Registered Nurse Certification in How to Become an RN in Maine: Nursing License Application and Renewal Guide

To become a registered nurse (RN) in Maine, you must first obtain a degree, then complete the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), and finally apply for a license through the state board. This process can take as little as two years or upwards of six years, depending on the type of degree you wish to pursue.

Nationally, the nursing industry is projected to grow 12% by 2028, which is much faster than any other industry in the U.S. Additionally, as of 2018, the national average salary of RNs was $71,730 per year, which is much higher than the national average wage index. The average salary for RNs in Maine was estimated at $67,610 in 2018. While Maine’s salary for RNs is lower than its neighboring states, there is a high demand for RNs within the Pine Tree State.

Maine State Board of Nursing

The Maine State Board of Nursing handles licensing in the state. Residents can pursue four types of nursing licenses:

  • Certified nurse assistant (CNA);
  • Registered nurse (RN);
  • Licensed practical nurse (LPN);
  • And an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN).

To contact the Board, you can dial 207-287-1133, email, or visit their physical address at:

  • Maine State Board of Nursing
    161 Capitol Street
    Augusta, Maine 04333

Registered Nurse Education Requirements

To acquire an RN certification, all applicants must obtain a degree from an accredited school. Due to unprecedented demand in the industry, more students are enrolling in RN schools now that ever before. Maine offers a variety of RN programs to enroll in as well as varying degree options. These degree options include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree (BSN): This course is the national standard for RNs, and takes four years to complete. This coursework provides you with broad education in management and leadership that plays a key role in the present healthcare sector.
  • Associate’s Degree (ADN): An Associate’s Degree in Nursing is earned via a two-year degree program designed to equip students with the skills needed to begin a career in nursing.
  • Diploma Course: The diploma course in nursing is of 1-2 years duration and incorporates practical as well as theoretical knowledge among students.
  • Direct Entry MSN Program: This program is designed for non-nursing bachelor degree holders, who want to earn a master’s degree in nursing.
  • Accelerated BSN Degree: This course is designed for students who previously earned a bachelor’s degree in another field.

RN Licensure by Examination

This is the process for graduates and all new applicants; those licensed as RNs in another state or jurisdiction may need to follow the endorsement process detailed below. To obtain a license, applicants must:

  • Complete and notarize an application form using the online portal;
  • Submit a fee of $75 in the form of a money order, Visa/MasterCard, or U.S. check made payable to Treasurer of State of Maine;
  • 2”x2” recent passport-sized photograph with signature and date;
  • Submit transcripts (for out-of-state programs only) to the Board.

Fingerprinting and Background Checks

Applicants must register online for fingerprinting and background checks and must pay a one-time fee of $52. A criminal background check must be completed through the Maine Department of Public Safety (MDPS) and the FBI based on the fingerprints you digitally submitted.

Approved Exams

Nurses are required to pass the NCLEX before applying for their license. This test is used for every state’s board of nursing to determine the nurse’s preparedness. Practice tests are available to prepare for the exam.  

Applying to Take a Certification Exam

To take the NCLEX, you must first apply for licensure with the Maine State Board of Nurses. Then, you must register with Pearson VUE, which requires a $200 registration fee. This is an online testing site that hosts the NCLEX. Make sure you choose the test that is specific to RNs.

After registering, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) letter. This letter will have important testing information that is needed to schedule your exam. After receiving the ATT, you can schedule your test on the Pearson VUE website.

Testing Vendors and Proctors

There are two testing centers in Maine:

If those are unavailable, there are two additional testing centers in New Hampshire and Vermont:

Additional Requirements for Certification

As stated above, you must have your ATT to take the test. You should also bring a valid form of ID when going to the testing site, as the NCLEX has many security measures to discourage cheating.

Applying for Licensure

After the exam, you must complete an exam questionnaire. After, you may raise your hand to summon the teaching aid (TA), who will collect any testing supplies you have. The TA will then dismiss you after inspecting bags and pockets.

RN Licensure by Endorsement (Out-of-State Applicants)

If you are an RN licensed in another state, you can obtain a Maine license by endorsement. To gain a license through this process, applicants:

  • Must be a graduate holding a degree, certificate, or diploma;
  • Must be licensed by examination, in English, in another U.S. state or territory;
  • Must have successfully completed the NCLEX-RN exam;
  • Must be issued a U.S. Social Security number.
  • Must have a license verification from the state or territory where the original license was issued.

Another way to hold a license in Maine is to obtain a multi-state nursing license. Maine is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). Nurses living in compact states can acquire multi-state licenses without having to hold additional licenses in those states. Other compact states include:

To get a multi-state license, you must declare an NLC state as your primary residence as well as meet those state requirements. However, it’s important to be aware that you will be held to specific state standards wherever you are practicing.

RN License Renewal

All RN licenses in Maine expire every two years. A renewal notification is received two months prior to your birthdate and licenses are renewed online and paid for with a credit card. As of January 2020, all applications are submitted through the online portal. The Board does not offer a grace period for renewal, so it’s important for applicants to renew their licenses on or before their birthday.

Continuing Education Requirements

Currently, there are no continuing education requirements for RNs in Maine.

Maine Nursing License Verification

To verify an RN license in Maine, people can use the online verification tool provided by the Maine State Board of Nursing website.

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