How to Become a Nurse in Maryland

Entering the nursing field in the state of Maryland paves the way for students to play a vital role in the healthcare industry working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), or advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently more than 53,000 RNs and more than 10,000 LPNs in the state. Armed with degrees from accredited nursing programs in Maryland, nurses may choose to work in a broad range of settings, including hospitals, physician’s offices, schools, clinics and public and government institutions. Nursing schools in Maryland can provide students with the hands-on experience they need to successfully prepare for their chosen career path. The Maryland Board of Nursing regulates the practice of RNs, LPNs, APRNs, CNAs, certified medication technicians and licensed direct entry midwives.

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

Working under the supervision and direction of an RN or LPN, a CNA provides hands-on aid to patients, such as bathing, dressing wounds, repositioning, feeding and tending to many other needs.

All nursing assistants must be certified in order to work. Prior to certification, individuals must complete a CNA training program that has been approved by the board. A list of board-approved nursing assistant training programs is available on the board’s webpage. CNA training programs place an emphasis on both academics and hands-on skills training. Upon completion of a training program, individuals will have to pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program examination. To receive certification, individuals must also obtain a criminal history record 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 (the 28th day of the certificate holder's birth month).

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

An LPN works under the supervision of an RN or physician to provide medical care to patients and to gather information from their patients to help physicians diagnose, monitor, and treat conditions. Duties may include taking vital signs, inserting catheters, assisting with tests and procedures and providing personal care such as bathing.

Individuals applying for a Maryland LPN license must take the NCLEX-PN exam. This test evaluates an individual’s knowledge in several areas, including health promotion and maintenance, safe effective care environment, psychosocial integrity and physiological integrity. To be eligible for the NCLEX-PN examination, individuals must have a high school diploma or its equivalent and have graduated from a practical nursing education program approved by the board. The following separate applications must also be submitted:

  • Maryland Board of Nursing licensure by exam (may be submitted online)
  • Criminal history record check
  • Declaration of primary state of residence

A social security number or federal tax identification number is mandatory in order to process an application for a Maryland nursing license.

LPN licenses must be renewed every two years, and 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 (the 28th day of the licensee's birth month).

How to Get a Registered (RN) License in Maryland

An RN is required to hold an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited nursing program. 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.

The process of earning a Maryland nursing license starts with graduating from an accredited school of nursing approved by the state board, followed by passing the NCLEX-RN examination.

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 number or federal tax identification number is mandatory in order to process an application for licensure.

A Maryland RN license must 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 (the 28th day of the licensee's birth month).

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 (master’s degree or higher) in nursing. Individuals may choose to be certified in one or more medical 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

APRNs 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.

An applicant for a Maryland Advanced Practice Registered Nurse license must be a graduate from a program approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing and must be a licensed RN. Individuals must also become nationally certified in the medical specialty they have selected. Certification is granted by independent national agencies that set their own education, experience and examination requirements for certification.

The final steps to receiving a Maryland nursing license in APRN are completing a licensure application, submitting fingerprints for a criminal background check and sending other information (sealed transcripts, verification of RN license, etc.) to the board. Specific information can be found on the board’s website.

Licensure as an APRN expires at the same time as an individual’s RN license. Individuals must renew their license biennially.

Individuals must also provide the board with a copy of their current national certification. If their national certification is not current with the board at the time their renewal is processed, their APRN license will not be renewed.