12 Best ADN Programs in Massachusetts – (2-Year Nursing Programs)


Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH

You won’t have to put your Massachusetts RN ambitions on hold just because you can’t afford a four-year nursing program! Most associate degrees in nursing in the Bay State take two years or less to complete. They thoroughly prepare you to pass the NCLEX-RN exam, and once you do, you’ll find employment opportunities galore in hospitals, clinics, and physician practices throughout Massachusetts. In fact, demand for graduates of ADN programs in Massachusetts is anticipated to increase by more than 12 percent over the next decade, and you’ll earn an annual salary of $104,150. Sound good? Get started by reviewing the list below of the 12 best ADN programs in Massachusetts.



WHAT ARE THE BEST ADN PROGRAMS IN MASSACHUSETTS (ONLINE AND CAMPUS)?

Based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the 12 Best campus-based and online 2-year nursing programs in Massachusetts.


1. Bunker Hill Community College - Boston


Program Details: The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) at Bunker Hill Community College involves 39 credits of nursing theory coursework and more than 500 hours of clinical practice. Boston hospitals are recognized as some of the best in the nation, and you’ll have your first direct patient care experiences at renowned medical facilities like Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston Medical Center. Before you begin working with patients, though, you’ll have the opportunity to perfect your skills in BHCC’s sophisticated nursing simulation lab.

This ADN program in Massachusetts offers two tracks: a traditional campus track where you’ll attend classes during the day and an alternative track where 50 percent of your lectures will be available online. Core nursing courses include “Foundation of Patient Centered Care,” “Patient Centered Care-Adult & Mental Health,” and “Patient Centered Care-Adult & Families.” You can plan on spending between 90 and 158 hours per semester on clinical activities, and they start during your very first semester.


Why Choose This Program

• Bunker Hill Community College maintains partnerships with UMass Boston, Emmanuel College, Fitchburg State, Framingham State, and Westfield State University, facilitating easy transfer into these schools’ RN-to-BSN programs once you attain Massachusetts RN licensure.
• First-time NCLEX-RN pass rates for BHCC ADN graduates range between 98 and 100 percent, making this one of the best ADN programs in Massachusetts.
• Unlike several other ADN programs in Massachusetts, Bunker Hill Community College welcomes international students into its associate nursing degree program. The college’s International Center will help you apply for the necessary F1 Visa.


2. Middlesex Community College - Lowell


Program Details: Each year, Middlesex Community College admits 90 students into its 69-credit 2-year nursing program in Massachusetts: 30 students into its traditional fall class, 30 students into its traditional spring class, and 30 students into its alternative evenings/weekends class, which starts in the fall.

MCC’s curriculum is based on the Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competency model. Core nursing coursework includes “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Intergenerational Nursing,” and “Nursing Issues.” Many core nursing classes are paired with clinical components; thus, you’ll take “Nursing Care of the Adult” and “Nursing Care of the Adult Practicum” during the same semester.

Middlesex Community College’s clinical courses include skills labs, simulations, and direct care. The ADN program’s simulation suite is equipped with 10 high-fidelity manikins and areas replicating hospital units. Once you and your instructors are comfortable with your proficiency in hands-on skills, you’ll get to work with patients at Lowell General Hospital, Beth Israel Lahey Health, or one of MCC’s other clinical affiliates.


Why Choose This Program

• Middlesex Community College’s ADN program has articulation agreements with several local licensed practical nursing training programs. Additionally, LPNs who’ve completed prerequisites and fulfilled MCC’s other admission requirements may apply for advanced placement into MCC’s ADN program.
• MCC ADN graduates are welcome to transfer into BSN programs at Rivier University, Emmanuel College, Colby-Sawyer College, Endicott College, Chamberlain University, Fitchburg State University, and Southern New Hampshire University.
• Low-income MCC ADN students may qualify for Community College Nursing Scholarships, which can help subsidize the costs of their nursing education.


3. Holyoke Community College - Holyoke


Program Details: Holyoke Community College admits students into its 70-credit ADN program in Massachusetts in the spring and fall. Holyoke’s poverty rate is twice that of the U.S. as a whole, so, much of this ADN program’s curriculum focuses on the challenges of delivering healthcare to low-income urban dwellers. You’ll take courses like “Health Promotion and Maintenance,” “Complex Care Across the Life Span,” and “Role Development.” HCC pays special attention to the critical role that drugs play in treatment with a four-semester Pharmacology course. The college also offers a life NCLEX-RN review the summer after graduation.

