Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs

March 2, 2022 , Modified on June 29, 2022 · 6 Min Read

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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Top Maine Nursing Schools and Programs
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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.

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.

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

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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.

Are you ready to earn your online nursing degree?

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