Introduction to NP Programs in Massachusetts

With the primary care physician shortage there is an increasing demand for Nurse Practitioners (NP)s. NPs are trained versatile providers that are equipped to fill the primary care gap. This helps increase preventative care measure and quality of care for patients. Nurse Practitioners also offer a cost effect way to fill this gap for various healthcare organizations. This is increasing the increasing demand for NPs due to preventative healthcare coverage and physician shortages in primary care. Depending on the state NPs can either practice completely independently, with a physician present in the practice, or with a direct supervising physician agreement. In Massachusetts (MA) NPs are required to have a supervising physician agreement.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about being an Nurse Practitioner in Massachusetts. We will cover types of programs available, costs of education, online programs, steps required to become a licensed NP in the state, and potential places of employment.

8 Steps to Become an NP in Massachusetts

  1. Earn Your RN –  Step one is to earn your RN degree. You can do this by completing an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program through a CCNE or ACEN accredited university. This accreditation is more likely to help you get into a master’s or doctorate program.
  2. Pass The NCLEX-RN Exam –  Take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain your Massachusetts RN licensure. By studying and taking plenty of our practice NCLEX Exams, exam day will be far less stressful.
  3. Earn Your MSN and/or DNP – In your Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) NP program you will complete classes in nursing theory, management of acute and chronic illnesses, research, pharmacology, ethics, leadership preparation and more.
  4. Complete Supervised Clinical Hours –  If earning your MSN you will need to complete at minimum 500 hands on supervised clinical hours (the exact number depends on your population foci). If you are going for your DNP this number jumps to 1000.
  5. Become Board Certified – After completing your program and the required clinical hours you will apply to take the national certification exam for your population.  These exams are done through the certifying body for your population foci. For example Women’s Health NPs take their certification exam through the NCC.
  6. Obtain Licensure – Applying for licensure in Massachusetts requires that you be licensed as an RN in the state first. Then you must provide proof of your graduate level coursework through transcript submission, national certification, and meet the “good moral character” requirements. The you pay $150 and submit the application online.
  7. Obtain you NPI number, Mass controlled substance, and  DEA Number – Once you are licensed in Massachusetts, you apply for your NPI number which is free. Then you use this to apply for your Mass Controlled Substances Registration (MCSR) and then your DEA registration so that you can prescribe medications.
  8. Maintain Active Certification Licensure – maintaining active licensure requires paying a renewal fee every 2 years and maintaining certification through your certifying body. Both your RN and NP licenses in Massachusetts must stay up to date.

Types of NP Programs in Massachusetts

Massachusetts offers 27 NP programs at the MSN level, 12 DNP level and 14 Post MSN NP Certificate level programs. This number is likely to change given the popularity of NP programs and Massachusetts being the healthcare center for the country.

Campus and Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Massachusetts

UniversityOffered asCity/State
Salem State UniversityCampus, HybridSalem, MA
Simmons CollegeCampus, HybridBoston, MA
University of Massachusetts-DartmouthCampus, Hybrid, OnlineNorth Dartmouth, MA
College of Our Lady of ElmsCampus, HybridChicopee, MA
Regis CollegeCampus, Hybrid, OnlineWeston, MA
Northeastern University – AcceleratedCampus, Hybrid, OnlineBoston, MA
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health SciencesCampus, OnlineBoston, MA
University of Massachusetts-LowellCampus, Hybrid, OnlineLowell, MA
University of Massachusetts-AmherstCampus, OnlineAmherst, MA
University of Massachusetts-BostonCampus, Hybrid, OnlineBoston, MA
Endicott CollegeCampus, Hybrid, OnlineBeverly, MA
Boston CollegeCampusChestnut Hill, MA
American International CollegeCampus, HybridSpringfield, MA


If you are getting your MSN after having your BSN in the state of Massachussets you can expect to spend 2 years earning your degree and becoming an NP. If you have your RN, but not your BSN, you can complete a program that is similar in length and will give you an MSN.  In general BSN to MSN programs are about 50 credits and require anywhere from 500 to 800 hours of supervised clinical experience during the program. The variations are due to individual university requirements and your population focus. To be eligible for entry you will need to have a 3.0 GPA or the equivalent of a B average. You must also be licensed as an RN in Massachusetts.

Direct Entry MSN Programs

Direct entry MSN programs give people who are not nurses but have a bachelors degree in something else the opportunity pursue nursing. These programs prepare you to be an NP without having you repeat non-nursing college courses that you have already taken. There are a handful of these programs in Massachusetts as well. Like BSN to MSN programs you need to have 3.0 GPA (B average) or better. You also must have your bachelor’s degree. Most programs require that you have taken certain pre-requisites such as anatomy and physiology, developmental psychology, microbiology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and more. Direct entry programs take between 2 and 3 years to complete. After the program you will be an RN and an NP.