To be considered for admission into this two-year RN program in Massachusetts, you must either be a certified nursing assistant, a patient care technician, or an LPN or have completed a CNA training program. You’ll learn and hone basic patient care skills in labs equipped with high-quality patient simulators and task trainers. You’ll also pursue direct care experiences at healthcare facilities in Holyoke and nearby communities.


Why Choose This Program

• Holyoke Community College offers a dual ADN/BSN concurrent enrollment degree, the first such program in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you choose this option, you will complete your ADN work and then continue on to Westfield State University’s BSN program.
• Holyoke Community College also has articulation agreements in place with American International College, Bay Path University, Elms College, Emmanuel College, Grantham University, Salve Regina University, University of Rhode Island, Westfield State University, and four UMass campuses that will simplify the process of transferring into an RN-to-BSN program once you’ve attained your ADN.
• Holyoke Community College has an LPN-to-RN program that offers licensed practical nurses advanced placement, provided they have at least six months of work experience.


4. North Shore Community College - Danvers


Program Details: North Shore Community College utilizes a competency-based, hybrid curriculum for its associate nursing degree program, making it one of the best 2-year nursing programs in Massachusetts for students whose professional or family obligations make it difficult to commit to a traditional classroom program. You can access lecture materials online, but you’ll attend skills labs and practicums in person. The college’s ADN program is headquartered at its Lacombe Campus.

The core nursing curriculum is centered around a four-semester “Nursing” class. You’ll also take courses like “Pharmacology and the Role of the Registered Nurse” and “The Registered Nurse in Contemporary Society.” You’ll receive hands-on training in nursing fundamentals in NSCC’s cutting-edge Bertolon Center, a simulation lab outfitted with medical equipment, task trainers, and programmable manikins. Clinical experiences are scheduled at healthcare facilities throughout Danvers and other parts of the northern Boston Metropolitan Area.


Why Choose This Program

• Through a program called MassReconnect, Massachusetts residents older than 25 who haven’t previously received an associate or bachelor’s degree may be able to enroll in North Shore Community College’s ADN program for free.
• North Shore Community College also offers a traditional classroom-based LPN-to-RN program. Students wishing to enroll in this program must first complete a “Transition to the Role of the Professional Nurse” course.
• More than 94 percent of the graduates from this ADN program in Massachusetts are employed as registered nurses within a year.


5. Lawrence Memorial/Regis College - Medford


Program Details: Lawrence Memorial/Regis College may be the ideal 2-year nursing program in Massachusetts for students whose schedule demands flexibility. This associate nursing degree program has two tracks. If you enroll in the Day Division, you’ll attend lecture classes and pursue clinical experiences on weekdays; if you enroll in the Evening/Weekend Division, you’ll attend lecture classes on weekday evenings and participate in clinical experiences every other weekend on Friday evenings and during the day on Saturdays and Sundays.

This ADN program accepts new students in August and January. The 73-credit curriculum focuses on a patient-centered learning model that consists of four clinical nursing classes with a clinical component, one nursing lecture course without a clinical component, and nine non-nursing courses—at least two of which must be taken through Regis College to earn a degree from Regis College. Lecture classes meet at the Lawrence Memorial/Regis College campus in Medford, while clinical experiences occur at various healthcare facilities throughout Boston.


Why Choose This Program

• Lawrence Memorial/Regis College has a very liberal transfer policy: You can transfer as many as seven general education courses and still earn your associate degree from Regis College.
• 100 percent of the students who apply to LMRC’s ADN program are accepted, provided they satisfy admission requirements.
• Lawrence Memorial/Regis College also offers a BSN, which you can begin pursuing concurrently with your ADN degree as soon as you finish your second semester of ADN studies.


6. Greenfield Community College - Greenfield


Program Details: Greenfield Community College is located in one of the more rural areas of Massachusetts, so it’s unsurprising that much of its ADN curriculum focuses on issues faced by rural healthcare professionals. You’ll need 70 credits to graduate, including general education and prerequisite classes and core nursing courses like “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Medical-Surgical Nursing I & II,” and “Pediatric Nursing.”

Like several other 2-year nursing programs in Massachusetts, Greenfield Community College offers lecture courses and analogous clinical courses in the same semester, so you’ll enroll in “Mental Health Nursing” and “Mental Health Nursing Clinical” at the same time. Your ADN studies will culminate with a nursing capstone course that explores the political, social, economic, and legal issues influencing the delivery of nursing care.

