Massachusetts RN to BSN Programs - Information + Rankings for 2020
There is overwhelming evidence that registered nurses with BSN degrees contribute to significantly better overall patient outcomes. If you are working as an RN but you have not yet earned your baccalaureate degree, RN to BSN programs in Massachusetts are a great way to advance your career prospects and boost your salary. They provide an affordable, flexible way for you to further your education. We have researched 16 of these programs throughout the state to come up with a list of the 10 best CCNE or ACEN accredited choices whether you prefer online, on-campus, or hybrid courses.
Typical Online RN to BSN Program Details in MA
Online RN to BSN programs are by far the most flexible and were designed with the working nurse in mind. They give you credit for your ADN or diploma education and provide you with the additional skills and knowledge you need to earn your BSN and take the next step in your career. Though courses will take place online, you may be required to travel to a campus for testing or to a medical facility to complete any clinical requirements depending on the school you choose.
ACEN/CCNE Accredited & Approved by Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing:
Before choosing a school, be certain that it is not only approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing
, but also accredited by one of two organizations: the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
(ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
(CCNE). These bodies set high standards in nursing education, and many employers only consider candidates who graduate from accredited programs.
The RN to BSN courses you will take depend on the courses you’ve already completed, the courses you transfer, and your experience. They focus very heavily on community and population health, evidence-based nursing, ethics, policies, and more. The goal is to build upon your current education with new information, skills, and abilities.
| Sample Courses |
| Health Assessment, RN Transition to Baccalaureate Nursing, Pathophysiology, Pharmacology, Population Health in the Community, Evidence for Nursing Practice, Health Policy and Finance, and Synthesis of Nursing Practice |
Most online RN to BSN programs do not have unpaid clinical requirements, but this is not always the case. In some cases, you may be able to satisfy those requirements via online simulations and discussions or through your current Massachusetts employer. If not, you may need to travel to an approved facility to complete your clinical requirements.
Online RN to BSN courses can usually be taken at your own pace, and this is what makes them ideal for so many RNs. With some schools, you may be able to complete your education in as little as a year. In other cases, it may be possible to take as long as you need provided you meet academic and licensure requirements set forth by the school.
Common Admission Requirements:
Requirements for admission will vary from one school to the next, and the more competitive the school, the more stringent the requirements become. Aside from your ADN or nursing diploma, each school typically sets its own requirements. For example, at Worcester State University, you will need:
• An ADN or nursing diploma;
• A current RN license valid in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts without any restrictions;
• Official high school and college transcripts from all schools attended; and
• A minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.
How were the Best RN to BSN Programs Ranked?
|Programs Evaluated ||16 |
|Programs Ranked ||10 |
|Ranking Methodology || Click Here |
What are the 10 Best Accredited RN to BSN Programs in Massachusetts (Online & Campus) for 2020?
View Ranking Methodology
1) Curry College, Milton
Program Overview: The Curry College campus is a beautiful, warm and friendly learning environment, just a stone’s throw away from downtown Boston. The RN to BSN is offered in a hybrid format where classes are offered online with weekly classroom meets. This course will prepare you with a broader knowledge base of professional nursing, helping you develop critical thinking and clinical reasoning. 34 credits from your previous degree in nursing can be transferred towards the BSN. You can complete this program by either taking a part-time schedule where you can complete up to 6 courses a year or attend full-time classes, taking a combination of 8 week and 15-week classes. To be eligible for this program you must complete a pre-requisite coursework.
• You can save considerable time and money with the college’s generous credit transfer policy that allows transferring of up to 90 credits, including science courses.
• Tuition costs are affordable and can be further reduced with tuition assistance when you register for more than 6 credits.
2) Worcester State University, Worcester
Program Overview: Worcester State University has been serving students in Massachusetts and beyond for about 140 years. Its Nursing Department provides an enriching learning experience with innovative education and an array of professional development opportunities. If you hold a nurse license to practice in Massachusetts and are looking at career advancement, then this RN to BSN program in the Bay State can be considered. You can transfer up to 72 credits from your nursing associate and a maximum of 90 from a four-year college towards the BSN degree. This liberal transfer helps you graduate much sooner. The hybrid program is offered as a part-time as well as a full-time option. Full-time requires attending classes on either Tuesdays or Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Part-time program is conveniently scheduled with classes offered after 4 p.m. at UMass Memorial Medical Center. While the full-time program can be completed in 3 semesters, the part-time schedule takes an additional semester to complete.
• If you are holding a BA or BS degree, you will be required to complete only the pre-requisite and nursing courses to earn your BSN degree.
• If you are an employee of UMass Medical Center and are opting for the part-time program, you are eligible for an application fee waiver.
