Massachusetts registered nurses who have big career aspirations are increasingly opting to go back to school complete a Master's of Science of Nursing (MSN) degree. Many schools in the state offer RN to MSN programs, which cater to nurses who currently hold either an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in nursing. RNs with graduate degrees are able to work in advanced nursing specialties and have the potential to earn a much higher salary.

RN to MSN Admissions Requirements in Massachusetts

Much like undergraduate nursing programs, only well-qualified applicants are admitted. Common entrance requirements include:

  • Successful completion of an ADN and/or BSN program (degree level varies by program)
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  • Active Massachusetts state RN license
  • Minimum of one year of full-time work as an RN
  • Professional letter of recommendation and current resume

RN to MSN Courses

Students entering an RN to MSN program with an ADN usually start out by taking "bridge" nursing courses before they start their graduate coursework. From there, the curriculum usually boasts a mix of core nursing courses and specialty courses, which correlate to nursing concentrations that students can choose from. Popular concentrations include Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Administrator.

The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, for example, offers the following courses as part of its RN to MSN Family Nurse Practitioner program:

  • Professional Role Development (bridge course)
  • Nursing Informatics and Healthcare Technologies (bridge course)
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Human Diversity, Ethics, and Social Policy Issues
  • Advanced Health Assessment Across the Lifespan

Online RN to MSN Programs in Massachusetts

Online MSN programs are becoming more and more common at many Massachusetts schools, due to their convenience and flexibility. These programs allow busy RNs the ability to take courses from the comfort of home, and many even allow them to continue working while they complete the degree. Supervised clinical components are typically able to be arranged in the student's local area.

Featured Online School

University of Massachusetts Amherst offers an online BSN-MSN program with a Clinical Nurse Leader concentration. This program prepares nurses to become advanced education nurse generalists who provide quality healthcare to individuals and clinical populations. Students can expect to take courses that will teach them to become leaders and active members of an interdisciplinary health team.

Admissions and Program Length

There are different options when it comes to RN to MSN programs, many of which will affect the length. Part-time or full-time study, online or in-person, and type of specialization chosen can make a substantial difference in the time it takes to finish the degree. Two to three years is a general timeline, although this varies based on the aforementioned factors. Schools tend to offer admission at the start of each semester, many including the summer semester, though online programs sometimes have more frequent entry points.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

While exact costs can fluctuate wildly from school to school, students will generally need to cover the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, and course materials. For example, Curry College in Milton offers a fixed tuition rate of $972 per credit for its MSN program. This means that while the student will still need to cover course materials, there are no additional course fees. With roughly 35 credits needed, this works out to a cost of $34,020.

RN to MSN Career Pathways in Massachusetts

Registered nurses who complete a graduate program have the ability to obtain employment in prestigious nursing specialties, including:

  • Nurse Educator
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist

RN to MSN Salary Comparison

Advanced education tends to come with an advanced salary. RNs with an MSN can earn substantially more than those with an ADN or BSN. For example, a Nurse Practitioner with an MSN in Boston earns an annual base salary of $114,348, while a general registered nurse in the same city earns a median annual salary of $66,261.

Helpful Links

RN to MSN Listings

Massachusetts has more than 10 colleges that are offering the RN to MSN degree bridge program throughout the state. These programs are being offered as full and part-time studies, and to accommodate busy professionals, the delivery method of the courses are offered as in-class, online or a mix of both delivery models. Completing an MSN degree can be as easy as attending the class from home or on your time off. MSN degrees can put candidates in a career path that can include nursing in family medicine, pain management, or even perinatal nursing, the opportunities are vast.

ProgramWebsite
American International College
Online
School of Health Sciences
1000 State Street
Springfield, MA 01109
(413) 205-3503
Boston College
Campus
William F. Connell School of Nursing
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-1710
Elms College
Campus
School of Nursing
291 Springfield Street
Chicopee, MA 01013-2839
(413) 265-2320
Endicott College
Campus
School of Nursing and Health Sciences
376 Hale St
Beverly, MA 01915
MCPHS University
Online
School of Nursing
179 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 274-3389
MGH Institute of Health Professions
Campus
School of Nursing
36 First Avenue, Charlestown Navy Yard
Boston, MA 02129-4557
(617) 726-4547
Northeastern University
Campus
School of Nursing
360 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-3649
Regis College
Online Campus
School of Nursing
235 Wellesley St
Weston, MA 02493
Simmons College
Online Campus
School of Nursing and Health Sciences
300 The Fenway
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 521-2139
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Campus
Graduate School of Nursing
55 Lake Avenue North (F1-853)
Worcester, MA 01655-0115
(508) 856-5081
Worcester State University
Campus
Department of Nursing
486 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA 01602
(508) 929-8680