Nursing presents exciting and lucrative options for professionals both nationally and globally. Always in demand, nurses serve essential roles in the healthcare industry. Once one attains a nursing degree and license, job security in this challenging and vital field remains fairly constant. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of registered nurse (RN) jobs in the U.S. will increase 15% by 2026. For prospective students and working professionals considering a nursing degree, nursing schools in Maryland offer many accredited on-campus and online options.
Many nursing schools in Maryland partner with healthcare organizations such as hospitals, professional associations, and research centers so that students can enjoy ample opportunities for professional development. Maryland offers competitive programs and serves as an excellent place to live and begin a career.
How to Become a Nurse in Maryland
Gaining a nursing license in the U.S. typically includes the same requirements from state to state. However, some details differ, such as the types of nursing, licensing costs, and procedures. The list below includes the basic path that nurses follow.
1. Choose the Path That's Right for You
The minimum education necessary in Maryland for entry into nursing consists of earning a high school diploma and an LPN license. RN status requires a two-year associate degree in nursing; however, many healthcare facilities prefer to hire RNs with a four-year degree. Several accelerated nursing programs in Maryland help students earn credentials quickly, including an RN-to-BSN option. Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) designations generally require a master's degree and additional certifications. APRN roles recognized in Maryland include nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse midwife, nurse anesthetist, and nurse psychotherapist. Those interested in eventually teaching nursing to college students should earn a master's degree or doctoral degree.
2. Earn Your Nursing Degree
Nursing schools in Maryland offer both traditional and online nursing programs. While some students prefer in-person instruction, online nursing programs provide more flexibility. Degree prerequisites vary by university, so you should investigate your program's exact requirements. Students completing any clinical programs must acquire certified nursing assistant (CNA) status before beginning. Some programs require internships or clinical hours. The length of a nursing program varies based on both your educational level and your status as a full-time or part-time student.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
Every student seeking licensure as a nurse must complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). The NCLEX-RN costs $200 for those seeking a U.S. license; additional fees may apply. Examinees can take up to six hours to complete the NCLEX-RN exam, which includes a brief tutorial and two optional break periods. An online nursing degree prepares students for the NCLEX-RN, but students should still dedicate significant time to studying and taking practice tests. Although the demand for nurses remains high, many nursing positions require additional experience after earning the NCLEX-RN. Look into on-call positions, career centers, internships, or job shadowing.
Nursing Licensure in Maryland
All candidates in the U.S. seeking a nursing license must pass the NCLEX-RN. The NCLEX-RN is a national standardized exam that tests the competence of new and practicing nurses. Applicants must acquire at least an ADN before taking the NCLEX-RN, though a BSN is preferred. If a candidate does not pass the NCLEX-RN, they must wait 45 days before attempting again. Once licensed in their primary state of residence, a registered nurse may practice nursing in that state.
States included within the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) may issue multi-state licenses that permit nurses to practice both within their home state and in other compact states. Maryland counts as one of the 25 states in the NLC. If a nurse wishes to practice in a noncompact state, they must acquire the relevant, state-specific licensing. Prospective nurses in Maryland may apply for authorization through the Maryland Board of Nursing (MBON).
State Requirements by Nursing Type
RNs in Maryland may obtain a license by taking the NCLEX-RN examination or by receiving an endorsement.
In 1999, Maryland became the first state to join the National Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). Nurses who earn a multistate license may practice in any of the NLC member states. However, as of 2012, candidates from an NLC member state applying for an RN license must sit for the NCLEX-RN exam in their home state. Furthermore, RNs may only hold a license in one member state at any given time. In order to qualify for the NCLEX-RN in Maryland, candidates must provide proof that they live in Maryland.
To qualify for the NCLEX-RN exam, candidates need a degree or diploma from a registered nurse training program that the MBON considers equivalent to programs in Maryland. Out-of-state students must provide a sealed transcript. If an out-of-state applicant's nursing program does not meet equivalency standards recognized by the MBON, then the board needs to approve its clinical experience components.