MSN to NP Certificate

If you already have your MSN but are not an NP you can complete a certificate program to train you to be an NP. This may be the right path for you if you have your MSN in something nursing education, nursing administration, or if you are a clinical nurse specialist. You must be an RN in the state of Massachusetts to be eligible to apply for these programs. Typically you are not required to take the GRE again for these programs. You will have to submit an application with your resume, references, past transcripts and more. In general MSN to NP certificate programs take about 1 year and require 500 to 700 clinical hours depending on the school and your population focus.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

DNP programs are the doctorate level programs that prepare nurses to be NPs. In these programs you will be trained to provide nursing care at the expert level and will also be able to teach in most universities. DNP programs are becoming more popular as the entry pathway into becoming an NP.  Program length varies from 3 to 5 years depending on whether or not you already have your masters. The eligibility requirements vary a little between the BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP programs.

  • BSN to DNP: These programs are for bachelor’s level trained nurses. You must be a licensed Massachusetts nurse and have had a GPA of at least 3.0 (B average) or better. The BSN to DNP programs will take about 5 years depending on the university. Your application will need to include GRE scores, letters of recommendation, previous transcripts, and more. As a part of your DNP program you will need to complete 1000 hours of supervised clinical experiences. Some programs will require you to have nursing experience.
  • MSN to DNP: These programs take into account that you are already a nurse trained at the master’s level. Depending on the program you may be required to already be an NP in Massachusetts. All programs will require you to have your Massachusetts RN license. These programs will take between 2 and 3 years to complete. Like the BSN to DNP programs you need to submit an application with letters of recommendations, past transcripts, and more. You do not have to take the GRE however, as it is assumed that you already had to take it for your MSN. At the end of your DNP education you will not only be an NP but you will also have completed the highest level of clinical nursing education available.

Massachusetts NP Programs Offered by Degree Level

Nurse Practitioner Program Costs

Program costs will vary depending on what type of NP program you do and where you go to school. Whether you attend a private or public university will also play a role. Review ways to reduce cost. Discuss cost differences between different types of NP programs.

Comparative examples of state vs private schools

To help offset the cost of becoming an NP you can apply for scholarships and/or loan forgiveness programs. Here are a few examples.

Scholarships outside of the school you are applying to are not as common for NP programs as they are for BSN programs, but our Nursing School  and Scholarship guide  can help you figure out additional ways to offset costs.

Online Nurse Practitioner Programs

Online NP programs do exist, and with many already busy professionals pursuing higher education these online options can be a lifesaver. These offer an online platform to attend classes, complete coursework, do quizzes and even partake in class discussions. Of course any clinical experiences will have to be done in person, but your school can help you arrange these in a convenient location. MGH Institute of Health Professions DNP program is largely online. Most of the coursework and classes are held using online modules and twice a semester weekend intensives are held on the Boston campus.

Massachusetts NP Programs Offered as Campus / Online / Hybrid

NP Salaries in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is one of the best paying states for Nurse Practitioners. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics NPs earn a median of $103, 880 in the US.  Massachusetts is the fourth highest paying state with an average NP salary of $120,140. Boston is one of the largest healthcare centers in the country with many hospitals and healthcare environments to choose from. The bigger private hospitals may pay more, while community health centers may make you eligible for loan forgiveness. Massachusetts also has one of the highest concentrations of NPs in the country, showing that it is a profession that is respected and sought after in the state.

Potential Employers

As previously mentioned Massachusetts, specifically the city of Boston is booming with healthcare industries looking to hire qualified NPs like you. Here are some examples:

NP Resources in Massachusetts


Nurse Practitioner Schools in Massachusetts

Offered As

  • Online: 8
  • Campus: 13
  • Hybrid: 37

Degree Type

  • BSN to DNP: 6
  • Master's: 27
  • Post Master's NP Certificate: 19
  • MSN to DNP: 6


Salem State University

  • 352 Lafayette St, Salem, MA - 1970

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Simmons College

  • 300 The Fenway, Boston, MA - 02115-5898

Family Nurse Practitioner

University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

  • 285 Old Westport Rd, North Dartmouth, MA - 02747-2300

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

College of Our Lady of Elms

  • 291 Springfield St, Chicopee, MA - 1013

Family Nurse Practitioner

Regis College

  • 235 Wellesley St, Weston, MA - 02493-1571

Family Nurse Practitioner

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

Northeastern University – Accelerated

  • 360 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA - 02115-5005

Family Nurse Practitioner

Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

  • 179 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA - 02115-5896

Family Nurse Practitioner

University of Massachusetts-Lowell

  • 1 University Ave, Lowell, MA - 01854-5104

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Adult Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Family Nurse Practitioner

University of Massachusetts-Amherst

  • 374 Whitmore Building 181 Presidents Drive, Amherst, MA - 1003

Family Nurse Practitioner

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

University of Massachusetts-Boston

  • 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA - 02125-3393

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Family Nurse Practitioner

Endicott College

  • 376 Hale Street, Beverly, MA - 1915

Family Nurse Practitioner

Boston College

  • 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill, MA - 2467

Family Nurse Practitioner

Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

American International College

  • 1000 State Street, Springfield, MA - 1109

Family Nurse Practitioner