Supervised clinical experiences take place at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities throughout Greenfield and other parts of north-central Massachusetts. You’ll use the interactive learning environment at nearby Baystate Franklin Medical Center to learn basic nursing skills and participate in simulation exercises.


Why Choose This Program

• Greenfield Community College’s ADN program was founded in 1963, making it the first community college 2-year RN program in Massachusetts to win approval from the Bay State’s Board of Nursing.
• Interested in transferring into a BSN program? Greenfield Community College maintains articulation agreements with American International College, Elms College, Framingham State, and the University of Vermont that will allow you to continue your nursing education once you attain your RN license.
• LPNs who want to become registered nurses can transfer into the GCC’s ADN program in either the first-year spring semester or the second-year fall semester, depending upon their previous education and work experience.


7. Massasoit Community College – Brockton


Program Details: You can enroll in Massasoit Community College’s 65-credit ADN program in Massachusetts either as a full-time student graduating in four semesters or a part-time student graduating in six semesters. The curriculum is exactly the same for both tracks, except that classes for the part-time course of study are primarily taught in the evening. In addition to general education classes and prerequisites, you’ll take a five-part core nursing course, “Nursing I-V;” this set of courses has both lecture and clinical components. You’ll also enroll in a “Nursing Seminar,” introducing you to some of the legal and ethical issues confronting RNs in the 21st century.

Massasoit Community College shares a healthcare simulation laboratory with New England Sinai Hospital in nearby Stoughton, where you’ll learn and practice basic hands-on nursing skills. You’ll also participate in supervised patient care at healthcare facilities throughout Brockton and Plymouth County.


Why Choose This Program

• Massasoit Community College’s ADN graduates can take advantage of articulation agreements with UMass Boston and Salve Regina University that will allow them to transfer seamlessly into those schools’ RN-to-BSN programs.
• Massasoit Community College offers licensed practical nurses advanced standing into its ADN program if they hold a Massachusetts license and have completed the necessary prerequisites.
• More than 92 percent of the college’s ADN graduates find employment in the nursing field within one year of graduating.


8. Northern Essex Community College - Lawrence


Program Details: Northern Essex Community College’s ADN program in Massachusetts consists of weekday nursing lectures and lab courses offered at the college’s Lawrence campus and practicums offered at clinical sites throughout Lawrence, Haverhill, and other communities in Essex County. This area is home to a large Hispanic population, so much of the college’s nursing curriculum concentrates on the challenges of providing nursing care to a diverse population. The program typically admits 30 students each fall.

In addition to corequisites, you’ll take one nursing lecture course, one nursing lab course, and one clinical course each semester. Nursing labs are scheduled at NECC’s El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center, a 44,000-square-foot facility equipped with simulated healthcare settings such as a hospital intensive care unit, a trauma room, an acute care hospital room, an apartment, an ambulance, and a doctor’s office.


Why Choose This Program

• Are you an LPN seeking to expand your professional options? Northern Essex Community College offers qualified licensed practical nurses advanced placement into its ADN course, enabling them to become RNs in just two semesters.
• Northern Essex Community College has partnered with Regis College to allow selected students concurrent enrollment in NECC’s ADN program and Regis College’s BSN program.
• Students enrolled in this 2-year nursing program in Massachusetts may qualify for free academic coaching and tutoring services through the college’s SOAR (Seize Opportunities, Aspire to Rise) initiative.


9. Massachusetts Bay Community College - Framingham


Program Details: Core nursing classes that are part of Massachusetts Bay Community College’s associate nursing curriculum include “Introduction to Professional/Humanistic Nursing Concepts,” “Concepts in Nursing Care Across the Lifespan I, II, & III,” and “Concepts in Family Nursing.” Many lecture courses are paired with clinical classes that reinforce their concepts; thus, you’ll take “Concepts in Family Nursing” and “Concepts in Family Nursing Practicum” in the same semester. The fourth semester of this 2-year RN program in Massachusetts culminates with a capstone course that gives students the opportunity to showcase critical thinking skills.

Mass Bay’s Center for Health Sciences, Early Childhood, and Human Services is outfitted with state-of-the-art simulators and replicas of healthcare settings where students can participate in interactive learning scenarios. Hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout Framingham and other communities in the west Boston suburbs serve as clinical sites for supervised practicums.


