Throughout the United States, including in New England, a major nursing shortage has occurred. Through the year 2026, approximately 203,700 new registered nurses will be needed annually. To fill this gap, nursing schools in Maine are offering more and more pathways to achieve undergraduate and graduate degrees. A very popular option is the RN to BSN bridge program. These types of degree tracks reduce credits required for graduation and can be finished in just one to two years of full-time study.
Traditional and online nursing schools in Maine will have varying requirements for admissions. Some colleges have no pre-requisites while others want general education requirements met before enrolling in a BSN degree program. For an MSN, the student will most likely need either a BSN or choose to apply for an RN to MSN bridge. The majority of graduate nursing schools in Maine don’t require GRE scores for admission.
With an advanced degree earned from nursing schools in Maine, healthcare professionals have more opportunities for advancement into leadership positions with higher salaries. Eligible positions when a nurse has a graduate-level degree include nurse practitioner, nurse manager, educator, researcher, nurse midwife, and nurse anesthetist.
Nursing careers offer plenty of advantages—not limited to scheduling flexibility, retirement plans, comprehensive insurance, long-term employment security, room for advancement, low unemployment, and high levels of reported job satisfaction. Although most nurses are employed in hospitals and medical offices, nurses also work in schools, government offices, and research institutes.
Maine offers plenty of advantages to prospective nurses. National rankings have determined that Maine has the safest hospitals in the entire country. Top hospitals in the state are Maine Medical Center, Eastern Maine Medical Center, and Mercy Hospital of Portland. These hospitals are high ranking in the fields of nephrology, gynecology, urology, and pulmonary surgery. Nursing students commonly complete their required clinical hours on-site at local Maine hospitals.
Labor force needs in Maine have grown significantly—meaning the state is the perfect place to look for employment after graduation from any of the nursing schools in Maine. Many born from the baby boomer generation have entered retirement age—leaving many vacancies in the Maine workforce. Salaries for Maine nurses are competitive with many areas of the state that have low cost of living averages.
Learn more about nursing programs available nationwide by visiting RNtoBSNProgram.com.
Through the School of Nursing at the University of Southern Maine, students gain access to state-of-the-art simulation laboratories. The simulation lab acts as an active learning center to assist students in gaining hands-on experience. As one of the best nursing schools in Portland, Maine, the University of Southern Maine is one of the few nursing schools to offer numerous tracks to graduate with a BS or MS in Nursing. Students can enroll in the accelerated BS in Nursing or RN to BS in Nursing bridge to reduce graduation timeframes. Graduate programs include an MS in Nursing with a specialization in psychiatry, education, gerontology, and family health. DNP programs are also offered on-site.
The University of Maine is one of the best public nursing schools in Maine. The college offers a very low tuition rate for in-state students. The school has two main nursing programs: a BSN and MSN. To be considered for admission to the BSN program, current high school students need to have an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.0, SAT scores of 1120 or higher OR 23 on the ACT, and GPA of 3.3 in English (four years), biology, chemistry, and mathematics (algebra and geometry).
The BSN follows a four-year traditional study plan while the comprehensive MSN program takes full-time students about two years to complete. UMaine offers an MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner, an MSN with a nursing education focus, and an MSN with a leadership focus. MSN tuition is $6,992/year.
The graduate degree specifically prepares nurses for entry into a job as a nurse practitioner. UMaine has a 100% job placement rate for their BSN and MSN programs. Their FNP program has had a 100% first-time pass rate for the APRN for the past 10 years. Their BSN NCLEX-RN pass rate is 95%. Students in the BSN and MSN programs have opportunities to engage in nursing research.
The nursing program at Central Maine Community College allows students to graduate with an Associate in Science-Nursing in approximately two years. Total credit hours for the associate degree nursing program is 68. At the conclusion, students are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-RN and be licensed in the state to work as a registered nurse. Over the past three years, the college has boasted between a 91 and 100 percent NCLEX pass rate.
Those new to nursing can choose the Southern Maine Community College to earn their associate-level degrees. Graduates of the program are well-prepared to pass the NCLEX and secure an entry-level registered nurse position. A total of 69 credits are required for graduation with full-time students needing to complete at least 4.5 semesters.
Outcomes for the nursing school have been largely positive. According to their nursing page, they have set the following goals and exceeded them:
Without question, Southern Maine Community College is one of the best nursing programs in Maine.
Eastern Maine Community College prepares students to become registered nurses in an entry-level position or transfer to a four-year BSN degree program. The two-year associate degree program teaches key topics for nurses such as community care, health assessments, healthcare safety, pharmaceuticals, and ethics. Over the last three years, the pass rate for the NCLEX among graduates of the program is 100 percent. The community college also boasts a 100 percent job placement rate among nursing school graduates.
The Associate in Science of Nursing degree from Kennebec Valley Community College prepares students for entry-level nursing careers. The degree requirements are similar to other community college nursing schools in Maine. To earn an associate degree, the nurse will need to complete approximately two years of full-time study to achieve the 69 credits required for graduation. If you’ve already graduated from an LPN nursing school in Maine (or elsewhere), there’s good news. LPNs can enter into the bridge program and will start the college as if it’s the second semester of the program. At the conclusion of the curriculum, over 94 percent of students obtain employment six months after graduation.
