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Steps to Becoming an APRN in Maine

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maine nursing

Get your Graduate Degree in Maine
Earn your National Certification in Maine
Apply for your License in Maine
Renewing your License in Maine

The Maine State Board of Nursing (207-287-1138 or katherine.a.drake@maine.gov) licenses qualified registered nurses to serve in one of four different advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) roles: certified nurse practitioner, certified registered nurse anesthetist, certified clinical nurse specialist, and certified nurse midwife.

Before applying for APRN licensure in Maine, however, you must hold an unencumbered RN license, either in Maine or in another state that is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact. Currently, compact states include: Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.

Maine Job Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in ME: $96,590
  • 2013 NCLEX-RN pass rate for Maine: 82.6%
  • 2015 active RNs in Maine: 24,413
  • 2014-24 projected increase in NP jobs in Maine: 24.9%
  • The Maine Board of Nursing ruled in 2012 that qualified NPs may biopsy and excise skin lesions
  • If you hold an RN license in a compact state, do not apply for RN licensure in Maine unless you plan to declare Maine as your permanent residence.
  • If you hold an RN license in another state, you may apply for licensure by endorsement in Maine if:
    • You are a graduate of a professional nursing program of at least two years in length
    • You have been licensed by examination in another state/jurisdiction of the United States
    • Your qualifications are comparable to those of an RN-eligible graduate of nursing school in Maine
  • If you graduated from a foreign nursing school (other than Canada), you may receive a Maine RN license if you meet all of the following qualifications:
    • You completed a four-year high school course of study (or equivalent)
    • You completed at least a two year long professional nursing program
    • You meet educational requirements in surgical, obstetric, medical, psychiatric and pediatric nursing
    • You have been licensed by examination in your own country
    • You pass the qualifying examination given by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
    • You pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for RNs
    • You have been issued a US social security number
    • If your Maine RN license is currently inactive or expired, it may be reactivated or reinstated. Contact linda.f.elliot@maine.gov  or 207-287-9946 to begin this process.


Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

The Maine State Board of Nursing requires that as APRN, you must hold at least a master’s degree with a concentration in the general role in which you intend to work (i.e., certified nurse practitioner, certified clinical nurse specialist, certified nurse midwife or certified registered nurse anesthetist).

Standards for nursing education programs in Maine are listed here.

Qualified Graduate Programs

The national accreditation body for your general APRN role must have accredited the graduate-level APRN program you choose:

Course Requirements

Core curriculum that is part of all APRNs graduate level training includes:

  • Advanced physical assessment
  • Advanced pathophysiology
  • Advanced pharmacology (45 contact hours (3 credit hours) specified by Maine Board of Nursing)

Beyond the core curriculum, the Maine State Board of Nursing requires that graduate-level education include courses or practice hour requirements for the respective APRN roles that cover the following competencies:

  • Certified Nurse Practitioner:
    • Complete nurse practitioner program within 5 years of applying for APRN license, or verify 1500 hours of practice in a specialty nursing role in the past 5 years
    • Assessment and obtaining health history, performing screenings and diagnostic exams
    • Interpreting health data and relating it to wellness and risk factors
    • Diagnosis and treatment of common diseases
    • Counseling of families and individuals
    • Consultation, collaboration and referral to other health care providers
  • Certified Nurse Midwife:
    • Primary health care and case management of women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period
    • Primary health care of newborns up to age one
    • Providing gynecological and family planning services
    • Treatment of sexual transmitted diseases
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist:
    • Assessing patients prior to administering anesthesia
    • Verifying informed consent
    • Making adjustments and corrections in the administration of anesthesia, as needed
  • Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist:
    • Case management skills, coordinating health services and assuring continuity of care
    • Evaluating client progress and expected outcomes
    • Consulting with other health care providers
    • Performing additional functions related to your clinical specialty
    • If you are trained as a psychiatric/mental health CNS:
      • Independent assessment, diagnosis and treatment of complex mental problems via psychotherapy and other treatment modalities

Prescriptive Authority

As a certified nurse practitioner or a certified nurse midwife with APRN licensure in Maine, you will automatically receive authorization to prescribe drugs. If you have not prescribed drugs for the past two years, you must present evidence of having completed 15 contact hours of pharmacology during that two-year period. If you have not prescribed drugs for the past five years, you must submit evidence of having completed 45 contact hours of pharmacology during that two-year period. To be accepted by the Board, a pharmacology course must cover the following areas:

  • Federal and state laws applying to pharmacology and prescriptive authority
  • Prescription writing
  • Selecting medications, dosages, routes of administration
  • Medication interactions
  • Information resources
  • Clinical application of pharmacology to your intended scope of practice

Specialization

While pursuing your Master’s of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice or PhD in Nursing, you may elect to take coursework pertaining to a specific area of specialty or population group or groups with which you intend to work, such as acute care, family, adult, pediatric and geriatric. The national certifying body through which you pursue national certification will set the requirements for the courses specific to specialty area or population focus necessary to be eligible to sit for their certification exam.

Other specialized tracks available within your graduate APRN program may focus on nurse leadership, nursing education, or nursing administration.


Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

You must obtain national certification in order to become a licensed APRN in Maine. Each national certification agency independently establishes its own eligibility criteria that must be met before sitting for their certification exam.

You may become certified in one or more areas, but if you choose to become certified in more than one area, you must submit a separate application for each licensure area (for example, if you are already nationally certified and licensed in Maine as an Adult Nurse Practitioner and then undergo advanced practice training and certification to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, the Maine State Board of Nursing requires that you re-apply for licensure as an FNP. Once you are nationally certified, you must maintain this certification to maintain APRN licensure in Maine.

Certification Boards

These agencies provide national APRN certification for generalists and specialists recognized by the Maine State Board of Nursing:

You must become nationally certified with one of the above organizations before moving forward with Maine’s APRN licensure process. Contact the appropriate agency for more information.


Step 3. Apply for your License

Certified Nurse Practitioner:

To become a licensed nurse practitioner in Maine, complete the Application for Licensure as a Nurse Practitioner. Make sure to sign it and have it notarized. Along with your application:

  • Attach your application fee of $100 (for your primary specialty, plus $50 for each additional specialty) via check or money order payable to Treasurer of the State of Maine
  • Attach a recent passport-type photo signed and dated on the back
  • If you have an out-of-state RN license, complete the Verification of Registered Nurse Licensure form (included in application packet) and mail it to the Board in the state in which you hold RN licensure (if you have a Maine RN license, you do not need to complete this form)
  • Complete the NURSYS Verification Form (included within application packet) if you are licensed within one of the states listed on the form to verify your RN licensure in that state
  • Complete Verification Form and mail to your national certification organization to obtain verification of your certification from each agency with which you are certified
  • Have your graduate nursing program send an official transcript directly to the Board
  • Attach signed Declaration of Primary Residence form (included in application packet)

Supervising Relationship

As a new licensed NP in Maine, you must be supervised by a physician or NP within your practice category for the first 24 months of your practice (40 hours per week). Include a letter of supervision from a physician or certified, licensed nurse practitioner within your practice category, stating that he or she will supervise you for the first 24 months of your employment as a licensed, certified NP.

  • Include the Application for Approval of a Supervising Relationship with a Licensed Physician or Nurse Practitioner, completed and signed by you and your supervising NP or physician
  • If you change your employment setting during this 24 months, you must have your new supervising physician/NP send the Board a letter indicating that he or she will be your new supervisor, your hours working each week, start date, and synopsis of the services you will provide
  • When you complete the 24 month physician supervision requirement, your supervisor must send the Board a letter stating that you have fulfilled this requirement
  • Attach a registration fee of $50 for this application

Mail all of the above to the Maine State Board of Nursing, 158 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0158.

Certified Nurse Midwife:

To become a licensed nurse midwife in Maine, complete the Application for Initial Licensure as a Nurse Midwife. Make sure to sign it and have it notarized. Along with your completed application:

  • Attach application fee of $100 via check or money order payable to Treasurer of the State of Maine
  • Attach a recent passport-type photo, signed and dated on the back
  • If you have an out-of-state RN license, complete the Verification of Registered Nurse Licensure form (included in application packet) and mail it to the Board in the state in which you hold RN licensure (if you have a Maine RN license, you do not need to complete this form)
  • Complete the NURSYS Verification Form (included within application packet) if you are licensed within one of the states listed on the form to verify your RN licensure in that state
  • Complete Verification Form and mail to the American Midwifery Certification Board to  obtain verification of your certification
  • Attach documentation of  your enrollment in the AMCB’s Certificate Maintenance Program (CMP)
  • Have your graduate nursing program send an official transcript directly to the Board
  • Attach signed Declaration of Primary Residence form (included in application packet)