Candidates may apply online for the NCLEX-RN examination for a nonrefundable fee of $100. After this, nurses must register for the NCLEX-RN with Pearson Vue and pay a $200 registration fee. The NCLEX-RN exam consists of multiple choice questions divided among four main categories and eight sub-categories. Each test-taker receives six hours to answer at least 75 out of 256 questions correctly.
Candidates who hold an RN license in another state but do not hold RN licensure in Maryland may receive RN endorsements. To apply for endorsement, candidates must submit their fingerprints and provide details about their out-of-state RN license. Nurses educated in foreign countries without an advanced degree may need to take an English proficiency test. Endorsement candidates may apply online for a nonrefundable fee of $100. Those seeking a temporary license with their endorsement must pay $140.
RNs in Maryland must renew their license every two years. Renewing an RN license costs $136, which includes a $26 assessment fee.
The state of Maryland defines a CNA as someone who "routinely performs nursing tasks delegated by a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse." Only personnel with certification from the MBON may use the title CNA.
CNA candidates must also complete a nursing assistant training program approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Out-of-state candidates need to be listed in their home state's nurse aide registry. Furthermore, their certification must be considered in good standing, with no complaints of patient abuse or neglect. Those not on an out-of-state nurse aide registry must complete a 100-hour training program approved by the MBON.
Initial CNA certification in Maryland costs $20, and subsequent CNA certification renewals cost $40. The CNA certification remains valid for two years.
Maryland considers CNA certification its basic certification and offers three additional certifications for CNAs. The Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) certification is required for nursing assistants employed at licensed comprehensive care facilities. Candidates must pass a
GNA examination which consists of 70 multiple choice questions delivered orally or in a written format. Both components cost $105, while retests cost $35 for the written/oral portion and $70 for the skills evaluation.
Certified medicine aides (CMAs) provide medication to patients in licensed comprehensive care facilities. The CMA certification goes to GNAs with at least one year of experience and a completed 60-hour medicine aide course.
Dialysis technicians work in dialysis units. All in-state and out-of-state dialysis candidate technicians must complete a CNA-DT training program approved by the MBON, which culminates in a written and clinical competency exam.
GNA and CMA certifications match the expiration date of the candidate's CNA certification. The CNA-DT certification remains valid for two years following the first renewal, at which time it needs to be renewed every other year during the dialysis technicians birth month. CNA-DT renewal requires 16 hours of active practice and three hours of continuing education. Apart from the $40 CNA renewal fee, there are no additional charges for GNA, CMA, or CNA-DT certification renewal.
LPNs in Maryland must meet many of the same rules and regulations as RNs in that state. They may earn a license by taking the NCLEX-PN exam or by receiving an endorsement.
Like RNs, LPNs from NLC member states may only take the NCLEX-PN exam in Maryland if they consider Maryland their primary state of residence. A high school diploma or equivalent is required to sit for the NCLEX-PN in Maryland. Candidates must also complete a practical nursing training program approved by the MBON or one the Board considers "substantially equivalent." Registered nursing training programs considered substantially equivalent also qualify.
If candidates meet these criteria, they must then apply online for the NCLEX-PN exam for a nonrefundable charge of $100. The NCLEX-PN exam includes multiple choice questions divided into four main categories and eight sub-categories. Exam-takers may take five hours to correctly answer 85 out of 205 questions. Sitting for the exam costs $200 in addition to the $100 application fee.
LPNs may earn licensure by endorsement in Maryland if they hold a valid license in another state. Endorsement applicants must submit their fingerprints and verify their out-of-state license. Those trained outside the U.S. may need to pass an English proficiency exam if they do not hold an advanced nursing degree. The endorsement application costs $100. For $140, candidates may apply for endorsement and a temporary license.
LPN licenses remain valid for two years. The renewal fee costs $110. Unlike RNs, LPNs do not need to pay a $26 assessment fee for biennial renewal.
