2023-2024 Catalog

Practical Nurse (Certificate)

Program Administrator: Maryrose Williams

413-236-4516 • mwilliams@berkshirecc.edu 

The Practical Nurse Program is approved by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing.

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 care plans 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).

The Practical Nursing program at Berkshire Community College located in Pittsfield, MA is accredited by the:

    Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

    3390 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 1400 Atlanta, GA 30326

    (404) 975-5000

The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the Practical Nursing program is Initial Accreditation.

Good Moral Character

Good Moral Character (GMC)

Nursing Licensure Requirements: please be aware that all nursing student applicants must undergo a background check by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing (MABORN) before sitting for NCLEX. Please read the information below:

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 112, sections 74, 74A, and 76 require you to provide specific documentation for GMC evaluation if you answer yes to questions related to criminal or disciplinary history.

GMC also requires your consent, at the time of application submission, for a background check to be conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF) database. If there is a supported finding by DCF, you will be required to provide additional documentation related to those findings.

See Licensure Policy 00-01 (PDF) | (DOCX) for the Board’s policy on Determination of Good Moral Character Compliance.

Frequently asked questions and other important information is found in the Good Moral Character Information Sheet (PDF) | (DOC).

PN Info-Sessions

Please head to www.berkshirecc.edu/nursinginfo to sign up for a Practical Nursing information session.

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:

  • Evidence of secondary school graduation or its equivalent. Submit official transcript(s) from high school or high school equivalency, previous colleges or post-secondary schools attended.
    • International transcripts will only be accepted for consideration if they have been translated and evaluated by a foreign credential evaluation service provider. BCC recommends World Education Services - www.wes.org.
  • Math: ACCUPLACER Next Generation QAS score of 250 or greater OR successful completion of MAT-028 or MAT-028C or higher (if taking college math, must earn a C or better);

  • BIO-150 or BIO-201 and BIO-202 with C (73) or better within 7 years (For students intending to bridge (LPN to ADN) at BCC, BIO 201 and BIO 202 require a grade of 77 (C+) or better if taken after January 2018);
  • Completion of ENG-101 with a C (73) or better
  • Completion of PSY-107 with a C (73) or better;
  • Attend a Mandatory Nursing Information Session. Register online at www.berkshirecc.edu/nursinginfo
  • 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 Policy. Students who have not completed BIO- 201, BIO-202, BIO-207 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 39 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, found at the bottom of the Nursing Information Sessions page. Applications and matriculation forms must be received by the BCC Admissions Office by July 15th to be considered for entry in the fall semester. Only students who have met all PN admission requirements by July 15th 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.

Space Available List

Once a cap of 39 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.

Educational Mobility: LPN to ADN

Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) who apply to BCC’s Associate in Science degree in Nursing program may challenge the first two nursing courses (NUR-101 and NUR-102) through a standardized theoretical test.

Applicants who pass the challenge examinations will receive 17 credits for NUR-101 and NUR-102 upon admission. In addition to meeting all other nursing admission standards, applicants must have licensure as a practical nurse in the state of Massachusetts through successful completion of the National Certification Licensing Exam (NCLEX) as a condition for provisional admission by the time of application deadline.

Students must enroll in NUR-201 within one year of taking the challenge exam. Enrollment requires the completion of a “bridge” course (NUR-106) during the summer or winter intercession prior to admission.

At a minimum, five (5) seats for the Spring semester are reserved for BCC Practical Nursing students who;

  • recently graduate the prior summer;
  • declare intention to transition by November 1st deadline into the LPN/ADN mobility pathway;
  • have met all ADN admission requirements;
  • have attended an Educational Mobility: LPN to ADN information session; and
  • submitted the LPN/ADN matriculation form. The deadline for the Spring admission is June 1st. The deadline for Fall admission is November 1st.

Please head to www.berkshirecc.edu/nursinginfo to sign up for the Educational Mobility: LPN to ADN information session.

Please refer to the Education Mobility Policy for more details.

Mandatory Health Requirements - Immunization Policy

Immunization Requirements: Students entering the Practical Nursing program are required to follow the immunization policy for BCC health students. Students must submit proof of compliance with immunizations by August 1st for the fall semester. The college immunization policy can be found in the BCC College Catalog. (www.berkshirecc.edu/catalog) 

Please note:  The Hep B series may take up to six months to complete. Students should plan accordingly.  Immunization information may be shared with the Dean of Nursing, Program Administrative Assistant, Nursing Data Analyst, and contracted agencies to allow for clinical experiences.



Hepatitis B

Required Immunization for Hepatitis B

Laboratory evidence of immunity (titer)

(Declination acceptable after second series of vaccines if titer is negative.)


3 doses of the Engerix-B or Recombivax--HB formulations of the hepatitis B vaccine on a 0, 1, and 6 month schedule



1 dose; and history of a DTaP primary series or age appropriate catch-up vaccination. TdaP given at ≥7 years may be counted, but a dose at age 11-12 is recommended if TdaP was given earlier as part of a catch-up schedule. Tdap should be given if it has been ≥10 years since Tdap.


Laboratory evidence of immunity (titer)

(If immunity is not seen, 2 series of MMR vaccine)


Laboratory evidence of immunity (titer)

(If immunity is not seen, 2 series of Varicella vaccine)



Documentation of negative PPD, T-Spot or Quantifiers. Once initial documentation is obtained the test does not need to be repeated annually. A “TB” interview form will be completed annually. If there are any affirmation answers to those questions, the T-Spot will be repeated.

