Practical Nurse Certificate

Nursing combines science and the art of working with people. Nurses are integrally involved in the lives of their clients, helping them to maximize their health and cope with illness. Nurses perform multiple roles in the care of their clients. Not only do they provide hands-on care, they also act as educators, counselors, coordinators and conciliators. Using scientific knowledge and technical skills, nurses continually assess the physical, emotional and social status of their clients. Nurses work with clients and their families to devise plans of care for each situation. As they continually monitor client progress, they make important decisions about appropriate methods to deal with problems.

Nursing offers diversity in roles and settings, a wide range of career paths, employment opportunities and competitive salaries. People are attracted to nursing by the focus on caring, flexibility of working schedules and challenges to excel within the profession. Licensed Practical Nurses are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, home care, clinics, health centers, physicians’ offices and the military. BCC’s nursing program is a sequence of lecture, laboratory and clinical courses. Graduates are eligible to take the licensing examination to become Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).

Get in Touch

Christine Martin, RN, MSN
Interim Director of Nursing

The Practical Nurse Program is approved by the Massachusetts Board Of Registration In Nursing
  • Essential Functions

    Students in this program must be able to:

    • Demonstrate the ability to perform essential functions for a maximum of a 12-hour shift;

    • Demonstrate the ability to protect a patient when the patient is standing and ambulating on all surfaces with or without the use of assistive devices, including canes, crutches and walkers;

    • Demonstrate the ability to safely move a patient over 100 pounds from one surface to another using the appropriate level of help;

    • Demonstrate safe body mechanics in the process of all patient treatments, including lifting and carrying small equipment (under 50 pounds) and moving large equipment (over 50 pounds);

    • Demonstrate the ability to manipulate dials on equipment;

    • Demonstrate the ability to coordinate simultaneous motions;

    • Demonstrate the ability to perform occasional overhead extension;

    • Demonstrate the ability to hear blood pressure, heart and lung sounds with or without corrective devices;

    • Demonstrate the ability to palpate soft tissue including pulse, muscle and bones;

    • Demonstrate the ability to perform nursing interventions: sterile procedures, dressing changes and when necessary follow infection control procedures, administer medica­tions (including dosage calculations);

    • Display adaptability to change;

    • Establish effective relationships with others;

    • Communicate effectively, safely and efficiently in English by: Explaining procedures;

      • Receiving information from others;

      • Receiving information from written documents;

      • Exhibiting appropriate interpersonal skill (refer to ANA Code for Nurses);

      • Analyzing and documenting assessment findings and interventions;

      • Distinguish color changes; and

      • Detect an unsafe environment and carry out appropriate emergency procedures including: Detecting subtle environmental changes and odors including but not limited to the smell of burning electrical equipment, smoke and spills;

      • Detect high and low frequency sounds, including but not limited to alarms, bells and emergency signals.

  • General Admission Requirements

    The following requirements must be completed to be admitted into the PN program:

    • Completion of MAT-028B for Fall 2019 entrance or MAT-028C for Fall 2020, if applicable;
    • BIO-150 or BIO-201 and 202 with C (73) or better within 7 years; **
    • Completion of ENG-101 with a C (73) or better
    • Completion of PSY-107 with a C (73) or better;
    • Attend a Mandatory Pre-Practical Nursing Information Session. Register online at
    • Immunization Requirements: Students entering the PN program are required to follow the immunization policy for BCC health students. Students must submit proof of compliance with immunizations by the first day of school.
      Please note:  The Hep B series may take up to six months to complete. Students should plan accordingly.
    • CPR Certification Requirement: Students entering the PN program are required to follow the CPR policy for BCC nursing students. Students must submit proof of certification by the first day of school.

    **For student anticipating on bridging  LPN/ADN Mobility immediately following graduation should refer to Educational Mobility: LPN to ADN; Students who have not completed BIO-201, BIO-202, BIO-207 and/or CHM-150 or CHM-101 prior to January 1, 2018 will be required to earn a grade of C+ (77) or better to be eligible for admission to the ADN program. All sciences must be completed within seven years of entry into the program (ex: BIO-201, BIO-202 and BIO-207).

  • Determining Acceptance to the PN Program

    Each spring, a maximum of 36 students are conditionally admitted to the program. Admission into BCC’s Practical Nursing (PN) Program is open to applicants who meet the requirements and space availability in the program.

    Students applying to this program must complete and submit the same college application form as other students applying to the college plus a PN matriculation form. Applications and matriculation forms must be received by the BCC Admissions Office by June 1 of the year to be considered for entry in the fall semester.

