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    Today's Best Nursing Schools in Maine: Learn on Your Terms in 2024

    Are you considering a degree in nursing? Learn about some of the best nursing schools in Maine, plus discover state-specific resources that will help you as you get your degree.

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    While Maine isn’t facing a nursing shortage like most of the country, more than 85% of nurses in Maine are RNs with an associate degree in nursing (ADN). Nurses with more advanced degrees, such as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), are in demand in Maine.

    In this guide, we’ll cover the top nursing programs in Maine and how they increase your job opportunities, earning potential, and expertise. We’ll also look at the different types of nursing degrees and determine which one is the best fit. By the end, you’ll have a clear plan for what kind of nursing program is right for you and the next steps toward a successful nursing career in Maine.

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    About the ranking

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    Base Methodology for EduMed’s Best Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

    One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

    To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

    • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
    • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

    Two: Assign Weighting

    After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS. 

    The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted. 

    Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

    Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

    Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

    Institutional Aid – Percent of full-time undergraduate students who are awarded institutional grant aid, as self-reported by the school.

    Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

    Student/Faculty Ratio

    About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

    #School NameTypeTuitionOnline ProgramsMore DetailsSchool InformationOnline StudentsAcademic CounselingCareer PlacementStudents w/Institutional AidMedian Earnings 10yrs After EntryAccreditation
    1University of Southern MainePortland, MEPublic$4

    The University of Southern Maine offers 4 fully-online Master of Science in Nursing degrees. The MSN in Nursing Administration and Leadership and MSN in Nursing Education both have an option to transition from an RN to an MS. All programs emphasize management and education roles, and all coursework is 100% online; however, there are 220 required hours of hands-on practicum experience. Graduates of the program will be prepared for the National League for Nursing's Nurse Educator Certificate.

    Program Highlights:

    Masters of Science in Nursing

    • Credits: 36-60
    • Length: 12-24+ months
    • Cost: $15,948-$23,364 total
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    13/1
    Online
    Student %
    68%
    2Husson UniversityBangor, MEPrivate not-for-profit$$$3

    Husson University Online offers a Masters of Science in Nursing with three tracks that students can choose from -- Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. All programs are fully online, asynchronous, and can be completed in as few as 30 months. Clinical hours are required for each program. Students also have the option of pursuing a post-masters nursing certificate rather than a degree for each of the above program. The pass rate for national certification exams is 95%.

    Program Highlights:

    Masters of Science in Nursing

    • Credits: 48-51
    • Length: 30 months
    • Cost: $682/credit
    • Mode: Fully online
    • Accreditation: CCNE
    Academic
    Counseling
    Yes
    Career
    Placement
    Yes
    Student/
    Faculty Ratio
    14/1
    Online
    Student %
    69%

    Profiling Popular Nursing Schools in Maine

    Are you wondering which schools offer the most popular nursing programs in Maine? We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to! Check out nursing programs in Maine that students love for their affordability, student support, and professional development opportunities. All these programs are accredited and approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing. They feature different learning formats—some hybrid and others in-person—so you can continue your search for the school that is the best fit for you.

    St. Joseph’s College of Maine

    Anyone looking for a high-quality, affordable BSN program should consider St. Joseph’s College of Maine. This program fast-tracks clinicals and nursing classes so students can complete their degree in two to three years, depending on if they already have their ADN. Students get hands-on experience through in-person classes and clinical hours at an affiliated hospital. The BSN is fully in-person for most students. The school also makes it easy for students to progress to their MSN upon graduation—a degree program that can be taken online. For those who are already RNs in Maine, there’s an online RN to BSN option, though this program requires some campus visits throughout the semester.

    University of New England

    The University of New England’s BSN degree offers one of the fastest completion times without sacrificing a high-quality education. In this 16-month program, students take in-person foundational courses that offer the skills they need to pass the NCLEX and enter the field. They also complete 550 hours of clinical work at an affiliated hospital system, clinic, or private practice and by working in the university’s labs. The program is intense and is designed for full-time students, not those who are working while getting their degree. It’s also designed for those without previous nursing experience, making it the fastest BSN program in the state.

    University of Maine at Presque Isle

    While many schools in the University of Maine system offer BSN programs, the one from the University of Maine at Presque Isle stands out in terms of high-quality education and flexibility. The program offers students the chance to take courses online or in person through both the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the University of Maine Fort Kent. Unlike the University of Maine Fort Kent and other campuses in the University of Maine system, students at Presque Isle can complete their clinical hours in their own communities and aren’t required to complete them in hospitals near Presque Isle or Fort Kent’s campuses. This applies even if they don’t already have their associate degree in nursing. While many RN to BSN programs in Maine offer this perk, the program at Presque Isle is the only one to offer remote clinical hours to traditional BSN students.

    Types of Nursing Programs Available in Maine

    Nursing schools in Maine offer various types of degrees to suit different students’ education levels and work schedules. These include ADN programs, traditional BSN programs, accelerated programs, and RN to BSN programs. Let’s look at some of the most common options and the types of students who might want to consider each.