3) University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, North Dartmouth
Program Overview: UMass Dartmouth is ranked amongst the top online nursing programs in the nation. Furthermore, their quality nursing programs come at affordable tuition costs. The RN to BSN is an online program that requires completing 28 nursing credits and 3 electives at UMass through online mode of study. Designed to prepare you with advanced knowledge and skills required for practice as a nurse, you will train in leadership and management, community, public health and research. Upon graduation you can either take up a career in management, education or specialized care or go on to study further by pursuing either a MS Nursing, DNP or PhD in Nursing. The BSN coursework will begin with a transition to BSN, progressing to professional nursing, health informatics and nursing care of chronically ill patients.
• When you enroll for the RN to BSN program you get a customized study plan, so you only spend that much of time and money to acquire the education that suits your personal need.
• You can avail student centric services such as free online and in-person tutoring to achieve your academic goals.
4) Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg
Program Overview: Fitchburg State University is known for its student friendly online education. It uses the latest technology to provide the best online learning experience. If you are a registered nurse looking at advancing professional skills, then pursuing RN to BSN education in MA that is offered by the college can be given a thought. This online program focuses on social justice and advocacy, while preparing you with a solid foundation in nursing, covering every learning curve of this profession, be it legal, ethical or professional. The accelerated format allows you to complete the program in as little as 12 months, provided you take two courses per 7-week session. With six start dates you are offered with considerable convenience and flexibility. To graduate you must complete eight core nursing courses and two clinical training sessions. To be eligible for this program you must have earned a minimum GPA of 2.5 in your prior coursework.
• Tuition costs for in-state and out-state students is the same, so you can avail this course from any part of the country without having to shell out more.
• The curriculum is evidence based and includes an introduction to nursing care of psychiatric patients.
5) Salem State University, Salem
Program Overview: The Nursing School at Salem has a reputation of creating outstanding workforce of nurses that can be found in healthcare facilities across greater Boston area. The RN to BSN is ideal for those who hold a current Massachusetts RN nursing license. This course works out best for working nurses as it offered part-time and can be completed within a span of two years. To graduate you must complete 65 total credits, out of which 35 courses towards your BSN must be completed through Salem State. The core curriculum includes courses in professional nursing, health assessment across the life span, nursing research, health care issues and policies, management and leadership in nursing and nursing informatics. Completion of a clinical practicum in nursing management and leadership is also required.
• You will practice nursing skills in a state-art simulation lab, where patient bed-side scenarios are computer controlled, giving you ample hands-on experience in a non-threatening environment.
• Sigma Theta Tau International’s Salem chapter, Eta Tau is facilitated by the college to give eligible students opportunities to network with fellow participants and develop professional and leadership skills.
6) Endicott College, Beverly
Program Overview: Endicott College offers an enriching campus experience, with its student-centric learning environment and recreational resources such as private beaches and hiking trails, so as a student you will enjoy these and many such other benefits. It offers the RN to BSN program which can be completed in 15 to 16 months at either the School of Nursing in Beverly, Beverly Hospital, Lahey Clinic in Burlington or Lawrence General Hospital. If you hold a bachelor’s degree in any other field along with an associate in nursing, then you can transfer up to 85 credits towards the BSN. If you are holding only an associate, then you can transfer a maximum 39 credits. To graduate you must earn at least a’ C’ grade in all nursing courses.
• The on-campus program is offered in a cohort format, allowing you to build meaningful relationships with peers and faculty.
• Should you choose to study further, you can continue in the college’s master’s program and be eligible for a 20% tuition scholarship.
7) American International College, Springfield
Program Overview: Established way back in 1885, today American International College has evolved to provide education that is innovative and current. Its prime location in Springfield offers a plethora of learning, cultural and recreational resources. This RN to BSN course in Massachusetts is ideal for a registered nurse looking to broaden professional skills and knowledge. Components of liberal arts, sciences, humanities and evidence-based concepts are integrated into the coursework to give a well –rounded educational experience. This online program, consisting 30 credits of nursing courses can be completed in 15 months. Depending on your curriculum requirements, the college allows transfer of up to 90 credits from your previous degree towards the BSN. Towards the completion of the program you must engage in a clinical program in Leadership and Management in Nursing and Healthcare.
• Six credits from the RN to BSN curriculum can be transferred towards an MSN, in case you plan to pursue further education.
• Being a School of Health Sciences, nursing students learn to collaborate with other members of a healthcare team.
