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Top 6 Tips for Nursing Students to Find a Strong Program

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Liz Cooper


FRAMINGHAM, MA (June 2018) — MassBay Community College currently offers Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) programs and Practical Nursing (PN) programs designed to prepare students for careers in the nursing field. MassBay’s Nursing education program also prepares students to take the National Council Licensure Examination and ranks at the top of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing Licensure with a 100% pass rate for both Associate Degree Nursing (RN) and Practical Nursing (LPN) students in 2017.

There are several things to consider when deciding on what nursing program fits your lifestyle, while also giving you the greatest path to success in completing the degree. When prospective students are looking for a nursing program here are the top 6 areas to look at before deciding on a college or university.

  1. Look at Exam Pass Rates
    The National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (or NCLEX) is the exam all nursing students must take after graduation and before they can begin practicing in the nursing field. In 2017 MassBay student’s had a 100% pass rate for the NCLEX on their first try of taking this critical exam. All College and University Nursing programs in Massachusetts are required by law to report their exam scores to Board of Registration in Nursing and they are posted on the state’s website (visit here for more information and to view student pass rates by Colleges:
  2. Check the College’s Regulatory Status and Accreditation
    Nursing is a highly regulated field, and the Board of Registration in Nursing (BORN) monitors schools closely. Several program have been closed in Massachusetts in recent years due to loss of accreditation or failure to comply with BORN standards. Other nursing schools are at risk and have been placed “on warning”, which means they have a limited amount of time to improve their programs. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) maintains a list of accredited programs, any schools on “warning” will have an ACEN accreditation stipulation listed on the ACEN site. MassBay has full ACEN accreditation and BORN approval and has been held up as a model for other programs.
  3. Ask About the Curriculum
    What type of curriculum does the program offer? How will this curriculum prepare you to work in healthcare? Concept-based curricula support evidence-based education. Concept-based instruction is very different from the traditional lecture format, and this method has been demonstrated to best prepare students by providing the critical thinking skills required to function in a changing healthcare environment. MassBay leads Massachusetts with a vetted, nationally recognized concept-based curriculum that successfully prepares candidates with the skills and competencies deemed essential by employers. In 2017, all students who sought employment as registered nurses reported success in securing jobs.
  4. Be Aware of Waiting Lists
    Some colleges have a wait list time of one or two years, other have no wait list. Be sure to ask about the length of the wait list, and whether that includes time for taking pre-requisite lab science courses.
  5. Calculate the Cost of the Program
    Some programs can cost up to $25,000* per semester for nursing programs. There are ways to save money, while getting a quality education to earn that degree. Some Associate Degree programs, have affiliations with RN to BSN programs, saving you time and money. Students admitted to MassBay’s ADN program are offered admission to both Emmanuel College and Framingham State University’s RN to BSN programs (contingent on successfully graduating from MassBay and passing the NCLEX).
  6. Explore the Campus Location
    Be sure to select a nursing program that is conveniently located. Nursing programs are time-intensive, and minimizing time spent commuting will maximize the time you can spend with family and friends. If you are in need of housing, ask the Admissions Office if they have affordable local options or dorms.

For more information on MassBay Community College:

*The cost of programs can be found at

MassBay Community College was recently ranked by the Brookings Institution as one of the top schools for value added and earned salaries in the workforce. Ranked #1 for 2-year colleges in Massachusetts, #2 in New England and ranked #16 nationally. The College’s facilities in Wellesley Hills, Framingham and Ashland house day, evening and weekend classes that meet the needs of degree-seeking students and career minded life-long learners. Online options provide convenience and allow faculty to facilitate the learning process. Since its founding in 1961, MassBay has been accredited by several governing bodies and strives to meet the needs of the diverse local communities it serves.