Maine was home to more than 27,000 nurses in 2015, according to a report released by the Maine Nursing Action Coalition and the Center for Health Affairs. Substantial as it may be, that number is still not enough to meet the growing need for educated nursing professionals in the state — which might be great news for those considering a new career in nursing.

This page offers information on how to become a nurse in Maine, including a statistical analysis of top nursing colleges and the basics of the state’s nursing certification and licensure standards. Continue reading to learn about nursing school accreditation, professional organizations for working nurses and the best nursing schools in Maine for undergraduate and graduate students.

Best Nursing Schools in Maine

Maine Badge ImageChoosing the right nursing school is the first step toward building a successful career, but with 15 Maine nursing schools to choose from, prospective students may have a difficult time deciding which one is best for them. To help them make this important decision, we’ve compiled two separate rankings of the best nursing schools in Maine: one list for undergraduate programs and a separate list for graduate schools.

Based on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we calculated scores for each institution and ranked the top performers in each category. Read on below to review the best nursing schools in Maine, and continue to the bottom of the page for some details of our ranking methodology.

Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,760
Undergraduate graduation rate
45%
Undergraduate retention rate
54%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
90%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,760
Undergraduate graduation rate
45%
Undergraduate retention rate
63%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
79%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$8,580
Undergraduate graduation rate
58%
Undergraduate retention rate
75%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
99%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$6,840
Undergraduate graduation rate
17%
Undergraduate retention rate
54%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
86%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,760
Undergraduate graduation rate
26%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
86%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$7,336
Undergraduate graduation rate
33%
Undergraduate retention rate
68%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
96%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,760
Undergraduate graduation rate
23%
Undergraduate retention rate
62%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
87%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$6,840
Undergraduate graduation rate
35%
Undergraduate retention rate
61%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
91%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$16,530
Undergraduate graduation rate
55%
Undergraduate retention rate
77%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
84%
Number of undergraduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Undergraduate tuition
$2,760
Undergraduate graduation rate
20%
Undergraduate retention rate
56%
Percent of undergrad students awarded financial aid
80%
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
6
Graduate Tuition
$7,074
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$15,000
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
2
Graduate Tuition
$8,720
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
2
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$7,722
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
4
Graduate Tuition
$7,680
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
4
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered
1
Graduate Tuition
$17,501
Number of graduate-level nursing programs offered through distance education
0

Nursing Accreditation in Maine

Different students may have different priorities regarding what they’re looking for in a nursing school, but accreditation is something that all students should be looking out for, no matter what. Accreditation is a sign to both students and employers that a school’s curriculum measures up to national educational standards. It can mean more financial aid when applying to school, more credits when transferring schools and more opportunities after graduating school.

Check that an official accrediting organization has accredited the nursing degree program you choose, such as the following:

  • Maine State Board of Nursing
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing

Maine Nursing Licensure

After students complete their nursing school education, the Maine State Board of Nursing (MSBN) requires that they go through the licensing process before seeking employment. Registered nurses (RNs) initiate the process by successfully taking the appropriate National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN), submitting fingerprints to undergo a criminal background check and paying a $75 fee to the Maine State Board of Nursing.

Aspiring licensed practical nurses (LPNs) must undergo a similar licensing process. They take a different national licensing exam designed especially for practical nurses (NCLEX-PN), submit to a criminal background check and pay the nursing board $50.

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) must graduate from an accredited nursing program in the specialty they wish to pursue, then pass any certification exams for that specialty. Nurse practitioners (NPs) also have another requirement: they must complete 24 months of supervised practice before they can be licensed to work in Maine.

Maine Nursing organizations

Joining nursing organizations can be a great way for professionals to get to know their peers and participate in events that can help them learn and grow in their careers. Here’s a short list of professional organizations available to nurses in Maine and a quick synopsis of the benefits available to their members:

  • American Nurses Association-Maine:

    When nurses join the Maine chapter of the American Nurses Association (ANA-MAINE), they gain a portfolio of benefits that includes access to financial planning services, career resources, industry news and discounts on insurance. In addition, the organization’s lobbying services work to ensure that lawmakers serve the interests of the profession.

  • OMNE Nursing Leaders of Maine:

    Whether nurses are already leaders in the field or aspire to join their ranks, OMNE Nursing Leaders of Maine works to give them the tools they need to be successful. Members can find networking opportunities at industry events, pursue job leads through the career center and apply for nursing scholarships through the organization.

  • Maine Nurse Practitioners Association:

    Although NPs can benefit from joining general nursing associations, the MNPA caters to their needs specifically. Members can take advantage of the resources in the organization’s career center and build professional relationships at conferences and other gatherings. Nursing school scholarships are also available for nurses seeking advanced education.

  • Maine State Nurses Association:

    An arm of National Nurses United, the Maine State Nurses Association is a labor union that represents the interests of nurses and patients alike. The organization has fought for issues that are relevant to professionals, such as patient safety, workplace retention and the availability of care for caregivers.

Maine-Specific Continuing Education

The medical field is constantly evolving, with new techniques and technology entering the profession every year, so it’s important for nurses to keep their skills and knowledge current. This is why the MSBN requires all specialties of APRNs, including NPs, to complete at least 75 hours of continuing education every two years. There are many areas that nurses can choose from when taking these courses, such as suicide prevention, pain management ethics, trauma care, case management and risk assessment.

As of 2018, RNs and LPNs in Maine were not subject to continuing education requirements. It would be wise to check the Maine State Board of Nursing regularly, however, just to make sure that you are not surprised if continuing education requirements are introduced into the system.

