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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Maryland

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 7/5/2023

Maryland has many accredited colleges that offer online nursing programs at every degree level, from an associate in nursing to a master's in nursing. Learn about licensure and how to become a nurse in Maryland once you've earned your degree. 

Our 2023 list includes colleges in Maryland that offer online nursing programs and have available NCLEX data, so you can easily determine which online nursing program results in graduates with the best pass rate.

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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Maryland

School NCLEX Pass Rate Online Enrollment
Anne Arundel Community College 88.11% 6,400
Allegany College of Maryland 83.93% 620
University of Maryland - Baltimore 81.19% 1,704
Notre Dame of Maryland University 79.52% 1,138
Stevenson University 69.31% 720
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Becoming a Nurse in Maryland

There are many ways to become a nurse in Maryland. The pathway simply differs based on the type of nurse you're interested in being. 

Each level of nursing has progressively more complex requirements as we move from certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) to registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). But they all require some type of nursing education and a demonstration of knowledge and skill by passing a National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

The Maryland Board of Nursing is responsible for regulating the profession in the Freedom State. Maryland is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which makes it easier to earn a license by endorsement in Maryland if you have an equivalent license in another compact state. But Maryland still faces the same nurse shortage that many parts of the country struggle with. This staffing problem predates COVID-19 but worsened during the pandemic as more people left the profession than were replaced.

Keep reading to learn Maryland's application requirements for each type of nurse. Then visit the Board of Nursing Licensing page to find all necessary application forms.

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

Nursing Degrees by State

How To Get Certified Nursing Assistant Certification in Maryland

CNAs work under the supervision of an RN or LPN provides hands-on aid to patients. This assistance includes bathing, dressing wounds, repositioning, and feeding.

All CNAs must be certified in order to work. Prior to certification, individuals must complete a board-approved CNA training program. These programs emphasize both academics and hands-on skills training. 

After completing a training program, individuals have to pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) examination. They must also submit to a criminal background check and pay an application fee.

A Maryland CNA certification is valid for a two-year period. Certificate holders will be able to renew online 60 days before and 30 days after the expiration date of their certification.

How To Get a Licensed Practical Nurse License in Maryland

An LPN provides direct medical care to patients and gathers information to help physicians diagnose, monitor, and treat conditions. Duties may include taking vital signs, inserting catheters, helping with tests and procedures, and providing personal care such as bathing.

All applicants for a Maryland LPN license must take the NCLEX-PN exam. This test evaluates an individual's knowledge in health promotion and maintenance, creating safe care environments, psychosocial integrity, and physiological integrity. NCLEX-PN eligibility requires graduation from a practical nursing education program approved by the board. 

Applicants for licensure by exam will take the NCLEX-PN in Maryland, but candidates for licensure by endorsement must prove that they passed the exam and earned their certification in another state. All applicants need to give their Social Security or Federal Tax Identification Number in order to process their applications.

LPN licenses must be renewed every two years. Licensees will be able to renew 90 days before and 30 days after the expiration date of their license.

How To Get a Registered Nurse License in Maryland

In a clinical setting, RNs are tasked with many responsibilities, including caring for their patients' physical and emotional well-being. RNs administer medications, monitor patients, assist during medical procedures and may even manage other nurses.

Earning a Maryland nursing license starts with graduating from an accredited school of nursing with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Candidates then need to pass the NCLEX-RN examination, and 

To be eligible for the NCLEX-RN examination, the following requirements must be met:

  • A state board-approved degree or diploma from a registered nursing education program

  • A degree or diploma from a registered nursing education program in any other state that the board finds substantially equivalent to the programs in the state of Maryland

  • An official final sealed transcript from out-of-state students

  • Maryland Board of Nursing licensure by exam application (apply online)

  • Criminal history record check prior to applying

  • Declaration of primary state of residence

A Social Security or Federal Tax Identification Number is mandatory in order to process an application. Candidates for licensure by endorsement must submit proof of an active RN license in their home state.

Maryland RN licenses need to be renewed every two years. Online license renewal is available on the board's website. Licensees will be able to renew 90 days before and 30 days after the expiration date of their license, which is the 28th day of the licensee's birth month.

We have resources about how to become a pediatric nurse, a neonatal nurse, or a travel nurse for RNs who are curious about these specialties.

How To Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) License in Maryland

As the title implies, an APRN is a nurse with an advanced degree, usually a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). They work closely with physicians to devise and implement effective treatment plans for patients. Depending on their specialty, an APRN's duties may include ordering diagnostic tests, prescribing medication, providing patient education, and managing preventive care.

Individuals may choose to be certified in one or more nursing specialties. The state of Maryland recognizes the following APRN specialties:

Nurse Practitioner (NP or CRNP)

Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

Nurse Psychotherapist

APRN license applicants in Maryland must submit official graduate school transcripts to the Maryland Board of Nursing, along with verification of their RN license. They must also prove that they hold a nursing certification in the medical specialty they have selected. Certification is granted by independent national agencies that set their own education, experience, and testing requirements. The final step is submitting fingerprints for a criminal background check.

APRN licenses expire at the same time as RN licenses. Individuals must renew their license biennially. They must also provide the board with a copy of their current national nursing certification. 

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