Nearly $1 million in government funding went to Maine nursing schools in 2015, according to the American Association of Colleges in Nursing. These institutions have used the money to help fund programs, including some online, that are intended to shore up the number of nurses in the state.
Maine nursing programs enrolled 3,146 students at the baccalaureate and graduate level in 2014, but many more may be needed to keep up with demand in the coming years. With nearly half the nurse practitioners in the state being older than age 50, the Maine Department of Labor has expressed concern there won't be enough graduates to replace retiring nurses.
Fortunately, some Maine nursing schools are making it easier for people to enter the nursing profession and for current nurses to move into advanced practice positions such as those of nurse practitioners. Online RN-BSN and RN-MSN programs allow current nurses to study from the comfort of their own home and around their current work schedule. Even those who are not yet nurses may find they are able to take some classes online.
If you want to be a nurse in Maine, keep reading for an overview of the profession and your education options.
Online Nursing Programs in Maine
As a smaller state, Maine has relatively few higher education options when compared to other parts of the country. However, that doesn't mean there aren't quality programs to be found. There are six schools offering baccalaureate degrees approved by the state of Maine:
- Saint Joseph's College
- Kaplan University
- University of Southern Maine
- Husson University
- University of Maine
- University of Maine-Fort Kent
Some schools, such as the University of Maine, offer bachelor's degrees on campus. Other Maine nursing schools, including Saint Joseph's College and the University of Maine-Fort Kent, offer online degrees as well. These are typically RN-BSN programs which allow current registered nurses who have an associate degree or diploma to earn their bachelor's degree while maintaining their job. Saint Joseph's College also offers a fast-track option for those who wish to go on to earn a master's degree for advanced practice nursing positions.
For those who aren't already a nurse, online education options are more limited. Seven schools are approved by the Maine State Board of Nursing to offer associate degrees. These include mainly community colleges but also the University of Maine-Augusta. As with other health care careers, nursing is a hands-on profession, and these Maine nursing programs typically include a significant amount of clinical instruction. However, some schools may allow students to take theory classes online.
What is the Nursing Career Outlook in Maine?
Of all the nursing positions in the state, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates demand will likely be greatest for nurse practitioners. That's to be expected given the number of current nurse practitioners who could be retiring in the years to come.
However, licensed practical nurses are also expected to see significant demand in the coming years. Since LPNs typically can be ready to work after completing a short-term certificate or degree program, these jobs may be a good starting point for those who want to enter the workforce quickly.
More detailed information about Maine nursing jobs and expected growth can be seen below.
|Position||Employment in Maine (2014)||Average Salary in Maine (2014)||Expected Job Growth Statewide (2012-2022)|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||1,320||$41,750||14.8%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014)
Pay for nurses may depend on where in the state a person works. Here's a look at the average incomes from registered nurses in major Maine metropolitan areas in 2014.
- Portland: $66,850
- Bangor: $66,200
- Lewiston: $60,630
Nursing Specializations in Maine
Whether you decide to become an LPN, RN or APN, you'll find plenty of opportunities to specialize your practice. By some counts, there are more than 100 specialty nursing positions available and while some are limited to those with a certain amount of education, others can pursued by nurses at all levels.
Here are a couple of examples of nursing specializations you may find in Maine.
- Certified nurse midwife
- Developmental disability nurse
- Forensic nurse
- Nurse educator
- Oncology nurse
The American Nurses Credentialing Center also offers professional certifications as a way for nurses of various levels to specialize their care. Graduates of Maine nursing schools can pursue 27 certifications including the following:
- Ambulatory care nursing
- General nursing practice
- Informatics nursing
- Pediatric nursing
- School nursing
Additionally, there are 8 certifications specifically for clinical nurse specialists and 10 certifications for nurse practitioners as well as 2 specialty certifications for both of these nursing groups.
However, before a nurse can specialize, he or she needs to get the right education. The Maine nursing programs below offer a variety of options to help you get started on the path to a new career. Request information from the schools that interest you today.
- Long-term projections, Projections Central, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
- Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_md.htm
- Explore Specialties, Johnson & Johnson, https://www.discovernursing.com/explore-specialties#no-filters
- ANCC Certification Center, American Nurses Credentialing Center, http://www.nursecredentialing.org/Certification
- Maine State Profile, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, http://www.aacn.nche.edu/government-affairs/resources/Maine1.pdf
- Maine report urges steps to prevent shortage of health-care professionals, J. Craig Anderson, Portland Press Herald, April 15, 2014 http://www.pressherald.com/2014/04/15/report__steps_needed_to_prevent_future_shortage_of_healthcare_professionals_in_maine_/
- Approved Maine RN Programs, Maine State Board of Nursing, http://www.maine.gov/boardofnursing/Licensing/RN/Approved%20RN%20Licensing%20Programs.htm#central