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Maine Nursing License Requirements

There are several categories of nurse licensing in Maine, including licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, and nurse practitioner. The Maine State Board of Nursing oversees the licensing and practice of nurses to ensure the health and welfare of the citizens of Maine. To help guarantee quality of care, all nurses in Maine must have at least a diploma or certificate in nursing. Select a category of nursing below to learn more about the requirements for becoming a practical nurse, registered nurse, or nurse practitioner in Maine.

» How to become a licensed practical nurse (requires completion of a training program)
» How to become a registered nurse (requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree)
» How to become a nurse practitioner (requires a master’s degree)

3 Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in Maine

1. Complete a Program in Practical Nursing.

To become a licensed practical nurse in Maine, a candidate must have completed an approved curriculum in practical nursing that culminates in the award of a diploma or certificate.1 A list of approved programs in practical nursing in Maine is available on the Maine State Board of Nursing website.2 The Maine State Board of Nursing also provides historical pass rates by program on the National Council Licensure Examination.3

2. Submit the Application for Examination and License as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

The Application for Examination and License as a Licensed Practical Nurse form is required to begin the application process in Maine.4 This form should be completed and submitted to the Maine State Board of Nursing along with the appropriate fees and a passport-style photograph no more than two years old that is signed and dated by the applicant.4 Applicants who attended a practical nursing program outside of the state of Maine must also request official transcripts to be sent by the school attended directly to the Maine State Board of Nursing.4 The school, whether in-state or out-of-state, must also complete Section III of the application form with an administrative signature and school seal.4

3. Register for and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.

Prospective practical nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).1 The NCLEX-PN is administered by Pearson VUE.5 Once a candidate has registered to take the NCLEX-PN with Pearson VUE and the candidate’s application has been approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing, the candidate may schedule and take the NCLEX-PN.5 After passing the NCLEX-PN the candidate may receive a license in practical nursing.1

3 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in Maine

1. Complete a Degree in Registered Nursing.

Registered nurses in Maine must have either an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in nursing earned through a course of study lasting at least two years.1 Note also that students who transfer schools while pursuing an education in nursing must spend at least one year at the school from which the student graduates.1 The Maine State Board of Nursing provides a list of approved associate and bachelor degree programs for registered nurses on its website.6 Historical pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination by graduates from approved programs in the state are also available on the Maine State Board of Nursing website.3

2. Submit the Application for Examination and License as a Registered Professional Nurse.

After graduating from a registered nursing program candidates should submit to the Maine State Board of Nursing the Application for Examination and License as a Registered Professional Nurse.7 The application should be accompanied by the required fees and a recent photograph of the applicant two inches by two inches in size, taken within the last two years and signed by the applicant.7 Those who graduated from nursing programs outside of the state of Maine must also request official transcripts to be forwarded from the school to the Maine State Board of Nursing.7 An administrative officer from the school of nursing must sign and apply the school seal to Section III of the application for both in-state and out-of-state schools.7

3. Register for and Take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

To receive a license, prospective registered nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-RN).1 Pearson VUE, a third party company endorsed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, administers the NCLEX-RN.5 After review of the application and registration with Pearson VUE candidates will receive an Authorization to Test to schedule and take the NCLEX-RN.5 After passing the NCLEX-RN the candidate may receive a license to practice registered nursing.1

8 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in Maine

1. Obtain a License as a Registered Nurse.

To become a nurse practitioner in Maine, a candidate must first obtain a registered nurse license in Maine.1 This includes completing the required education and obtaining a passing score on the NCLEX-RN.

