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NECC’s Practical Nursing Program is Top in the State

Submitted by on April 11, 2018 – 2:15 pm

Practical Nursing student Nicole Frascone of Haverhill measures medicines under the watchful eye of Elsie Jean Michel, lab instructor.

Northern Essex Community College’s Practical Nursing Program has been ranked the top LPN program in Massachusetts by, a national nursing advocacy organization.

The rankings were based on graduate passing rates on the NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses) exam, which is used by state boards of nursing nationwide for testing proficiency and granting licensure.  Eighteen programs in Massachusetts were ranked, and Northern Essex received an overall score of 96.45 out of 100.

“This is great news for our students and the community which counts on Northern Essex for its LPN’s,” said Lisa Bass, coordinator of Northern Essex’s Practical Nursing Program.

LPN’s are in high demand in Massachusetts, due in part to the nationwide nursing shortage.  According to the website, LPN’s earn an average hourly wage of $26.53 or an annual salary of approximately $55,000.  There are 1,150 LPN’s employed in Lawrence, Methuen, and Salem, NH earning an average hourly wage of $27.34 and an average annual salary of $56,860.

Practical Nursing faculty, left to right: Sheila Kane, Elsie Jean Michel, Susan Fichera, Karla Bulmer, Lisa Bass, Lori Johnson, director of nursing, Sharon Hamel.

Northern Essex’s LPN Program is a 47-credit certificate program.  Graduates of the program will be eligible to take the NCLEX-PN and can also apply credits earned to NECC’s associate degree in nursing, which offers an advanced placement option for licensed practical nurses.  The program includes classroom study, lab practice, and a clinical experience.  LPN’s work for long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, home health care, rehabilitation centers, and more.

Bass attributes the college’s top ranking to high passing scores—the class of 2017 had a 100 percent passing rate on the national licensure exam—and the program’s well-equipped labs located in the El-Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center in Lawrence.

“I’m proud of our faculty and our students,” says Bass.  “They work very hard to succeed.”

To learn more, contact Lisa Bass, NECC’s Practical Nursing Program coordinator, at