Hospitals in Maine

Knowing about the hospitals in your state can help you see the state’s climate of nursing employment from an informed perspective. Maine’s major hospitals employ a large percentage of the state’s nurses, especially at the entry level, and are also key sources of information and hands-on training for student nurses. Take a look at this brief rundown of three of the biggest hospitals in Maine:

  • Maine Medical Center (Portland): This nonprofit institution has been in operation since 1874, benefiting its community by caring for patients and donating its profits to community efforts. As a member of Maine Medical Partners and the flagship hospital of MaineHealth, the Maine Medical Center puts medical professionals in touch with programs, research and shared electronic medical records from across the state.
  • Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center (Lewiston): Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center provides a range of care services, from mental health and emergency treatment to primary care. In addition, the facility takes care of the state’s elderly by running one of the largest nursing homes in Maine and operating a senior living community that features private apartments.
  • Eastern Maine Medical Center (Bangor): Eastern Maine Medical Center is committed to giving patients in the eastern, northern and central regions of the state the best services possible, whether they’re able to pay for them or not. From women’s health to pediatrics to pain management, the facility offers comprehensive care that emphasizes high clinical quality and compassionate service.
Sources & Methodology

Methodology

Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), we gathered data for 6,758 United States institutions. We then filtered that list of schools by state and analyzed the data for each state with two different methodologies, in order to create two different lists: our undergraduate list, based on 11 ranking criteria, and our graduate list, based on 9 ranking criteria.

Final data for the 2016-17 school year was used for these rankings. Schools that did not provide data for all of the required ranking criteria were disqualified from that ranking.

The 11 criteria for the undergraduate school ranking were as follows:

  1. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of associate- and bachelor’s-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Average amount of federal grant aid awarded to full-time first-time undergraduates
  8. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
  9. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  10. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  11. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

The graduate school ranking scored schools based on 9 criteria, different from the undergraduate list. These 9 criteria were as follows:

  1. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level degree programs offered to nursing-related majors
  2. Number of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered via distance education
  3. Variety of master’s- and doctoral-level nursing-related degree programs offered
  4. Tuition
  5. Retention rate
  6. Graduation rate
  7. Credit offerings (Military, Dual, Life Experience, AP)
  8. Services (Career Counseling, Placement Services)
  9. Availability of tuition plans (Guaranteed, Prepaid, Payment, Other)

All schools were scored on a 10-point scale for each of the points listed above. Individual data point scores were then multiplied by their respective weights, and the scores were added together, for a maximum possible score of 10 points.

NOTE: Schools’ tuition amounts are based on 2016-17 undergraduate and graduate data reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

 

Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, Accessed January 2018, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
  • American Hospital Directory, Accessed October 2018, https://www.ahd.com/
  • Colleges respond to Maine’s need for nurses, Mainebiz.biz Maine Business News, Accessed October 2018, http://www.mainebiz.biz/article/20170515/CURRENTEDITION/305109992/colleges-respond-to-maine%27s-need-for-nurses
  • Maine hospitals get creative to find nurses, The Times Record, Accessed October 2018, https://www.timesrecord.com/articles/business/maine-hospitals-get-creative-to-find-nurses-2/
  • Nurses needed: A brief history of nursing in Maine, Bangor Daily News, Accessed October 2018, http://catchinghealth.bangordailynews.com/2018/05/14/healthnews/nurses-needed-history-nursing-maine/
  • Maine hospitals get creative to find nurses, Lewiston Sun Journal, Accessed October 2018, http://wvcenterfornursing.org/data-reports/
  • Undergraduate Nursing Programs, University of Southern Maine, Accessed October 2018, https://usm.maine.edu/nursing/undergraduate-nursing-programs
  • Nursing, University of New England in Maine, Accessed October 2018, https://www.une.edu/wchp/nursing
  • School of Nursing, Universi`ty of Maine, Accessed October 2018, https://umaine.edu/nursing/home/
  • RN to BSN Completion Program, University of Maine at Augusta, Accessed October 2018, https://www.uma.edu/academics/programs/nursing/rn-bsn/
  • Accreditation, Husson University, Accessed October 2018, https://www.husson.edu/college-of-health-and-education/school-of-nursing/nursing-accreditation
  • Nursing BSN, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, Accessed October 2018, https://www.sjcme.edu/academics/oncampus/programs/bs-nursing/
  • License by Examination, Maine State Board of Nursing, Accessed October 2018, https://www.maine.gov/boardofnursing/licensing/examination.html
  • Maine Board of Nursing State CE Requirements, Nurse.com, Accessed October 2018, https://www.nurse.com/state-nurse-ce-requirements/maine
  • Continuing Education for Nurses in Maine, At Health Online CE CEUs, Accessed October 2018, https://athealth.com/ce-approvals/continuing-education-for-nurses-in-maine/
  • Maine Nurse Practitioners Association, Accessed October 2018, https://www.mnpa.us/
  • OMNE Nursing Leaders of Maine, Accessed October 2018, https://www.omne.org/
  • Maine State Nurses Association, Accessed October 2018, https://www.nationalnursesunited.org/nnoc/maine
  • American Nurses Association Maine, Accessed October 2018, https://anamaine.nursingnetwork.com/
  • Maine Medical Center, Accessed October 2018, https://mainehealth.org/maine-medical-center
  • St. Mary’s Health System, Accessed October 2018, https://www.stmarysmaine.com/
  • Northern Light Health, Accessed October 2018, https://northernlighthealth.org/Eastern-Maine-Medical-Center

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