Influenza Vaccine

During regular flu season (Oct-March). Declination is only allowed if there is documented allergy or documentation for religious reasons which will be determined on a case by case basis.



1 dose; 1 dose MenACWY (formerly MCV4) required for all full-time students 21 years of age or younger. The dose of MenACWY vaccine must have been received on or after the student’s 16th birthday. Doses received at younger ages do not count towards this requirement. Students may decline MenACWY vaccine after they have read and signed the MDPH Meningococcal Information and Waiver Form provided by their institution.

Meningococcal B vaccine is not required and does not meet this requirement.

Ishihara Test

Required for all faculty and students who need to identify color for specific tests. (This will be done during clinical orientation.)

Covid Vaccine

Proof of completion of the Covid vaccine is required by all clinical sites before students attend clinical. The can be the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.

(BCC Immunization policy developed according to MDPH Immunization Program 2021-2022 School Year and per

  requirements of clinical sites)



If a student is unable to receive an immunization due to medical reasons, they must discuss a medical waiver with the Dean of Nursing and provide a doctor’s notice.  If a medical waiver is granted by the clinical facilities, documentation must be filed in the Nursing Immunization and Medical Records Office. It is also highly recommended that these students have blood testing done to show possible immunity.  Both medical exemptions and declinations must be renewed on the appropriate forms annually. If a student cannot complete clinical due to immunization requirements, then he/she/they cannot complete the course.


Drug Screening

Please be advised that students enrolled in certain programs which require clinical or fieldwork study may be required by the placement affiliate agency to undergo and pass a drug screening analysis in order to be eligible. Students who either fail to pass, or refuse to submit to a drug screening analysis will be deemed ineligible for clinical placement, which will affect their status in the program.


Verification of Student Health History and Physical Exam

In addition to the Mandatory Immunization Requirements, all students enrolled in the nursing program are required to have Verification of Student Health History and Physical Exam report completed by their health care provider by August 1st for the fall semester.


Failure to Comply

A student will not be allowed to participate in the clinical experience without all health requirements fully complete.  


Submit requirements to the Nursing Immunization and Medical Records Office located in the Hawthorne building, office #323, Berkshire Community College Main Campus.

Telephone: 413-236-4609; Fax: 800-724-9943; medicalrecords@berkshirecc.edu


Revised: PN Faculty Committee, 4/3/19, 8/6/19; Reviewed: 11/6/19; Revised: 1/17/20, 6/3/20, 11/5/20, 9/14/2021, 11/15/2021

End-of-Program Student Learning Outcomes (EPSLOs)

The end of program student learning outcomes (EPSLOs) 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)
  • Model 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 Annual Pass rate: 2022 – 83% Pass Rate for first time test takers
    Annual Program Completion Rate at 150% of Usual Time MABORN - 2021-2023 – 69%
    Annual Program Completion Rate at 100% of Usual Time ACEN - 2022-2023 - 76%
    Number of graduates for 2023 = 16

For transfer credits, please see transfer policy for PN program.

Graduation Requirements

To earn a certificate in this program, a student must complete all program credits plus the following additional requirements. For more information, please see the Graduation Policy.

Program Courses

Prerequisite Courses

BIO-150Introduction to the Human Body


PSY-107Introductory Psychology


ENG-101Composition I


Total Credit Hours:9

Practical Nurse Courses

LPN-142Health Maintenance of the Adult and Aging


LPN-145Gerontology Practicum


LPN-152Health Alterations of the Adult and Aging


LPN-162Health Care of the Family


Additional Requirements

Minimum Cumulative Average

Overall 2.000

Minimum Percentile Grade

Each LPN  course 75%
All other courses 73%

Suggested Pathway to Graduation

First Semester

LPN-142Health Maintenance of the Adult and Aging


Winter Session

LPN-145Gerontology Practicum


Second Semester

LPN-152Health Alterations of the Adult and Aging


Summer Session

LPN-162Health Care of the Family



Admission Policy
Health & Immunization Policy
Advanced Placement Policy Progression Policy
Attendance Policy Readmission Policy
Course Exemption Policy Student Rights & Grievances Policy
CPR Policy Transfer Policy
Educational Mobility Policy Withdrawal Policy
Graduation Policy Medication Administration Policy
Technology Requirements Policy  

Additional Policies:

Intention to Practice Outside of Massachusetts

Graduates from Berkshire Community College's Associate Degree Nursing or Practical Nursing programs are qualified to work in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts upon the successful completion of program and the attainment of the appropriate licensure.

Not all states have the same state-level requirements for licensure. If you intend to practice outside of Massachusetts and obtain a license in another state you are encouraged to review the NCSBN websitehttps://www.ncsbn.org/14730.htmfor eligibility.  As an applicant to the BCC Nursing Programs, you are encouraged to discuss your ability for licensure and work in another state other than Massachusetts with the Dean of Nursing. 

Notices and Disclosures

  • Any prior criminal offense could hinder placement in clinical agencies. See Criminal Offender Record Information Checks for details. 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.


Berkshire Community College seeks to provide equal access to its programs, 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 program, PN or ADN, from any school/program, will not be admitted to the BCC Practical Nursing program.
  • Students must have proof of current certification in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Students are responsible for ensuring that their CPR certification is always current throughout the years in the program.

    The following CPR courses are acceptable for meeting this requirement:

    • American Heart Association: Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers (2-year certification)
    • American Red Cross: Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (2-year certification)
  • BCC will not admit students concurrently into any two of the following degree or certificate programs: Physical Therapist Assistant, Respiratory Care, LPN or ADN.