LPN Programs in Massachusetts with Course Descriptions

There are more than 20 schools in Massachusetts that have LPN programs. Read an overview of the ten largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

In Massachusetts, students interested in studying practical nursing will find several community colleges that offer undergraduate certificate programs in the field. Programs combine lectures with labs and clinical components and typically require completion of 42-47 credit hours. Courses cover anatomy and physiology, psychology, human development, nutrition, pharmacology and patient care. Practical nursing program applicants might have to take a placement test. In addition, some schools require applicants to complete certain prerequisite courses, such as chemistry or biology.

Career Requirements

Practical nurses in Massachusetts are licensed by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. To become a licensed practical nurse (LPN), an individual must graduate from a state-approved practical nursing program, pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) and meet the board's standards for good moral character. Below are brief overviews of ten practical nursing programs approved by the state, followed by a table containing important information about each school.


Berkshire Community College

Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield has a certificate program in practical nursing that runs from the beginning of the fall semester through the end of June. Prior to enrolling, applicants must demonstrate competency in reading and writing; they must also complete courses in English composition, anatomy/physiology and psychology. Nursing courses include family health care and health maintenance of the aging adult; both courses have clinical components. Students get additional hands-on experience during a practicum in gerontology.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nurse Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,678, in-state; $10,294, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; rural

Greenfield Community College

At this college in Greenfield, the practical nursing certificate program requires 43 credits of liberal arts and nursing courses. Students learn about the fundamentals of nursing and family care and hone their skills during clinical work. Courses in introductory psychology and human development are also part of the curriculum.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nursing Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,838, in-state; $10,958, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; rural

Holyoke Community College

At this Holyoke college, practical nursing students can earn a certificate by completing 44 credits of coursework. Two classes in anatomy/human physiology are required, as is a course in human development. Other courses include nutrition, pharmacology and nursing fundamentals. Students can sharpen their nursing skills through clinical experiences and lab work. A grade of C+ or higher is required in all nursing and laboratory science classes.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nursing Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,574, in-state; $8,518, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; rural

Massachusetts Bay Community College

Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley Hills gives practical nursing students the option of day or evening classes. Students attending the day program can earn a certificate in 40 weeks of full-time classes and clinical work from fall through June. The evening program typically covers two academic years and two summer sessions, with classes and clinical experiences held between 4:00 pm and 11:30 p.m. Both the day and evening programs require 49 credit hours. Courses cover family care, nursing for the aged, pharmacology, anatomy and microbiology.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nursing Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,176, in-state; $9,120, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; suburb

Mount Wachusett Community College

The 45-credit practical nursing program at this school is offered in a daytime format, with classes at Mount Wachusett's Gardner campus and labs at the campus in Devens. Before applying to the program, students must complete a basic college math class. The practical nursing curriculum covers mother/child nursing and contemporary nursing issues through classroom work and clinical experience. Students are encouraged to take some of the required general education courses before entering the program.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nurse Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,900, in-state; $9,820, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; rural

North Shore Community College

At North Shore Community College in Danvers, students can earn a certificate in practical nursing with ten months of study that begin in the fall and run through June. Admission requirements include proving proficiency in math and communication through testing or coursework. The program totals 42 credits and includes courses in anatomy/physiology, nutrition, human development and pharmacology. Students learn about mother/child nursing, life continuum care and vocational trends in practical nursing through classroom lectures, labs and clinical work in area healthcare facilities.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nursing Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,056, in-state; $9,624, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; suburb

Northern Essex Community College

Admission to the 47-credit practical nursing program at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill is competitive, and there may be a waiting list. Applicants must have taken a chemistry class and either a biology or human anatomy class in high school or college. Students get classroom, lab and clinical training in nursing skills; they also take classes in pharmacology and psychology.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nursing Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,768, in-state; $9,552, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; rural

Quincy College

Practical nursing students can earn a certificate at this college in Quincy. The program is available in a ten-month full-time day format and a two-year part-time format, in which classes are offered in the late afternoon and evening three days a week. Admission requirements include a placement test and proof of writing competency. The practical nursing program consists of 44 credits, including courses in human development, college math, nutrition and microbiology. Students learn about the fundamentals of nursing, nursing care for adults and medical/surgical nursing.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nurse Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $4,321*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; small city

Quinsigamond Community College

In Worcester, Quinsigamond Community College offers a certificate in practical nursing through a 46-credit program of day or evening classes. Students take courses in biology, psychology, pharmacology and lifespan development. Nursing topics include mental health nursing and caring for the elderly, pediatric care and nursing leadership. The nursing courses include clinical experiences in area healthcare facilities.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nursing Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $5,094, in-state; $10,038, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; midsize city

Roxbury Community College

In Roxbury Crossing, Roxbury Community College practical nursing students can earn a certificate after a preparatory semester and three full semesters of study. Admission to the program is competitive, and applicants must demonstrate proficiency in intermediate algebra and biology through a placement test. Practical nursing students must take an English composition class before enrolling in general psychology and human development courses during the preparatory semester. The nursing curriculum includes an introductory course and two practical nursing courses that have classroom, lab and clinical components.

  • Program Offered: Practical Nursing Certificate
  • Tuition & Fees (2012-2013): $3,962, in-state; $9,266, out-of-state*
  • School Type & Setting: Two-year, public; large city

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting LPN Programs Offered Tuition and Fees (2012-2013)
Berkshire Community College Two-year, public; rural Practical Nurse Certificate $4,678, in-state; $10,294, out-of-state*
Greenfield Community College Two-year, public; rural Practical Nursing Certificate $4,838, in-state; $10,958, out-of-state*
Holyoke Community College Two-year, public; rural Practical Nursing Certificate $3,574, in-state; $8,518, out-of-state*
Massachusetts Bay Community College Two-year, public; suburb Practical Nursing Certificate $4,176, in-state; $9,120, out-of-state*
Mount Wachusett Community College Two-year, public; rural Practical Nurse Certificate $4,900, in-state; $9,820, out-of-state*
North Shore Community College Two-year, public; suburb Practical Nursing Certificate $4,056, in-state; $9,624, out-of-state*
Northern Essex Community College Two-year, public; rural Practical Nursing Certificate $3,768, in-state; $9,552, out-of-state*
Quincy College Two-year, public; small city Practical Nurse Certificate $4,321*
Quinsigamond Community College Two-year, public; midsize city Practical Nursing Certificate $5,094, in-state; $10,038, out-of-state*
Roxbury Community College Two-year, public; large city Practical Nursing Certificate $3,962, in-state; $9,266, out-of-state*

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.

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