The field of nursing presents exciting and lucrative options for professionals 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, and appears to only be increasing in the future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the number of registered nurse (RN) jobs in the United States 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 have ample opportunities for professional development. Ranked fifth in the United States in education and eighth in overall best states by the U.S. News & World Report, Maryland offers competitive degree programs and is an excellent place to live and begin a career.
How to Become a Nurse in Maryland
Requirements for obtaining a nursing license remain relatively the same as elsewhere in the United States. However, some unique details differ, such as licensing costs and procedures. Below is the process most aspiring nurses must follow before beginning work in the field.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
The minimum education necessary in Maryland for entry into the nursing field consists of a high school diploma and completion of a one-year practical nursing program, leading toward status as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). RN status requires, at minimum, a two-year associate degree in nursing. However, many healthcare facilities prefer to hire RNs with a four-year degree. There are several accelerated nursing programs in Maryland who want to earn their 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.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
Nursing schools in Maryland offer both traditional and online nursing degree programs. While some students prefer in-person instruction, online nursing programs provide more flexibility. Degree prerequisites vary by university, so you should investigate exact requirements for your preferred program. 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 educational level and whether you are enrolled full-time or part-time.
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, but additional fees may apply. Examinees are allowed up to six hours to complete the NCLEX-RN exam, which includes a brief tutorial and two optional break periods. An online nursing degree should prepare students for the NCLEX-RN, but students should still dedicate significant time to studying and taking practice tests to familiarize themselves with the format. 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 and safety of new and practicing nurses in the field. Applicants must acquire at least an ADN before taking the NCLEX-RN, but 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 permitting nurses to practice both within their home state and in other compact states. Maryland is one of the twenty-five states in the NLC. Non-compact states require licensing through their state boards, so if a nurse wishes to practice in another state, they must acquire the relevant state-specific licensing. Prospective nurses in Maryland may apply for an authorization to test through the Maryland Board of Nursing.
Nursing Licensing Costs in Maryland
Exam Fee $100
Temp License $40
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, potentially bringing the current 83,090 positions up to 99,490. Home to many prestigious medical and health science research facilities such as Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute of Health (NIH), Maryland offers many opportunities for those in the nursing field. 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.
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Biggest Hospitals in Maryland
The more large hospitals a state boasts, the higher the likelihood of plentiful job openings for nurses. 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 has several large hospitals where students can pursue work, including the two below.
- The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore ranks as the number one hospital in the state of Maryland and third in the United States. 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 in Baltimore 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)
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. (MLPNA)
Associated with the National Federation of Licensed Practical Nurses, MLPNA unites LPNs working in the state of Maryland. The association holds two meetings a year, the annual conference (usually taking place in May) and a member meeting in the fall focusing on national developments in the field.
Maryland State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association (MD ENA)
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 gain access to many benefits including networking, educational, and scientific research resources.
Maryland Organization of Nurse Leaders (MONL)
MONL’s members include nurse leaders, educators, administrators, executives, and officers from the state of 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)
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.