As one of the most popular nursing schools in Maine for entry-level nurses, Northern Maine Community College well prepares students to sit for the NCLEX. Most graduates of the program move on to work as a registered nurse or choose to transfer to a Maine four-year college to earn their BSN degrees. On average, 93 percent of Northern Maine Community College graduates pass the NCLEX. Each year, 100 percent of graduates are employed as nurses within nine months of degree conferment.
The nursing programs at Maine College of Health Professions allow degree seekers to earn their BSN degrees as quickly as possible. As one of the best licensed practical nurse schools in Maine, new healthcare professionals may choose to enter the one-year Certified Nursing Assistant or Licensed Practical Nurse programs. For more advanced training, the college offers a 70-credit Associate of Applied Science in Nursing (RN) and a 60-credit RN to BSN bridge. For the most recent graduation year, the Maine College of Health Professions had an 86 percent NCLEX pass rate, 93 percent retention rate, and a 100 percent job placement rate.
Husson University’s nursing program is a part of the Eastern Maine Medical Center Hospital System. This allows students to gain hands-on experience as they meet their clinical hour requirements. The college has its own simulation laboratory to help re-create real-world medical situations. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available through Husson University. Two types of degree tracks are available for MSN degree seekers: Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner
The nursing programs from the Saint Joseph’s College of Maine are highly flexible to appeal to working professionals. Traditional courses of study are available as well as bridge and online programs. Enrollees of the RN to BSN or MSN program can complete all coursework fully online. The traditional BSN is done on campus and takes approximately four years of full-time study. The college is one of the few nursing schools in Maine to boast a 100 percent first-time pass rate from BSN students.
Nursing degree seekers can enroll at the University of New England’s School of Nursing and Population Health. The school has multiple options for BSN degree seekers but does not have a current nursing graduate school. The prospective student can enroll in a traditional BSN or accelerated BSN program. The accelerated program is for non-nursing bachelor degree holders and requires 16 months of full-time study with a minimum of 550 clinical hours. As a private college, tuition rates are higher than public universities and community colleges, but affordable if enrolled in accelerated option.
A possibility for registered nurses in Maine is to earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees online through South University. The virtual degrees offered from the college include an RN to BSN bridge program that permits work experience to reduce credit load. Multiple online graduate nursing degrees are available from the accredited college including an accelerated RN to MSN and DNP. Degree tracks are designed to suit working professionals and classes can be taken on a part-time basis during evenings and weekends.
Prospective healthcare workers can choose to attend nursing schools in Maine online. Maryville University has a 100 percent online degree option for those who already have experience as a registered nurse. Program offerings include an RN to BSN bridge, MSN, BSN to DNP, and DNP. All curriculums within the degrees are designed to reduce graduation times. As an example, BSN holders can earn their doctoral degrees in just 40 months of online study. Concentrations are available for graduate-level degrees with options that include mental health, pediatrics, and gerontology.
Misericordia University provides online nursing degrees to those who live in the New England Region. A top feature of Misercodia is the DNP bridge program for nurses who already have at least a BSN from an accredited college. Any required clinical hours can be earned at a medical facility within the Maine area including local hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics. Most programs can be done in two to three years of online study while still continuing to meet family and work obligations. Currently, the online college doesn’t offer an RN to BSN bridge. In the last several years, Misercodia University has a 95 percent NCLEX-RN pass rate and 100 percent post-graduation job placement rate.
At Benedictine University’s online campus, Maine nurses can choose between the RN to BSN bridge program or the traditional MSN program. All classes are done virtually with 100 percent on-demand delivery. A highlight of Benedictine University is that their RN to BSN degree can be finished in just one year of full-time study. The MSN degree is for current BSN degree holders with requirements met in two years of full-time study. Annual program outcomes for online degrees are very positive with 95 to 100 percent of graduates finding employment within their field in less than a year.
An option for Maine residents is Sacred Heart University’s online nursing programs. Virtual courses are available exclusively for registered nurses and graduate students. Sacred Heart University is one of the few nursing schools in Maine to offer a degree in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). Bridge programs include RN to BSN and RN to MSN, which both allow students to apply clinical experience toward degree requirements. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the online MSN program from Sacred Heart University as a Top 50 Best Value Degree. The school also arranges for clinical placements abroad in locations such as Haiti, Jamaica, Luxembourg, and Mexico.
Regis College’s online MSN is available to entry-level nurses in Maine. The college has a flexible admissions policy with only an associate’s degree needed as a pre-requisite. No GRE test scores or BSN requirements for enrollment. Specializations for the MSN degree include pediatrics, geriatrics, family health, mental health, and women’s health. The MSN program is self-paced and will take approximately two to four years for completion depending on how many transferred credits are accepted by the college and the selected course load per semester.
The nursing schools in Maine featured above were ranked on three main criteria: the current year’s tuition, nursing degrees available, and historical graduation/NCLEX pass rates. Tuition consisted of 50 percent of the school’s score while program availability and positive outcome rates were calculated equally for the other 50 percent. Tuition amounts for nursing schools in Maine will increase annually. The posted tuition amounts do not include any extra fees such as travel fees, room and board or book costs. If any nursing schools in Maine have at least an RN licensing program and were not listed above, please contact our editorial team to make any corrections. Please contact team members if any errors are noted.
Interested in pursuing a nursing degree online or on-campus? Visit our website RNtoBSNProgram.com to learn more about the best nursing schools in Maine and around the globe. Compare each college’s tuition, programs offered, admissions requirements, and much more to find the best nursing program to help you reach your career goals.