How to Become a Nurse in Maine

Maine is in desperate need of nurses in the coming years with an expected shortage of 3,200 nurses by 2025. Nursing schools in Maine have increased the number of graduates, but graduate numbers can’t keep pace with an aging population which is expected to grow 37 percent by 2027. In 2018, 800 new graduates completed a nursing program in Maine. The Maine State Board of Nursing is trying to attract and retain nurses in their state, but it has not been easy due to nationwide RN shortages.

Maine has numerous associate and bachelor's degree programs available for nursing students. The Maine Board of Nursing is in charge of nurse licensing and registry in the state. Find more information about how to become a CNA, LPN, RN, or APRN below.

How to Get Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certification in Maine

Registry as a Maine CNA is granted by the Division of Licensing and Certification, a division of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, separate from other Maine nursing licenses. CNA applicants must provide documentation of successful completion of a formal CNA program that meets the state’s rules and regulations. Documentation will also be required for out-of-state CNAs who are looking to register in Maine through the Bridge Testing Process. A passing grade from the Maine Bridge Examination is 70 percent on the multiple choice section, as well as the successful completion of at least seven out of ten tasks.

If an applicant has completed neither a CNA program nor the Bridge Test, they must complete an approved 180-hour CNA training course. A background check is required for all applicants.

CNA status renewal occurs every two years. If renewal is not done before two years, a bar will be placed on the certification.

How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in Maine

To obtain a Maine LPN license, applicants must complete an approved LPN program and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Then, they must submit an application to the Maine State Board of Nursing. A $50 application fee is required along with a passport photo taken within two years and a criminal background check. The criminal background check costs an additional $52. Official transcripts must be provided as part of the application.

LPN licenses must be renewed every two years, and the renewal fee is $50. LPNs can renew an inactive LPN license with a new application and $50 fee. There are currently two LPN programs in Maine, Intercoast Career Institute and Maine College of Health Professions. LPN positions are expected to increase by about 12 percent between 2016 and 2026, an above-average pace.

How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in Maine

In order to obtain a Maine nursing license, new graduates must complete an application from the Maine State Board of Nursing. Applicants must pay a $75 application fee, provide a passport photo taken within the past two years, and register with Pearson Vue for the NCLEX-RN exam, which will need to be passed to obtain a Maine RN license. Accommodation can be made for the NCLEX examination for individuals with special needs.

Section II of the application asks applicants about any disciplinary information. A criminal background check will also be completed as part of the application process. A criminal record does not automatically prevent nursing licensure, but the Maine Board of nursing will investigate to determine whether applicants with a criminal record are safe to practice.

Licensure is good for at least one year but no longer than two years for first time applicants. Renewal must be completed on or before the licensee’s birthday every two years. There is no grace period for applicants who miss the renewal deadline.

How to Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) License in Maine

Maine advanced practice registered nurse license applicants are divided into four different specialties: certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), certified nurse midwife (CNM), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and certified nurse practitioner (NP). To apply for an APRN license in Maine, applicants should hold a valid RN license, complete a master’s or doctoral level APRN degree, and pass the national certification exam for their chosen specialty.

Prospective APRN licensees must submit an application, including a passport photo taken within the past two years, and must pay a $100 application fee and a $52 criminal background check fee. Advanced Practice Nursing License applicants who hold a compact license in another state must provide verification of licensure in that state and complete the basic nursing information form.

Advanced Practice Nurse licenses must be renewed every two years. If CEU requirements are not met, license holders can get fined $20 per contact hour, up to $200. Additionally, license holders will need to enter into a formal agreement to meet CEU requirements within six months. There are numerous other specifics that pertain to each of the four advanced practice nurse license specialties.