Use the school listings and the section on online RN to MSN programs in Maine to decide if the state meets your needs. Each profile has details on admissions requirements and each concentration has info on the curriculum and tuition rates.
Wondering which specialty to choose? Our sections on Maine’s healthcare landscape and jobs for RN to MSN graduates contain links to healthcare reports, job & wage data, local job boards, hospital rankings, loan repayment programs, and more.
Online RN to MSN Programs in Maine
We didn’t find any universities that were willing to offer online RN to MSN programs in Maine. USM’s program, which is profiled in our school listings, is primarily campus-based. Nil desperandum:
- New Hampshire and Massachusetts have plenty of distance learning options, with tons of MSN specialties. Even if you need to travel to the campus for short residencies or orientations, you won’t have to travel far.
- You can expand your search even further by viewing the listings in our page on Online RN to MSN Programs. We’ve profiled online RN to MSN concentrations in every state.
Maine’s Healthcare Landscape
Maine has much to be proud of. It often does well in the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance. The state has a sturdy number of primary care physicians and psychiatrists practicing in rural areas (40% of the population live in rural counties). And Maine outperforms many rural states in lifestyle-related health markers (e.g. diabetes and obesity). Nevertheless, Maine healthcare experts have been keeping an eye on a number of areas:
Rural Health in the North: If you look at the BCBS Health Index Map and County Health Rankings, you’ll notice that counties with the worst healthcare factors & outcomes are places like Aroostook, Washington, Somerset, and Piscataquis. In the 2018 Rural Health Report Card, some of the worst grades were for Maine’s rural uninsured rate and mental health. These are a few reasons why MHA has launched a Protect Rural Maine campaign to preserve its rural hospitals.
Treating an Aging Population: Maine has one of the highest death rates from cancer in the country. Some of these deaths may be lifestyle-related, but it’s worth pointing out that Maine is often the oldest state by median age. Low income adults over the ages 65 lack transportation to medical care, especially in rural counties. Healthcare workers are at a premium. And gerontological medical needs are becoming ever more complex.
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic: The state was hit hard by the crisis. In 2017, Maine was among the top 10 states with the highest overdose deaths involving opioids in the U.S. From 2010-2017, 2,000+ Maine adults died and scores of drug-affected babies were born. Numbers are declining thanks to federal funding for hospitals & community clinics and Portland’s status as a recovery hub on the Eastern Seaboard—there are close to 100 sober-living houses in the city. But more work is needed.
In other words, aspiring APRNs may find that their services are particularly required in rural care (e.g. primary care and adult gerontology), mental health clinics, and hospitals that deal with gerontological cases.
Jobs for Maine RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) keeps a close eye on job & wage data for Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. If you’re trying to compare regions and states in the New England areas, be sure to check out the maps. (Hover over an area to view the data points.)
You’ll see that Maine has a high concentration of nurse practitioners for its size (just like New Hampshire). Wages are often low, but that doesn’t mean cities pay better. Southwest Maine and Portland may have the most jobs, yet Northeast Maine NPs earn just as much—if not more—as Portland ones. Just keep in mind that the cost of living in Maine tends to be high, especially for housing and heating.
According to Maine workforce data, around 32% of Maine’s APRNs work in ambulatory care, 37% in hospitals, and 10.8% in community health. The MHA’s list of members (e.g. hospitals, home health agencies, and continuing care affiliates) is one place to start. Hospital-bound nurses can also check out the Best Hospitals in Maine and Magnet Facilities in Maine.
- Portland Area: The Maine Medical Center is the largest tertiary care hospital in Northern New England. It’s a teaching hospital, Level One Trauma Center, and a Magnet Facility. Mercy Hospital is another “Best” and USM and the University of New England have substantial nursing schools.
- Lewiston/Brunswick/Augusta: High performing options include the Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick (a Magnet Facility), and MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. And the Togus VA Medical Center is four miles east of Augusta.
