20 Best Nursing Schools in Boston for 2021

If you are looking for a quality nursing school in Boston Mass as a nursing student, the good news is you will find there is no shortage of quality and choices of nursing schools in Boston, and its nearby communities. To become a Registered Nurse (RN) in the Boston area, a prospective Registered Nurse licensee candidate must enroll and complete a Massachusetts Board of Nursing- approved program. There are a variety of Boston nursing schools from which to choose that offer nursing programs at the associate, diploma, bachelor’s, and master’s (and post-master’s) degree levels. Once a student completes an approved nursing degree program from one of the Boston nursing schools, he or she becomes eligible to sit for the national NCLEX-RN exam.

It is noted that a Registered Nurse (RN) license candidate may attend and successfully complete a nursing program offered by an accredited school located in another state – provided the nursing degree program has received the required Board of Nursing approval from the state. However, a Registered Nurse candidate may not attend a nursing degree program that is found on the Massachusetts Board of Nursing of Registration specific list of nursing degree programs that are NOT approved.

How We Ranked the Best Nursing Schools in Bostona

Ranking nursing schools in Boston – a city with more colleges per capita than any other in America – isn’t an easy job, but TopRNtoBSN editors focused on accredited, reputable institutions with a history of getting their graduates into rewarding careers. Programs are ranked according to cost, potential salary, reputation, and comprehensiveness.

1. Northeastern University

Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences (BCHS) is recognized as one of the best nursing schools in Boston. Northeastern University’s nursing programs are accredited by the CCNE and the Mass Board of Nursing. In addition, NEU is an accredited provider of nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The nursing school offers a variety of nursing degrees at the bachelor’s (4 programs), master’s (10 programs), PhD, and DNP (3 programs) levels, plus a number of continuing education coursework to meet licensing requirements.

Northeastern University was established as a research higher learning institution in 1898. This multiple campus school has a student enrollment of approximately 18,100 students, of which about 3,700 attend NEU’s nursing school. The Bouve College of Health Sciences was established by a merger of two schools in 1992. The Bouve College of Health Sciences has a worldwide alumnus that exceeds 39,000.

2. Boston College

Boston College’s Connell School of Nursing (CSON) is considered among the best nursing schools in Boston with its diversified nursing programs that begin at the pre-license status and conclude at the doctoral level, with continuing education classes available as well. About 1/3 of BC’s School of Nursing’s students choose to study internationally. In fact, BC’s graduate nursing program is considered the best in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Connell School of Nursing holds the distinction of being the first Jesuit higher learning institution to offer a nursing doctoral-level degree program.

Boston College is a private institution of higher education that was founded in 1863. The School of Nursing at Boston College was established in 1947 and aligns with the overall Jesuit ideals of Boston College. The average NCLEX graduate pass rate for the past five years was 99%. Boston College is home to about 14,100 students, of which about 750 are enrolled in the college’s school of nursing programs.

3. University of Massachusetts Boston

The University of Massachusetts Boston College of Nursing & Health Sciences (UMass Boston) offers a number of undergraduate, graduate, and professional development nursing degree academics. Ranked among the best nursing schools in Boston, UMass Boston offers several BSN and RN to BS degree programs, plus a variety of DNP and PhD nursing programs from its Boston campus, several of which are available through the university’s distance learning platform. Several UMass nursing programs offer students accelerated delivered coursework both online and on-campus.

The University of Massachusetts Boston is a state-funded higher learning institution that was established in 1852. The college of Nursing & Health Sciences was established in 1965 and is accredited by the state’s Nursing Board and the CCNE organization. The University of Massachusetts is proud to hold the distinction of being one of the top three most diverse student enrollment in the nation.

4. MCPHS University – Boston

The Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (MCPHS ) offers a variety of traditional, online, hybrid, and accelerated nursing degree programs at a multitude of levels. The school offers several baccalaureate level degree programs for non-nursing students, RN to BSN online, and a BSN for students with a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field. Additionally, MCPHS offers master’s level nursing programs for family nurse practitioners and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners that are available online as well.

