The Top Nursing Schools in New Jersey

Updated November 7, 2022

Examine what it takes to become a nurse in New Jersey by reviewing the top nursing programs, degree and licensing requirements, salary, and projected job growth.
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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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Lighthouse and surrounding homes in Cape May, New Jersey, at sunset Credit: Joice Brinkerhoff / EyeEm / Getty Images

According to the New Jersey State Nurses Association, 22% of registered nurses (RNs) and 20% of nurse leaders may soon leave the field due to the impact of COVID-19. Demand for nurses is expected to increase as the pandemic continues to impact the healthcare industry.

New Jersey is one of the nation's hardest-hit areas in terms of nursing shortages. The state also offers nurses some of the country's highest average salaries, with only nine states paying more. Both factors make New Jersey a prime location for nurses seeking employment opportunities.

This guide explains how to become a nurse in New Jersey, the salary and job outlook for nurses, and some of the best nursing programs in the state.

Keep reading to learn more about the top nursing schools in New Jersey.

The Best Nursing Schools in New Jersey

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in New Jersey, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

  1. The College of New Jersey
    Location

    Ewing, NJ

    Tuition

    $23414

    Description:

    The College of New Jersey, rated as the best nursing program in New Jersey for nurse practitioners (NPs), offers a registered nurse to master of science in nursing (RN-to-MSN) bridge program and a family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialization. The FNP program requires 47 credit hours and 715 practicum hours. The College of New Jersey also offers NP certification programs for family nurse practitioner, adult-gerontological primary care nurse practitioner, and FNP for specialized practitioners.

    The MSN-NP program is fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), while the post-graduate advanced practice registered nurse certificate program is currently seeking accreditation. The program requires all classroom hours to be completed on campus. All students, regardless of where they live, pay the same tuition.

    Details:

    • Program(s): MSN-NP; RN-to-MSN
      • Campus: Ewing, New Jersey
      • Type: Public
      • Accreditation(s): CCNE
      • Tuition: $1,024 per credit hour
      • Admission Requirements: BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA or a non-nursing bachelor's for the bridge program; RN license; transcripts; two recommendation letters; an essay; resume/CV; at least one course in statistics and one in health assessment; GRE or existing master's degree
      • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
      • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 97.06%
  2. Monmouth University
    Location

    West Long Branch, NJ

    Description:

    Monmouth University, one of the top nursing schools in New Jersey for nurse practitioners (NPs), boasts a master of science in nursing (MSN) with NP specializations such as family nurse practitioner, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, and adult-gerontological primary care nurse practitioner. For students who already hold an MSN, Monmouth offers a post-master's certificate program.

    Monmouth also features a registered nurse (RN)-to-MSN direct entry program for RNs who do not currently hold a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and a bridge option for RNs with a bachelor's degree in a discipline other than nursing.

    Students must pass most specialization courses with at least a "B" grade.

    Details:

    • Program(s): MSN-NP; RN-to-MSN Direct Entry; RN-to-MSN
      • Campus: West Long Branch, New Jersey
      • Type: Private
      • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
      • Tuition: $1,267 per credit
      • Admission Requirements: BSN, non-nursing bachelor's for the bridge program, or nursing diploma or associate degree for direct entry; RN license; one year of experience as an RN; one year of experience in a specialty area; college level course in health assessment; transcripts; two recommendations; an essay
      • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 76%
  3. Felician University
    Location

    Lodi, NJ

    Description:

    Felician University's master of science in nursing (MSN) with a nurse practitioner (NP) track offers a family nurse practitioner (FNP) specialization. The program requires 40 credit hours and 650 hours of fieldwork. Required courses include primary care, advanced health assessment, pharmacology, and clinical pathophysiology. Felician also offers certificate programs for the post-master's adult oncology NP certificate, post-master's FNP in primary care certificate, post-master's adult-gerontology NP in primary care certificate, and post-master's certificate in nursing administration.

    One of the top nursing schools in New Jersey for NP programs, Felician is one of the few Franciscan universities in the U.S. and the only one in New Jersey.

