7 Best Associate in Nursing Programs in Massachusetts in 2024

Massachusetts is renowned for its exceptional healthcare, and our featured selection of top associates in nursing programs paves the way for aspiring nurses to join this prestigious profession and make a lasting impact on people's lives. Programs

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Becoming a registered nurse (RN) in Colorado involves exploring several educational pathways. Among them, the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), the Associate of Applied Science (AAS), and the Associate of Science (AS) in nursing are three of the fastest and most popular options.

Considering this, we've provided everything you need to know to apply for an associate in nursing in Massachusetts, along with salary expectations after graduation and recommendations for the best programs in the state.

Best Associate in Nursing Programs in Massachusetts

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most while selecting schools with the addition of NCLEX pass rates, graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rate of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. Bunker Hill Community College

In the bustling city of Boston, Bunker Hill Community College offers an ACEN-accredited associate in nursing program with an estimated annual cost of $8,507. With an impressive 98% NCLEX pass rate, the college ensures students receive top-notch nursing education and preparation for their future careers.

2. Middlesex Community College

Middlesex Community College in Bedford provides an ACEN-accredited associate in nursing program with an estimated annual cost of $4,478. The college maintains a commendable NCLEX pass rate of 94%, ensuring students receive quality education and preparation for their nursing careers.

3. Holyoke Community College 

Holyoke Community College, situated in Holyoke, presents an ACEN-accredited associate in nursing program with an estimated annual cost of $8,175. The college's commitment to quality education is reflected in its 95% NCLEX pass rate, ensuring students are well-prepared for their rewarding nursing journey.

Score School Program City Estimated
Cost(Annual)*
NCLEX Pass Rates
(Avg. 2018-2022)
ACEN
Accredited
98.79 Bunker Hill Community College AS Boston $8,507 98% Yes
97.29 Middlesex Community College AS Bedford $4,478 94% Yes
94.85 Holyoke Community College ASN Holyoke $8,175 95% Yes
89.18 Bristol Community College ADN Fall River $6,765 90% Yes
87.76 Massasoit Community College AS Brockton $8,126 90% Yes
86.75 Greenfield Community College AS Greenfield $9,088 90% Yes
84.76 Quinsigamond Community College AS Worcester $8,260 88% Yes

What Is an Associate in Nursing?

An associate, whether ADN, AAS, or AS, is an entry-level degree that provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to become RNs. Upon completion of an associate in nursing program, students are eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed.

Associate in Nursing Coursework

The robust curriculum, including a blend of classwork and hands-on coursework, means students will be well prepared to take the NCLEX-RN exam and begin in a clinical nurse role upon graduation. Since associate in nursing students work towards an associate of applied science, coursework in general education and nursing is required. Standard classes include:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing
  • Nursing care of adults
  • Community Health Nursing
  • Behavioral Health
  • Microbiology
  • Humanities
  • Psychology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Chemistry

Can Associate in Nursing Programs Be Taken Entirely Online?

Acquiring nursing skills requires hands-on learning and real-life practice, which can't be fully replicated in an entirely online environment for an initial nursing degree. Because of this, associate programs aren't entirely online, as in-person skills training and direct patient care experiences in healthcare facilities are needed. However, plenty of associate in nursing programs offer online coursework options, providing a hybrid environment for working students or those who require more flexible schedules.

Where Do Associate-Prepared Nurses Work?

Nurses with their associate's have many career options and opportunities and can practice in most care settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Home Care Agencies
  • Physician Office
  • Educational Services
  • Government Agencies
  • Schools
  • Community Centers
  • Hospices
  • Dialysis Centers
  • Telephonic and Virtual Care Settings

Associate in Nursing Prerequisites and Requirements

Acceptance to an associate in nursing program comes with several prerequisites and requirements, including:

  • Proof of Prior Education: Verification of high school diploma or GED.
  • Prerequisite studies: Research your program for the exact courses needed.
  • Pre-Entrance Exam: Tests like the TEAS or HESI.
  • CPR Certification: Varying depending on the program.
  • Criminal Background Check: To ensure patient safety.

