The nation faces a rampant shortage of qualified healthcare practitioners, and individual patients are not the only ones suffering. Understaffed hospitals translate into overworked employees facing heightened stress levels, higher turnover rates, and more susceptibility to judgment errors. City stresses aside, underserved and more rural regions may have to do without qualified healthcare altogether.
The good news is that an education in medicine shows great promise for graduates making their way into the working world.
If seeking a nursing education, Maine’s schools offer courses up to the Doctoral level, as well as specialized studies and certifications. Program selection is adequate and the ratio between faculty and students is quite commendable throughout the state. If seeking a balance between work and play, the Pine Tree State may be a good career choice for graduates who are nature enthusiasts interested in exploring verdant forests and expansive coastlines.
Outlook for Maine Nurses
In an attempt to draw the best employees, individual states may offer various incentives such as sign-on bonuses and (in some regions) better-than average pay. The state of Maine has not been as hard hit with the nursing shortage as other states within the country, and annual salaries reflect that by being slightly lower than other New England states. However, Maine’s Department of Labor views nurses to be the most sought-after commodity in healthcare.
Nursing Jobs in Maine
Job viability will largely depend on where one chooses to work, the level of education acquired, and areas of specialization. Hospitals hire the largest number of nurses but there’s wisdom in looking at the job market from various angles. For instance, Nurse Practitioners may be more highly desired in rural regions because they help ease the strains of physician shortages. Though becoming an NP requires a Master’s or Doctoral degree this is a highly lucrative position to aspire to. In Maine, NPs average $85,000 per year, with higher wages being offered in the city of Bangor and in non-metropolitan areas in the southwest.
RNs may seek employment in hospitals, outpatient facilities, private duty settings, and on. According to the US Department of Labor, Registered Nurses working in Maine can average between $57,840 and $60,660 per year, which is noticeably lower than the national annual average of $69,100.
Average Healthcare Salaries in Maine
|Data from BLS 2011||10th Percentile||25th Percentile||50th Percentile|
|Licensed Practical Nurses||$39,010||$34,500||$40,190|
|Home Health Aides||$17,700||$19,900||$21,910|
Licensing in Maine for Nurses
Licensing is required in order to legally practice as an RN in the state of Maine. Licenses can be obtained one of two ways, by examination or by endorsement:
- Licensure by Exam requires an RN to pass two tests–the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, as well as the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.
- Licensure by Endorsement is for RNs licensed in another state but wishing to practice in Maine. Requirements include possessing a degree after attending a minimum of two years in a professional nursing program; passing the above exams and also meeting any additional requirements the state may request.
Maine adheres to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which is a multi-state license allowing nurses to reside in Maine while practicing in neighboring New Hampshire and other complying states. If wanting to practice in non-NLC compliant states (or abroad) then nurses would need to check with those nursing boards directly in order to assure legality.
For Maine licensing the State Board of Nursing site is the go-to source for getting or renewing RN and LPN licenses.
Nursing Programs in Maine
Maine has 14 colleges with nursing programs for two year RN degrees and on to Baccalaureate, Master’s and even Doctoral degrees. Depending on your educational needs and finances you can choose between accredited public and private institutions, and the class sizes are impressive—with a student/faculty ratio ranging from 29 to 1–to 5 to 1, respectively.
In addition to seeking traditional nursing degrees students can also choose to become certified–or minor–in a variety of subjects such as:
- Holistic Health
- Integrative Health
- Health Administration
- Nursing Education
If a non-nursing student holds a Baccalaureate degree and would like to become an RN the state also offers an accelerated program that can be completed in as few as 15 months.