Being stuck in a job that you don’t like, making less money than you deserve, or being unsure if automation is going to take your work away next year can leave you feeling frustrated and anxious. When you have already completed a degree, you can feel trapped in the positions that it affords you. It can be especially difficult when you hear about the high demand for medical professionals such as registered nurses (RNs) whose job outlook is twice that of the average job with employment nearly guaranteed once the proper license is obtained.
Changing course to an RN license may sound like it will be difficult and consume a large amount of time, but the desperate need for nurses has prompted many schools to create accelerated programs for a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) that cut the time down to just what is needed to supplement the education of those wishing to swap careers. Although RNs have the same title and licensing test across the education spectrum, higher degrees gain access to more advanced positions with more pay, more responsibility, and more potential for growth. Both RNs and those with Bachelor’s are thus in a prime position to take advantage of that need to move ahead in their careers.
This list gathers together the best accelerated nursing programs in Massachusetts and condenses them to brief information about the school and the program. Use it as a guide to narrow down your list of schools, then seek out more information from the school directly as they may have additional resources or information that can help you make your choice.
The MGH Institute of Health Professions is a graduate school in Boston that is affiliated with Partners HealthCare which includes the namesake Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and a dozen more hospitals in the Boston area. In addition to the nursing school, the institute operates schools for therapists and counselors. Students who have already earned a Bachelor’s can add a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to their resume in just 16 months through the accelerated BSN program. The direct-entry Masters in Nursing program allows Bachelor holders to become a specialized nurse in fields like pediatrics and psychiatry within 3 years. Classes are kept to sizes of just a few students which gives you ample instructor time before you include extracurricular assistance.
The College of Our Lady of the Elms is a Catholic liberal arts college located down the road from Springfield in Chicopee that has been educating students for almost 100 years in areas like mathematics, teaching, and nursing. The college traces its spiritual history to the Sisters of St. Joseph, a congregation of Catholic women and associates who have worked to promote justice and peace around the country and the world since its founding in 1650. The accelerated second degree in nursing is a versatile 20-month program that is open to students with an associate’s or higher in any field. The school garnered notice when 100% of the students who took the NCLEX-RN passed, and students laud the small school’s tight-knit atmosphere that fosters a healthy and safe learning environment. For those who would like to participate in a collegiate sport for exercise, camaraderie, and the experience, Elms’ boasts a number of successful Division III sports teams for men and women – most of the latter coming from the school of nursing.
The Richard and Sheila Young School of Nursing at Regis College is a private Catholic university that enrolls approximately 3,000 students every year. The school’s campus resides in Weston, 12 miles out from the city of Boston. Nursing students receive clinical practice at medical facilities like the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Franciscan Hospital. There are numerous accelerated programs that can tailor the progression of your educational career to your situation, including accelerated BSNs and MSNs for graduates and RN-to-BSN and RN-to-MSN tracks for current RNs looking to kickstart their career.
The University of Massachusetts is a public research university – the only one in the state – that has five separate subdivisions located across the state, and three of them make an appearance on this list. The first is the campus in Dartmouth, a city on the southeastern coast of the state full of vineyards and plenty of fish. UMassD is one of the cheapest schools on this list at just $679 per credit hour for a program that is comparable to any other option, so bargain-hunting students should look a bit further. Unlike other accelerated BSN programs, UMassD’s ups the convenience level by including courses with online elements into the curriculum to give you more freedom to choose when, where, and how you complete your education. The school frequently helps students in the nursing program with their tuition, such as when Christine Fournier Bell received a $10,000 grant from Jonas Philanthropies that was matched by the school.
Named for the city that hosts it, Salem State University has helped the community advance far from the days of the infamous witch trials into a flourishing community of scholars who help change the world. The nursing school at Salem State slips in with one of the fastest ABSN programs at just 15 months to completion, beginning in May and ending at the second August after that. While the NCLEX-RN pass rate for the school has not been exceptionally high, it is within striking distance of the state average and comes with a low price on the tag. If you are confident in your ability to succeed on your own, the school still offers a valuable educational experience with a speedy and inexpensive track. You can also stop by the Salem Witch Trial museum when you’re not in class!
