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Top New Jersey Nursing Schools and Programs

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Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

Online nursing programs in New Jersey qualify learners for nursing licenses and certifications, including certified nurse aide (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), and advanced practice nurse (APN) credentials.

We address criteria and careers related to these credentials in upcoming sections, along with professional resources for New Jersey nursing professionals. Our guide examines courses and traits of top online nursing programs in New Jersey for students who need to earn a degree with time flexibility.

Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in New Jersey?

In-state and out-of-state learners at New Jersey colleges and institutions pay lower average tuition and fees than candidates who attend schools in the nearby state of Pennsylvania. Nonresident students can also pay less to attend online nursing schools in New Jersey than out-of-state learners at Delaware, Connecticut, or Rhode Island institutions. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report lists New Jersey as the second-best state in the nation for education. A degree-seeker can pursue a quality education at a reasonable cost by choosing online nursing programs in New Jersey.

New Jersey also ranks eighth for opportunity and 12th overall on U.S. News & World Report’s lists.

How to Become a Nurse in New Jersey

The process of becoming a nurse in New Jersey shares similarities with other states: all RNs in New Jersey must complete a nursing program and obtain a professional license. Prospective students should consider which kind of nursing program best fits their interests and professional goals.

  • 1. Choose the Path That’s Right for You

    The minimum degree to earn licensure as an RN is an associate degree in nursing (ADN). These two-year programs can lead to careers as school or travel nurses. The more advanced bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) opens up career paths, such as a case management nurse. Programs commonly list a BSN as a prerequisite for a master of science in nursing (MSN), which students must earn to become nurse practitioners (NPs). If you are interested in teaching nursing to college students, you need to earn an MSN or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP).

  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    For professionals already working as RNs, an online nursing degree offers the chance for further specialization in your field. Students in accelerated nursing programs in New Jersey, including RN-to-BSNs or RN-to-MSNs, can earn a degree in nursing in 2-3 years. For many schools, students must maintain RN licensure before beginning a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Online and on-campus nursing schools in New Jersey require on-site clinical training.

  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    To become an RN in New Jersey, you must pass the NCLEX-RN and apply for a license with the New Jersey Board of Nursing. Each candidate must complete a nursing program to sit for the exam. Upon passing the NCLEX-RN, you can apply for nearly all nursing positions in New Jersey.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in New Jersey

CNA, LPN, RN, and APN credentials require education, though specific criteria vary by license or certification. More advanced degrees can lead to credentials for higher-paying careers with more practice freedom. Academic programs also offer practical experience and can extend professional networks for increased employment opportunities.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in New Jersey?

Online nursing programs in New Jersey require applicable courses for the degree level, career, and specialty. For instance, RN candidates may choose online RN programs in New Jersey, and individuals who want to help the aging population can pursue a degree with a geriatric focus. Some topics, like those in the list below, appear in nursing curriculum for several program types.

Health Assessment

Degree-seekers learn to determine patients’ needs by researching, determining risk factors, conducting physical examinations, and reviewing health history. Classes may address the relationship among social, psychological, and physical health.

Anatomy and Physiology

Courses cover the structure and function of the human body and individual systems, such as the skeletal and nervous systems. These classes often include labs.

Research for Nursing Practices

Departments address historical and current approaches to research. Students learn to choose scholarly sources and analyze information to solve modern nursing problems. Classes may also address statistics and ethical considerations when conducting research.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

New Jersey students may pursue associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral nursing degrees online. Programs examine nursing concepts like assessment, pharmacology, microbiology, and informatics, with advanced degrees covering nursing concepts in greater depth. Individuals should research degrees that satisfy the requirements for their intended license or certification and also consider how requirements may change. For instance, NPs in the state need at least a master’s degree, but this minimum requirement may increase to a doctorate by 2025.

Individuals should research degrees that satisfy the requirements for their intended license or certification and also consider how requirements may change.

Online and traditional programs incorporate the same admission requirements and curriculum. Time frames for graduation reflect the degree level. For example, an associate only requires two years, while a doctorate can take three or more years after earning a master’s.

Completing nursing programs online helps students fit coursework into hectic schedules, which make them ideal for working individuals with family or community commitments. Some programs, though, use a hybrid format and mandate occasional campus visits, and all nursing programs may require fieldwork.

Nursing Licensure in New Jersey

The New Jersey Board of Nursing determines and upholds nursing licensure standards in the state. Candidates apply for and renew nursing credentials through the board and may also explore continuing education opportunities and nursing programs in the state through the website. These nursing programs may include accreditation from organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.

Eligibility requirements for New Jersey nursing licenses and certifications differ for each credential. Upcoming sections document these criteria in detail. New Jersey gives NPs reduced practice rights, which allow for more practice freedom than states with restricted rights. In particular, NPs in New Jersey may prescribe medicine if they enter a joint protocol agreement with a physician.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

New Jersey nursing licensure steps vary by credential. We outline these steps and renewal processes in the upcoming table for CNA, LPN, RN, and APN applicants.

