Steps to Becoming an APN in Maryland

maryland nursing

1Get your Graduate Degree in Maryland
2Earn your National Certification in Maryland
3Apply for your Certificate in Maryland
4Renewing your Certificate in Maryland

The Maryland Board of Nursing (410-585-1909 or issues certifications to those who qualify to work as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) in the state.

Maryland recognizes four distinct types of APRN: certified nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialists/nurse psychotherapists, and certified registered nurse anesthetists.

In order to receive an APRN certificate in Maryland, you must first hold an unencumbered RN license, either in Maryland or in one of the compact states.

Maryland Job Statistics

  • 2015 mean salary for NPs in MD: $96,200
  • 2013 NCLEX-RN pass rate for Maryland: 80.5%
  • 2015 active RNs in Maryland: 79,525
  • 2014-24 projected increase in NP jobs in Maryland: 33.4%
  • 2014-24 projected increase in Nurse Midwife jobs in MD: 28.4%
  • If you have never been licensed as an RN in Maryland or another state, request an Application for US-Trained RN License by Examination by sending an email to
  • If you are an RN who received training in a foreign country, you must apply for a Maryland RN license by examination. Email prior to sending documents to the Maryland Board of Nursing. After completing that application, you will be asked to have your foreign credentials evaluated by the Credentials Evaluation Service Application (CGFNS) and to mail the results to the Board.

The steps to become a certified APRN in Maryland are listed below:

Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

You must complete a Board-approved graduate-level APRN program culminating in a master’s degree or post-master’s certificate before applying for APRN certification in Maryland.

Requirements for Maryland education programs for advanced practice registered nurses may be found here.

Qualified Graduate Programs

Graduate level nursing programs must be accredited by one of the nursing program accreditation agencies recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) (listed under Specialized or Programmatic Accrediting Agencies), or the Council of Higher Education Accreditation.

Although the Board has not pre-approved all programs accredited by these agencies, it does consider them all on a program-by-program basis through a professional review process. If your school of interest does not appear on this list of currently approved programs, it simply means the Maryland Board of Nursing has not yet certified an APRN who graduated from that school’s program. In this case, you may submit the program approval form to the Board to have your program of interest considered for approval.

Course Requirements

The Maryland Board of Nursing has declared that APRN education must include, at minimum, three separate graduate-level courses, as follows:

  • Advanced physiology/pathophysiology (including general principles that apply across the lifespan)
  • Advanced health assessment (including assessment of all bodily systems, as well as advanced assessment techniques, approaches and concepts)
  • Advanced pharmacology (including pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacotherapeutics of all broad categories of agents)

Prescriptive Authority

Once certified as a nurse practitioner in Maryland, you are automatically granted prescriptive authority. However, the choice to write prescriptions is yours. If you decide to use prescriptive authority, you must indicate the type of drugs you will take responsibility for prescribing when filling out your Nurse Practitioner Written Collaborative Agreement.

Specialization for NPs

Education in an area of APRN specialization is optional, but many Maryland APRNs choose to specialize to increase their job prospects after graduation.  Some of the specialized disciplines offered by NP graduate education programs in Maryland include Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner, and Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Education for these specialized disciplines will focus on the NP role and population focus for each specialization.

Graduate Status

Once you have completed your graduate program, you may apply for Graduate Status with the Board prior to taking your national certification examination. This allows you to work as an APRN prior to passing the national certification examination. Use the following forms specific to your certification type:

Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

There are four categories of APRN recognized by the Maryland Board of Nursing. You must become certified in the category in which you wish to practice. A number of independent national certification agencies offer certification specific to whatever specialty you choose.

All national certification agencies maintain their own education and experiential minimums required to be eligible to sit for their certification exam. To maintain certification, you must fulfill the requirements of the individual agency. Some APRNs choose to become certified in a single area, while others become certified and practice over multiple areas.

Advanced Nursing Designation Options

The Maryland Board of Nursing recognizes the following APRN designations:

  • Nurse practitioner (NP)
  • Certified nurse-midwife (CNM)
  • Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
  • Psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist/Nurse psychotherapist (PMHCNS-BC)

Certification Programs

The Maryland Board of Nursing accepts national certification programs for APRNs offered by the following agencies:

Holding national certification is necessary before you can go any further in Maryland’s APRN certification process. Contact the appropriate national certification agency for more information.

Step 3. Apply for Your Certificate

Under federal law, your application for APRN certification must include your US social security number or Federal Tax ID number. Applications without a social security number or Federal Tax ID number will not be accepted. Contact the Maryland Board of Nursing at 410-585-1909 for more information.