    Pre-Licensure Nursing Programs in Maine

    ADN Programs

    An ADN program is a two-year program that trains students to become registered nurses with associate degrees. In these programs, you acquire the skills needed to be an RN but complete your degree in half the time a bachelor’s degree takes. This program is ideal for those who want to jumpstart their nursing career in the next two years.

    Examples of Maine Nursing Schools with this Program

    Eastern Maine Community College

    Central Maine Community College

    Traditional BSN Programs

    A traditional BSN program is a four-year degree that prepares students to be registered nurses in the state of Maine. The program takes longer than an ADN degree and provides a more comprehensive education. A BSN is a great choice for anyone who wants to deepen their expertise and eventually become a leader in the nursing field.

    Examples of Maine Nursing Schools with this Program

    University of Maine at Augusta

    University of Maine at Presque Isle

    Accelerated BSN Programs

    Looking to develop the expertise provided by a bachelor’s degree but don’t have four years for a traditional program? Check out an accelerated BSN program. You can get your BSN in as little as two years in these programs. The exact length varies, depending on the program.

    Examples of Maine Nursing Schools with this Program

    University of New England

    University of Maine Fort Kent

    Nursing Bridge Programs in Maine for Current Nurses

    LPN to RN and LPN to BSN Programs

    If you’re already a licensed vocational nurse (LPN), you can get your RN or BSN degree to advance your career. With LPN to RN and LPN to BSN programs, your LPN experience will count toward some of your courses, meaning you can get your degree more quickly.

    Examples of Maine Nursing Schools with this Program

    Southern Maine Community College

    Maine College of Health Professions

    RN to BSN Programs

    If you’re a registered nurse looking to advance your career, consider an RN to BSN program. With this degree, you can graduate in a shorter amount of time because your RN experience and associate degree count toward your BSN. Depending on the program, the time you spend at work might also count as your clinical hours.

    Examples of Maine Nursing Schools with this Program

    University of Maine at Machias

    Maine College of Health Professions

    RN to MSN Programs

    Getting an MSN is one of the best ways to advance your career. If you’re already an RN, you can get this degree faster with an RN to MSN program. Many of these degrees are designed to be completed while working full-time.

    Examples of Maine Nursing Schools with this Program

    University of Southern Maine

    Husson University

    Advanced Nursing Programs in Maine

    MSN Programs

    Currently, Maine needs more nurses with higher degrees. If you get your MSN, you’ll help fulfill this shortage and increase your available job opportunities. Before applying, make sure to check if the MSN program is for current BSN nurses or a direct-entry program for non-nurses looking to enter the field.

    Examples of Maine Nursing Schools with this Program

    University of Southern Maine

    St. Joseph’s College of Maine

    DNP and PhD Doctoral Programs

    Getting your Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a PhD in nursing is a great way to expand your expertise and become a leader in the field. Usually, you must first have an MSN or BSN before entering a DNP or PhD program. Nurse practitioners are especially in demand in Maine, so a DNP is a great option for anyone looking for more job opportunities and a higher potential salary.

    Example of Maine Nursing School with this Program

    University of New England

    Post-Graduate Certificates

    Advancing your nursing education doesn’t have to mean committing to a long DNP or MSN program. Many universities in Maine offer post-graduate certificates that allow you to expand your expertise in a shorter amount of time than a formal degree. Post-graduate certificates are especially good if you want to expand your knowledge in one specific area, such as pediatric nursing.

    Examples of Maine Nursing Schools with this Program

    University of Maine Online

    University of Maine Main Campus

    In Maine, there are very few direct-entry BSN programs online. Instead, most online BSN programs are designed for those who are already registered nurses. An example of a school with an online RN to BSN program is the University of Maine Fort Kent.

    While the online nursing programs offered in Maine are limited, there are also some hybrid and blended learning options. These include the University of Maine Augusta and the Maine College of Health Professions. With hybrid programs, students complete some coursework online and other coursework and clinicals in person. Some RN to BSN programs accept a student’s full-time job as their clinical hours. Other online programs require students to complete clinical hours in person, but they can do so in their own communities and don’t necessarily need to be near campus.

    University of Maine Fort Kent

    Any registered nurses looking to get a BSN should consider the RN to BSN program from the University of Maine Fort Kent campus. This program has been designed for optimal flexibility so students can work full-time while getting their degree in less than 10 months. Unlike other programs, Fort Kent doesn’t follow a traditional semester schedule. Instead, it offers seven start dates throughout the year. Since most of the coursework is asynchronous, students can advance through the program as fast or as slow as they would like. This online nursing program in Maine is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Maine State Board of Nursing. When students finish, they can easily transfer to the university’s online MSN degree if they want to continue their education.