  • CERTIFIED NURSE ASSISTANT

    Applicants for the New Jersey CNA credential must finish the nurse aide in long-term care facilities training and competency evaluation program. For this requirement, individuals participate in training with 40 hours of clinical experience and 50 hours of instruction. Candidates who do not complete this training must show evidence of related education before taking the nurse aide examination through PSI Services.

    The certification exam includes a skills assessment portion, in which test-takers complete nursing tasks at approved settings, along with a written section of multiple-choice questions on nursing concepts. Individuals who do not pass the exam in three attempts must undergo new training before retesting. Exam registration costs $76. Each CNA candidate must also pass a criminal background check.

    CNA renewal occurs after two years and requires seven hours of nursing work in the previous certification period. This renewal costs $30.

    New Jersey Licensure Requirements

    • Education: CNA candidates must complete a training program that requires a minimum of 90 hours.

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Clinical hours are completed during training.

    • Exams: Applicants must take the nurse aide examination.

    • Renewal Frequency: Renewal occurs biennially.

    • Continuing Education: Renewal requires seven hours of nursing work in two years.

  • LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE

    For LPN licenses, the board requires graduation from a nursing program and suggests beginning the application process about two months before completing the program. This process requires a passport or birth certificate, a photo, and a background check. Candidates apply online.

    LPN candidates must also pass the NCLEX after obtaining an authorization to test (ATT). Applicants receive ATT after the board confirms they have met all other license criteria. Exam structures vary but may include 85-205 questions for the practical nurse assessment. Individuals receive five hours to complete these primarily multiple-choice questions after paying a $200 registration fee.

    Applying for an LPN license costs $80. The board also charges a license fee of $120. LPN licenses remain valid for two years. For renewal, candidates complete 30 continuing education hours. One contact hour must relate to opioid use. Acceptable continuing education opportunities include online or in-person classes. The board allows half of these hours to roll over from the previous licensing period. LPN renewal costs $125.

    New Jersey Licensure Requirements

    • Education: LPN applicants must complete an approved nursing program.

    • Additional Clinical Hours: No additional clinical hours are required.

    • Exams: LPN licenses call for passing scores on the NCLEX.

    • Renewal Frequency: Nurses must renew LPN licenses every other year

    • Continuing Education: Candidates must complete 30 continuing education hours for renewal.

  • REGISTERED NURSE

    An RN license applicant must graduate from an approved nursing program. This credential also calls for photo identification, a passport or birth certificate, and a background check.

    The board requires NCLEX scores for the RN license. For the NCLEX-RN, individuals answer 75-265 mostly multiple-choice questions in six hours. Tests address care management, safety, health promotion, and risks in healthcare.

    Candidates can register for the exam after obtaining an ATT but must pay a $200 fee. Individuals who do not pass the exam in three tries must take a refresher class before retesting. Applicants who pass the NCLEX may receive their license numbers in two days or less.

    RN application and initial licensure share the same fees as the LPN license. RNs must also renew their credentials biennially by completing 30 continuing education hours, including content in opioid use. However, RN renewal costs $120.

    New Jersey Licensure Requirements

    • Education:  RN licenses require completion of a nursing program that the board approves.

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Licensure does not call for additional hours.

    • Exams: RN recipients must pass the NCLEX.

    • Renewal Frequency: Licenses are renewed every two years.

    • Continuing Education: The board requires 30 continuing education hours for RN license renewal.

  • NURSE PRACTITIONER

    NPs must earn an APN credential. Applicants should hold an RN license and complete a graduate NP program. Graduate coursework must address pharmacology.

    Candidates must also earn an NP national certification. This credential should reflect the NP’s specialty and may come from agencies like the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board, the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners National Certification Board, or the National Certification Corporation. Certifications may require clinical fieldwork and standardized tests that address specialty concepts. Individuals should maintain these certifications to keep APN credentials.

    NPs in the state must also enter a joint protocol agreement with a licensed doctor, which qualifies them to prescribe medication, and pay a $100 application fee. Candidates must renew APN credentials every two years. APN renewal costs $160 and requires 30 continuing education hours.

    New Jersey Licensure Requirements

    • Education: APN credentials call for a master’s or higher in nursing.

    • Additional Clinical Hours: Candidates should earn a national certification in their specialty area. These certifications often require clinical fieldwork.

    • Exams: Each applicant must hold an RN license, which requires NCLEX scores. National certifications may also call for standardized test scores.

    • Renewal Frequency: APN-holders renew credentials every other year.

    • Continuing Education: Candidates must earn 30 continuing education hours for APN renewal.

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in New Jersey FAQ

  • WHAT IS A GOOD SPECIALTY FOR NURSING?

    An ideal specialty prepares individuals for their career goals. Candidates who want to provide psychological care, for instance, should consider a mental health specialty, while individuals who want to offer general healthcare can choose family practice programs.

  • HOW SHOULD I CHOOSE WHAT NURSING FIELD TO GO INTO?