8) Laboure College, Milton
Program Overview: Labouré College has been synonymous with nursing education since 1892. It offers one of the most affordable online nursing programs in MA. The 100% online RN to BSN program with six start dates can be completed in four semesters. Students have the option of completing two 7-week sessions each semester or take courses as per their convenience, especially if they are juggling other commitments. Ideal for students who are self-motivated and savvy with computing skills, this program allows a transfer of up to 90 credits towards the BSN, thereby cutting short costs and study time. To graduate, you must complete 30 credits in the BSN and a capstone course at Labouré. Earning this degree will not only give you an edge in the employment market but may also become necessary in the future as nurses are increasingly expected to handle routine physician tasks to fill the gap in shortfall of physicians in the healthcare industry.
• You can ease the study experience by availing student services such as the Student Success Center that helps provides online students with a classroom learning experience, facilitated by real-time meeting.
• You will compete two 7-week sessions in each semester.
9) Westfield State University, Westfield
Program Overview: Westfield State has a rich history of 175 years in educating students of the Commonwealth. Small sized classes and affordable tuition costs make it a viable option in the region. Its RN to BSN is offered in a hybrid format where you can complete the program in either 12 months of full-time or 24 months of part-time study. You will take some courses online, while attending classes, every Thursday evening at Westfield. RN’s holding a current license with a minimum 2.27 GPA in their past coursework can choose to enter this program, either in September or January. The curriculum covers every aspect of nursing and includes courses that teach evidence-based practice, patient safety, legal and ethical issues, healthcare policies and use of technology.
• Since Fall 2018, Westfield started offering a hybrid RN to BSN program at Greenfield Community College’s location at Smith Vocational High School in Northampton. The program begins in September and classes are held every Tuesday at Smith Vocational High School.
• This program is also offered at Springfield Technical Community College and starts in January. Being a hybrid program, once a week classes are held on Wednesdays at STCC.
10) Anna Maria College, Paxton
Program Overview: Anna Maria College strives to provide employment ready education connecting practice with theory. The online RN to BSN program is ideal for working nurses, where courses can be completed in eight-week terms. You can take two courses per eight-week session and complete the program sooner. The college gives credence to your past nursing education and allows a generous transfer of up to 45 credits, further cutting down duration of study. To graduate, you must complete the BSN core coursework with a minimum grade of ‘C’ or higher. This includes courses in professional nursing, evidence-based concepts, pharmacology, health assessment, ending with a capstone, adding up to a total of 30 credits.
• 100% RN to BSN graduates of Anna Maria have gone to find employment within 12 months of their graduation.
• 75% RN to BSN graduates complete this program within a span of three years.
View Ranking Methodology
Latest on Massachusetts’s Push Towards 80% BSN by 2020
Like other states throughout the country, Massachusetts continues to work toward fulfilling the Institute of Medicine’s challenge to have 80% of the RNs in the state educated at the BSN level or higher. The Nursing and Allied Health Initiative
, part of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, has reported a 62% increase in BSN graduates across the state between 2010 and 2015. The Massachusetts Action Coalition was the recipient of a four-year Academic Progression in Nursing (APIN) grant, which can provide more opportunities to further educate nurses.
Aside from this, the group also reported that in the same 2010 to 2015 timeframe, post-licensure graduates from BSN programs increased by 187%, which shows these initiatives are working. As a whole, graduates of RN to BSN programs in MA during those years raised from 23% in 2010 to 40% in 2015, and this trend is expected to continue well into the future.
Options to Fund My RN to BSN Education
Although the Massachusetts Action Coalition’s receipt of the APIN grant has helped to reduce tuition costs at schools across the state, funding your education can still be quite a financial burden. Fortunately, there are several ways to make it more affordable.
Federal grants are one of the best ways to get help paying for your RN to BSN education. Options like the Pell Grant are open to those who demonstrate financial need, and you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA) to see if you qualify. You can also use this form to apply for state-funded grants including the Massachusetts Cash Grant
and the Gilbert Matching Student Grant
, which is available to full-time nursing students attending an eligible institution.
After applying for grants and scholarships in MA, loans can help you cover any leftover expenses. You can fill out the FAFSA to find out if you qualify for federal student loans, or you can visit your local bank or credit union to apply for a private loan.
There are several scholarship opportunities for nursing students in Massachusetts, and these include scholarships awarded by the schools themselves. Other options include the Massachusetts Legion Nursing Scholarship
for students who are children of American Legion members and the Massachusetts Nursing Foundation Kate Maker Scholarship
Employer Assistance Programs:
Employer assistance is another option, and it comes in a couple different forms. You may qualify for a tuition reimbursement program through your current employer; check with your Human Resources department for details. Some employers in MA may also pay for your education in full in exchange for your agreement to work for their company for a specific period of time.