Our second UMass school on the list is the flagship campus at Amherst. Like its sister school, the NCLEX-RN pass rates are just slightly above the state average with the school’s lower cost compared to the private institutes bumping it up the rankings. You get all of the state university amenities that you would expect, including the enjoyment of varsity sports teams like hockey and basketball. Accelerated BSN students will finish a 17-month program at the UMass Center in Springfield, a short drive south on I-91.
In the heart of the busy college town of Boston, the small Simmons University quietly delivers an amazing college experience that belies its minuscule stature. The school has been named a Best College by multiple publications, including Forbes, the Princeton Review, and the US News & World Report. The accelerated program at Simmons expects you to complete your BSN then progress to an MSN, requiring more overall time and cost than just achieving your BSN. Still, the option is faster than going back through the BSN program, so those who know they plan to pursue an MSN after they earn their BSN. You won’t find a football stadium with the school’s name emblazoned on the scoreboard, but you will find plenty of qualified instructors who will give you a nursing education that should prepare you to take on the NCLEX-RN with ease. RNs can either enroll in the BSN track for RN holders or jump ahead while working around their busy schedule with the online RN-to-MSN program.
Curry College’s primary location sits on a lush 131-acre campus outside of Boston in the town of Milton that sets a gorgeous backdrop for reading a textbook on a sunny afternoon or having a talk with peers and mentors. In addition to numerous other BSN, MSN, and post-master’s supplemental education options, anyone with a Bachelor’s can become a nurse in 16 months through the accelerated BSN program. Each accelerated nursing session is limited to just 30 students. While this can make the admission process more competitive, it also provides a stellar student-to-faculty ratio that will guarantee instructor time is available when you need it. The school sponsors a dozen Division III sports teams for men and women, numerous club sports, and a large fitness center for ample physical activity to stimulate your body while the coursework stimulates your mind.
Despite its unassuming name, Northeastern University is a radiant school that will fulfill any ambitious student of nursing’s needs. The private research institute has graced Boston and the rest of the world with advances in science as an R1 research facility with the highest level of doctoral-level research being conducted, as determined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning. You can start on a path towards becoming a research nurse with a 16-month accelerated BSN for current Bachelor students, potentially continuing on to the MSN and DNP programs that have been ranked nationally by the US News & World Report. You’ll have access to plenty of research material between Snell Library’s millions of physical items, a large digital library, and three computer labs. The school’s sports team compete in Division I.
MCPHS is a private institution focused on delivering degrees and certifications within the medical field at its locations in Boston and Worcester in Massachusetts and Manchester in New Hampshire. The MCPHS accelerated BSN program is designed for fresh-faced students who want to get to their BSN as quickly as possible. While the course is longer than the ones intended for current Bachelor’s degree holders, the cost and speed are better than you might find at other private institutions. RNs will find an accelerated track to a BSN that is much faster at just 43 credit hours.
Schools were ranked by three primary criteria valued at the same level. The first measurement was by their program length to put a focus on the “accelerated” part of the list, ranking the fastest programs higher than slower rates. The second is the NCLEX-RN pass rates to judge them by their ability to provide students with a quality education that prepares them to pass their exam and move onto a career. Lastly, the tuition was used to let the free hand of the market have a say in how attractive each school is.
If you have taken an accelerated program, are a faculty member, or have more information about one of the schools on the list, please contact us to share your information. Any additional insights may help a prospective student find a school that fits them better, so consider your contribution a service to future generations of nurses.
NCLEX-RN Pass Rates – https://www.nursingexplorer.com/states/massachusetts
RN Job Growth – Bureau of Labor Statistics – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-6
RN Pay – Bureau of Labor Statistics – https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm#tab-5