Nurses in Maryland do everything from care for pediatric patients to walk families through difficult end-of-life decisions. They serve a critical role in the health care system and yet some are concerned there aren't enough students enrolled in Maryland nursing programs to keep up with future demand for these professionals.
As a result, both the state and industry groups are looking for innovative ways to increase the number of nursing students as well as expand the diversity of those students. In 2012, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning issued a report addressing the issues contributing a potential shortage of Maryland nurses and highlighting possible solutions, including the use of online programs.
While new nurses need hands-on instruction, the use of online RN-BSN and RN-MSN programs are one option to expand the practice areas of existing nurses. Even those who are new to the nursing profession may find some Maryland nursing programs offer certain classes online to make it more convenient for people to pursue a career in this field.
Keep reading to discover more about nursing jobs in Maryland and your education options.
Online Nursing Programs in Maryland
Nursing students can take several career paths in Maryland. Nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses can be ready to work after completing a short-term certificate or diploma program. These programs are typically offered only on-campus since they require a significant amount of hands-on instruction.
Once a student has become an LPN, they can turn to an online LPN-RN program, such as the one offered at Allegany College. These programs allow students to complete theory classes at their convenience and in the comfort of their home while working on clinical requirements at their workplace or a nearby assigned location.
There are also online programs for current registered nurses who would like to earn their bachelor's degree or an advanced degree. Some of the Maryland nursing schools offering online RN-BSN or RN-MSN programs include the following:
- University of Maryland
- Stevenson University
- Frostburg State University
- Johns Hopkins University
Other private and public schools have online nursing programs as well. Even degrees for new nurses may involve an online component. For example, students with no medical background who are studying to become an RN may find they are able to take prerequisite and theory classes online.
What's the Nursing Career Outlook in Maryland?
Maryland is already home to a large population of nurses, but the need for qualified workers will increase in the coming years. The percentage job growth for most nursing positions within the state with be above average and in the double digits, according to government data. Nurse practitioners will likely be in the greatest demand while nurse anesthetists command the highest average salaries.
The chart below takes a closer look at nursing jobs in Maryland.
|Position||Employment in Maryland (2014)||Average Salary in Maryland (2014)||Expected Job Growth Statewide (2012-2022)|
|Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses||11,270||$50,440||11.7%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (2014)
Salary and employment data can vary by region within a state. For example, registered nurses in various Maryland metropolitan areas earned the following average salaries in 2014.
- Baltimore: $72,690
- Washington-Arlington-Alexandria: $76,090
- Cumberland: $65,010
- Hagerstown: $68,080
Nursing Specializations in Maryland
While nurses share the same basic training, not every nurse performs the same duties once they enter the workforce. There are dozens of specializations within the nursing profession, and nurses may choose to be one of the following, among others.
- Cardiac care nurse
- Diabetes nurse
- Home health care nurse
- Psychiatric nurse
- Legal nurse consultant
In some cases, nurses may be able to fill specialized positions after they gain a certain amount of experience while other positions are only available to those with a specific educational background.
Another way nurses can specialize is by earning certifications from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. There are currently 27 specialty certifications, including the following:
- Community health nursing
- Gerontological nursing
- Nurse executive
- Medical-surgical nursing
- Pain management nursing
The center also offers specialized certifications for clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners. Other industry groups may offer their own designations and credentials for nurses.
Maryland nursing schools can help students learn more about their education options and may be able to provide guidance on certifications and how to earn them. You can get started by reviewing the Maryland nursing programs listed below and requesting information from those that interest you.
- 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
- Online LPN-RN Program, Allegany College, http://www.allegany.edu/x1265.xml
- Innovation in Maryland Nursing Education to Meet Anticipated Department, Center for Adult and Experiential Learning, 2012, http://www.cael.org/pdfs/maryland_innovation_in_nursing
- Maryland State Profile, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, http://www.aacn.nche.edu/government-affairs/resources/Maryland1.pdf