Massachusetts Nurse Practitioner Licensure Steps - 2022

AKA: NP License in MA, APRN Licensure

Last Reviewed: October 1st, 2022

Nurse Practitioner Licensure Requirements in Massachusetts

Follow below to learn how to become a nurse practitioner (NP) in Massachusetts.

Initial Registered Nurse (RN) License

Already have your RN License?Skip to the next section

All prospective NPs must hold a valid registered nurse (RN) license to practice in Massachusetts when they are applying for their license. If you do not have an MA RN license, the licensing process is completed via one of two routes: RN by Examination and RN by Endorsement.

RN by Examination

This is the application route for recent graduates of board-approved nursing programs who have never been licensed to practice as RNs in Massachusetts or any other state in the US.

  • The minimum academic qualification is an associate’s degree; however, prospective NPs may want to consider earning a bachelor’s degree. The application process is usually completed online for a fee of $230. If you completed your education program in Massachusetts, your transcript containing your date of graduation and the type of degree awarded will be sent to the board by your awarding institution. However, if you were educated outside Massachusetts, you will need to request that your transcript be sent from your awarding institution to the board.
  • Foreign-trained nurses, including those who were trained in Canada, must have their credentials evaluated by the CGFNS and the report of this evaluation must be made available to the board. An alternative is the take the CGFNS certification examination and make the results available to the board. Those who were not trained in English must take and pass any of the board-approved English proficiency tests.
  • All those who apply via this route must take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) which can be registered for online at PearsonVue for $200. You will need to register for the exam after completing the online RN licensure application as this allows the board to notify the exam vendors of your eligibility to test. After they have been notified, they will send you an Authorization to Test (ATT) via email. If you fail the test on the first attempt, you will be allowed to retake it after 45 days. However, you will have to re-register. Applicants from Canada will also be required to fill and submit proof of graduation from a board-approved nursing program located in Canada and verification of nurse licensure by a Canadian province or territory. Both forms can be found here.

RN by Endorsement

]This is the route of application for nurses who have been licensed in another state or territory in the US.

  • Applicants who choose this route must have graduated from a board-approved nursing program or an equivalent and have passed the NCLEX-RN.
  • Applicants trained outside Massachusetts or the country are required to have their credentials evaluated by the CGFNS as was covered in the last section. Those trained in a language other than English must also pass board-approved English proficiency tests.
  • All applicants must verify all nursing licenses they hold. This is usually done using the Nursys platform for $30. If your board does not report to Nursys, you must contact them concerning their procedure and fees for verification of licensure.
  • The application for this license is completed online for a fee of $275 per application.

RN licenses expire every two years on your birthday. All applicants are required to be of good standing hence all operational sanctions and past convictions and felonies must be declared.

Applicants are required to authorize a fingerprint-based criminal background check to be done on them during the application. No license will be issued unless a social security number or an affidavit in support of your application for a license.

Advanced Education Requirement

Prospective nurse practitioners must have completed a graduate level NP preparatory program that is accredited by one of the national nursing accrediting bodies.

The program must be at least one year long and lead to the award of at least a master’s degree upon completion. It must also include coursework and clinical components and prepare participants to take up NP roles, serving specific population foci.

The coursework component should include advanced pharmacotherapy, advanced pathophysiology, and physical assessment. The pharmacology contact hours must be at least 24 hours more than that required for a basic nursing degree.

For NPs that will apply for prescriptive authority, you must have completed courses about effective pain management, patient counseling for medications, and handling prescription medicines.

Find all schools offering nurse practitioner degree programs in Massachusetts.

National Certification

Once you have completed your advanced nursing practice education, you will need to seek national certification by a board-approved certifying agency. These agencies certify individuals on an examination basis. They organize exams for prospective certification holders who have completed an approved program as they have been delegated the task of determining if one’s NP education is sufficient.

Hence, it is safer to contact the national agency that certifies professionals in your chosen specialty area before choosing a program to participate in and after the completion of the said program. This will help you understand their educational requirements and the procedure for certification. Here are the approved agencies for certification of NP to practice in Massachusetts:

  • National Certification Corporation (NCC)
  • Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB)
  • American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP)
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
  • American Association of Critical-care Nurses (AACN)

Getting Licensed to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner in Massachusetts

The board welcomes applications from RNs who have completed a post-basic nursing program preparing one for the role of an NP serving one or more population foci. The application process is completed online for a fee of $150.

You are required to provide proof of your valid RN license to practice in Massachusetts which can be done using the Nursys platform for $30.

Proof of your advanced practice education is also required in form of the final transcript sent from your awarding institution to the board. The transcript must contain your date of graduation and the type of degree awarded. In addition to this, you must submit proof of your coursework showing that the program included pathophysiology, advanced physical assessment, and pharmacotherapeutics.

National certification is another important requirement for APRN licensure. Hence, you must provide proof of current certification by a board-approved national certification agency. You may request that such proof be sent by the agency to the board.

All applicants for an NP license to practice in Massachusetts must be of good moral character as defined by Massachusetts state law.

Finally, you must give approval for a fingerprint-based criminal background check to be done on you at the state and federal levels.