    University of Maine Augusta

    Anyone looking for an RN to BSN degree that can be completed online should consider the program from the University of Maine Augusta campus. Successful applicants must already have their ADN as well as some work experience, which can count toward the clinical hours required for this degree. While many of the courses are online, some classes are in a blended learning format, meaning that students come to campus for some hands-on activities and class sessions while the rest of the lectures happen online. This online nursing program in Maine also has an emphasis on healthcare informatics, an in-demand skill for nurses. If students already have their RN, they can complete this degree in as little as two years while working full-time.

    Maine College of Health Professions

    The Maine College of Health Professions offers a robust associate degree and RN to BSN degree for anyone looking to become a registered nurse in Maine. Unlike a traditional program, these two-degree programs take place in a hospital system, not in a traditional university setting. Most classes are offered online, though each class has an in-person requirement in the hospital system. This blended learning setup ensures graduates have a wide variety of work experience and gives them opportunities to develop their expertise in a specific field of nursing. While the school technically offers only an associate and RN to BSN degree, there is an option in which students can get both, effectively completing a traditional BSN in four years.

    Financial Aid Opportunities for Nursing Students in Maine

    Getting your BSN can be pricey. Luckily, many financial aid opportunities are available for nursing students in Maine. One of the biggest providers of scholarships and loans to BSN students is the state, thanks to the tuition support program for healthcare workers. This program provides loan and equitable loan repayment options for healthcare workers, including nurses. The University of Maine system, the largest in the state, also offers a variety of nursing scholarships, including eight new ones that many BSN students would qualify for. Outside of Maine-specific resources, federal and privately funded financial aid options are widely available. To learn more, check out our nursing scholarship guide and main financial aid guide.

    Your Path to Becoming an RN in Maine

    Each state has different licensure requirements and its own process to become a licensed nurse. For Maine, the process is monitored by the Maine State Board of Nursing. The board lays out five steps to becoming a registered nurse in Maine:

    Step #1: Attend a school approved by the board

    Completing an RN degree from a state-approved institution is the first step to becoming a registered nurse in Maine. Generally, most regionally and nationally accredited universities in Maine fit these criteria, though it’s important to check the state board’s list of approved schools to make sure your university is on it and that it’s approved for your specific degree. Some universities are only approved for one type, such as an ADN or a BSN, instead of for every type of nursing program.

    Step #2: Fill out an online application

    Maine requires all potential nurses to fill out an online application. This is the same application used to renew your license, apply for a more advanced license, and complete other tasks, such as requesting a copy of your license. There’s a $75 fee associated with getting your license, which must be paid when you fill out your form.

    Step #3: Present a school certification form and transcript

    After you’ve filled out the basic information on the application, the next step is to submit a transcript as well as a school certification form. This form confirms that you have successfully completed your degree in a state-approved nursing program. It must be completed by a representative from your school, most likely upon graduation from the program.

    Step #4: Pass the NCLEX-RN

    After you’ve presented your school certification form, it’s time to take the NCLEX-RN, a test to ensure you have the necessary skills to work as an RN. While you can take the test before you graduate, Maine’s licensure portal requires you to submit the school certification form and transcript before this step.

    Step #5: Keep your license current

    Once you are certified as a nurse, it’s your responsibility to keep your license current. To renew your license, you must fill out an online form certifying that you are still actively working in the field. You are required to renew your license every two years, either before or on your birthday. You must pay a $75 renewal fee each time you renew your RN license.

    Overall, the nursing job outlook for nurses in Maine is lower than in other states. The job growth rate is about 3.3% in Maine, while it’s 12.1% across the United States as a whole. However, the demand for nurses is increasing in Cumberland County, where Maine’s biggest city, Portland, is located. The demand for nurse practitioners will increase by 37.4% between now and 2030, so it might be worth investing in a master’s after completing your BSN. Having your BSN can also give you a competitive edge since 85% of nurses in the state have only an ADN.

    Employment Projections for RNs in Maine

    New Jobs
    (2020-2030)
    Job Growth Rate
    (2020-2030)
    Average Annual Openings
    (2020-2030)
    Maine4903.3%840
    United States371,50012.1%210,400

    Source: Projections Central

    RN Pay Scale in Maine: How Much You Could Earn

    Nurses in Maine tend to make around the national average, though that’s slightly less than nurses in some nearby states such as Massachusetts. If a nurse gets additional licenses, becomes a nurse practitioner, or enters a leadership role, they can expect to make even more in Maine. Nurses also can make more money by moving to cities where their skillset is in demand, such as Portland.

    Annual Earnings for Registered Nurses in Maine

    10th Percentile50th Percentile (Median)90th Percentile
    Maine$59,640$75,040$98,780
    Bangor, Maine$59,820$76,260$100,200
    Lewiston-Auburn, Maine$59,640$69,680$78,880
    Portland-South Portland, Maine$61,320$78,070$99,410
    United States$59,450$77,600$120,250

    Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021

    Maine Nursing Resources