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How to Become a Nurse in Maine

The role of a registered nurse (RN) is a calling with many different specialties. If you are looking for a significant career with greater fulfillment and a favorable job outlook, a change to nursing may be an excellent choice for you. The purpose of this blog is to provide an overview of the steps to become a registered nurse and obtain Maine RN licensure.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an RN in Maine was approximately $77,410 in May 2022 (higher than the average for all occupations). Nursing employment has also been projected to grow at a fast rate of 6% between 2022 and 2032, creating a sustainable job market for future nursing school graduates. Read on to learn how you can transition into this exciting profession.

How to Become a Nurse in Maine

The process for becoming a nurse in Maine is relatively straightforward with only a few steps that must be completed. For those with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, there are accelerated nursing programs that leverage your prior education to obtain Maine RN licensure efficiently.

Step 1: Complete a Nursing Education Program

There are two main types of nursing education programs: Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Both programs prepare you to become an RN, but there are more career growth opportunities for BSN-prepared nurses. 

According to a recent publication by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), research demonstrates the benefits of the BSN degree in hospitals, including:

  • Reduced lengths of hospital stay with the employment of more BSN-prepared nurses 
  • Decreased surgical mortality with an increase in the proportion of BSN-prepared nurses
  • Lower rates of procedural and medication errors
  • Lower odds of mortality from Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias

The focus of BSN education is on critical thinking, the development of nursing knowledge, and the application of these competencies in care management. Leadership skills for evidence-based practice are essential for the future nursing workforce, and BSN programs promote this type of growth. 

Traditional BSN programs typically require four years of study before graduation. Accelerated BSN (ABSN) programs culminate in the preferred BSN degree but are specifically created for candidates with a bachelor’s in another field and can be completed in under two years. 

Step 2: Pass the NCLEX Exam

All RN licensure candidates must pass the NCLEX exam, a national test designed to assess nursing competency and safety required for entry-level practice. The NCLEX uses a scoring method known as computerized adaptive testing (CAT) that is designed around one of three rules for determining when an exam candidate has achieved a passing or failing score:

  • The test is scored as pass or fail when the candidate’s ability is assessed by the computer to be clearly above or below the passing standard with 95% confidence
  • The test is scored as a pass or fail when the candidate completes the maximum number of questions and a final ability estimate is calculated based on all questions answered
  • The test is scored as a pass or fail when the candidate runs out of time and a final ability estimate is calculated based on questions answered (provided the candidate answers the minimum number of required questions)

Passing the NCLEX is a milestone in becoming a nurse and one to be celebrated as a marker of readiness for nursing licensure.

Step 3: Apply for a Maine Nursing License

The Maine State Board of Nursing sets forth the process and requirements for RN licensure in the state. You can apply online for nursing licensure by examination, which is the required process for those who do not have current RN licensure in another state. The examination referenced is the NCLEX where a passing score is one requirement for an RN license.

Other requirements for RN licensure in Maine include:

  • One-time application fee ($75.00)
  • Current photo meeting the Board of Nursing specifications
  • Signed and dated signature page to accompany the application
  • Supporting documentation for any prior disciplinary incidents
  • Education transcripts and certification of graduation from your nursing program

Maine is part of the nursing licensure compact and as such, residents of the state may apply for multistate RN licensure. This allows the potential for greater career options because nurses holding compact licensure can practice in other compact states.

Step 4: Obtain a Criminal Background Check

The next step in the Maine nursing licensure process is to obtain a criminal background check. You will need to pay a fee for this service and submit a fingerprint card. Once all of the requirements for nursing licensure are completed and you pass the NCLEX exam, you can check the application status through the online licensing portal. Applicants who meet all of the requirements will be granted nursing licensure through the Maine State Board of Nursing. 

SJC nursing students

Resources for Aspiring Nurses in Maine

Once you have considered your options and have decided whether nursing is right for you, you’ll want to find a quality nursing education program that will help you reach your goals. If you already have a bachelor’s degree and are looking to transition to a rewarding nursing role quickly, then an ABSN program might be ideal. 

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine offers an affordable, online ABSN program for those seeking an efficient path to nursing and a quality educational experience. The online ABSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and is guided by core values of community and service. 

Professional development opportunities in Maine can be found in organizations such as the Maine Nurses Association and in nursing programs with student colleagues and faculty mentors. If you are ready to embark on your future as a nurse in Maine, consider Saint Joe’s for your nursing education.

Become a BSN-Prepared Nurse at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine

The quality and future of nursing depend on the development of a robust nursing workforce. At Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, experienced faculty work with students in a full-time ABSN program to transition from a non-nursing career into the nursing field.

No experience in nursing is required for this highly respected program. Features include:

  • 100% online coursework, in addition to direct patient care clinical hours
  • Two on-campus immersion experiences with high and low-fidelity simulation
  • Integrated clinical placement services and 1:1 student support 
  • NCLEX pass rates of prior graduates are over 90%

Download your program guide today to learn more about the Hybrid Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. 

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