    Details:

    • Program(s): MSN-NP
      • Campus: Rutherford, New Jersey
      • Type: Private
      • Accreditation(s): Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
      • Tuition: $1,060 per credit
      • Admission Requirements: Bachelor of science in nursing with at least a 3.0 GPA; New Jersey registered nurse license; college level courses in health assessment, nursing research, and statistics; transcripts; two recommendations; personal statement
      • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
      • On-Campus Requirements: No
    • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 80.6%

Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in New Jersey

There are many factors to consider as you explore nursing programs in New Jersey. However, careful research can make the selection process easier.

Narrow your options by examining features like tuition rates, program length, and curriculum. You can find out how well an institution prepares its students for the workforce by reviewing the nursing program's National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates and ensuring that the nursing program is accredited.

Why Become a Nurse in New Jersey

By 2030, New Jersey will need over 11,000 nurses to meet the projected demand. With the state anticipating a nursing shortage over the next decade, New Jersey may boast a number of job opportunities. The state's high average salary for nurses also makes it an attractive option.

In addition, New Jersey participates in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). As a nursing compact state, New Jersey has agreed to a set of rules and procedures that all licensed RNs must follow. The NLC makes it easier for RNs to qualify for out-of-state licensure in other participating states with minimal paperwork.

Nurses with an NLC license do not have to pay license renewal fees and can provide telehealth care as a virtual nurse to patients across state lines.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in New Jersey

New Jersey offers RNs one of the country's highest average annual salaries. While RNs in California earn the highest average salary ($120,560), New Jersey ranks 10th ($85,720), right before Connecticut ($84,850) and after Nevada ($89,750).

Nurse practitioners in New Jersey earn even higher pay, making an average of $130,890 a year. Only their counterparts in California earn more, drawing an annual average of $145,970.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ranks New Jersey 3rd when it comes to nursing shortages, projecting that the state will need an additional 11,400 nurses by 2030. Only Texas and California are expected to face greater shortages. As a result, New Jersey is home to many employment opportunities for nurses.

The following table identifies the highest-paying metropolitan areas for RNs in New Jersey. Most are located in the state's southern region, except for Trenton. Southern New Jersey also employs the most RNs in the state.

Learn more about RN salary here.
Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in New Jersey
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Average Salary for RNs
Atlantic City — Hammonton $83,900
Trenton $83,050
Vineland — Bridgeton $82,070
Ocean City $77,280
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in New Jersey

Prospective nurses in New Jersey should first choose a program that fits their chosen career path and nursing specialty. RNs and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) must complete a nursing program approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

Once licensed, RNs must satisfy continuing education requirements to continue working as a nurse in the state.

RN Requirements

To become an RN in New Jersey, candidates must complete the following steps:

APRN Requirements

Prospective APRNs in New Jersey must complete the following steps:

  • Candidates must earn a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice from an accredited nursing program.
  • Students who have not taken a pharmacology course within five years before applying are required to do so.
  • Before earning an APRN license, RNs must pass a certification exam in a state-recognized specialty. The New Jersey licensing board accepts certifications from agencies that are accredited through the American Board of Nursing Specialties and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.
  • APRNs must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain licensure.

Other Top Nursing Programs in New Jersey

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in New Jersey


Are nurses in demand in New Jersey?

According to projections from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, New Jersey will face one of the nation's largest nursing shortages at the end of this decade. The state is projected to have around 90,800 nurses and need over 102,000.

New Jersey is behind only Texas and California in terms of nursing shortages.

How do I become a nurse in NJ?

Prospective nurses in New Jersey must earn an ADN or a BSN and pass the NCLEX-RN to become licensed RNs. Nurses interested in APRN roles can complete an MSN or a DNP program and pursue certification in a specialty area.

How do I transfer my nursing license to New Jersey?

RNs who are licensed in another state or territory can apply for New Jersey licensure through endorsement. Individuals who graduated from an approved nursing education program in the U.S. and remain in good standing in their current state may get a New Jersey nursing license.

How long does it take to get a nursing license in New Jersey?

Students typically spend between 2-4 years completing undergraduate nursing programs in New Jersey, depending on the degree they seek. Full-time learners can earn an ADN in about two years, while it usually takes four years to complete a BSN. Part-time study extends graduation timelines for both degrees.

Related Resources

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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