    Only students who have met all PN admission requirements by June 1 will be considered for admission. Admission decisions are made on an ongoing basis as qualified students complete the application and matriculation process. Students are notified of their acceptance by postal mail. Applicants must ensure that their contact information is accurate and up-to-date at all times. Students will have up to three business days to respond to BCC.

    The sequence of nursing courses begins in the fall semester and continues through the end of June. Accepted students may defer one time for a one year period. Students offered readmission to the PN program are not eligible to defer.


    Berkshire Community College seeks to provide equal access to its pro- grams, services and activities for people with disabilities. Therefore, to the extent practicable, the College will endeavor to make a reasonable academic adjustment for an applicant with a disability who is otherwise qualified.

    • Lecture and laboratory sessions are held on the Main Campus in Pittsfield. Clinical experiences may be held at any facility in Berkshire County and may be a day, evening or weekend clinical.
    • Students who previously failed more than one nursing course, PN or ADN, from any school/program, will not be admitted to the BCC Practical Nursing program
    • All incoming students are required to have completed a CPR certificate for healthcare providers through the American Heart Association; Basic Life Support (BLS) for Health Care Providers (2-year certification) or the American Red Cross; CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers (2-year certifica­tion) prior to their first clinical experience and maintain certification throughout the program.
    • BCC will not admit students concurrently into any two of the fol­lowing degree or certificate programs:
      Physical Therapist Assistant, Respiratory Care, LPN or Nursing.
    Space Available List

    Once a cap of 36 students is reached, an alternate list (Space Available List) of qualified applicants is developed. Individuals on the Space Available List will be identified only by their BCC ID. To remain eligible, individuals on the Space Available List must continue to meet all admission requirements. If not admitted, those students on the Space Available List must reapply to the program. Students are notified of their acceptance by postal mail. Applicants must ensure that their contact information is accurate and up-to-date at all times. Students will have up to three business days to respond to BCC.

Finishing Strong—What to Expect

  • End-of-Program Student Learning Outcomes

    The expected outcomes for the BCC PN program are tied to the Nurse of the Future Nursing Core Competencies (NOFNCC). The course student learning outcomes are designed to determine student achievement of specific NOFNCC compe­tencies at each course level by the end of the program.

    By the end of the Practical Nursing program, gradu­ates are able to:

    • Provide holistic care that recognizes an individual’s preferences, values and needs and respects the patient or designee as a full partner in providing compassionate, coordinated, age and culturally appropriate, safe and effective care. (Patient centered care)
    • Demonstrate accountability for the delivery of standard-based nursing care that is consistent with moral, altruistic, legal, ethical, regulatory, and humanistic principles. (Professionalism)
    • Influence the behavior of individuals or groups of individuals within their environment in a way that will facilitate the achievement of shared goals. (Leadership)
    • Demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context of the health care system, and by demonstrating the ability to use microsystem resources in providing client care at optimal quality and value. (Systems based practice)
    • Use information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making. (Informatics and technology)
    • Interact effectively with patients, families, and colleagues, fostering mutual respect and shared decision making, to enhance patient satisfaction and health outcomes. (Communication)
    • Function effectively within nursing and interdisciplinary health care teams, fostering open communication, mutual respect, shared decision-making, team learning and development. (Teamwork and collaboration)
    • Minimize risk of harm to patients and providers through both system effectiveness and individual performance (Safety)
    • Use data to monitor the outcomes and uses data to continuously improve the quality and safety of health care systems. (Quality Improvement)
    • Identify the value of using best current evidence coupled with clinical expertise and consideration of patients’ preferences, experience and values to make practice decisions. (Evidence based practice)
  • Program Outcomes
    • NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 2018 – 80%
    • Program Completion Rate at 100% of Usual Time: 66%
    • Job Placement Rate: 70%

Program Completion Requirements

Policies, Notices and Disclosures:

For information about typical program costs, student loan debt, graduation rates, and jobs associated with this program, read the Gainful Employment Disclosure

Admission Policy

Advanced Placement Policy

Attendance Policy

Course Exemption Policy

CPR Policy

Educational Mobility Policy

Graduation Policy

Health & Immunization Policy

Progression Policy

Readmission Policy

Student Rights & Grievances Policy

Transfer Policy

Withdrawal Policy

  • All nursing faculty hold, as a minimum, professional Registered Nurse licensure in Massachusettes and a B.S. in Nursing.
  • In the event that an applicant has ever been convicted by a court of law, or is convicted during his or her tenure in the Nursing program, she/he should be aware that she/he may be denied the right by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing to sit for the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX-PN) which leads to PN licensure upon graduation.
  • Any prior criminal offense could hinder placement in clinical agencies. See Criminal Offender Record Information Checks for details.