Cost of Associate Nursing Programs in Massachusetts

Pursuing an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN) in Massachusetts involves several financial considerations. Here are the key expenses to keep in mind when planning your nursing education budget:

  • Tuition: The cost of tuition can vary widely between public and private institutions in Massachusetts, as well as between in-state and out-of-state students. Typically, private colleges and out-of-state tuition rates are higher.
  • Supplies: This includes costs for textbooks, medical supplies, and other necessary educational materials, which can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
  • Technology Fees: Students in hybrid or online ADN programs may incur additional costs for technology, software, and digital learning tools.
  • Lab & Clinical Fees: Certain courses may require fees for specific materials or equipment needed for hands-on training and clinical practice.
  • Miscellaneous Fees: These often-overlooked fees can include costs for applications, graduation, and other administrative expenses necessary for your education.
  • Living Expenses: The cost of living—which covers food, housing, utilities, and personal expenses—is particularly important for students planning to study full-time without working or those considering relocating for their studies.

Understanding the financial demands of an ADN program in Massachusetts is crucial for effective budgeting and staying focused on your educational goals. Exploring the Cheapest ADN Programs available in 2024 can also help manage your educational expenses more efficiently.

Associate Nurse Salary Expectations in Massachusetts

In the ever-changing field of nursing salaries, the difference between ADN and BSN-prepared registered nurses is significant. Although BSN RNs usually earn higher salaries, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not differentiate between the two in its reports.

RNs nationally earn:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $45.42
  • Mean Annual Wage: $94,480.00

As reported by the BLS, registered nurses in Massachusetts earned salaries above the national average in 2023. With 87,320 RNs employed, Massachusetts ranks in the top 25th percentile for RN employment nationally.

 RNs in Massachussetts earn:

  • Mean Hourly Wage: $52.33
  • Mean Annual Wage: $108,850.00

The highest paying states for RN's are:

  • California: $137,690.00
  • Hawaii: $119,710.00
  • Massachusetts: $113,440.00
  • Oregon: $111,030.00
  • Alaska: $109,210.00

While the BLS does not provide data to compare ADN RN to BSN RN salary, ZipRecrutier's reports identify a difference in salary. 

BSN RNs in Massachussetts earn an average wage of:

  • Hourly Wage: $44.00
  • Annual Wage: $90,593.00

ADN RNs in Massachusetts earn an average wage of:

  • Hourly Wage: $37.00
  • Annual Wage: $77,933.00

Cities with the highest ADN RN salary in Illinois are: 

  • Brockton: $88,670.00
  • Barnstable Town: $83,487.00
  • Leominster: $82,248.00
  • Cambridge: $79,997.00
  • New Bedford: $79,943.00

Understanding the salary potential for ADN RNs in Massachusetts is important for those considering this career path. While ADN RNs receive competitive salaries, BSN-prepared nurses often have higher earning potential and broader career opportunities.

Nursing salaries are influenced by various factors, including specialty, experience, and employer. Aspiring nurses should consider these elements when planning their educational and professional paths.

Is Pursuing an Associate in Nursing Worth It?

Earning an associate degree in nursing (ADN/ASN) provides a fast and economical pathway into the nursing profession, fulfilling the ongoing demand for healthcare professionals in Massachusetts. Like any important decision, enrolling in an ADN program has its own set of advantages and challenges.

Pros ADN Programs in Massachusetts

  • Rapid Entry into the Workforce: ADN programs typically require about two years to complete, allowing graduates to begin their nursing careers more quickly compared to those pursuing a four-year BSN.
  • Affordability: ADN programs, especially those at community colleges, are generally less expensive than BSN programs, making them a more budget-friendly option for students.
  • Wide Accessibility: Many community colleges and technical schools across Massachusetts offer ADN programs, making them accessible to a diverse range of students.
  • NCLEX-RN Preparation: ADN programs are structured to thoroughly prepare students for the NCLEX-RN, the essential licensure exam for registered nurses.
  • Flexible Scheduling: Numerous ADN programs provide flexible schedules, including evening and weekend classes, which are ideal for students balancing work or family commitments.
  • High Demand for Nurses: There is a strong demand for registered nurses in various healthcare settings throughout Massachusetts, increasing employment prospects for ADN graduates.
  • Pathways to Advanced Education: Many ADN programs offer smooth transition options to BSN programs through bridge programs, facilitating further education and career advancement.

