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A Look at Nursing in Massachusetts

If you are a registered nurse, you already know that the healthcare industry is changing rapidly. From advanced medical technologies to evidence-based practice, today’s RNs have a lot to keep up with.

RN to BSN programs offer a path for ADN- and diploma-prepared RNs to prepare for changing needs in healthcare. What is more, many nursing practice settings, including hospitals, now require or prefer at least a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).

Fitchburg State University’s affordable online RN to BS in Nursing program prepares RNs in Massachusetts and surrounding states to keep pace with the evolving healthcare landscape. What’s worth noting is that Fitchburg State made the list for U.S. News & World Report’sBest Online Bachelor’s Programs.” This CCNE-accredited program’s online format also supports RNs who are balancing school, work and personal responsibilities.

How Do RN Salaries in Massachusetts Stack Up?

Geographic location is one factor that can affect salary. RNs in Massachusetts can expect higher salaries than in almost every other state in the country. The only states where RNs earn more are California, Hawaii and the District of Columbia.

The outlook for RNs in Massachusetts gets even better based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data:

  • Overall, RNs in Massachusetts earn a mean salary of $92,140 per year. This is quite a bit more than the average salary of $63,910 for all other occupations in Massachusetts.
  • At the high end, RNs in Massachusetts earn $131,710 per year.
  • Looking at metropolitan areas, RNs in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton area earn an average of $95,270 per year.

While the BLS salary figures above include information for RNs with and without a BSN, it helps to look at PayScale salary data, specifically national averages for RNs ($63,000 per year) and RNs with a BSN ($82,000 per year) to get a sense of the salary-boosting potential of a BSN.

Where Do Most Nurses Work?

Nationally, hospitals are by far the largest employers of RNs. In Massachusetts, this includes numerous Magnet hospitals. This designation demonstrates a commitment to nursing excellence and high-quality patient care. When it comes to working conditions, American Nurse Today reports that Magnet hospitals have a higher percentage of satisfied RNs.

Healthcare is one of the largest workforce sectors in Massachusetts. As of May 2018, 80,630 RNs were employed in the state. Partners HealthCare, founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, is the state’s largest employer. Steward Health Care is also among the state’s five largest employers.

Staffing is a common concern for RNs, and it can influence nurse retention and patient care. The American Nurses Association (ANA) reports that only 14 states currently have laws and regulations that address staffing in hospitals. Massachusetts is one of those states. For RNs working in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), the law requires a 1:1 or 1:2 nurse to patient ratio, depending on the patient’s needs.

School nursing can be an appealing option for RNs. Massachusetts has nearly one million public and charter-school students. School nurses play an important role in promoting healthy kids, schools and communities. Massachusetts requires that school nurses have at least a BSN, along with an active RN license.

The outlook for RNs in Massachusetts is strong. The state offers some of the highest salaries in the profession. In addition, the projected job growth of 14.8 percent is much faster than the average for all occupations. With Fitchburg State University’s online RN to BS in Nursing program, RNs can graduate in just 12 months, ready to take the next steps in their careers.

Learn more about Fitchburg State’s online RN to BS in Nursing program.


U.S. News & World Report: Fitchburg State University

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2018 – Registered Nurses

Glassdoor: Registered Nurse Salaries in Boston, MA Area

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates – Massachusetts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: May 2018 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates – Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates – North Central Massachusetts Area

Boston Business Journal: Massachusetts’ Largest Employers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses – Work Environment

American Nurse Today: Value of Attaining Magnet Recognition

ANA: Nurse Staffing

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: 2018-19 Enrollment by Grade Report (District) Mandatory Continuing Education for Nurses Long-Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026)

PayScale: RN Salary

PayScale: BSN Salary

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