2. Complete a Master’s Degree in Nursing.

All prospective nurse practitioners must hold at least a master’s degree in nursing.8 The curriculum for the master’s degree must provide an education in the specialty area in which the prospective nurse practitioner wishes to practice.8 Specialties include, but are not limited to, Family Nurse Practitioner, Adult Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.9

3. Complete a Course in Pharmacology.

Nurse practitioners must complete at least three academic credits or 45 contact hours of pharmacology from an acceptable education provider to be eligible for a license in Maine.8

4. Obtain Certification from a National Association.

Nurse practitioners must earn and maintain national certification or credentials from a recognized certifying body for advanced practice nursing and nurse practitioners.1 Candidates may only attempt a national certifying examination twice; if a candidate should be unsuccessful and fail the examination twice within two years, that candidate is no longer eligible to practice as a nurse practitioner.8 A list of approved certifying bodies is available on the Maine State Board of Nursing website.8

5. Submit the Application for License as a Nurse Practitioner.

The Application for License as a Nurse Practitioner should be submitted to the Maine State Board of Nursing to request a license.9 The form should be accompanied by:9

  • The required fee(s), including additional fees for multiple specialties;
  • A passport style photograph taken within the last two years signed and dated by the applicant;
  • Verification of national certification or verification that a national certification exam has been scheduled;
  • Final transcripts verifying a master’s degree or post-master’s certificate, sent directly by the nursing school;
  • The Application for Approval of a Supervising Relationship form if employment as a nurse practitioner has already been arranged.

Note that applicants who hold registered nurse licensure in another state must verify license status through the NURSYS electronic system or by paper verification.9 Note that the application form must also be notarized.9

6. Request a Temporary Permit to Practice, If Desired.

In circumstances where a prospective nurse practitioner has met all qualifications for licensing and has registered to take a national certifying examination but has not yet been able to take the examination due to scheduling, the candidate may request a temporary nurse practitioner permit.1 The temporary permit is valid for up to 24 months.10 Should the candidate fail the national certifying exam on the first attempt the permit remains valid unless the candidate is not successful at the exam on the second attempt.10 Note that the Maine State Board of Nursing must be notified of the initial exam results and the rescheduled date for testing on the second attempt to remain in compliance.10

7. Register with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

In Maine, licensed nurse practitioners may prescribe controlled substances from Schedules II to V.8 To exercise this authority, a nurse practitioner must register with the Federal Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA).8 Registration may only be issued once a nurse practitioner license is issued, and may be completed using the Drug Enforcement Administration online form.11 Nurse practitioners who choose not to prescribe are still required by the Maine State Board of Nursing to complete additional continuing education in pharmacology.10

8. Complete Supervised Practice.

After becoming licensed but before beginning independent practice, nurse practitioners in Maine must complete at least 24 months of practice under the supervision of a licensed physician or supervising nurse practitioner.8 The supervising relationship must be registered with the Maine State Board of Nursing and must be updated if the relationship changes.8 The Maine State Board of Nursing provides the Application for Approval of a Supervising Relationship with a Licensed Physician or Nurse Practitioner form for these purposes.12 Once evidence that two years of clinical hours of practice have been completed is submitted to the Maine State Board of Nursing, an independent letter and license that allows the nurse practitioner to practice independently will be issued.10

Maine Nursing Associations

Future and current nurses in Maine can find benefits from joining nursing associations, including opportunities to network professionally, pursue continuing or advanced education, and locate employment openings.

Maine Nursing Salary

OccupationNumber EmployedAverage Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants9,050$26,220
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses1,250$43,680
Registered Nurses14,190$63,800
Nurse Practitioners1,130$99,140

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2016.13,14,15,16

References:
1. Maine Revised Statutes Title 32 Chapter 31: Nurses and Nursing
2. Maine State Board of Nursing: Approved Maine LPN Programs
3. Maine State Board of Nursing: NCLEX Pass Rates
4. Maine State Board of Nursing: Application for Examination and License as a Licensed Practical Nurse
5. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination
6. Maine State Board of Nursing: Approved Maine RN Programs
7. Maine State Board of Nursing: Application for Examination and License as a Registered Professional Nurse
8. Maine State Board of Nursing Rules Chapter 8: Regulations Relating to Advanced Practice Registered Nursing
9. Maine State Board of Nursing: Application for License as a Nurse Practitioner
10. Maine State Board of Nursing: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) FAQs
11. US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration: Application for Registration Under Controlled Substance Act of 1970
12. Maine State Board of Nursing: Application for Approval of a Supervising Relationship with a Licensed Physician or Nurse Practitioner
13. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Nursing Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes311014.htm
14. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes292061.htm
15. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Registered Nurses: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291141.htm
16. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Nurse Practitioners: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes291171.htm