Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs

Updated November 28, 2022

Explore top nursing degree programs and school options in Maine where there is a growing need for rural nurses to provide healthcare access.
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NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Historically, in-state and out-of-state tuition for colleges and universities in Maine have been lower than any other New England state. Students can save money by choosing traditional or online nursing programs in Maine, but they should note that each state's licensure requirements vary.

Keep reading for more information on the best nursing schools in Maine, how to earn a Maine nursing license, and typical salary ranges.

The Best Nursing Schools in Maine

The best nursing program in Maine for you should match your background and career goals. Students can complete an associate degree in nursing (ADN) program faster. However, earning a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or master of science in nursing (MSN) degree is more valuable if you plan to become a nurse practitioner (NP) later in your career.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Maine, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

#1 Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs

University of New England

  • Biddeford, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

University of New England's bachelor of science in nursing is one of the most respected nursing programs in Maine, with National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates above the national average since 2013. The school offers a bicampus experience split between UNE's Biddeford and Portland locations. Course topics include nurse leadership, mental health nursing, and medical-surgical nursing.

Details:

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Biddeford and Portland, Maine
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $39,510 per year
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $63,810 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$37,390
Out-of-state
$37,390
Retention Rate
81%
Admission Rate
84%
Students Enrolled
7,483
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#2 Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs

Kennebec Valley Community College

  • Fairfield, ME
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Kennebec Valley Community College offers an associate degree in nursing (ADN) that prepares students for entry-level nursing jobs. Core course topics include nursing across the lifespan, transition into nursing practice for the ADN, and foundations of nursing. Graduates leave the program with the conceptual-thinking skills needed for holistic care in acute, long-term, and community healthcare settings.

Details:

  • Program: Associate of science degree in nursing
  • Campus: Fairfield, Maine
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $96 per credit for Maine residents; $192 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Two years
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.4% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $54,250 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,820
Out-of-state
$5,640
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,406
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#3 Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs

Central Maine Community College

  • Auburn, ME
  • 2 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

Central Maine Community College offers a 68-credit associate degree in nursing. Students can pursue the degree at CMCC's Auburn or Damariscotta locations. Course topics include foundations of nursing, nursing across the lifespan, and introduction to psychology. Graduates exit the program ready for work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Extended care facilities
  • Clinics
  • Psychiatric facilities
  • Substance misuse facilities

Details:

  • Program: Associate of science degree in nursing
  • Campus: Auburn and Damariscotta, Maine
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $2,880 per year for Maine residents; $4,320 per year for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Two years
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 91.7% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $50,020 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,820
Out-of-state
$5,640
Retention Rate
57%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
3,218
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
32% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#4 Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs

University of Southern Maine

  • Portland, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

University of Southern Maine offers a 120-credit bachelor's in nursing tailored to working learners. The program follows a cohort model and emphasizes students forming powerful community relationships. Course topics include intermediate nursing skills lab, clinically applied genetics, and nursing arts and science.

Details:

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Portland, Maine
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $288 per credit hour for Maine residents; $788 per credit hour for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate; minimum 3.25 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 15 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.8% first-time pass rate
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $57,420 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$7,868
Out-of-state
$20,692
Retention Rate
69%
Admission Rate
81%
Students Enrolled
8,429
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
40% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#5 Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs

Eastern Maine Community College

  • Bangor, ME
  • 2 years
  • Campus

Description:

Eastern Maine Community College teaches an associate in nursing that ranks among the best nursing programs in Maine for its small class sizes, high National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates, and low cost. The degree consists of 70 credits and usually takes two years to complete. Course topics include developmental psychology, foundations of nursing, and professional issues.

Details:

  • Program: Associate degree in nursing
  • Campus: Bangor, Maine
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Tuition: $96 per credit for Maine residents; $192 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Minimum Time Commitment: One year
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 93.9% first-time pass rate
Average Tuition
In-state
$2,820
Out-of-state
$5,641
Retention Rate
59%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
2,457
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
26% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#6 Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs

University of Maine

  • Orono, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

University of Maine, which boasts one of the best nursing schools in Maine, offers a master's in nursing family practitioner program tailored to working learners. The 49-51-credit program blends online and in-person coursework. Course topics include nursing research, advanced health assessment, and families in health and illness.

Details:

  • Program: Master of science in nursing - family nurse practitioner
  • Campus: Orono, Maine
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Tuition: $541 per credit for Maine residents; $1,623 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: Bachelor's in nursing; registered nurse license; minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 2.5 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: No
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.3% first-time pass rate
Average Tuition
In-state
$9,000
Out-of-state
$29,310
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
11,561
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
36% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#7 Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs

University of Maine at Augusta

  • Augusta, ME
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Description:

University of Maine at Augusta teaches a 120-credit bachelor's in nursing that requires full-time enrollment and blends online and in-classroom learning. Course topics include caring for aging adults, nursing research, and pharmacology. The school offers clinical placement assistance, with learning taking place partly through community partners, partly through the UMA Nursing Resources Laboratory. 

