To practice nursing in Massachusetts (MA) you must hold and maintain a valid, current license issued by the MA Board of Registration in Nursing (Board). M.G.L. c. 112, § 80B and 244 CMR 9.02 define the practice of nursing which includes, but is not limited to, the provision of a nursing service by a nurse physically located outside MA to a person physically located within MA using telecommunications technology, seeking or accepting any paid or voluntary position as a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or any paid or voluntary position requiring that the applicant hold a valid license to practice nursing.
Graduates of RN and LPN programs can not accept employment in nursing positions (including orientation to a nursing position) until after they have been issued a valid, current license by the Board.
MA licensed nurses are responsible for complying with MGL c. 112, s.s. 74 through 81C, Board regulations and any other laws and regulations related to licensure and nursing practice including state tax and child support laws, mandatory reporting laws and continuing education requirements.
Visit our website at www.mass.gov/dph/boards/rn for statutes and regulations, advisory rulings, guidelines, forms, newsletters and the latest information about nursing schools, RN, LPN and APRN practice, license verification, complaint resolution, answers to frequently asked questions and much more.
RENEWAL ELIGIBILTY REQUIREMENTS: As part of the renewal process, you will be required to attest under penalties of perjury that you have complied with 1) state tax and child support laws, 2) mandatory reporting laws, and 3) Board laws and regulations, including continuing education requirements.
LICENSE RENEWAL: Effective 10/1/11, the Board will mail one-page “renewal reminders” to nurses instead of the three-page license renewal form. The renewal reminder will direct nurses to the Division of Health Professions Licensure website at www.mass.gov/dph/boards/rn to renew their license online. Online license renewal is the fastest and most convenient way to renew. Nurses can quickly and easily renew their nursing license 24/7 through a secure Internet connection using VISA or MasterCard, or an electronic check. Once the online renewal process is complete, the nurse’s renewed license status will immediately appear on the Board’s license verification site.
The Board will no longer automatically mail out the paper renewal application. However, the renewal reminder, which will be mailed to the nurse’s last known address of record approximately 90 days before the license expiration date, will include information on how to request a paper renewal form. Payment for renewals completed by mail can only be made by check or money order payable to the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” Write licensee name and number of front of payment. Cash, foreign currency and electronic funds transfer will not be accepted.
Nurses will also complete the biennial Nursing Workforce Survey with their on-line renewal process. A collaborative effort of the MA nursing community, the survey is designed to create an accurate picture of the Commonwealth’s nursing workforce which is vital to the implementation of relevant, evidence-based health care policy.
RN's renew in even years and LPN's renew in odd years. Individuals who hold both an RN and LPN license can keep both licenses current. To do so, you must renew and pay a renewal fee for each license. MA nursing licenses have two designations: “Current” or “Expired”. If you do not renew your license by the expiration date at 5:00 pm (or 11:59 pm if renewing on line), your license becomes “Expired” automatically. A nursing license can not be placed on “Inactive” status.
Practice with an expired license is illegal and grounds for Board discipline. A civil administrative penalty for unlicensed practice of up to $2,500 and/or six months of imprisonment may be imposed [ref: M.G.L. c.112, § 65A]. To renew your license, complete the process at the Board’s website or contact the Board by email to request a paper renewal form.
Your written or digital signature at the time of license renewal attests under the penalties of perjury that you have complied with applicable laws and regulations. The Board will mail your paper license indicating your license type and number within 21 days of processing.
CHANGES IN NAME, ADDRESS: To ensure timely license renewal, notify the Board within 30 days of any change to your address of record [ref: 244 CMR 9.03(27)]. The address printed on your license is a public record. Address changes can be made online. Name change requests must be in writing. Visit our website for name and address change request forms. Requests will be processed within one business day of receipt.
CHANGES IN U.S. SSN: The Division of Health Professions Licensure is required by law (M.G.L. ch.30A, s. 113A and ch.119A, §16) to collect the SSN of every licensee. The MA licensed nurse is required to have a valid and accurate SSN of record in order to renew a license. If you are submitting a SSN for the first time, correcting an inaccurate SSN or have been assigned a new SSN, complete and submit an Affidavit to Verify Social Security Number form found on our website under Licensing. Affidavits will be processed within one business day of receipt.
DUTY TO REPORT: A nurse who directly observes another nurse engage in any of the following must report that nurse to the Board in accordance with Board guidelines: 1) patient abuse; 2) nursing practice impaired by substance abuse; and/or 3) controlled substance diversion [ref: 244 CMR 9.03(26)].
CONTINUING EDUCATION (CE): To demonstrate continued competence to practice nursing, 15 contact hours of nursing CE are required every 2 years for license renewal. All CE programs or college courses must meet the 244 CMR 5.00 criteria. One contact hour = 50 consecutive minutes of study. One college credit (for an acceptable course) = 15 contact hours. You must maintain your CE record(s) for 2 renewal periods. If this is your first license renewal, you are not required to provide evidence of CE. Board approval of individual CE programs or of specific CE providers is not required.
ADVANCED PRACTICE REGISTERED NURSES (APRN): To practice as a Nurse Practitioner (RN/NP), Nurse Midwife (RN/NM), Nurse Anesthetist (RN/NA), or Psychiatric Nurse Mental Health Clinical Specialist (RN/PC), you must hold a current, valid RN license and obtain written Board authorization in accordance with Board regulations. A state controlled substances registration and a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration registration are required to order or prescribe medication. To maintain APRN authorization, you must hold current MA RN licensure and current certification from a Board-recognized national professional organization and meet all certification requirements mandated by that organization. APRNs who no longer wish to hold APRN authorization must inform the Board using the designated form available online a minimum of six weeks prior to expiration date.
APRNs receive two paper documents: an RN license and a second paper APRN document in a separate mailing indicating Board authorization to practice in a specific APRN category. When practicing as an APRN, you need only to produce your APRN document for your employer.
NOTES:1) Effective 1/1/11, all APRN prescribers must comply with new mandatory CE requirements; and 2) new regulations governing Nurse Anesthetist prescriptive practice are effective 9/1/11.
MA LICENSE VERIFICATION: If you need MA license verification to support a reciprocity/endorsement application for licensure in another state, contact "NURSYS" at www.nursys.com. For all other written verification of licensure, contact the Board at 617-973-0900 or 800-414-0168, Mon. through Fri., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Verification of a MA nursing license online provides the most current information.
BOARD FEES: effective 05/01/09
- Renewal Fee RN & LPN - $120.00
- Renewal Fee APRN - $180.00
- Late Fee RN, LPN & APRN - $57.00
- Duplicate License Fee - $17.00
- Duplicate with Name Change - $27.00 (There is no charge at time of renewal using paper renewal form)