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Registered Nurse Certification in Massachusetts

Registered nurse certification in Massachusetts enhances the skills, knowledge, and capabilities of a nurse and makes them the most vital part of the team of health care professionals. The certification in the state is issued by the Professional Credential Services, which aims to improve the well being of the residents by offering them easy access to health care services, promoting the physical condition and quality of life.

Requirements for Acquiring RN Licensure in MA

1. Examination

You must meet all the below requirements to obtain licensure in the state:

  • Pay the application fee via credit card or money order made payable to the “PCS.” Personal checks will not be accepted.
  • Provide U.S. Social Security Number (SSN).
  • If you have completed your graduation from a nursing program whose language of textbooks or instruction, or both, was other than English, then you are required to demonstrate English proficiency before taking the NCLEX-RN. You can submit any one of the following as a proof of English proficiency directly to the Board:
    • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): minimum passing scores of 560 in Paper Administration, 220 in computer-based and 83 in internet-based TOEFL.
    • CGFNS (Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools): Qualifying Examination Certificate issued prior to 7/15/98.
    • PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic): minimum overall scores of 55 with no individual section below 50.
    • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): with overall band score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6 in all modules.
    • CELBAN (Canadian English Language Benchmark Assessment for Nurses): minimum passing scores of CLB 8 in speaking, CLB 9 in listening, CLB 8 in reading, and CLB 7 in writing.
  • Verify graduation status from the administrators of your nursing program situated in the United States or its territories.

2. Reciprocity

The applicants requesting for RN licensure by reciprocity in Massachusetts are required to meet all the following eligibility conditions:

  • Some requirements (I-III) are similar to those mentioned above for licensure by examination.
  • Obtain passing scores either in NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) exam or SBTPE (State Board Test Pool Examination) exam. If you took the State Board examination in Puerto Rico, then you are not eligible for Massachusetts licensure by reciprocity. Only if you are licensed by giving NCLEX-RN exam, then you can apply for licensure.
  • Attach a 2” x 2” passport-size photograph.
  • Provide verification of all RN licensure in all jurisdictions where you are currently or have ever been certified. You may use where your license will be posted on the Nursys website for 90 days after paying the required fee.
    • If your state of licensure does not use Nursys License Verification System, then complete the authorization portion of “Verification of Nurse Licensure by Reciprocity” form.
    • Send the “Verification of Nurse Licensure by Reciprocity” form and fees directly to your nursing Board in that country or jurisdiction. Request that respective board to complete and mail it directly to PCS.
  • If you are licensed in Canada, then you must meet the following eligibility for reciprocity:
    • Complete graduation from an RN program accredited by the nursing board or other corresponding body in that province of Canada where you were certified as an RN by examination (CNATS Exam or CNATS Comprehensive Exam). If you have qualified the CNATS examination before August 1, 1955, you must obtain a score as indicated in one of the below given exams:
      • Passing score on the SBTPE (State Board Testing Pool Examination) before August 1, 1970; or
      • Score greater than 400 in every section of the CNATS between August 1, 1970 and August 1, 1980; or
      • Score greater than 400 on the CNATS Comprehensive examination between August 1, 1980 and August 1, 1995. You will not be considered eligible for reciprocity, if you have passed CNATS after August 1, 1995.
    • If you have completed your graduation in a nursing program whose language of education is other than English or took the CNATS Comprehensive Examination or CNATS Examination in French, then you must submit proof of English proficiency.

Foreign Educated Applicants Applying By Examination

1. Canadian Graduates

The requirements for applicants who have completed their graduation from Canada include:

  • Pass NCLEX exam.
  • Complete graduation from a Board approved nursing education program.
  • If your education was in any other language than English, then you are required to demonstrate English proficiency.
  • Complete and submit the “Certification of Graduation from a Board Approved Nursing Education Program Located in Canada.” Click the link provided below to downloaded the form:
  • Enclose the non-transferable, non-refundable processing fee of $50 to the PCS (Professional Credentialing Services).
  • Submit the following supporting documents:
    • Complete any 1 of the following:
      • Evidence of graduation completion from a nursing program in Canada, which must be approved by the Board
      • CertiCGFNS1 Qualifying Examination Certificate embossed by CGFNS
      • VisaScreenTM Certificate embossed by International Commission on Health Professions
      • CGFNS CES (Credentials Evaluation Services) Professional Report, which must include both the Science and Nursing license or registration validation option and course-by-course report, embossed with CGFNS or a CES Report posted at the CGFNS website so that the PCS can access from the website.
    • Fill the Applicant Information section of the “Verification of Nurse Licensure by Canadian Province or Territory,” and send it to licensing authority in all Canadian territories or/and state where you presently hold certification or have ever been licensed as an RN.
  • Demonstrate English Proficiency (if applicable). (Refer point number III of requirements to obtain RN license by examination).
  • After submitting all the above documents, the Board will process them. If you are found eligible, you will be notified by the PCS and an Application for Initial Licensure as a Nurse by Examination with the instruction packet will be provided. Complete the licensure application.
  • You must also provide your Social Security Number.

