with a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing break into the health care field. This 15-month program prepares students to excel in all areas of patient care. Key learning outcomes include caring for aging patient populations, children’s health care, and nursing career development.
Classes and clinical education take place on evenings and weekends. Due to the accelerated pace of the program, candidates are encouraged to take time off work. The average NCLEX-RN pass score is 81.22%. SAT/ACT scores are optional for first-year applicants.
Salem State University is surrounded by beautiful beaches and landmarks that date back to the 17th century. The 35-minute drive to Boston is ideal for students who aspire to work in one of the health care industry’s upcoming cities.
MassBay Community College
Ranked #1 in Massachusetts, the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program at MassBay Community College provides an affordable opportunity for students to begin their nursing careers. PN candidates study for only 10 months in the MassBay Framingham campus and local health care facilities. Students learn how to support advanced health care professionals and patients in a variety of settings, from nursing homes and out-patient surgical centers. Classes are offered only during the day.
Earning a PN certificate helps nurses excel in an increasingly competitive industry. Upon graduation, most candidates secure entry-level jobs starting at $23 per hour with benefits and 401(k) retirement savings. Graduates can move on to become a Registered Nurse (RN). In 2017-2018, 100% of PN Program graduates passed the NCLEX-RN exam.
Anna Maria College
The RN to BSN online program at Anna Maria College enrolls licensed Registered Nurses aiming to complete their BSN in two years or less. The 120-credit program follows a traditional cohort model while allowing students to learn from the comfort of their homes.
Candidates enroll in two eight-week classes per term, with a core curriculum underpinned by the Massachusetts Core Competencies for Nursing. Graduates obtain foundational knowledge in evidence- and patient-based care for dynamic nursing careers, from informatics and technology roles to improving public health. Due to the unique nature of the fully online setting, the AMC RN to BSN program is awaiting degree conferral in the following states:
• Michigan, Minnesota
Transfer students are eligible to carry over up to 90 credits. In 2015, the average first-time NCLEX-RN pass rates for RN to BSN program graduates were 93%, nearly 10 points above the national average pass rate.
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We ranked the best accelerated nursing programs in MA according to NCLEX-RN exam pass rates, program length, accreditation, and value. Institutions with an average or above-average NCLEX-RN exam pass rate demonstrate that most students excel in courses that meet universal standards for health care education. Programs that allow students to complete their degree or certificate faster received a higher ranking. Accreditation evaluates the reputation of the organization and if the program is nationally conferred. Value factors in the cost of tuition, as well as opportunities for scholarships and financial aid.