Nursing is a rapidly expanding field in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment in nursing will grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026. New Jersey, together with New York, boasts the metropolitan area with the highest number of registered nurses (RN) in the United States. Graduates with an online nursing degree can find careers in many different paths, including family nurse practitioner, operating room RN, and emergency room RN. After completing an RN program in New Jersey, a registered nurse can specialize in certain patient groups like those going through rehabilitation or addition treatment. Nursing can be lucrative career as experienced nurse practitioners earn a median salary of $100,252.
On this page, students interested in becoming registered nurses can learn about nursing schools in New Jersey and the process of becoming licensed in the state. Those without a nursing license can start with one of the many online RN programs in New Jersey. There are also several online BSN programs in New Jersey and online MSN programs in New Jersey.
How to Become a Nurse in New Jersey
The process to become a nurse in New Jersey is similar to other states, although there are some differences to be aware of. All registered nurses in New Jersey must complete a nursing program and obtain a license. Before you embark upon this process, it is helpful to think about what kind of nursing career you would like to have. This will help you decide what kind of degree is best for you, whether it be an associate or master’s, online or in-person.
Choose the Path That's Right for You
The minimum degree that prepares students for licensure as a registered nurse is an ADN. These two year programs can lead to careers as school or travel nurses. The more advanced BSN opens up even more career paths, including case management nurse. A BSN is also commonly a prerequisite for an MSN, which is the degree students wishing to become nurse practitioners must earn. If you are interested in teaching nursing to college students, you will need to earn an MSN or a DNP.
Earn Your Nursing Degree
If you are already working as a registered nurse, an online nursing degree can be a great way to become more specialized in your field. Accelerated nursing programs in New Jersey, including RN to BSN or RN to MSN, offer the chance to earn a higher degree in nursing in two to three years. For many schools, students must be registered nurses before beginning a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Both online and on-campus nursing schools in New Jersey require on-site clinical training.
Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
In order to become a registered nurse in New Jersey you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and apply for a license with the New Jersey Board of Nursing. The board requires you to finish a nursing program before you take the exam. The testing period is six hours long and the exam costs $200. Once you become a registered nurse, you are qualified to apply for many nursing positions in New Jersey.
Nursing Licensure in New Jersey
Any nurse wishing to work in the state of New Jersey must apply to the New Jersey Board of Nursing for a license and take the NCLEX-RN, a computer adaptive exam that tests all the main areas of nursing knowledge. If you are taking the NCLEX-RN exam in New Jersey, you can apply for licensure by examination at the same time you register for the exam. Any of the BSN programs in New Jersey will prepare you for the exam, but you should still study regularly. Only applicants who a have completed a nursing program are eligible to register for the exam in New Jersey. Graduates of New Jersey nursing schools can have their program send a letter of completion to the board, but graduates of out-of-state schools must have their school send a transcript. If you take the NCLEX-RN exam outside of New Jersey, you should arrange for the examination board to send your test results to the New Jersey Board of Nursing when you apply for a license. If another state has licensed you to practice nursing, you can obtain a license in New Jersey through endorsement. Applicants for licensure by endorsement must pay a $200 fee and contact the nursing board in the state in which they are licensed and request that they send verification of their license to the New Jersey Board of Nursing. All applicants for a registered nursing license must agree to a criminal background check.
Nursing Licensing Costs in New Jersey
License Fee $120
App. Fee $75
Alternative to Discipline
Career Outlook for Nurses in New Jersey
An online nursing degree is the first step toward a career in a flourishing field. Growing emphasis on preventative care and an aging baby-boomer population mean that the demand for nurses is rising. On the national level, the BLS projects that employment for registered nurses will grow 15% from 2016 to 2026. New Jersey is among the states with the highest employment and annual mean wage for registered nurses. The New York-Jersey City-White Plains metropolitan area has the highest nurse employment level of all U.S. metropolitan areas, with 123,640 nursing jobs. Over 3,800 nurse practitioners work in New Jersey and earn an average of $115,230 a year. Graduates of nursing schools in New Jersey enjoy many different careers, including nurse anesthetist and nurse midwife. Registered nurses can also specialize in a particular area, becoming, for example, cardiovascular, neonatal, addiction, or public health nurses.
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Biggest Hospitals in New Jersey
After completing an online nursing degree and becoming licensed, many nurses find their first jobs at hospitals. According to the BLS, 61% of registered nurses in the United States work in state, local, and private hospitals. While you attend nursing school in New Jersey you can also look to local hospitals for nursing fellowships and internships. The New Jersey Hospital Association lists over 100 member hospitals, including some of the biggest employers of nurses in the state.
- Hackensack University Medical Center: With 775 beds and 69,457 admissions in the most recent year reported, this teaching hospital is one of the largest in New Jersey. The hospital employs 48 nursing educators. Sixty-three percent of the 1,908 nurses have a BSN. The American Nurses Credentialing Center awarded Hackensack University Medical Center the Magnet honor in 1995.
- Morristown Medical Center: This hospital has 702 beds and served 37,527 patients in the most recent year reported. Recent graduates with an in-person or online nursing degree can apply to work at Morristown Medical Center through Atlantic Health’s Hire Learning Residency Program. This program provides one year of on-the-job training and continuing education.
Additional Nursing Resources in New Jersey
New Jersey Board of Nursing
This government body is part of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and protects patients by regulating the practice of nursing. Aside from providing licenses to nurses, the New Jersey Board of Nursing also offers resources for learning about the statutes and regulations about nursing in the state.
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
NCBSN develops the NCLEX-RN exam and contributes to nursing policy at the state and federal level. NCSBN makes nursing research available to nurses who want to learn about current best practices. It also publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Nursing Regulation.
New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA)
This affiliate of the American Nurses Association (ANA) is a professional organization that represents all nurses in New Jersey. Members of NJSNA can have dual membership in the ANA and gain access to education and training resources. NJSNA also advocates for beneficial healthcare policy with the New Jersey state government.
New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP)
This professional organization represents nurse practitioners other specialized nurses who work with children. NAPNAP works to influence healthcare legislation and provide educational materials for children and families. The New Jersey Chapter of NAPNAP has 152 members and supports continuing education for pediatric nurse practitioners in the state through conferences and scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study.
New Jersey Nursing Initiative (NJNI)
This organization’s initial goal was to help New Jersey overcome its shortage of teaching nurses by funding the education of nurse educators. NJNI now advocates for improvements in nursing curricula in the state. NJNI maintains an extensive library of resources for nurses that includes county data, articles, and webinars.
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in New Jersey
Many nursing schools in New Jersey offer a variety of online nursing degrees, including associate degree in nursing (ADN), bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN), master’s of science in nursing (MSN), and doctor of nursing practice (DNP). There are also several online RN to BSN programs in New Jersey. These programs allow licensed RNs to quickly finish their BSN while continuing to work. This database includes all accredited online nursing schools in New Jersey.