Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Maine

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In Maine, more than one person out of every 100 is a registered nurse, giving Maine the fourth-highest concentration of RNs in the US, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration. The state also has higher-than-average rates of advanced practice nurses, especially in the nurse practitioner specialty. This guide covers the process of becoming a nurse in the state. It provides tools for prospective students to compare top nursing schools in Maine, breaks down licensure requirements, and analyzes salary figures.

Top 10 Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Maine

Rank School Location
1 Saint Joseph's College of Maine Standish, ME
2 University of Southern Maine Portland, ME
3 University of Maine Orono, ME
4 Husson University Bangor, ME
5 University of New England Biddeford, ME
6 University of Maine at Fort Kent Fort Kent, ME
7 University of Maine at Augusta Augusta, ME
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  • Methodology


    To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:

    Accredited at the institutional level
    Private nonprofit or public school
    Minimum of 1 bachelor’s or master’s degree in subject area for 4-year schools
    Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools

    Schools were then scored on factors such as:

    Cost & Financial Aid
    Number and variety of program offerings
    Student-teacher ratios
    Graduation rates (4-year schools only)
    Placement and support services offered
    Academic/Career counseling services
    Employment services
    Loan default rates

    These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or “bang for your buck” of a college or degree program.

Top Nursing Schools in Maine

4 – Year Colleges

  1. Saint Joseph's College of Maine
    Location

    Standish, ME

  2. University of Southern Maine
    Location

    Portland, ME

  3. University of Maine
    Location

    Orono, ME

  4. Husson University
    Location

    Bangor, ME

  5. University of New England
    Location

    Biddeford, ME

  6. University of Maine at Fort Kent
    Location

    Fort Kent, ME

  7. University of Maine at Augusta
    Location

    Augusta, ME

2 – Year Colleges

  1. Northern Maine Community College
    Location

    Presque, ME

  2. Maine College of Health Professions
    Location

    Lewiston, ME

  3. Kennebec Valley Community College
    Location

    Fairfield, ME

  4. Eastern Maine Community College
    Location

    Bangor, ME

  5. Central Maine Community College
    Location

    Auburn, ME

  6. Southern Maine Community College
    Location

    Brunswick, ME

Maine’s Path to Nursing Licensure

Registered nurses and advanced practice nurses in the state can obtain a license through the Maine State Board of Nursing. The board works to ensure that nursing professionals meet the high standards outlined by state law. Below is a breakdown of licensure and renewal requirements specifically in Maine.

Initial Licensure Criteria for Maine RNs

Maine has nursing programs at both the undergraduate and graduate degree level. To be eligible for RN licensure by examination, applicants must graduate from one of the state’s Board-approved programs or an out-of-state program with comparable standards. Applicants can then:

  • Fill out an application and have it notarized
  • Send in a passport photo with their application
  • Pay a $75 application fee
  • Request that official transcripts be mailed from their nursing school (out-of-state programs only)
  • Sign up to the take the NCLEX-RN exam directly with Pearson VUE and pay a $200 fee
  • Once both the state application and NCLEX registration have been accepted, the prospective nurse will receive an authorization to test (ATT). The applicant then has 90 days to take and pass the exam, which will result in licensure.

Licensure by endorsement is also straightforward. In addition to applying and sending a fee along with a photo, most RNs transferring into the state will need to verify their license online via NURSYS, though some have to send a licensure verification form to the state in which they were originally licensed. In some circumstances, applicants may need to arrange for transcripts to be mailed.

License Renewal in Maine

Nursing licenses must be renewed every two years by the nurse’s birthday. Nurses can renew either by mail or online, with the state strongly encouraging the latter method. The fee is $75. Maine does not require nurses to complete continuing education credits, but keep in mind that certain healthcare employers may have their own set of CE requirements.

Advanced Practice Licensure in ME

There are separate applications for each of the four categories of advanced practice nurses: nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and clinical nurse specialists. Nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and nurse anesthetists must send in:

  • A notarized application
  • A $100 fee ($50 for each additional specialty)
  • A passport photo
  • Verification of either certification in the specialty or of test registration to earn certification (nurse anesthetists already holding certification do not need to show verification)
  • Master’s degree transcripts

Nurse practitioners must send in the above with one important addition. Maine nurse practitioners have to practice under the supervision of a physician or nurse practitioner for their first two years in the field. They are required to arrange this relationship before applying and to submit an application for approval to the nursing board.

Like RNs, APRNs must renew their license every two years. Unlike RNs, they must take and document 75 hours of continuing education during each two-year period.

Application forms and additional information can be found at the Maine State Board of Nursing.

Maine’s Nursing Numbers: Present and Future

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the nursing profession will increase by 16 percent between 2014 and 2024. As a less-populous state, Maine will only get a small fraction of these jobs. Nonetheless, despite the relatively small number of nursing jobs to fill, Maine is just one of 16 states expected to still have a nursing shortage in 2025, according to a 2014 Health Resources and Services Administration report. As the state pushes to attract new nurses, salaries, which are lower than the national average, may begin to rise. For a closer look at the numbers, see below.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Maine

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Portland-South Portland-Biddeford$31.00$64,490
Bangor$30.82$64,100
Lewiston-Auburn$29.81$62,000
Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area$29.29$60,920
Northeast Maine nonmetropolitan area$27.49$57,180

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Maine vs. National Numbers

YearAnnual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)Annual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)
Registered Nurse$52,900$61,960$73,510$0$54,620$66,640$81,080
Certified Nurse Midwife$87,360$98,290$110,640$0$82,580$96,970$114,090
Nurse Anesthetist$137,490$163,900$0$0$132,380$153,780$181,860
Nurse Practitioner$82,860$92,450$106,410$0$82,720$95,350$113,470
TypeMaineNational
Registered Nurse14,4602,687,310
Certified Nurse Midwife505,110
Nurse Anesthetist22036,590
Nurse Practitioner1,160122,050
TypeMaineNational
Registered Nurse16,4803,238,400
Certified Nurse Midwife307,700
Nurse Anesthetist15043,900
Nurse Practitioner1,050147,300
TypeMaineNational
Registered Nurse460105,260
Certified Nurse Midwife0290
Nurse Anesthetist101,560
Nurse Practitioner405,850

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Resources

American Nurses Association Maine

ANA Maine has an active role in advocating for healthcare legislation. Beyond its advocacy efforts, it also connects members to continuing education courses and networking events.

Maine Association of School Nurses

The Maine Association of School Nurses is the state chapter of the National Association of School Nurses, which works to ensure that quality care is delivered to school children. Members have access to a career center, preceptor directory, online continuing education and regular workshops.

Maine Nurse Practitioners Association

Nurse practitioners only earned the right to practice as independent physicians in the 1990s, so the MNPA is still working to shape legislative policy related to scope of work as well as increase public visibility of the profession. MNPA members can participate in networking events, gain access to job opportunities and get news related to the field.

Maine State Board of Nursing

The Maine State Board of Nursing represents nurses at all levels. Its website helps aspiring nurses, current students and active professionals stay informed of licensure and regulatory requirements.

Maine State Nurses Association

The Maine State Nurses Association is a union. Though it necessarily prioritizes political advocacy and worker protection, it also has continuing education classes and other resources for members.

Organization of Maine Nurse Executives

OMNE assists nurses in managerial positions with issues ranging from policy to patient care. It is a state member of the American Organization of Nurse Executives.

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