To: New Massachusetts Nurse Licensee
From: Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing
Re: Important Information about Your Massachusetts Nursing License

Welcome! As a newly licensed nurse in Massachusetts, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the Board's website, www.mass.gov/dph/boards/rn. Make it a habit to regularly check the home page for news and updated information that may impact your practice. Consider subscribing to the RSS feed under the “News and Updates” section in the right column in order to automatically receive updated information electronically. 

The Board's newsletter is available online and contains valuable information about Board activity.

Please take a few moments to review the following important information about your Massachusetts nursing license:

  • The mission of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (Board) is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the Commonwealth through the fair and consistent application of the statutes and regulations governing nursing practice and education.
  • To practice nursing in Massachusetts, you must hold and maintain a valid, current nursing license issued to you by the Board. It is not legal to practice nursing as a "Graduate Nurse". It is not legal to practice if you do not hold a valid, current Massachusetts nursing license.
  • Your Massachusetts nursing license will be mailed to you in approximately 21 business days. However, your license number will appear on the Board's website in approximately 3 business days. You can begin employment as a nurse when your license number appears on the Board's website. Let your employer know that the most accurate, up to date, verification of your license is through the Board's website and is considered primary source verification. RN license numbers have "RN" as a prefix and LPN license numbers have "LN" as a prefix. License numbers are not available by telephone. Please note: NCLEX candidate numbers do not serve as license numbers.
  • Registered Nurse (RN) license renewals occur on the RN's birthday in even-numbered years. Practical Nurse (PN) license renewals occur on the LPN's birthday in odd-numbered years. A license renewal reminder will be mailed to your address of record approximately six (6) weeks before your birthday. You are required to notify the Board in writing within 30 days of any change in your name or address. This will assist in timely renewal. Be sure to include your license number including the prefix when corresponding with the Board. Some changes may also be made at the Board's website. Telephone notifications of name and address changes are not accepted.
  • A reminder card will be sent to your address of record when it is time for you to renew.  You have the option of renewing online (processed within twenty-four hours) or by mail (processed in two to three weeks).  Your license will automatically expire at midnight on your renewal date, after which time you will be required to pay a late fee in order to make your license current.
  • RNs: if your birthday occurs within three months of the issue date of your first Massachusetts RN license, you will not renew your license until your birthday in the next even-numbered year.
  • LPNs: if your birthday occurs within three months of the issue date of your first Massachusetts LPN license, you will not renew your license until your birthday in the next odd-number year.
  • If your birthday occurs more than three months after the issue date of your first Massachusetts nursing license, you will be required to renew your license in the current even-numbered year if you are an RN, or in the current odd-numbered year if you are an LPN.
  • To demonstrate your continued competence to practice nursing, fifteen (15) contact hours of continuing education are required every renewal period. You will not be required to provide evidence of continuing education for your first license renewal. You are responsible for reviewing the continuing education regulations.
  • Each nurse licensed by the Board is required to engage in the practice of nursing in Massachusetts in accordance with the Board's regulations at 244 CMR 3.00-9.00, available at the State House Bookstore, Beacon Hill, Boston, telephone (617) 727-2834, or on the Board's web site.

This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.