Mail all of the above to: Maine State Board of Nursing, 158 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0158

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist:

To become licensed as a certified registered nurse anesthetist in Maine, complete the Application for Initial Licensure as a Nurse Anesthetist. Make sure to sign it and have it notarized. Along with your completed application:

  • Attach application fee of $100 via check or money order payable to Treasurer of the State of Maine
  • Attach a recent passport-type photo, signed and dated on the back
  • If you have an out-of-state RN license, complete the Verification of Registered Nurse Licensure form (included in application packet) and mail it to the Board in the state in which you hold RN licensure (if you have a Maine RN license, you do not need to complete this form)
  • Complete the NURSYS Verification Form (included within application packet) if you are licensed within one of the states listed on the form to verify your RN licensure in that state
  • Complete Verification Form and mail to the National Board of Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists to  obtain verification of your certification
  • Have your graduate nursing program send an official transcript directly to the Board
  • Attach signed Declaration of Primary Residence form (included in application packet)

Mail all of the above to: Maine State Board of Nursing, 158 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0158

Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist:

To become licensed as a certified clinical nurse specialist in Maine, complete the Application for Initial Licensure as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. Make sure to sign it and have it notarized. Along with your completed application:

  • Attach application fee of $100 via check or money order payable to Treasurer of the State of Maine
  • Attach a recent passport-type photo, signed and dated on the back
  • If you have an out-of-state RN license, complete the Verification of Registered Nurse Licensure form (included in application packet) and mail it to the Board in the state in which you hold RN licensure (if you have a Maine RN license, you do not need to complete this form)
  • Complete the NURSYS Verification Form (included within application packet) if you are licensed within one of the states listed on the form to verify your RN licensure in that state
  • Complete Verification Form and mail to your national certification agency to obtain verification of your certification
  • Have your graduate nursing program send an official transcript directly to the Board
  • Attach signed Declaration of Primary Residence form (included in application packet)

Mail all of the above to: Maine State Board of Nursing, 158 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0158

When you receive your APRN license, you will be issued a paper certificate with your name, original license date and license number. This is the only time you will be issued a paper certificate while you are licensed as an APRN in Maine, so keep it in a safe place. You will not receive any replacement if it is lost, nor will you receive a new certificate at renewal.

Temporary Authority to Practice

If at the time you file your APRN application for licensure you have not completed all of the requirements necessary for full licensure, the Board may issue you a Temporary Authority to Practice letter. You may apply for temporary authority as a new graduate of an advanced nursing program, while waiting to take the national certification exam. You must include with your application for licensure documentation that you have scheduled to take the national certification examination and have the national certification agency send verification of eligibility for testing to the Board if you wish to obtain temporary authority to practice. The duration of this authority varies depending upon your APRN role specialty:

  • Nurse Practitioner: If you receive a Temporary Authority to Practice letter and fail your national certification exam, you may still practice as an NP, as the letter is valid for two attempts at taking the national certification exam within two years.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialist: If you receive a Temporary Authority to Practice letter and fail your national certification exam, you may not continue to practice as a CNS. The letter is valid for one attempt at taking the exam within one year.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: If you receive a Temporary Authority to Practice letter and fail your national certification exam, you may still practice under the supervision of a CRNA and must identify yourself as a graduate nurse anesthetist. You must pass the exam within 12 months of graduation.
  • Certified Nurse Midwife: If you receive a Temporary Authority to Practice letter, it is valid for 12 months and one attempt at passing the certification exam.

Collaborative Practice Agreement/Prescriptive Authority

No collaborative practice agreement is necessary in order to practice as an APRN in Maine, nor to prescribe medications. Maine is one of the few states that allow APRNs to have mostly independent authority in their practice. (The exception to this rule is during the first 24 months of practice for a nurse practitioner, during which time you must be under direct supervision of a physician or NP and have this documented with the Board – see above).