Details:

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Augusta, Maine
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditations: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing; New England Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $245 per credit for Maine residents; $607 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or GED certificate; minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: Four years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: N/A
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $53,360 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
Average Tuition
In-state
$7,170
Out-of-state
$17,340
Retention Rate
61%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
4,361
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
76% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Maine

Even though there are relatively few nursing schools in Maine, you still have a range of options. When making a decision, consider the following:

  • Costs, including tuition and financial aid for nurses
  • National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) pass rate, which can indicate how well a school prepares its students
  • Clinical placement and assistance
  • Program curriculum
  • Program size
  • Logistics of attending

Because nursing school accreditation is vital for a program's value, this guide only lists accredited nursing programs in Maine. Unaccredited programs may offer faster or cheaper courses, but the resulting credits or degree may not be beneficial for employment or when transferring to an accredited school.

Why Become a Nurse in Maine

Maine is a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) state, meaning that when you graduate from a nursing school in Maine, you can apply for a multistate license. A multistate license is valid in any of the 37 participating NLC states.

If you decide to become a nurse educator, Maine offers a generous loan repayment program for nursing school faculty. In fact, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing member schools report that funding does not impact hiring nursing faculty as it does in most other states.

The NCLEX-RN pass rate was 92.3% in 2019, higher than the national pass rate of 88.2%.

Maine is famous for its scenic coastline, laid-back lifestyle, and outdoor recreation. The state also has one of the country's lowest crime rates.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Maine

The cost of living in Maine is higher than most other states, with a 115 cost-of-living index, compared to the national index of 100. The average annual RN salary is $71,040, compared to a national $80,010 salary, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The gap is narrower for NPs, with an average Maine NP salary of $111,580 compared to $114,510 nationally.

The number of RN jobs in Maine is projected to grow 6.5% between 2018 and 2028. The BLS projects an NP job growth rate of 20.6%. Attending nursing school in Maine can give you the advantage of having a close-knit local network.

Maine is a largely rural state, with only three metropolitan areas. All three are known for outdoor recreation and access to national parks, though Bangor is perhaps best known as the home of horror novelist Stephen King. Lewiston has a higher proportion of French speakers than any other state.

Learn more about RN salary in Maine here
Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Maine
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Average Salary for RNs
Bangor, ME $76,650
Portland — South Portland, ME $72,360
Lewiston — Auburn, ME $67,760
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Maine

To become a registered nurse, you need a nursing degree, a passing grade on the NCLEX, and a criminal background check for state nurse licensing. You must apply online for your Maine nursing license; the state board of nursing does not accept paper applications.

RN Requirements

To earn an RN license in Maine, you must graduate from an ADN or a BSN program, pass the NCLEX-RN examination, and complete a criminal background check. To transfer from one nursing program to another, you must spend at least one year at the school you are transferring from.

The application fee is $75. You must also pay $52 for the criminal background check and $200 for the NCLEX-RN exam. You need to renew your license every two years and have at least 75 continuing education credits for nurses.

APRN Requirements

You must graduate from an MSN or doctor of nursing practice program, pass the applicable board certification, and have an active RN license to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) in Maine.

The state board of nursing only accepts online applications. The application fee is $100, and the RN license verification fee is $30. You must also send proof of your board certification and official transcript.

Other requirements include two years of supervision under a physician or NP for new APRNs and recent credits or continuing hours in pharmacology to apply for prescriptive authority.

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Maine


Does Maine need nurses?

Maine is experiencing a nursing shortage that began before COVID-19, according to a 2017 study from the Maine Department of Labor. The study projects a shortage of 3,200 nurses by 2025 and identifies nurses as the most in-demand profession in Maine.

How long does it take to become a nurse in Maine?

It takes at least two years to earn an ADN. A BSN degree typically takes four years to complete but is a more valuable and versatile degree for career advancement.

Applicants usually receive a temporary license within two weeks of submitting a complete application and a full license within 90 days.

Is Maine a compact state for nursing?

Maine is an NLC state, so you can apply for a multistate license if you graduate from a nursing program in Maine. You must be a resident of Maine to apply for the multistate license.

Nurses from other NLC states are eligible to practice in Maine once they verify their license through Nursys.

How do I get a Maine nursing license?

You must graduate from a nursing program in Maine or another state with an ADN or a BSN degree, pass the NCLEX-RN examination, and pass a criminal background check. Apply to the state board of nursing online and submit the application and criminal background check fees.

Find Nursing Programs in Other States

State

NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

Whether you’re looking to get your pre-licensure degree or taking the next step in your career, the education you need could be more affordable than you think. Find the right nursing program for you.

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