New Jersey nursing schools support students looking to join the nursing profession to help people in medical settings. Whether working as a registered nurse (RN) or nurse practitioner (NP), these professionals provide life-saving care. They also earn substantial salaries and enjoy job security. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that RNs and NPs earned annual mean wages above the national average, taking home $84,280 and $123,810 in 2019, respectively.
To help prospective students find the best nursing schools in New Jersey, NurseJournal.org compiled the top bachelor’s and master’s programs in the state. Readers should note that all programs in the ranking feature campus-based learning. Review our ranking methodology before checking out the top nursing schools in New Jersey for 2020.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in New Jersey
How Long Does it Take to Get a New Jersey Nursing License?
The time required to process a nursing license application varies, depending on several factors. Applicants should check in directly with the New Jersey Board of Nursing for the most up-to-date and accurate processing schedule.
How Do I Renew My Nursing License in New Jersey?
Whether working as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), RN, or NP, all nurses in the state must renew their licenses every two years. This process requires a renewal fee based on license type, completion of at least 30 continuing education credits, and taking a one-hour organ and tissue donation and recovery course. License renewal takes place online.
Does a New Jersey Nursing License Transfer from State to State?
RNs and LPNs licensed in other states can apply for licensure by endorsement. This requires evidence of current and unencumbered documentation for their current state’s board of nursing and payment of any fees.
How Much Are Nurses Paid in New Jersey?
Nurses in New Jersey earn more than the annual averages, likely due to the higher cost of living in other states. In 2019, RNs earned mean wages of $84,280, while NPs brought home $123,810.
Can an NP Write Prescriptions in New Jersey?
Yes. NPs who hold active and unencumbered licenses in New Jersey can write prescriptions for their patients.
How Do I Become a Nurse in New Jersey?
The steps and timeline required for becoming a nurse in New Jersey depend heavily on the type of nurse. LPNs may begin work in as little as a year, while NPs typically need 5-6 years to meet all requirements. LPNs and RNs must pass an NCLEX exam, but they can prepare for this test while still in school.
Many degree-seekers decide to pursue their program through one of many online New Jersey nursing schools. Distance learning provides greater flexibility than campus-based programs and allows students to complete assignments at convenient times. Online nursing programs work similarly to traditional degrees, ensuring students receive the same quality education.
Types of Nursing Programs in New Jersey
Associate degree in nursing (ADN) programs support learners looking to work as RNs. These degrees take 2-3 years to complete and allow graduates to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam upon completion. ADNs provide quick entry to the field, but many employers require an applicant to hold at least a bachelor’s degree.
Bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degrees require four years of full-time study and provide graduates with the foundational and advanced skills needed to fill RN jobs. For learners who know they want to pursue an advanced degree in the future, this also makes it possible to graduate from master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs more quickly. First-time learners take the NCLEX-RN to become RNs, while those enrolled in RN-to-BSN programs can bypass this step.
After working as a nurse for a few years, some professionals go back to school and earn their MSN. This credential helps them take on roles as NPs, nurse anesthetists, and nurse leaders. If they already hold BSNs, the degree takes one year. RNs with an ADN qualification usually spend 2-3 years meeting all MSN requirements. Plenty of New Jersey nursing schools offer this degree, including both online and in-person formats.
These degrees support learners who want to work in the highest positions of the nursing field. Common titles for graduates of these degrees include NP, nurse midwife, and nurse educator. They may work in health service facilities or at colleges and universities. Because entrants to DNP programs already hold RN licensure, they do not have to retake the NCLEX-RN exam.
New Jersey Nursing Licensure Requirements
New Jersey requires every nurse to receive licensure before they can work. The New Jersey Board of Nursing issues new licenses, renews active and inactive licenses, processes license transfers from other states, and handles disciplinary issues. The board handles LPN and RN licensure, which maintain different applicant and exam requirements.
Each RN license candidate must complete an application, pay a fee, send in official degree transcripts, and provide evidence of a passing score on the NCLEX-RN exam. RNs must renew their licenses every two years to remain active. The renewal process involves paying a fee, submitting records demonstrating completion of minimum continuing education credits, and taking any specialized courses or workshops introduced since the last renewal.