    Nursing candidates should consider factors like job availability and average salaries when choosing a nursing field. Resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provide relevant career information when making these decisions.

  • IS NEW JERSEY A GOOD STATE FOR NURSES?

    The New Jersey Nursing Initiative reports an ongoing nursing shortage that could reach 40,000 by 2020. As of 2012, the state’s vacancy rate in nursing positions surpassed 10%. These details indicate a need for nurses that increase employment opportunities for graduates of online nursing schools in New Jersey.

  • HOW HARD IS IT TO GET INTO NURSING SCHOOL IN NEW JERSEY?

    Each school maintains different admission requirements, which typically increase in difficulty for higher degree levels. However, common criteria for online nursing programs in New Jersey include a 2.5-3.0 GPA, recommendation letters, and an active nursing license.

  • IS NEW JERSEY A NURSE COMPACT STATE?

    New Jersey participates in the nurse licensure compact (NLC). This agreement allows New Jersey nurses to work in other NLC territories with their current licenses, and out-of-state nurses from NLC states may work in New Jersey without having to reapply for licenses.

New Jersey Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

Mean annual wages for nurses in New Jersey are comparatively high, based on U.S. expectations and incomes for surrounding states. Regarding the areas represented in the table below, New Jersey’s average income for RNs is only exceeded by New York’s, and LPNs only earn higher averages in Maryland. Likewise, New Jersey NPs took home a mean annual wage of $122,100 in 2018, which surpasses all other listed incomes for the profession. New Jersey CNAs earn more than on the national level, but all noted states offer higher averages for these careers.

New Jersey growth projections for all listed nursing careers also provide a promising outlook, particularly for NPs. When combined with the state’s nursing shortage, this increase in positions indicates career opportunities for graduates of online nursing programs in New Jersey. However, salary and job growth depend on many factors, such as industry and experience, so no education or degree guarantees salary or employment.

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in New Jersey, by Type

  Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)
Certified Nurse Assistant $30,380 12.0%
Licensed Practical Nurse $56,290 12.5%
Registered Nurse $82,750 12.3%
Nurse Practitioner $122,100 30.7%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Projections Central

Annual Mean Nurse Wages in Nearby States

  Certified Nurse Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
United States $29,580 $47,050 $75,510 $110,030
Delaware $30,780 $52,860 $74,800 $108,340
Maryland $31,310 $63,650 $76,820 $115,060
Pennsylvania $30,630 $48,120 $70,390 $98,250
New York $37,010 $48,770 $85,610 $120,970

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant


The mean annual wage for CNAs in New Jersey comes in higher than the national figure for the profession, but lower than annual mean wages in neighboring New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. To increase earnings, nurse aides can look for careers in high-paying industries, such as the government. According to the BLS, this industry offers median pay of $33,800 for nursing assistants. Growth projections for New Jersey CNA positions reach about three percent higher than national growth projections for nursing assistants.

Licensed Practical Nurse


LPNs in New Jersey earned a mean annual wage of $56,290 in 2018. Maryland is the only area on the table with a higher average. New Jersey’s average for these nurses also surpasses the 2018 mean U.S. income for all citizens ($52,145) and the median salary for each industry that the BLS lists as top-paying for the career. LPN positions in New Jersey should grow more quickly than all other noted nursing careers in the state, except NPs.

Registered Nurse


Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania all offer average RN incomes lower than New Jersey’s. New Jersey’s mean annual wage for RNs ($82,750) also exceeds median expectations for all top-paying industries for the career by at least $4,000. Income can also grow with experience, with average hourly pay increasing by more than $8 over a 20-year career. Growth projections for these positions come in at around 12% for the U.S. and New Jersey from 2016-26.

Nurse Practitioner


New Jersey offers NPs higher mean annual wages than all other areas noted on the table. The state’s average income for these careers more than doubles the 2018 average U.S. salary for all careers and surpasses median pay for all industries that the BLS labels as top-paying for NPs, anesthetists, and midwives. NP opportunities should grow by over 30% in New Jersey, which exceeds the 2028 U.S. growth projection.

Nursing Resources for New Jersey

  • New Jersey State Nurses Association Candidates can explore nursing scholarships, grants, and events through this website. Other NJSNA resources include Nurses Weekly, with articles on topics like modern health concerns and NP careers.
  • Advanced Practice Nurses of New Jersey This resource provides updates on nursing news in the state, along with nearby career opportunities. Individuals can search for their local legislators through the website for advocacy purposes.
  • New Jersey Board of Nursing Residents can explore examination and endorsement requirements for nursing licenses in New Jersey. The board also oversees license renewal and offers guidance on continuing education criteria.
  • National Association of Hispanic Nurses New Jersey Members can earn scholarships and review open nursing positions through the website. NAHN also provides resources on pain medication, nursing programs, and nursing licensure and certification.
  • New Jersey Nursing Students NJNS hosts a yearly convention and monthly meetings. Members can also purchase NCLEX study resources at reduced prices and earn scholarships and awards through the organization.

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Advertisement NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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