Applying for your DEA Number

Your standard prescriptive authority as a nurse practitioner or nurse midwife in Maine allows you to prescribe drugs from schedules II through V. After receiving your APRN license, you may apply for a DEA number, which will also allow you to prescribe controlled substances in addition to medications.


Step 4. Renewing Your License

You (along with potential employers and clients) may check the current status and expiration of your APRN license online at any time. The Maine State Board of Nursing no longer issues paper licenses. Your APRN license expires along with your RN license every two years. The Maine State Board of Nursing will send you a license renewal application prior to your RN and APRN license expiration.  You must pay a renewal fee of $100 for your APRN license (and $75 to renew your RN license).

Continuing Education

To maintain APRN licensure in Maine, you must complete 75 continuing education units (CEUs) (contact hours) every two years within each area of practice in which you are licensed. CEUs must be targeted to your level of practice and clinical specialty. 30 contact hours of CEUs must be from Category I, and no more than 45 contact hours may be from Category II:

  • Category I: Planned CE activities offering academic credit relating to your practice area and sponsored by organizations and approved by professional agencies including (but not limited to) the American Nurses Association Credentialing Center; American Academy of Nurse Practitioners; American College of Nurse-Midwives; Council on Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists; National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty; Maine State Nurses Association; American Psychological Association; American Medical Association Council of Medical Education; Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education; or the Committee of Continuing Medical Education of the Maine Medical Association.
  • Category II:Continuing health related education activities such as:
    • Presentations/exhibits offered to health professionals
    • Papers published in allied health and nursing journals
    • Authoring articles or chapters in published textbooks
    • Self-instruction, including reading of advanced allied health or nursing journals, listening to audio tapes, viewing video tapes, viewing slides, using programmed or computer-assisted instruction
    • Participating in peer review, utilization management  and medical/nursing audits
    • Presenting at grand rounds
    • Participating in clinical meetings
    • Precepting registered nurses enrolled in APRN education programs
    • Participating in health related research

You must maintain documentation of your CEUs for two years. You may be asked to submit these at license renewal if the Board selects you for audit.

If you do not complete the CEU requirements before your license expires, you will be fined $20 for each missing CEU up to $200, and must enter into a Consent Agreement to meet the CEU requirements within the six months that follow. You may continue to practice as an APRN while fulfilling these requirements.

In addition to meeting Maine’s CEU requirements, you must maintain national certification to maintain Maine APRN licensure. If you do not maintain certification, you will not be permitted to practice in Maine. Contact your national certification organization to determine its continuing education requirements:

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Associations in Maine

Now that you are a licensed APRN in Maine, think about becoming a member of one of the local associations:


Maine Nurse Practitioner Salary

Nurse practitioners in New England boast some of the best salaries in the United States, earning an average base salary of $87,653 and a total average income of $96,916 in 2011, according to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Advance for NPs & PAs, an industry-leading peer reviewed journal, reports that the mean salary for NPs in 2011 was $83,917, while the median salary was $85,000.

Registered Nurse Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Bangor ME
1930
69250
Lewiston-Auburn ME
1580
61000
Portland-South Portland-Biddeford ME
4800
59530
Portsmouth NH-ME
890
62640
Rochester-Dover NH-ME
980
53140
Northeast Maine nonmetropolitan area
1710
59200
Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area
4680
71250

Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Portland-South Portland-Biddeford ME
30
69300
Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area
50
98160

Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Portland-South Portland-Biddeford ME
100
Estimate Not Released

Nurse Administrator Salary
(Includes Nurse Managers, Directors, and Chief Nursing Officers)

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Bangor ME
180
88930
Lewiston-Auburn ME
160
74200
Portland-South Portland-Biddeford ME
440
88490
Portsmouth NH-ME
80
92620
Rochester-Dover NH-ME
120
94040
Northeast Maine nonmetropolitan area
230
74740
Southwest Maine nonmetropolitan area
540
77360

These tables provide salary and employment information compiled by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2011. The data contained herein does not include self-employed nurses in independent practice.

When responding to the salary survey, some advanced practice registered nurses identified themselves as RNs while others identified themselves as health diagnosing and treating practitioners. When available, both sets of data were included for comparative purposes.

* These figures represent earnings that are at or above $90.00 per hour or $187,199 per year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish earnings beyond $90.00 hourly or $187,199 yearly.

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