Nurses who value the autonomous, independent and leadership aspects of nursing often choose to extend their roles and become nurse practitioners. Incorporating patient care management with the education and holistic medicine focus in nursing allows nurse practitioners to provide comprehensive care to the patients they serve.

In Massachusetts, nurse practitioners can act as a primary care provider but must establish a collaborative agreement with a physician to diagnose, treat, and prescribe medications.

Choosing a Nurse Practitioner Program

It can be daunting when selecting a nurse practitioner program--many students don't know where to start. While each students' needs differ, students should consider the following:

  • Accreditation- The graduate program should be accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). According to the CCNE, there are eighteen accredited graduate programs for nursing in the state of Massachusetts.
  • Program Cost-In Massachusetts, many of the MSN programs averaged around $1000 per credit for in-state residents. Out of state residents can expect a higher tuition cost. Graduate nursing students must complete between 30-55 credits to earn an MSN/DNP. Student fees, supplies, and living expenses are an additional cost. Since tuition cost can change yearly, students are encouraged to visit the school websites for the most up-to-date tuition information.
  • Program Length- For the RN to MSN track, nurses can expect to spend around two years in school, if attending full time. For RN to DNP, it can take three to four years if attending full time. Many schools require a BSN degree for admission- ADN nurses can expect a slightly longer educational path as they may need to complete an RN to BSN bridge program
  • Internship/Externship opportunities- While graduate programs incorporate clinical practicum in the program, many nurse practitioners find it beneficial to extend their clinical learning via nurse practitioner residency programs. NP residency programs are a relatively new concept, yet Massachusetts has several NP residency/fellowship programs available in many specialties.
  • Online/Campus Options-According to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), Massachusetts has three schools with more than 50% of the curriculum online*. Online learning is beneficial for students who must work and go to school, as well as maintain family obligations. It allows for self-paced learning and flexibility. Prospective students are encouraged to check each school's website for specific requirements, as campus visitation is required for some aspects of the program.

*Data last updated Fall of 2015

Admission and Certification Requirements

For admission into an MSN/DNP program, the following may be required:

  • A BSN degree
  • Current RN/APRN license
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (specific GPA requirements vary between institutions)
  • Letters of recommendation
  • A written statement of purpose
  • Documentation of clinical experience/ practicum hours
  • Submission of transcripts from previous collegiate coursework
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
  • Prior clinical experience as an RN/ APRN

Since each graduate program differs slightly, students are encouraged to identify specific admission criteria before applying.

Licensing/ Certification

Specialty certification is sometimes obtained upon completion of the graduate program; however, nurse practitioners can also become credentialed by a nationally recognized certification agency. In Massachusetts, the certifying agencies officially recognized by the board of nursing for nurse practitioners are:

  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses Certification Corporation (AACN)

For licensure in Massachusetts, requirements include:

  • A valid RN/APRN license in good standing
  • Good moral character (as per board policy)
  • Completion of a nationally accredited graduate program
  • Completion of core content in advanced assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacotherapeutics
  • Completion of application

Massachusetts Nurse Practitioner Agencies and Organizations

Schools That Offer Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

For a relatively small state, Massachusetts has an abundance of advanced-practice nursing programs. The many choices available to Massachusetts residents allow nurses to flourish and grow in their career.

SchoolContact Information
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-4250
Elms College
291 Springfield Street
Chicopee, MA 01013
(413) 594-2761
Endicott College
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
376 Hale Street
Beverly, MA 01915
(197) 892-7058 x5
Massachusetts College Of Pharmacy And Health Sciences
179 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 879-5964
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2000
Regis University
235 Wellesley Street
Weston, MA 02493
(781) 768-7000
University of Massachusetts Amherst
651 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-2703
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 William T. Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 287-5000
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747
(508) 999-9202
University of Massachusetts Medical School
55 Lake Avenue
North Worcester, MA 01655
(508) 856-3488