The College of Pharmacy/Health Sciences in Mass. is an institution of higher education that is dedicated to health-related education and considered among the best nursing schools in Boston and the surrounding areas. MCPHS University, founded in 1823, operates several satellite facilities in Manchester, NH, and Worcester, MA. The student enrollment for MCPHS University is approximately 7,050 students.

5. Regis College

Regis College’s Young School of Nursing is considered as one of the best nursing schools in Boston and neighboring communities and recognized for its excellence in nursing education by ACEN, and accredited by the Mass. Bd. Of Registration of Nursing and the CCNE. The School of Nursing At Regis provides educational degrees in nursing at all levels, several of which are available through the college’s distance learning platform. Students enrolled in Regis College’s accelerated BSN program can finish the degree and begin their professional careers in only three years.

Regis College was established as an all-women’s school in 1927 but became coeducational 80 years later, in 2007, being the last of all Catholic women’s schools to become coeducational. The college’s campus is about 15 miles from Boston and home to about 2,000 students. Regis College provides cross-registration opportunities with local schools like WPI, Babson, Brandeis, and Bentley College, among others.

6. Simmons University

Simmons University’s School of Nursing offers a variety of some of the best nursing schools in Boston and neighboring communities. The School of Nursing at Simmons University includes nationally recognized and acclaimed faculty. The nursing degree programs offered by Simmons University have received accreditation from the CCNE. Simmons’ first-time pass rate for the NCLEX-RN is 97%, which is significantly higher than the national average pass rate for first time NCLEX-RN test-takers, of 86%, or the Massachusetts average of 90%.

Simmons University operates as an all-women’s school on the bachelor’s level and is coeducational at the graduate level. Established in 1899, Simmons University serves nearly 4,900 undergraduate graduate degree students. Simmons University is a member school of the College of Fenway, which also includes the College of Pharmacy, the College of Art & Design, and Emmanuel College, among others.

7. University of Massachusetts Lowell

The University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Solomont School of Nursing serves the fourth-largest city in the state, Lowell, which is less than 30 minutes from downtown Boston. UMass Lowell, as one of the best nursing schools in Boston, UMass Lowell offers a BSN in nursing, plus several graduate nursing degrees, two of which are fast-tracked accelerated programs. Additionally, UMass Lowell offers a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (with a health promotion focus) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. The CCNE has accredited all nursing degree programs offered by UMass Lowell’s School of Nursing.

The University of Massachusetts, located in Merrimack Valley in Lowell, is one of five member schools that comprise the commonwealth’s university system that was established by the merger of several higher learning institutions in 1894. The university campuses in Lowell are home to more than 18,100 students. UMass Lowell holds the distinction of being the second largest of all universities in Massachusetts.

8. Salem State University

Salem State University’s College of Health & Human Services is among the best nursing schools in Boston and its surrounding communities. Salem State University’s nursing programs are approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration for Nursing and accredited by the CCNE. Among the quality nursing program offers by Salem State University, there are baccalaureate degree options for BSN, LPN to BSN, RN to BSN, and an accelerated BSN for second-degree candidates. Additionally, the university offers graduate nursing degree programs in MSN (with several specialties) and a certificate in nursing education.

Salem State University was established as a teacher’s training normal school in 1854 by famed educator Horace Mann, who was also a member of the US House of Representatives. The university’s six nearby campuses in the port city of Salem, about a half-hour north of Boston, is home to approximately 6,050 students. Salem State University partners with other international higher learning institutions in Mexico, Poland, Italy, China, and Germany.

9. Endicott College

Endicott College’s School of Nursing offers a variety of some of the best nursing schools in Boston with its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), which is accredited by ACEN. Students enrolled in Endicott College’s nursing degree programs are offered diversified clinical experiences and internships with partners and clinical affiliates in Boston and surrounding communities. BSN degree programs can seamlessly transition to a master’s nursing program saving one year of tuition and study time. Endicott College is recognized by US News & World Report among the top regional universities in the northern United States.