To earn licensure as NPs in Maryland, candidates must submit specific materials based on their professional background. Those with active RN licenses in Maryland or NLC member states must provide a declaration of Maryland residence form, official college transcripts, and a copy of their national certification or eligibility to take an approved certification exam. Those with inactive or nonrenewed Maryland RN licenses must apply for reactivation before submitting their application.
Candidates who never held an RN license in Maryland or an NLC member state must apply for an endorsement. As of 2015, these candidates must also appoint a mentor for 18 months, beginning on their date of application. Mentors must work as licensed nurse practitioners or physicians in Maryland. After 18 months, NPs in Maryland do not require any further collaborative agreements.
Applying for NP certification requires a nonrefundable fee of $50. Other required materials include the name of their school and degree/specialization, information about their national certification examination, and a declaration of residence in Maryland.
Maryland accepts a total of 18 certification examinations for NPs, including exams for adult, women's, family, pediatric, and geriatric specialties. The American Nurses Credentialing Center, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, National Certification Corporation, and the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board offer these exams. Certification exam formats and costs vary by provider, but most consist of at least 100 multiple choice questions and cost at least $300.
NPs must submit official transcripts demonstrating coursework in advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and advanced physical assessment. The MBON must approve the candidate's educational program. Nurses can find the application online. Candidates seeking approval for multiple programs must submit an individual application for each one.
NPs seeking prescriptive authority must register with the Maryland Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). The Division of Drug Control may only issue new or renewed controlled dangerous substances (CDS) registrations to NPs registered with PDMP.
The Maryland NP certification remains valid for two years. Renewing the certification costs $146, which includes a standard renewal fee of $110, an assessment fee of $26, and a $10 surcharge for the NPs first advanced practice certification. Additional advanced practice certifications incur $10 fees.
Career Outlook for Nurses in Maryland
Careers for nurses in Maryland provide competitive salaries. Wages for nurses working in Maryland are higher than the national average. The BLS projects a 19.7% increase in nursing positions in Maryland by 2024. Home to many prestigious medical and health science research facilities, such as Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute of Health, Maryland offers many opportunities for those in nursing.
RNs and LPNs can work in hospitals and private healthcare organizations. Additional career choices include travel nurse, school nurse, or flight nurse. Specialized nursing positions include labor and delivery, obstetrics and gynecology, and neonatal intensive care. Advanced positions, which require additional licensing and an advanced degree, include nurse anesthetist, nurse educator, nurse practitioner, and psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Employment Data For RNs in Maryland
According to the BLS, roughly 53,700 RNs work in Maryland, and nurses make an annual mean wage of $72,750 -- slightly lower than the mean salary for RNs nationwide. The 90th percentile of Maryland RNs earn $100,340 per year, while the 10th percentile earn about $54,100 per year.
The majority of Maryland's RNs, 32,880 in total, work in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metropolitan area. RNs in this metro area earn an annual mean salary of $76,160, the second-highest in the state. This location quotient ranks slightly above average, indicating moderate competition for jobs. However, the Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville metro area appears to serve as the best place for Maryland for RNs to work; it awards an annual wage of, $78,180 and a location quotient that ranks second-lowest in the state.
Metro areas with the lowest mean salaries for RNs in Maryland include California-Lexington Park at $62,330 and Cumberland at $63,400.
The majority of RNs work in general medical and surgical hospitals, where they earn a annual mean salary of $75,820. However, the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing industries pay the highest wages: around $90,510 annually.
Employment Data For CNAs in Maryland
According to BLS data, a total of 28,250 nursing assistants work in Maryland. The location quotient is slightly above average, with 10 nursing assistants for every 1,000 jobs in the state. The annual mean salary for nursing assistants in Maryland reaches $30,470, with the 90th percentile earning $39,350 per year and the 10th percentile earning $22,380 per year.