Nurse Practitioner:

If you are seeking certification as a Nurse Practitioner, complete the Application for Nurse Practitioner Certification. Make sure to attach the following:

  • Official, sealed college transcripts from all institutions where you took graduate classes to earn your advanced nursing degree
  • Copy of your current national certification
  • Copy of your Maryland RN license or current out-of-state RN license
  • $50 application fee for first area of NP certification, $25 for each additional area of NP certification, via check/money order payable to the Maryland Board of Nursing
  • Completed Attestation Form signed by a physician/collaborator with whom you will collaborate and consult as needed

Nurse Midwife:

If you are seeking certification as a Nurse Midwife, complete the Nurse Midwife Certification Application Form. Include the following with your application:

  • Completed Collaborative Plan Form
  • Copy of your MD or out-of-state RN license
  • Two Proofs of Residency (as listed on the application form)
  • Copy of your current national certification
  • $50 application fee payable to the Maryland Board of Nursing

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist:

If you are seeking certification as a CRNA, complete the Nurse Anesthetist Certification Application. Include the following:

  • Completed Collaboration Agreement  (signed by your collaborating physician, dentist or anesthesiologist)
  • Copy of your current Maryland or out-of-state RN license
  • Official, sealed college transcript showing completion of a master’s degree or higher
  • Copy of your current national certification
  • $50 application fee payable to the Maryland Board of Nursing

Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist/Nurse Psychotherapist:

If you seek certification as a Nurse Psychotherapist, complete the Nurse Psychotherapist Application form. Be sure to include:

  • Copy of your current RN license from Maryland or another state
  • Copy of your current national certification as a clinical specialist in adult or child/adolescent psychiatric/mental health nursing
  • Official, sealed college transcript indicating receipt of at least a master’s degree
  • $50 processing fee payable to Maryland Board of Nursing

Mail all of the above items to Advanced Practice Unit, Maryland Board of Nursing, 4140 Patterson Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21215-2254.

It may take up to four weeks to process your application. You may check its status online at any time by visiting the Maryland Board of Nursing Web Lookup. When approved, you will not be mailed a paper copy of your certificate, but may validate its status online.

Criminal History Background Check

In order to obtain or renew an RN license in Maryland, you must pass a criminal history background check. Instructions are provided here, along with a list of mobile fingerprinting units and private fingerprinting providers accepted by the state. You are responsible for all fees associated with the criminal history background check.

Step 4. Renewing Your Certificate

Your APRN certificate in Maryland must be renewed annually no later than the 20th day of your birth month, the same expiration date as your existing RN license. This may be done online.

The Maryland Board of Nursing no longer issues paper copies of licenses or certificates. You may look up your licensure/certification status by visiting the Maryland Board of Nursing Web Lookup. Clients and employers may also search your status via this website.

Note: If you are licensed as a CRNP-PMH (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner – Psychiatric Mental Health) or if your license type begins with AC (indicating your RN license is from a compact state), you may not renew your APRN certificate online. Call 410-585-1926 or 410-585-1930 and ask for a renewal application form.

Required Practice Hours During Each Renewal Cycle

Maryland requires all APRNs to prove 1000 hours of active practice within a five- year period. This may include teaching; supervision; administration; positions requiring use of nursing skill, judgment and knowledge; or positions that require licensure for employment and involve direct patient care. If you cannot prove 1000 hours of active practice, you must complete a Board-approved refresher course.

Continuing Education

The state of Maryland does not require APRNs to satisfy continuing education units (CEUs) to keep licenses active. There are; however, continuing education obligations to your national certification agency that must be met to keep your certification current. Contact the appropriate certification agency for more information:

You must submit proof that your national certification is active when you renew your Maryland APRN certificate.

License Renewal Notice

You must send the following documents to the Maryland Board of Nursing yearly for renewal of your APRN certificate:

  • Proof of active National Certification
  • Transcripts showing board-approved refresher course completed (in lieu of the 1000 hours of active practice requirement)
  • Proof signed by your employer of 1000 hours of active practice in the past five years
  • Renewal fee of $74 payable to the Maryland Board of Nursing via check or money order only, and $5 for each additional certification area

Mail all of the above documents to Maryland Board of Nursing, Advanced Practice Renewals, 4140 Patterson Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215-2254.

Expired Certificate Renewal Application

If your APRN certificate has expired, you cannot renew it online. You must contact the Maryland Board of Nursing at 410-585-1926 or 410-585-1930 for instructions on how to renew your expired certificate. If you cannot prove 1000 hours of active practice in the past five years, you will need to take a Board-approved refresher course, at minimum, to have your certificate reinstated.

If your APRN certificate is inactive, use the Conversion from Inactive or Volunteer to Active form. The fee is $54 for the first certification and $5 for each additional certification.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Associations in Maryland

Consider joining one of the professional associations that support the profession in your state:

Maryland Nurse Practitioner Salary

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners reported in their 2011 National NP Compensation Survey that nurse practitioners in the Mideast region, including Maryland, earned an average base salary of $94,337 and enjoyed an average total income of $101,112. Advance for NPs & PAs, a peer reviewed professional journal, reported that nurse practitioners earned a mean salary of $93,424 in 2011, up 3.5% from 2010. NPs in Bethesda earned an average salary of $102,486, while some of the highest salaries in Maryland were found in Annapolis where NPs earned an average of $112,500.

Nurse Practitioner Salary

Area Name
Annual mean wage
Maryland nonmetropolitan area

Registered Nurse Salary

Area Name
Annual mean wage
Maryland nonmetropolitan area

Nursing Instructors and Teachers Salary

Area Name
Annual median wage

Nurse Administrator Salary

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

Area Name
Annual mean wage
California-Lexington Park
Maryland nonmetropolitan area

Nurse Anesthetists Salary

Area Name
Annual mean wage

Nurse Midwives Salary

Area Name
Annual mean wage

These tables provide salary and employment information compiled by the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2020. 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.

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