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Mandatory Continuing Education for nurses

Continuing Education (CE) in Nursing is a requirement for license renewal every 2 years. Learn about CE programs and requirements.

CE programs improve your nursing practice through planned, organized learning experiences that expand your knowledge, skills, and attitudes to improve health care to the public.

CE requirements to pracitce

  • To renew your nursing license, The Board of Registration in Nursing requires all licensed nurses in Massachusetts to complete 15 contact hours (CH). View all CE in nursing regulations in 244 CMR 5.00: Continuing Education.
  • If you are an RN, you need to renew your license on your birthday in the even numbered years. If you are an LPN, you need to renew your license of your birther in the odd numbered years. Learn more about how to renew your nursing license.
  • You must complete CHs within the 2 years before you are required to renew your license
  • You do not have to complete any CE requirements for your first renewal
  • The Board may request verification of compliance at any time.  It is your responsibility to maintain evidence of CE completion for your most recent 2 consecutive renewal periods (4 years).

Additional Resources

Find a CE program

The Board does not have a list of approved CE programs. It is your responsibility to select a CE program that meets the Board's regulatory requirements as defined in 244 CMR 5.00: Continuing Education.

The checklist for nurses to determine if a Continuing Education Program satisfies board requirements can help you choose a program that follows our guidelines.

Acceptable types of CE programs include:

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Academic courses
  • Planned supervised clinical experiences
  • Home study courses
  • Web based programs

Academic or college courses must be a part of a curriculum relevant to nursing or leading to an academic degree in nursing.

Refresher programs and educational programs that offer CME, AMA, or other professional recognized credit may satisfy the Board CE requirement. In general, programs approved by a professional review process or by other jurisdictions’ boards of nursing will satisfy the Massachusetts CE requirements. However, it is your responsibility to determine whether or not the program contains all the Board’s requirements.

Additional Resources

How to calculate contact hours (CH)

A CH is equal to 50 minutes of attendance and participation in a program that meets the Board's requirements for CE programs.

An example of calculating CH:

  • Lecture = 1 CH for each 50 minutes of didactic instruction
  • Planned, supervised clinical = 1 CH for each 100 minutes of clinical instruction
  • 1 semester college credit = 15 CH
  • 1 continuing education unit (CEU) = 10 CH
CH and CEU clarification

A Continuing Education Unit (CEU) is a nationally recognized unit of measure. There are 10 contact hours (CH) in each CEU. 1 CH equals 50 clock minutes.

A nurse licensed in Massachusetts is required to earn 15 CH during each renewal time frame. Only CHs earned within the 2 years before your license renewal date will satisfy the requirement.

Additional CE requirements for external certification

If you are certified through a professional organization outside of the Board of Registration in Nursing, you may have additional CE requirements to maintain your certification. These are separate from the Board's requirements. Most certifying organizations require that a portion of their CE program requirements receive approval through a specific peer review process.  Check with the organization that provides your certification for additional information.

As a reminder, all Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) must maintain current certification through a Board approved national certifying organization in order to maintain current Board authorization to practice. If your certification lapses for any reason, you are no longer authorized to practice as an APRN. Learn how to request to remove or reinstate APRN authorization.

CE certificate requests

You do not need to send a certificate or evidence of CE program completion to the Board unless the Board requests them. If you receive a request, you will be directed where to mail them. If you are selected for audit or named in a complaint, you may be required to send 2 cycles worth of CE certificates to the Board.

When you renew your license, you attest under penalties of perjury to compliance with state tax and child support laws, mandatory reporting laws, and regulations pertaining to your practice, including CE requirements.

It is your responsibility to maintain an authenticated record of CE programs you complete for 2 consecutive registration periods (4 years).  

Programs not approved for CE

  • CPR courses cannot be applied as CE
    • Initial certification of ACLS and PALS may be applied, but not re-certification
  • Required in-services held by your work place provide necessary information for performing your job safely and effectively. In-services are not accepted as CE for license renewal

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