Nearly half of Maryland's nursing assistants work in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metro area, where they earn $30,870. This metro area also boasts the second-lowest location quotient in Maryland. Other areas of Maryland with relatively high annual mean salaries for nursing assistants include Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville at $30,610, the Upper Eastern Shore of Maryland nonmetropolitan area at $30,480, and Garrett County nonmetropolitan area at $29,700. The cost of living in these areas stands lower than Baltimore, but the location quotient is higher and the job competition stiffer.
Additionally, the Washington D.C. metro area boasts one of the highest employment levels of nursing assistants in the country, along with an above-average annual mean salary of $31,040. More than one-third of nursing assistants work in skilled nursing care facilities.
Employment Data For NPs in Maryland
BLS data indicates that 3,230 nurse practitioners work in Maryland for an annual mean wage of $109,840 -- slightly higher than the annual mean salary for all NPs nationwide. The 90th percentile of Maryland NPs earn $153,090 per year and the 10th percentile earn $73,800.
Among the 3,230 NPs who work in Maryland, 2,340 work in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson metro area. This metro area ranks sixth for NP employment among all U.S. metro and nonmetro areas. NPs in Baltimore-Columbia-Towson earn an annual mean wage of $116,070, though the location quotient is relatively high and competition for jobs may prove strong. Additionally, the Washington, D.C. metro area -- which includes Arlington, MD -- ranks ninth nationwide for NP employment, with 2,260 working NPs. The annual mean salary for NPs in the D.C. area reaches $108,400 -- still higher than the national average -- but the location quotient is much lower. Other areas in Maryland with the highest annual salaries for NPs include Salisbury at $110,300 and Cumberland at $108,160.
Roughly 47% of NPs work in physician offices, earning an annual mean salary of $105,730. However, personal care services offer the highest salary for NPs among all industries at $139,460 per year.
Biggest Hospitals in Maryland
Hospitals present an excellent first place for recent graduates to look when seeking experience and opportunities. Some students also provide fellowships and internships for students still procuring their licensing. Maryland boasts several large hospitals where students can pursue work, including the two below.
- The Johns Hopkins Hospital: Located in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins ranks as the number one hospital in the state of Maryland and third in the U.S. The hospital employs 10,712 individuals and boasts state-of-the-art facilities such as the Nelson/Harvey building, The Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children's Center, and the Sheikh Zayed Tower.
- The University of Maryland Medical Center: Located in Baltimore, this hospital provides high-level primary and secondary care and serves as a referral center for critically ill and injured patients. The hospital employs 8,261 individuals, and all attending physicians also work as faculty members at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Additional Nursing Resources in Maryland
- Maryland Nurses Association: MNA aims to provide a voice and direction for nursing professionals in Maryland. Members benefit from networking opportunities such as the annual MNA conference and gain access to MNA publications and continuing-education resources.
- Maryland Licensed Practical Nurses Association, Inc.: Associated with the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, MLPNA unites LPNs working in Maryland. The association holds two meetings a year: the annual conference and a member meeting in the fall focusing on national developments in the field.
- Maryland State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association: Originally functioning as a networking and teaching organization, ENA now operates as an authority, advocate, and lobbyist for emergency nursing on a global scale. Members in the Maryland chapter enjoy access to many benefits, including networking and both educational and scientific research resources.The MSNA serves as Maryland'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 Maryland patients and nurses and takes part in industry advocacy at the national level.
- Maryland Organization of Nurse Leaders: MONL's members include nurse leaders, educators, administrators, executives, and officers from Maryland. Members receive access to career-related updates, educational and networking opportunities, and information on legislative developments impacting nursing and healthcare.
- Nurse Practitioner Association of Maryland: NPAM works to develop public policy and provide support for nurse practitioners. Members receive the latest updates on legislative, career, and practitioner topics, as well as access to members-only information, conferences, and district meetings.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Maryland
Several universities and nursing schools in Maryland offer online nursing degrees. The following database includes all accredited nursing schools offering online ADN programs in Maryland, online RN programs in Maryland, online BSN programs in Maryland, online RN to BSN programs in Maryland, online MSN programs in Maryland, and online DNP programs in Maryland.