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.
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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
|Area||Hourly Median Wage||Annual Median Wage|
|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
|Year||Annual salary(25th percentile)||Annual salary(median)||Annual salary(75th percentile)||Annual salary(25th percentile)||Annual salary(median)||Annual salary(75th percentile)|
|Certified Nurse Midwife||$87,360||$98,290||$110,640||$0||$82,580||$96,970||$114,090|
|Certified Nurse Midwife||50||5,110|
|Certified Nurse Midwife||30||7,700|
|Certified Nurse Midwife||0||290|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.