Endicott College is a private school that was initially established as a junior college for women in 1939. Endicott College’s campus is located in a suburb of Boston, Beverly, and serves more than 5,400 undergraduate and graduate students. Endicott College is named to honor the first and longest-serving of the colony’s governors and an early administrator of Harvard University.

10. MGH Institute of Health Professions

Mass General Hospital Institute of Health Professions offers a variety of CCNE-accredited and Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN) approved nursing degree programs at various levels. Considered and recognized as one the best nursing schools in Boston, MGH offers an accelerated BSN program that can be finished in only 16 months for those who already hold a baccalaureate degree in an unrelated field. Students enrolled in these nursing program options are offered priority clinical rotations at the famed MGH and other preeminent health care facilities in the Boston area.

MGH (Mass General Hospital) Institute of Health Professions was once the Mass. General Hospital nursing school, which was dissolved upon the creation of the MGH Institute of Health Professions in 1977. Located at the Charlestown Navy Yard, the MGH Institute of Health Professions serves more than 1,450 students. Highlight -MGH Institute of Health Professions offers students cutting edge simulation labs, plus pro-bono rehab centers for local residents.

11. Curry College

Curry College’s School of Nursing was created when the diploma program from the Boston Children’s Hospital merged education resources with Curry College in 1977. Among the nursing programs offered by Curry College, one of the best nursing schools in Boston and surrounding suburbs is an RN to BSN, a traditional BSN degree, an accelerated BSN (for those with unrelated baccalaureate degrees), an MSN, and a Perioperative 101 certificate. It is noted that all of Curry College’s nursing degree programs have received accreditation from the CCNE.

Curry College was established in 1879 as a school of expression and elocution by Boston University alumni Anna Bright and her husband. The school’s campus in the affluent Boston suburb of Milton is only a dozen or so miles from downtown Boston and serves more than 4,650 students. Curry College’s first chancellor, was another BU graduate and famed inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

12. Bunker Hill Community College

Bunker Hill Community College’s Nurse Education Department (BHCC) offers several nursing programs at the associate level, plus a Registered Nurse program, making Bunker Hill Community College among the best nursing schools in Boston. The RN degree programs are offered in traditional on-campus day classes or as a hybrid delivered program, which includes 50% online lectures in addition to the traditional class schedules and clinical rotations. The hybrid nursing RN program is offered from the college’s Charlestown campus.

Bunker Hill Community College was established in 1973 and operates multiple campuses throughout the greater Boston Metropolitan area. BHCC, with more than 13,150 students, is the largest of all the state’s community colleges. The original campus of BHCC was in the Charlestown neighborhood, which was last used as a site for a prison.

13. Emmanuel College

Emmanuel College is considered one of the oldest and best nursing schools in Boston. Emmanuel College offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN) program, an RN to BSN online degree program, and a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program from its Fenway area campus in the Back Bay section of Boston. These nursing degree programs offered by Emmanuel College have been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

Emmanuel College (Emmanuel) was established by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1919. Emmanuel College is one of the member schools that comprise the Colleges of Fenway consortium. More than 2,450 students attend classes offered by the college. Emmanuel College holds the distinction of being the first Catholic higher learning institution in New England that was an all-women’s school.

14. Roxbury Community College

Roxbury Community College, as one of the best nursing schools in Boston, offers an Associate in Science degree (AS) in Nursing that permits students to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam upon graduation. Students enrolled in Roxbury Community College’s nursing programs must devote 4 – 5 days each week to classes, clinical rotations, or labs. RCC is affiliated with many healthcare facilities in and around the Boston area to offer students diverse internship and clinical rotation opportunities.