Job and Salary Outlook for Nurses in New Jersey
Nurses working in New Jersey enjoy higher-than-average salaries when compared to national pay. RNs in New Jersey received annual mean wages of $84,280 in 2019, while NPs earned $123,810 in the same timeframe. The New York-Newark-Jersey City Metropolitan Area employs the largest number of RNs in America at nearly 175,000 in 2019. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for RNs to grow by 12% nationally from 2018-28. BLS data indicates NP employment may rise by 25% in the same period.
Nursing professionals in New Jersey find work in several different environments. Hospitals and physician’s offices tend to employ the highest numbers of these professionals, but they can also find work in government agencies, long-term care facilities, and educational institutions.
As one of the top nursing schools in New Jersey, New Brunswick-based Rutgers offers bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), master of science in nursing (MSN), and doctoral degree programs in the field. Options include an on-campus four-year BSN, a four-semester online RN-to-BSN, a 37-credit online MSN in informatics, and a 42-credit online MSN in leadership. Both on-campus and online programs include in-person clinical experiences.
The informatics MSN trains students to use data for patient care and research effectively. The MSN leadership track seeks learners interested in transforming healthcare. Graduate admission requires a BSN and a current registered nurse (RN) license. BSN admission considers candidates' transcripts, prior coursework, SAT scores, and personal statements. RN-to-BSN applicants must hold nursing diplomas or associate degrees, along with New Jersey RN licensure.
Rutgers boasts a 97% pass rate for first-time NCLEX exam students and regional accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its school of nursing in Newark holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Seton Hall in South Orange houses one of the best nursing schools in New Jersey. Programs include a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and three online master of science in nursing (MSN) tracks.
Master's students can choose from a 48-credit adult-gerontology primary/acute nurse practitioner with 600 clinical hours, a 42-44-credit pediatric primary care nurse practitioner with 540 clinical hours, or an RN-to-MSN bridge program with 11 credits of prerequisites taken before entering.
Graduate admission requires a BSN (with the exception of the RN-to-MSN program) and a registered nurse license. Each undergraduate must hold a high school diploma, with one unit each of biology and chemistry. A transfer student to the BSN program must pass an admissions exam and provide evidence of a 3.5 GPA. Nursing students also gain clinical experience at local healthcare organizations.
Seton Hall is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The College of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Monmouth's department of nursing ranks among the best nursing programs in New Jersey. Students can earn an on-campus bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) or online or hybrid graduate degrees. Monmouth also offers an RN-to-BSN or RN-to-master of science in nursing (MSN) track. A candidate seeking admission to the in-person, 121-credit BSN program must demonstrate a strong science background and submit an essay describing their commitment to nursing.
The 36-48 credit MSN offers specializations in adult-gerontology primary care, family practice, family psychiatric and mental health, and forensic nursing. MSN admission requires a BSN, a registered nurse (RN) license, and a year of nursing experience. RNs with an associate degree or diploma can apply for the RN-to-BSN or RN-to-MSN tracks.
Monmouth is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
FDU, a New Jersey nursing school based in Teaneck, offers degree tracks leading to a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), a master of science in nursing (MSN), or a doctor of nursing practice. Depending on the program, learners can choose from on-campus, online, hybrid, bridge, and accelerated options. FDU lists a 90-95% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam.
Admission to the BSN program requires a 3.0 GPA and prerequisite coursework. Standard-track learners study for eight semesters, and accelerated students (with non-nursing bachelor's degrees) typically take 1-2 years. An MSN applicant must hold a BSN and a New Jersey registered nurse license with a year of work experience.
The length of the MSN program varies according to specialization: advanced nurse practice, forensics, nurse education, or nursing information systems. FDU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and its nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
TCNJ, located in Ewing, joins the list of colleges with nursing programs in New Jersey. TCNJ houses two on-campus nursing labs and partners with local healthcare organizations to offer clinical experiences. Students can choose between two undergraduate nursing programs -- a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for high school graduates or a 2-3 year RN-to-BSN for working professionals with associate degrees or diplomas in nursing.