6 Advantages of Pursuing an RN to BSN in Massachusetts
Obtaining your RN to BSN degree in MA is a huge milestone that brings about a tremendous sense of self-satisfaction. Aside from this, there are tangible benefits that will serve you well for a lifetime.
1. Expand Your Knowledge, Skills & Abilities
RN to BSN courses will provide you with a new set of skills and abilities that you start using from day one to improve your ability to provide outstanding patient care. This will make you more valuable to your current employer right away. You will also be able to use this knowledge to seek more specialized positions in nursing, whether you want to work as a manager, a teacher, or a researcher in Massachusetts.
2. Salary Bump
Massachusetts is one of the highest-paying states in the country for RNs. Those without BSN degrees earn $87,190 a year on average. After earning their degrees, they make an average of $94,880 a year – a difference of $7,690 annually. Over the course of a 30-year career, this equals well over a quarter million dollars. This represents one of the biggest salary increases in the United States for RNs who further their education.
| Massachusetts |
|Before RN To BSN || After RN to BSN || How Much More Will I Earn |
| $87,190 || $94,880 || +$7,690 |
|(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) |
3. More Job Openings
|Massachusetts Area Wise Breakdown|
|Area||Before RN To BSN||After RN to BSN||How Much More Will I Earn|
|Boston, Cambridge||$90,610 ||$98,600 ||+$7,990 |
|Barnstable Town||$83,480 ||$90,850 ||+$7,370 |
|Leominster, Gardner||$72,910 ||$79,350 ||+$6,440 |
|New Bedford||$77,820 ||$84,680 ||+$6,860 |
|Pittsfield||$83,060 ||$90,390 ||+$7,330 |
|Springfield||$75,310 ||$81,960 ||+$6,650 |
|Worcester||$82,660 ||$89,960 ||+$7,300 |
|(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) |
If you are concerned about the ability to find the right position in the right medical facility, getting your BSN degree is an excellent start. There are roughly 1830 job openings each year for nurses educated at the ADN level, but BSN-educated RNs can choose from 2920 job openings across the state of Massachusetts each year. Now more than ever, employers continue to hire nurses with more education in order to facilitate better patient outcomes. Once you earn your BSN degree, you are far more likely to land the position you really want.
4. The Outlook is Brighter for a BSN Graduate
| Massachusetts Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement) |
| Annual Openings for BSN Graduates || 2,920 |
| Annual Openings for ADN Graduates || 1,830 |
| (Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org) |
Job security is another important concern, and while registered nurses are predicted to remain in high demand for many years to come in MA, statistics show that employers will continue to prefer BSN-educated nurses. Between 2017 and 2027, it is estimated that 3180 new jobs will open up across the state for nurses with ADN degrees, which represents overall growth of 11.64%. However, in that same timeframe, 7250 new jobs will open for BSN-educated RNs,
5. Career Advancement
| 10 Year (2017-2027) Job Outlook |
| || Employment || New Job Growth |
| 2017 || 2027 || Number || % |
| BSN || 41,100 || 48,350 || 7,250 || 17.64% |
| ADN || 27350 || 30,530 || 3180 || 11.64% |
| (Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org) |
Although many RNs in Massachusetts continue to provide direct patient care after finishing the program, others take advantage of new career opportunities. For example, your RN to BSN courses will provide you with management and leadership skills that qualify you to work as a charge nurse, nurse supervisor, or nurse manager. You might also choose to work in research as a clinical nurse specialist or become a nurse educator in a technical school or community college providing associate-level degrees to new RNs.
6. Post-RN to BSN Study Options
| Advancement Opportunities |
| Charge Nurse || Director of Nursing |
| Chief Nursing Officer || Nurse Educator |
|Clinical Nurse Specialist ||Nurse Manager |
| Clinical Research Nurse || Nurse Supervisor |
Many RNs in Massachusetts who successfully complete RN to BSN programs go on to even higher education. Earning a graduate degree opens the door to other (and higher-paying) career opportunities. For example, with an MSN, which takes about two years to complete, you could work as a nurse practitioner, clinical leader, or in various other positions earning up to $164,090 annually. You could even go on to earn your DNP or PhD degree and work as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), college professor, or a variety of other career options. It takes four to six years to earn these degrees, and they come with an average salary of up to $181,150 a year.
| Type of Degree || Length || Roles and Responsibilities || Salary |
| Master’s Degree (MSN/MS) || Up to 2 years ||Administrator, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Leader, Clinical Nurse Specialist & Nurse Practitioner|| $85,780 - $164,090 |
| Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree || 4 to 6 years || Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, College Faculty, Nursing School Dean, Health System Executive, Researcher, & Senior Policy Analyst ||$94,358 - $181,150 |
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