Cons ADN Programs in Massachusetts

  • Competitive Job Market: In a competitive job market, BSN-prepared nurses often have an edge over those with an ADN, particularly in hospitals and healthcare facilities that prefer higher educational qualifications.
  • Potential for Lower Salaries: ADN-prepared nurses may earn lower salaries compared to their BSN-prepared counterparts, as some employers offer higher pay rates to those with advanced degrees.
  • Evolving Educational Expectations: There is a growing trend towards requiring a BSN for registered nurses, with many employers preferring or mandating a bachelor's degree. This may necessitate further education for ADN graduates to stay competitive and meet changing employer expectations.
  • Less Comprehensive Curriculum: ADN programs may offer a less comprehensive curriculum compared to BSN programs, potentially leaving graduates with fewer skills in areas such as leadership, public health, and research methodologies.
  • Need for Further Education: While an ADN qualifies graduates to practice as registered nurses, advancing into specialized or administrative roles often requires additional education, such as obtaining a BSN or MSN. Positions in research, public health, or management typically require higher qualifications.
  • Limited Networking Opportunities: BSN programs often provide more extensive networking opportunities with professionals in specialized fields and healthcare leaders, which can be crucial for career advancement and job placement.
  • Higher Long-Term Costs: Although ADN programs are more affordable initially, the need for further education to obtain a BSN or higher degree can result in higher overall educational costs over the long term.

Choosing an ADN program in Massachusetts offers significant benefits and provides a strong foundation for a nursing career. However, it is essential to consider your long-term career goals and educational needs when making this decision.

How to Choose a Nursing School

Reasons for choosing a nursing school will vary per student and their specific needs. Some students value the cost of education, while others may place greater emphasis on NCLEX pass rates, academic reputation, or other factors.

Although it will vary by individual, a survey by allnurses revealed the top 11 reasons nursing students chose their programs:

  1. Cost
  2. High NCLEX Pass Rate
  3. Location
  4. Academic Reputation
  5. Availability of Financial Aid and Scholarships
  6. Length of Time to Obtain Degree
  7. Flexibility of Schedule
  8. Curriculum
  9. Campus and Surroundings
  10. Nursing Clinicals Location
  11. Availability of Online Courses

Ultimately, prospective students should assess their needs and pick schools that best fit them.

Associate Nursing Program Accreditation in Massachusetts

Accreditation is another vital component to consider when selecting an associate in nursing program, particularly for those planning their career and educational paths. Here's why accreditation matters:

  • Educational Quality: Accredited nursing programs in Massachusetts meet stringent standards in curriculum development, faculty qualifications, resource allocation, and clinical training, ensuring the education provided meets or exceeds national benchmarks.
  • NCLEX-RN Exam Preparation: Enrolling in an accredited program significantly enhances your preparation for the NCLEX-RN exam, improving your chances of passing on the first attempt.
  • Licensing Flexibility: While a state-approved program allows you to practice within Massachusetts, the lack of accreditation might limit your ability to obtain licensure in other states without additional accredited education.
  • Employment Prospects: Employers often prefer graduates from accredited programs because their education aligns with national standards, which helps with job placement and facilitates easier transitions across state lines for career opportunities.
  • Credit Transferability: Credits earned from an accredited program are more likely to be recognized by other educational institutions, which is crucial for those looking to further their education with degrees such as a BSN, MSN, or DNP.
  • Professional Reputation: A degree from an accredited program enhances your professional standing by aligning your education with recognized standards and advancing nursing practices.
  • Access to Financial Aid: Accreditation is essential for eligibility for federal financial aid, a significant consideration for many students.

Prospective nurses in Massachusetts are encouraged to select programs accredited by esteemed organizations such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the National League for Nursing's Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA). While the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is highly respected, it does not provide accreditation for ADN or diploma nursing programs.

FAQ and Additional Readings

Q: How do I transfer my nursing license to Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), so you'll be required to apply for licensure with the Massachusetts Board of Nursing.

Q: Are there specialization programs for nurses in Massachusetts?

Many schools in Massachusetts offer advanced nursing degrees, allowing RNs to specialize in pediatric, geriatric, family nurse practitioner, acute care, and more.

Q: Is having an Associate in Nursing or a BSN better?

While obtaining an RN license after completing an ADN is possible, the opportunities after graduation and beyond are more significant with a BSN degree. BSNs focus more on research, leadership skills, and evidence-based practice, whereas an ADN primarily focuses on clinical skills.

Additionally, many healthcare institutions now require BSN-prepared RNs to fulfill various accreditation and Joint Commission requirements and achieve Magnet status prestige.

Edited by Erin Lee
3-4 sentences on top 3 programs

Editorial Team / Admin

Erin Lee has 12 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care, Procedural, Care Coordination, LNC.

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