Few careers are as exciting, lucrative, and gratifying as nursing. The men and women employed in this field work flexible schedules in a fast-paced environment where each day brings new challenges. Nurses are problem solvers and good at working with people. They also understand the importance of acquiring new skills in an ever-evolving profession. Maine residents interested in pursuing an active workplace, intellectual stimulation, job security, personal growth, and professional mobility may want to consider a career in nursing.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the field of nursing to grow by 15% by 2026, which is much faster than the national average for all occupations (7%). By 2026, the BLS expects 3,392,200 people to work as registered nurses nationwide.
Maine nurses earn an average hourly wage of $30.67 (or $63,800 per year). Nurses can pursue a vast array of specializations. With continued training, they can even establish a career that spans multiple nursing sectors. Graduates of nursing programs in Maine find employment in hospitals, private practices, public service, education, and research.
Nursing schools in Maine offer traditional on-campus programs for individuals seeking a degree in the field. However, many online nursing degree programs also exist for working students.
How to Become a Nurse in Maine
Aspiring nurses in Maine complete the same basic steps to obtain licensure as they would in any other state. They earn their chosen degree, take their NCLEX exams, and await approval by the Maine State Board of Nursing. However, this state has a few unique expectations for its nurses, including licensing costs and procedures, that vary compared to other places in the U.S. The information below can guide you through the process of becoming a licensed nurse in Maine.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
To become a registered nurse (RN) in Maine, students must possess, at minimum, a diploma or two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN). For additional training and greater professional mobility, nursing program participants can pursue a four-year bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN).
BSN holders who plan to become nurse practitioners, advanced nurses with a clinical specialty, or nursing educators may later pursue a master’s in nursing (MSN). A nurse with an MSN has broader employment options and higher income potential.
Nurses interested in pursuing the field’s highest leadership positions typically go on to pursue a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) or other terminal nursing degree.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
To become an RN without prior nursing background, working students can pursue online ADN degree programs. ADN holders can enroll in online RN to BSN programs in Maine. BSN holders seeking advanced credentials can also earn their master’s degree through online MSN programs in Maine. Graduates of non-nursing baccalaureate programs have the option to pursue accelerated nursing programs in Maine and earn a BSN and/or MSN.
Students can expect to spend one to three years pursuing their online nursing degree. Distance nursing students complete most coursework online but must also fulfill on-site clinical hours. Most students meet these requirements on the job, but students not currently employed in the field may work with program advisors to find a suitable location.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
After graduating from an online nursing program in Maine, candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). The NCLEX-RN exam costs $200 and takes six hours to complete. It covers four main categories: the safe and effective care environment, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity.
Although nursing programs prepare students for the NCLEX-RN, the test can still be quite challenging. Many study resources exist online and in bookstores to help exam takers excel on testing day.
Passing the NCLEX-RN does not guarantee employment. Thus, prospective nurses should make the most of the networking opportunities provided by their degree programs, professional organizations, clinical practicum sites, and volunteer opportunities.
Nursing Licensure in Maine
In order to obtain a nursing license in Maine, qualified applicants must sit for and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The NCLEX-RN is the U.S. national standard used to assess the readiness of prospective nurses once they have completed a nursing degree program. To apply for a license, the Maine State Board of Nursing requires prospective nurses to pass the NCLEX-RN exam (according to the National Council of the State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) passing standard) after they have obtained a traditional or online ADN or BSN. One to two years after initial licensure, Maine nurses must renew their licenses every two years.
Due to its participation in the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC), Maine is designated as a “compact state” by the NCSBN. This means that nurses who receive licensure in Maine and declare Maine as their primary state of residence can practice their occupation physically, online, or over the phone in 24 additional states. Participation in the eNLC makes travel nursing and internet or telephonic practice especially viable options for Maine nurses. As telephone and online healthcare services become more common, technology will greatly expand the number of employment options for compact state nurses, such as those in Maine.
Nursing Licensing Costs in Maine
NCLEX-RN Application $75
Paper App $10
Online App $0
Career Outlook for Nurses in Maine
According to the BLS, nursing employment will grow by 15% by 2026. While the average income in Maine in 2016 was $44,180, registered nurses earned a mean salary of $63,800 and nurse practitioners took home an average of $99,140. Nurses in Maine can enjoy careers in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private medical practices, community health centers, hospices, and schools. They specialize in emergency, pediatric, mental health, ICU, and other nursing fields. Continuing education opportunities within the field facilitate professional mobility and enable nurses to transfer their skills to new specializations.
Maine’s status as a “compact state” makes it especially appealing to students interested in exploring the nursing field in different regions. Short-term travel nurse positions are popular among professionals who have been in the field for a few years, and many opportunities exist in the areas of disaster relief and public health or at professional and political advocacy organizations.
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Biggest Hospitals in Maine
Students interested in entering the field of nursing can benefit from choosing a school in a state with large hospitals. In addition to offering more opportunities in the form of student fellowships and internships, the presence of larger employers also increases the likelihood of finding employment. Hospitals are a great place for new nurses to gain experience at the beginning of their careers, and large medical institutions typically offer extended workplace training to new hires; smaller operations may not be able to provide this opportunity.
- MaineHealth: With 11 member hospitals and four affiliates, MaineHealth is the largest healthcare provider in Maine. The care network employs 18,000 people and serves more than a million patients across 12 Maine and New Hampshire counties. MaineHealth encompasses a cooperative of 1,500 employed and independent physicians, a community-based behavioral and mental healthcare network, and a centralized laboratory.
- Eastern Maine Medical Center: Located in Bangor, EMMC employs around 4,000 people and serves the northern two-thirds of Maine. EMMC is a level II trauma center and is a part of the Life Flight network. Founded in the late 19th century as a five-bed general hospital, EMMC is now a 411-bed medical center and a major primary care provider for Bangor and the surrounding area.
Additional Nursing Resources in Maine
The American Nurses Association works to advance excellence in nursing by connecting governments, businesses, and healthcare facilities to the profession. The ANA-Maine chapter focuses on improving healthcare quality and access in Maine. It also offers professional development opportunities and peer assistance to nurses in the state.
Maine Nurse Practitioner Association
The MNPA represents Maine nurse practitioners in the professional and political spheres. Through this association, nurse practitioners can participate in educational lectures, networking events, and employment opportunities.The MNPA also allows nurses to advocate for healthcare quality and access in the state.
Maine State Nurses Association
The MSNA is Maine’s chapter of National Nurses United, a countrywide network of direct care RNs who advocate politically on behalf of their profession. The MSNA focuses on healthcare policy that affects Maine patients and nurses and takes part in industry advocacy on the national level.
Maine State Board of Nursing
The Maine State Board of Nursing works to protect public health, safety, and welfare in Maine by regulating the nursing field. It oversees the licensure of nurses, nursing practices, and nursing education in the state. Aspiring nurses can find nursing programs in Maine or apply for state licensure, and current nurses can renew their credentials and review state standards.
Organization of Maine Nursing Executives
The OMNE is a network of Maine nurses who hold, or aspire to hold, professional leadership positions. The OMNE advances Maine healthcare and affects policy creation while upholding high standards for nurses in the state. The organization emphasizes professional mentorship and statewide inclusivity through events such as its annual nursing summit.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Maine
Whether you’re a first-time student, a professional making a career change, or an experienced nurse seeking further training, a school in Maine offers an online nursing degree to fit your needs. The information below details all of the accredited online nursing programs in Maine that award an ADN, BSN, RN to BSN, MSN, or DNP.