2. All Other Foreign Educated Applicants

All requirements are same as mentioned above (Canadian graduates) except the point number IV.

Complete the Certification of Graduation from a Board approved nursing education program located outside of the United States and the territories of American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and U.S. Virgin Islands. Click the following link to download the application:

Procedure to Obtain RN License in Massachusetts

1. Examination

The procedure to obtain registered nurse certification in Massachusetts is:

Step 1: Download the licensure application by examination using the following link:

Step 2: Thoroughly read all the instructions mentioned in the form prior filling it.

Step 3: Mail the completed application and the required fee to the following Board office address:

Professional Credential Services
ATTN: MA Nursing
P.O. Box 198788
Nashville, Tennessee- 37219

Step 4: Register for the licensure examination, NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses) with the Pearson VUE Professional Testing at the same time you submit the licensure application form. A registration fee of $200 is charged. You can complete the registration procedure online. Click the link-

Select “Register” option after opening the above link. The registration fee can be paid via MasterCard, or Visa Card.

Step 5: Download the NCLEX Candidate Bulletin, which essentially gives all the detailed information regarding testing procedures and the test content.

Step 6: After submission of your completed licensure application by examination and fee to the Board and registering and paying fee with the testing vendor, Pearson VUE, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) in about two business days via e-mail provided by you during registration process.

Step 7: After receiving ATT, schedule the exam via telephone or online within 60 calendar days.

Step 8: You will receive official results by U.S. Mail from PCS in approximately 10 business days subsequent to taking the NCLEX.

Step 9: You may view your license number on the Board’s website in around five business days subsequent to passing the NCLEX.

2. Reciprocity

The applicants applying for Massachusetts licensure by reciprocity are required to follow the below procedure.

  • Download the licensure application using the following link:
  • Read the instructions mentioned in the form.
  • Request each state of licensure to submit license verification, whether active and inactive, directly to the Professional Credential Services. You may use any of the following ways:
  • PCS will review your licensure application and verification and check the completeness and correctness within three business days of receipt. If the documents are incomplete, you will be notified of all the differences via mail or email.
  • Instantaneously, PCS will also submit information to Massachusetts Board electronically.
  • The license numbers will be posted within 24 hours (1 business day) of approval on the Massachusetts Board of Nursing’s website.
  • The official license will be received in approximately 21 business days via mail.

Re-take Licensure Exam

Follow the below procedure to re-take the licensure exam.

  • Re-register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX. You may register online or via telephone. If you have submitted the previous licensure application within the last 1 year, then you are not required to register again.
  • You will be eligible to re-take the licensure exam only after 45 days from the date you took the previous exam.
  • Re-apply with Professional Credential Services and pay the fee of $80 by completing and submitting an application or over the phone (877-887-9727), indicating ‘REPEAT’ for applicant type.
  • Subsequent to registering with both the Pearson VUE and PCS, you will receive a new ATT within 1-2 days of approval.
  • Schedule and take the licensure examination by contacting the Pearson VUE.
  • The result will be obtained in about 10 days from PCS subsequent to the examination.

Verification of Licensure

To verify your Massachusetts license, choose any one of the following options:

    • Profession
    • License Type
    • First Name
    • Last Name
    • License Number
    • License Status
    • City
    • State
    • Zip code

Renewal of RN License

All RN licenses in Massachusetts require renewal after every 3 years. You must complete 15 contact hours of continuing education within the specified renewal period.

Use the following link to renew online:

Duplicate License

To apply for duplicate licensure, you can use any of the following ways:


Click the following link to view the complete licensure fee structure:

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