Roxbury Community College is a two-year college located in the Roxbury section of Boston that was established in 1973. RCC serves more than 2,250 students as a space-grant institution of higher learning and offers a bachelor’s transition program to the nearby school Eastern Nazarene College. Roxbury Community College offers associate level degrees and certificate programs in the arts and sciences.

15. Northern Essex Community College

Northern Essex Community College offers an AS in Nursing that prepares graduates to sit for the national NCLEX-RN exam. NECC is one of the best nursing schools in Boston. Northern Essex Community College has partnered with Regis College to allow students to seamlessly move to a baccalaureate degree in nursing program. Students enrolled in Northern Essex Community College’s AS in nursing program will know they have received an education from an ACEN-accredited nursing degree program. This program requires 70 credit units to meet graduation requirements.

Northern Essex Community College was established in 1961 and operates dual campuses in the Merrimack Valley. The two campuses of NECC are home to more than 6,540 students. Northern Essex Community College is home to the county’s sheriff’s academy and the Methuen Police Academy.

16. North Shore Community College

North Shore Community College’s Health & Human Services Division (NSCC) offers an Associate of Science (AS) degree program in Nursing that prepares graduates to be eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. NSCC, ranked among the best nursing schools in Boston, offers an RN to BSN completion program, a Practical Nursing (PNR) degree, and the associate of science in nursing level degree. Coursework for these degrees includes life continuum nursing, maternal-child health, and contemporary trends & issues in practical nursing, among others.

North Shore Community College is a two-year higher learning institution that was established in 1965 as a community school. NSCC operates several campuses in Middleton, Lynn, and Danvers, MA, serving more than 15,500 students from north Boston to Cape Ann. As a non-profit, public college, students will find tuition is affordable at North Shore Community College.

17. Bay State College

Bay State College offers an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program that offers ADN grads a seamless transition to the RN to BSN degree completion program. Bay State College is recognized as one of the best nursing schools in Boston, offering students the eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN exam after only five semesters of academic study and clinical rotations. Bay State College’s nursing degree programs have received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Bay State College is a for-profit higher learning institution that was established in 1946 in Boston’s Back Bay. Initially, Bay State College was dedicated to the airline industry but eventually moved to grant business, nursing, fashion, and management degrees. Bay State College operates two campuses in the Boston area, plus a dedicated distance learning platform.

18. Framingham State University

Framingham State University, as one of the best nursing schools in Boston, offers several nursing degree programs. At the undergraduate level, FSU offers an RN program, while at the graduate level, Framingham State University offers a Master of Science in Nursing degree (MSN) with a concentration in leadership or in nursing education. Additionally, Framingham State University also provides certificate programs as a graduate certificate in nursing case management or a post-master’s certificate in nursing education or nursing leadership.

Framingham State University is a public space-grant institution of higher education that was established in 1839. The school’s suburban campus in north-central Massachusetts is home to approximately 6,550 students. Framingham State University is situated on the Old Connecticut Trail, which was first settled in the mid-1600s along the Sudbury River.

19. Middlesex Community College

Middlesex Community College’s Academy of Health Professions (MCC) offers a nursing program that is available during the day, nights, or weekends. As recognized among the best nursing schools in Boston, Middlesex Community College also offers an LPN to RN option for those students who meet the program’s advanced placement requirements, if space is available. Middlesex Community College’s nursing programs have received accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Middlesex Community College is a multiple campus (Bedford & Lowell) two-year higher learning institution that serves nearly 12,500 students studying for credit degrees. Established in 1970 on what was once a VA hospital, MCC now offers more than 50 academic degree programs. Middlesex Community College is a member school of the AACC – the American Association of Community Colleges.

20. Fisher College

Fisher College offers an RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program that can be completed entirely online and in only 1.5 years. Recognized among one of the best nursing schools in Boston, Fisher College’s RN to BSN program requires students to complete 120 credit units, of which 72 units are typically transferred at application. This RN to BSN degree program has received accreditation from the CCNE. Classes for this degree include nursing leadership, quantitative reasoning, social justice, and gender issues in American Society, and nursing research for evidence-based practice, among others.