Graduate programs include clinical nurse leader, education nurse leader, nurse practitioner, RN-to-master of science in nursing (MSN), and school nurse. An applicant for a graduate nursing program must hold a BSN, except RN-to-MSN candidates, who need a registered nurse license and non-nursing bachelor's degree.
TCNJ specifies that 100% of its BSNs become employed within six months of graduation. The college is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Felician joins nursing schools in New Jersey to offer numerous degree options on several campuses, including a five-year pre-nursing program for recent high school graduates and a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for high school graduates and transfer students.
The university also offers a 16-24 month accelerated BSN for those with a non-nursing bachelor's degree or 60 undergraduate credits; master of science in nursing (MSN) degree for RN license and BSN-holders in family practice, adult-gerontology primary care, and nursing administration; along with RN-to-BSN fast track and RN-to-MSN online bridge programs.
Felician trains nursing students in its resource and simulation center on the Rutherford campus that includes a nursing station, health assessment lab, and high-tech classrooms.
Felician is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its BSN and MSN are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, along with its doctoral program.
Saint Peter's in Jersey City offers Jesuit-based nurse training that leads to a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctorate. Students can earn their BSNs through a four-year on-campus program or an in-person or online 21-month RN-to-BSN for licensed registered nurses (RNs) with nursing diplomas or associate degrees. RN-to-BSNs can also opt for a 15-month accelerated path.
Saint Peter's MSN program comprises 39 credits that prepare primary care adult-gerontology nurse practitioners. An RN-to-MSN option includes undergraduate prerequisites. The 39-credit doctoral curriculum for MSN degree-holders focuses on either direct care, clinical care, or executive administration. MSN admission requires a BSN, while licensed RNs can apply to the RN-to-MSN program with a non-nursing bachelor's degree.
Saint Peter's is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The nursing programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Ramapo, located in Mahwah, ranks among the top nursing colleges in New Jersey with its bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and master of science in nursing (MSN) degree options. Students learn in the Adler Center for Nursing Excellence, which houses three simulation rooms and a skills lab, and via clinical experience at Ramapo's partner hospital.
The BSN tracks include a four-year program for high school graduates and an 18-month, 95%-online RN-to-BSN track for licensed registered nurses with an associate degree or diploma in nursing. The MSN program requires a BSN and offers three specialties: nursing administration or nursing education, which require 33-34 credits, and a 49-credit family nurse practitioner path.
Ramapo is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. Ramapo cites an employment rate of less than a year from graduation among its nursing school alumni for the past three years.
The list of New Jersey nursing schools includes Stockton, based in the oceanside town of Galloway. Stockton currently offers degrees at all levels, including a four-year, prelicensure bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), an accelerated BSN for non-nursing bachelor's degree-holders, and hybrid master of science in nursing (MSN) and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) tracks.
The prelicensure BSN program prefers students with high school GPAs of 3.5. Accelerated BSN applicants must show a "B" grade in each science prerequisite. BSN classes and labs take place in person, with clinical hours completed at southern New Jersey healthcare facilities. MSN students focus on adult-gerontology primary care (42-48 credits). Doctoral candidates can choose between BSN-to-DNP or MSN-to-DNP tracks to prepare for careers as AGPCNPs (74 credits) or advanced family nurse practitioners (77 credits).
Stockton is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Its BSN and MSN programs hold accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
TESU in Trenton rounds out our rankings of top nursing schools in New Jersey. Nursing program options include a hybrid, 48-week accelerated second degree bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) for non-nursing degree-holders and an online RN-to-BSN/master of science in nursing (MSN) for working registered nurses.
Candidates can also pursue a 36-credit MSN for nurses with a BSN and two years of nursing experience, with specialties in nurse education, nursing informatics, and nursing administration, or an online doctor of nursing practice degree for MSN degree-holders, which typically takes 18-36 months.
TESU boasts a 100% pass rate on the NCLEX-RN exam for the past five graduating cohorts of the accelerated second degree BSN program.
TESU is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and the nursing programs hold accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
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Nurses pursuing their doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees attain the highest level of education in the profession. DNP degree-holders become nurse practitioners (NPs), healthcare administrators, nurse educators, and researchers.