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Online Nursing Programs in Maine

By Michael McCarthy | Updated 12/1/2022

Maine is a compact state, so licenses earned here can be used to practice in any of the other compact states. Maine has a few online nursing programs; for example, University of Maine at Fort Kent has an online RN to BSN program for an affordable tuition of $12,315. Each nursing student is assigned to a dedicated academic adviser. Saint Joseph's College of Maine, located in Standish, offers several master’s in nursing degrees in addition to an RN to BSN program. Nurses must renew their licenses every year.

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Comprehensive List of Online Nursing Schools in Maine

School Annual Tuition NCLEX Pass Rate Locations
# Husson University $18,940 84.21% Bangor (and 1 other)
# Saint Joseph's College of Maine $36,720 98.0% Standish
# University of Maine $31,748 96.04% Orono
# University of Maine at Augusta $18,338 81.82% Augusta
# University of Maine at Fort Kent $12,585 80.83% Fort Kent
# University of Southern Maine $22,050 86.67% Portland

Why Become a Nurse in Maine?

Maine needs more nurses, and state agencies and employers may be willing to pay extra for their work. The state recently projected that it will be 1,450 registered nurses (RNs) below its goal by 2025. This is an improvement from a 2017 projection but still 9% short of Maine's desired RN workforce. 

To help attract and retain talent, Maine's government and healthcare employers have been offering signing and retention bonuses for nurses.

Maine's healthcare facilities are strained by treating the nation's oldest state population, with 21.7% of residents aged 65 and up. The problem is compounded by a nationwide nursing shortage that was underway before 2020 but worsened by the effects of COVID-19. To help attract and retain talent, Maine's government and healthcare employers have been offering signing and retention bonuses for nurses, including $116 million in payments from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Maine

The median hourly wage for RNs is $36.08 in Maine, which comes out to $75,046 per year if they work 40 hours per week. This salary is a bit lower than the median yearly salary for all RNs nationwide, which is $77,600. However, a one-time signing or retention bonus may give an added boost for a year.

More specialized types of nurses earn higher pay, such as nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists. Less educated licensed practical nurses (LPNs) make less money, with median annual pay of $47,902.

Maine's nursing job outlook is murkier than its nurses' salaries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects a 6% increase in RN roles nationwide between 2021 and 2031, but the BLS doesn't publish Maine state data apart from that whole. A coalition of research groups found that unemployment is very low for nurses in Maine, with significantly more demand than supply expected through 2025.

How To Become a Nurse in Maine

You need to follow different requirements for your career in Maine depending on what kind of nursing you pursue. Below, we start with becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and work our way up to licenses for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).

To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:

How To Get CNA Certification in Maine

To become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in Maine, you need to complete a state-approved training program. This program totals 180 hours split between classes, laboratory work, and clinical experience.

You then need to register with the Division of Licensing and Certification, a division of the Maine DHHS. If you're an out-of-state CNA looking to register in Maine, you'll need to provide extra documentation of your training and experience. All CNAs must renew their registration every two years to continue practicing.

How To Get an LPN License in Maine

Becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in Maine calls for an accredited certificate in practical nursing. After earning your diploma, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for LPNs (NCLEX-PN), which assesses your knowledge of nursing practice and patient care. 

The next step is applying for your LPN license from the Maine State Board of Nursing. The board asks for the following documents and procedures:

  • A $50 application fee
  • A current passport-quality photo
  • Official transcripts from your certificate institution
  • Official NCLEX-PN scores
  • Authorization for a criminal background check, which costs $52

You can seek a license by endorsement in Maine if you're already licensed in another state. Endorsement is a form of reciprocity that requires verification of good standing from your state's board of nursing. Licensing by endorsement also costs $50, as does renewing an LPN license in Maine.

How To Get an RN License in Maine

It takes either an associate or bachelor's degree to become an RN in Maine. As with LPN licenses, you apply for an RN license through the board of nursing. You'll need to provide similar documentation but scoped to the RN level:

  • $75 for the application fee
  • A current passport-quality photo
  • Official transcripts from the college where you earned your nursing degree
  • Official NCLEX-RN scores
  • Authorization for a criminal background check, which costs $52

License by endorsement is also available if you're licensed outside of Maine. Your state's nursing board needs to verify your information and good standing, which requires some additional documentation. As with first-time licensees, this costs $75.

RN licenses in Maine need to be renewed every two years.

How To Get an APRN License in Maine

Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license applicants are divided into these four specialties in Maine: 

To apply for any of these licenses, you need a current RN license and a master's or doctoral degree in nursing. You also need to submit the following:

  • A passport-quality photo
  • $100 to cover the application fee
  • $30 to cover verification of national certification in your specialty
  • $52 to cover the background check
  • Official undergraduate and graduate school transcripts
  • (NPs only) Proof of two years of supervision under a physician, which costs $50

APRNs must renew their licenses every two years.

View our Guide to Nursing Certifications to learn more about certification options, requirements, and the benefits of earning nursing certification.

FAQs About Online Nursing Programs in Maine

Can You Become a Nurse Online?

You can enroll in an online nursing certificate or degree program, but it will always have an in-person component. Many programs feature asynchronous coursework, which doesn't require you to attend live class meetings. However, you'll need to complete a specified number of clinical hours at a healthcare facility, depending on which level of degree you're seeking.

How Do I Get a Nursing License in Maine?

The criteria differ by license, but they all call for these requirements:

  • Completing an accredited or state-approved education or training program leading to a certificate or degree
  • Passing a licensing exam offered through the state or the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
  • Submitting a recent passport-quality photo
  • Passing a criminal background check
  • Paying any associated fees

How Long Does It Take To Become a Nurse in Maine?

The timeline for becoming a nurse in Maine depends on which type of nursing you want to practice:

  • CNAs can start working just a few months after enrolling in their short training course.
  • Becoming an LPN might take up to 18 months: one year to earn a certificate and a few months to study for the NCLEX, receive your scores, and allow Maine to process your license.
  • RNs can potentially earn licenses in two-and-a-half years if they earn an associate degree or four-and-a-half years if they opt for a bachelor's program.
  • APRNs often take a decade or more to reach this level; they need advanced degrees from schools whose administrators won't consider their applications unless they have bachelor's degrees plus several years of RN experience.

Is Maine a Compact State for Nursing?

Maine is part of the NCSBN's Nursing Licensure Compact. This means that licenses earned in other compact states are easily transferable to Maine as long as you provide the proper documents.

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