Why Choose This Program

• Residents of Boston can pursue Massachusetts Bay Community College’s ADN program tuition-free through the TFCC Program.
• Except for the pandemic years, Massachusetts Bay Community College has a 100 percent pass rate for the NCLEX-RN exam, solidifying its position as one of the best ADN programs in Massachusetts.
• MassBay ADN graduates can easily go on to earn a BSN at schools throughout Massachusetts and New England, including UMass Boston, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Amherst, Framingham State University, and Southern New Hampshire University.


10. Springfield Technical Community College - Springfield


Program Details: Springfield Technical Community College’s ADN is based on the Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competencies mandated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The 70-credit curriculum takes four semesters to complete and can only be pursued full-time. Coursework includes a four-part “Nursing” course series and a class called “Issues in Nursing 1 & 2.” While you’re taking core nursing classes, you’ll also be completing corequisites. You’ll need to pass a rigorous final exam before you can graduate from this program.

During your very first semester, you’ll start participating in practicums at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare agencies throughout the Metropolitan Springfield Area. Clinical rotations are typically 12 hours long, and some may involve evening shifts, particularly during your first year of studies. The college’s SIMS Medical Center, designed to imitate the multiple healthcare settings you’ll find yourself in when you begin practicing as a registered nurse, is where you’ll learn and perfect your basic nursing skill sets.


Why Choose This Program

• Springfield Technical Community College partners with BayPath University, Fitchburg State University, Salve Regina University, Westfield State University, and others to facilitate the seamless transfer of ADN program credits toward these schools’ RN-to-BSN programs.
• LPNs admitted into this ADN program can test out of the first semester of core nursing coursework to attain advanced placement.


11. Cape Cod Community College - West Barnstable


Program Details: Every other year in even-numbered years, Cape Cod Community College opens up its ADN program to students who can only attend classes in the evenings and on weekends; this makes it easier for students with work or family obligations to pursue a nursing education. Each fall, this ADN program in Massachusetts also admits a student cohort that attends classes during traditional daytime hours.

The 68-credit curriculum includes prerequisites, corequisites, and core nursing coursework like “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Nursing Across the Lifespan,” and “Physical and Mental Health I & II.” Laboratory and clinical practicums are integrated into lecture courses. You’ll also take a pharmacology course and a class devoted to dosage calculations.

Cape Cod Community College has a Simulation Center in its Center for Nursing and Allied Health. Here, you will develop competency in the skills necessary to safely and effectively care for patients by utilizing high-fidelity manikins and other integrated technology in realistic healthcare scenarios. You’ll also participate in direct patient experiences at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities throughout West Barnstable and Cape Cod.


Why Choose This Program

• If you’ve resided in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for one year or more, you may qualify to attend Cape Cod Community College’s ADN program for free through the Community College Nursing Scholarship Program.
• Cape Cod Community College offers an LPN-to-RN option that enables licensed practical nurses to join the traditional ADN cohort in its third semester.
• Once they attain their registered nursing license, ADN graduates who want to continue their professional nursing education can enroll in the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s RN-to-BSN program without leaving the Cape.


12. Bristol Community College - Fall River


Program Details: Bristol Community College’s ADN program offers aspiring RNs two ways to achieve their ambition: They can attend the traditional classroom track, or they can enroll in the hybrid track, which uses online lectures but in-person skills labs, clinical experiences, and exams. The 70-credit program takes four semesters to complete and includes corequisites as well as core nursing courses like “Fundamentals of Nursing,” “Parent-Child Nursing,” and “Nursing Care of the Adult I & II.”

Each core nursing class consists of four hours of lectures and 12 hours of clinical experience. Nursing labs are held in a high-tech simulation lab located in the John J. Sbrega Health and Science Building. Supervised patient care experiences are conducted at hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities throughout Fall River and other communities straddling the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border.


Why Choose This Program

• Your acceptance into Bristol Community College’s ADN program comes with conditional acceptance into Fitchburg State University’s online RN-to-BSN program. You’ll also have the potential to benefit from Bristol Community College’s transfer agreements with RN-to-BSN programs at Framingham State University, UMass-Dartmouth, and Southern New Hampshire University.
• Bristol Community College has an LPN-to-RN Bridge Pathway, and qualified LPNs may be able to receive advanced placement.
• Bristol Community College’s ADN grads consistently score NCLEX-RN pass rates above 90 percent.


VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY


Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.



ADN Programs in Other States