Fisher College (Fisher) is a private institution of higher education that was established in 1903 as a business college. Fisher College operates multiple campuses in Boston, New Bedford, Brockton, and North Attleboro that serve approximately 1,450 students. Fisher College, during the mid-1940s, was divided into an all-men’s and an all-women’s college, and the distance learning division was established in the late 1990s.

How is the Market for Boston Nursing Jobs?

Despite the fact that the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Nursing (BORN) is not a member of the national nursing compact, the commonwealth boasts a total of more than 151,000 active nursing licenses (2018), with about 86% (130,000) of those nursing licenses awarded to Registered Nurses. The remainder of Massachusetts nursing licenses at this level has been awarded as practical nursing licenses.

Many employers tasked with hiring Registered Nurses in the Boston area are, like other nursing professionals throughout the country, are beginning to prefer to fill open Boston nursing jobs a Registered Nurse who has chosen to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). In fact, it is a well-known nursing industry trend that nursing jobs in Boston (and everywhere else in the United States) are beginning to require applicants to either a) holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree at application, or b) earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree within a preset time limit to be eligible to keep their job as a Registered Nurse. 

The job market for Boston nurse practitioner jobs and other nursing jobs in Boston is considered active. Since the year 2000, the number of active APRN – nurse practitioner jobs in Boston and Massachusetts has doubled (by 2018) to nearly 12,200 advanced practice registered nurse licensees.

According to salary.com, the median annual salary for Boston nurse practitioner jobs at the end of 2020 was $124,711 per year, with a range of salaries for nurse practitioner jobs in Boston from $115,700 to $135,400 per year.

Additionally, the metropolitan area of Boston & Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Nashua, New Hampshire (as defined by the BLS) is identified among the top ten metropolitan areas within the United States that offer the highest level of employment for Registered Nurses –

 

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for RN’s

# of Nurses Employed

Nursing Jobs in Boston

NY – NJ – PA 174,210 $ 93,280 per year
Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim, CA 111,780 $ 106,190 per year
Chicago, Naperville, IL – IN – WI 97,030 $ 77,430  per year
Phil, Camden, Wilmington – DE-NJ–PA – MD 71,120 $ 77,640 per year
Dallas, Arlington, Ft Worth, TX 60,620 $ 76,740 per year
Boston, Cambridge, Nashua – MA – NH 58,690 $96,510 per year

 

What is a Nurse’s Salary in Boston?

According to the BLS – the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the fourth top paying state for nursing salaries, with an annual mean salary of $93,160.

According to ziprecruiter.com, entry-level Boston nursing salaries average approximately $64,600 per year; this translates to an hourly Boston nurses salary of $31. To provide some perspective of nursing salaries in Boston, it helps to review the percentile of earnings for each Boston nurse salary –

 

Salary Percentile Data for Nurses Salary in Boston Mass

Entry Level

Boston Nursing

Salaries

Boston Nurses Salary

Per Hour

25% Percentile $   56,174 per year $ 27 per hour
50% Percentile $  64,664 per year $ 31 per hour
75% Percentile $  84,801 per year $ 41 per hour
Top Earners $ 114,609 per year $ 55 per hour

Similarly, Glassdoor.com notes that the median base pay (raw data that has not been adjusted for seasonality or inflation) for nursing salaries in Boston for 2020 was $79,563 per year, which shows a year over year increase of 1.6% (based on 3-month moving averages calculated using a proprietary algorithm.

It is noted that starting nursing salaries in Boston vary greatly, which implies there is much room for growth and opportunity when it comes to examining available nursing salaries in Boston.

Related Rankings:

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15 Best Online RN to BSN Programs in Massachusetts 2019

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Top 10 Highest Paying States For Registered Nurses

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