Becoming an LPN in Massachusetts
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) are in high demand in Massachusetts, due in part to the nationwide nursing shortage. Those in the state interested in entering the nursing workforce should take a closer look at this rewarding career, which is slated to grow by 12% through the year 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With a relatively short duration, LPN programs in the state make it easy to enter the healthcare field much faster than with traditional 4-year nursing programs. Massachusetts LPNs earn around an hourly wage of $26.04 or annual salary of $54,160, which is roughly $10,130 more per year than national average.
Are you looking to become a licensed practical nurse in Massachusetts? The school you choose is important when it comes to getting your license. Approved programs in Massachusetts are offered at community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools - we list 18 schools across the state. After careful review of NCLEX-PN exam first-time pass rates over the past several years, we have ranked the top 5 programs. For more information on our LPN program rankings, see our Methodology page.
To see all the top ranked LPN programs in Massachusetts click here.
Details on Massachusetts LPN Schools & Classes
There are quite a variety of schools in Massachusetts that offer approved LPN programs, from community colleges to technical/vocational schools. Most programs can be completed in 1-2 years of study, depending on full-time or part-time attendance. Students enrolled in an LPN program will gain the intellectual development and hands-on training needed to excel in the role.
The curriculum of a typical LPN program requires students to take core nursing courses as well as labs. Some common nursing course titles may include:
- Medical Terminology
- Essentials of Nutrition
- Foundations of Practical Nursing
- Human Growth & Development
- Principles of Pharmacology
- Medical Surgical Nursing
In order to ensure that you are choosing a respectable LPN program, you should check for proper accreditations. Schools and programs accredited by national organizations such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing are held to high standards and carry more weight on job resumes. You may also find schools accredited by regional organizations as well. Lastly, you will want to check with the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing to make sure that your program of choice is board-approved.
To be admitted to your school and LPN program of choice, you’ll need to make sure you meet or exceed all requirements. While these may vary based on school, they generally consist of the following:
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Completion of any prerequisite courses
- Satisfactory HESI exam scores
- Proof of CPR certification
- Must pass a criminal background test
Tuition and Costs
Each LPN program will have slightly different costs due to factors like location, type of school, and more. All students will be responsible for covering the costs of tuition, fees, and course materials such as textbooks and supplies. As an example, the total cost for the LPN program at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton is estimated at $12,300 for in-district residents, $13,800 for out-of-district residents, and $14,800 for out-of-state residents. This does not include additional expenses for things like uniforms and parking. Financial assistance and payment plans are typically available for students who qualify.
Massachusetts LPN Licensing Requirements
Massachusetts requires individuals interested in becoming an LPN in the state to first attend an approved practical nursing program. Then he or she was register, sit for, and pass the required testing—the NCLEX-PN exam.
To apply for licensure the applicant must submit:
- The licensure by exam application.
- A declaration of the primary state of residence.
- Pass a criminal background check.
NCLEX Exam Information
As previously stated, the NCLEX-PN exam is the final test that prospective LPNs must pass in order to gain official licensure. The test covers a wide variety of nursing topics broken up into different sections. For further information on the NCLEX-PN, check out our guide here. Additionally, students are encouraged to take the NCLEX-PN practice test to get an idea of how the real exam will go.
LPN Reciprocity and eNLC
Massachusetts is currently pending legislature in order to enter into the new (as of January 2018) Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). The eNLC allows nurses to practice in any state within the compact without having to apply for a new nursing license.
Until then, those from out of state who wish to apply for a license in the state of Massachusetts must do so by reciprocity. The applicant must submit a completed Determination of Eligibility for Practical Nurse Reciprocity, and by submitting an official transcript from the attended state-approved nursing program in their state of origin. The transcript must include:
- Dates the student entered and withdrew (or graduated) from the school.
- Proof that the student was in good standing.
- Calculation of theory and clinical clock hours that were successfully completed.
- Statement verifying that coursework and clinical practice was in medical, surgical, pediatric, obstetrical, mental health, and nursing concepts.
To learn more about Massachusetts nurse licensure by reciprocity, visit https://www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-a-nursing-license-by-reciprocity
The table below lists career information organized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for licensed practical nurses in Massachusetts. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|
|Boston, Cambridge, Newton||5,800||$26.51||$55,130|
|Lawrence, Methuen Town, Salem||1,150||$27.34||$56,860|
|Lowell, Billerica, Chelmsford||970||$25.99||$54,060|
|Peabody, Salem, Beverly||640||$28.43||$59,130|
|Brockton, Bridgewater, Easton||470||$26.54||$55,200|
|Taunton, Middleborough, Norton||460||$26.52||$55,170|
|Lynn, Saugus, Marblehead||310||$28.08||$58,400|
|Haverhill, Newburyport, Amesbury Town||250||$25.98||$54,030|
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Massachusetts LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
North Essex Community College’s excellent, board-approved practical nursing program prepares students to take the national certification exam and find employment as an entry-level LPN. Enrolled students will learn about anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and more, and participate in laboratory practice and clinical experiences.
Blue Hills Regional Technical School is located in Canton, Massachusetts. Blue Hills Regional pursues academic excellence through knowledge, technical training, and character development through a curriculum that emphasizes cutting-edge technology and challenging coursework, enabling students to become competent in their chosen fields.
Students enrolled in Greenfield Community College’s LPN program can enjoy a rewarding, meaningful career in as little as ten months. The curriculum blends liberal arts and clinical nursing courses, as well as 25-35 hours per week of laboratory science classes and clinical practice.
MassBay Community College’s Wellesley Hills campus offers a board-approved, ACEN-accredited practical nursing program. Students learn both theory and practice as part of the program, with clinical experiences taking place at area health care facilities to emphasize best nursing practices as they relate to direct patient care.
Bay Path Vocational Technical High School, located in Charlton, Massachusetts, offers a curriculum designed to offer students a rigorous academic and vocational education, producing world-class workers and responsible citizens. Bay Path Vocational Technical High School provides quality educational experiences in teamwork, leadership, and character development, reinforcing confidence, positive work attitudes, and communication skills.
Continued List of All Programs in Massachusetts
215 Fitchburg St, Marlborough, MA 01752
1 Ferncroft Rd, Danvers, MA 01923
65 Pleasant St, Upton, MA 01568
670 W Boylston St, Worcester, MA 01606
444 Green St, Gardner, MA 01440
251 Stonehaven Rd, Fall River, MA 02723
1050 Westminster St, Fitchburg, MA 01420
303 Homestead Ave, Holyoke, MA 01040
1350 West St, Pittsfield, MA 01201
70 Hodges Cross Road, North Adams, MA 01247
1234 Columbus Ave, Roxbury Crossing, MA 02120
250 New Rutherford Avenue, Charlestown, MA 02129
1250 Hancock St, Quincy, MA 02169
Additional MA Nursing Resources
- Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing
239 Causeway Street, Second Floor
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: (617) 973-0800
- Massachusetts Nurses Association
340 Turnpike Street
Canton, MA 02021
Phone: (781) 821-4625
- The role of the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or Licensed Vocation Nurse in some states, is challenging on many levels…
- Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are a valuable member of the healthcare team. They often serve as the eyes and ears…
- Licensed Practical Nurses, or LPNs, are nurses who perform direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings. Nurses have…
- The United States is currently in the midst of a nursing shortage. Demand for healthcare services, current health care legislation…
- Nurses are often the first responders to Code Blues. They are the ones at the bedside around the clock, and…