- Bangor: The Eastern Maine Medical Center is often ranked as a Best Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital frequently earns a good patient experience rating. Bangor is also near the base camp of the University of Maine in Orono and Husson University.
- Rural: Maine’s division of Rural Health and Primary Care (RHPC) has a list of programs for rural healthcare providers, including loan repayment options and tax credits. It also publishes maps of HPSAs in Maine.
Wondering about autonomy? The Maine Board of Nursing’s section on APRN FAQs has information on scope of practice. NPs in Maine have prescriptive authority and are recognized as primary care providers, but they must practice for at least 24 months under the supervision of a licensed physician before independent practice authority is granted (as of 2019).
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Maine Nursing Job Boards
- ANA-MAINE Career Center: Job listings for Maine nurses, including nurse educators, APRNs, and nurse leaders
- MNPA Job Opportunities: Openings for Maine NPs
- MEHospitalJobs.com: Job listings for healthcare professionals in Maine hospitals
Maine APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Maine Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Maine Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Maine Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Maine Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- American Nurses Asssociation-MAINE (ANA-MAINE)
- Maine Hospital Association (MHA)
- Maine Nurse Practitioners Association (MNPA)
- Maine State Nurses Association (MSNA)
Maine Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American College of Nurse-Midwives – Maine Affiliate (Maine ACNM)
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – New England Chapter (APNA New England)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Maine (AWHONN Maine)
- Maine Association of Nurse Anesthetists (MEANA)
- Maine Association of Occupational Health Nurses (MEAOHN)
- Maine Association of School Nurses (MASN)
- Maine Emergency Nurses Association (MENA)
- Maine Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (MESPAN)
- OMNE Nursing Leaders of Maine (OMNE)
- Southern Maine Chapter of AACN
Nursing School Overview
USM is a public university in the University of Maine System. Graduate nursing programs are offered by the School of Nursing and delivered on the Portland campus. In-state tuition rates for the MSN are very reasonable, and Canadian and New England regional students get a sizeable discount on the out-of-state rate. You'll often find USM in the top 160 of U.S. News & World Report rankings for Best Nursing Schools. Clinical skills for graduate students are taught in USM's Simulation Center (e.g. acute care, pharmacology, etc.) and students fulfill their practicums in inpatient, outpatient, and community-based facilities. For example, hospital placements have occurred in Maine Medical Centers, Mercy Hospital, Mid Coast Hospital, Spring Harbor Hospital, and St. Mary's Regional Medical Center. Some students also take part in USM's international primary healthcare missions to the Dominican Republic. USM states that graduates routinely pass above the national average on certification exams, but you can always ask the program coordinator for exact numbers in your choice of specialty.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
RNs with an associate degree or diploma in nursing from a CCNE- or NLN-accredited program are welcome to apply for USM's campus-based program. Candidates should have a current & unencumbered RN license, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, acceptable MAT or GRE scores, and a prerequisite in statistics. The application will also need to include a resume/CV, an essay, and 2 letters of recommendation. Admission to the program is highly selective and a personal interview may be requested. No BSN is awarded in this pathway. Instead, RN to MSN students must fulfill certain prerequisites (e.g. psychology, sociology, etc.), complete the USM Core curriculum (unless they have a prior baccalaureate such as a BA or BS), and take 6 undergraduate nursing courses (15 credits), including a health assessment lab and community nursing clinical. You can take fewer courses if you have a non-nursing bachelor's degree. Full time students can complete junior and senior undergraduate nursing courses in 12-18 months, but part-time study is also available. The length of the MSN will depend on your choice of concentration. Nursing Education is 40 credits and might take 4 semesters (e.g. 9-12 credits per semester), with 224 experiential hours in the last semester. But NP specialties range from 45-53 credits, and could take 4-6 semesters on a full-time basis or 6-8 semesters on a part-time basis. Students must finish the entire RN to MSN program within 6 years.