If you’re reading this, you’re either mildly interested in becoming an RN or perhaps already determined to become one.
You may be a fresh graduate from high school or perhaps a professional already working in another field…
Whatever your situation and wherever you are in life, we think that becoming an RN in New Jersey is a great idea!
Registered nurses enjoy many career opportunities in a state like New Jersey. Because of the growing demand for RNs, any new licensee won’t have a hard time finding a job.
But how exactly do you become an RN in New Jersey?
We will be giving you three steps on how to become an RN in New Jersey, and we’ll guide you through every step of the way.
We’ll also answer some questions you may have.
So if you’re still reading this and curious about how to start your RN career, just keep on reading for our guide below.
How to Become a Registered Nurse in New Jersey in 3 Steps
Is it three steps? Yes, it is. Getting an RN license in New Jersey is not a complicated process.
Here’s how to do it:
Let’s talk about each step in much more detail.
How to Become an RN in New Jersey Step #1: Graduate from a Nursing Education Program
If you’re an aspiring RN, chances are, you don’t know a lot about nursing just yet. This is the main reason why you are required to take a nursing education program.
A nursing education program is a 2-4 year program that teaches you all the basic medical procedures that a nurse is expected to do. It will also teach you medical concepts and practices.
There are two kinds of programs you are allowed to take if you want to become an RN in New Jersey, namely, ADN or BSN.
ADN vs. BSN: What’s the Difference?
An ADN, or Associate Degree in Nursing, is a two-year degree program that focuses on technical skills such as basic clinical care and chart monitoring and recording.
Because the curriculum is designed to only cover two years of training, ADN programs often focus on basic medical procedures and less on leadership, management, and research. This is the primary reason why most hospitals in the state prefer to have Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates in their employment.
BSN degree holders, on the other hand, are taught a wide range of subjects that include management and research. There are also research and laboratory courses that prepare aspiring RNs for more in-depth medical procedures.
Despite BSN graduates having more experience and educational training, this is not to say that ADN graduates are not competent. ADN graduates are still qualified to become registered nurses. The downside is that they won’t always be capable of handling leadership roles.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your career path and the length of time you want to study to become a registered nurse.
If you want to start working in two years, then the best option is to take an ADN program.
Choosing the Best Nursing School for You
Whether you choose to enroll in an ADN or BSN program, just make sure that your school is accredited or approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing.
They have provided helpful information on how to choose the best school for you here.
You should also look at the NCLEX-RN passing rate of the school’s nursing graduates. A high passing rate usually indicates a high quality of education.
How to Become an RN in New Jersey Step #2: Apply for a License Online
After you graduate from a nursing education program, you are automatically eligible to apply for a license. Take note, however, that you still need to apply to the NCLEX separately.
There are two applications you need to pass – the license application and the criminal background investigation.
Applying for an RN License through Examination
Follow these steps when applying for your license:
- Create an account at the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
- Choose ‘Candidate’ Application’ and fill in the required basic information
- Upload the required documents such as transcript, affidavit of graduation, and other supporting documents that you will be asked to upload
- Pay the application fee of $80 directly to the online portal using a credit or a debit card
Once you complete this application process, you will be emailed an Authorization to Test (ATT), a form that you will be using when you’re applying for the NCLEX.
Applying for an RN License through Endorsement
This section is only applicable for those who are already RNs in another state.
If you are an RN in another state, but want to become licensed in New Jersey, then you can apply for licensure by endorsement.
This means that you don’t need to retake a nursing program or the NCLEX again. However, you need to submit certain requirements.
Here is a summary of the steps taken from the New Jersey Board of Nursing website:
- Go to www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Pages/onlinelicenses.aspx and submit an online application with payment made by credit card. Print your receipt.
- Submit a clear, full-face original passport photograph (2” x 2”) of your head and shoulders taken within the past six months.
- Submit important documents.
- If you are a U.S.-born citizen, submit a copy of your birth certificate or U.S. passport.
- If you are a naturalized U.S. citizen, submit a copy of your U.S. passport or certificate of naturalization.
- If you are a legal alien or other immigration status, submit your USCIS immigration documents.
- Submit proof of a legal name change (i.e., marriage license, divorce decree, court order, if applicable) if your name differs from that on your birth certificate.
- Submit fingerprint information:
- If you live outside the metropolitan New Jersey area, please go to: www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/nur/Pages/Fingerprint-Request.aspx and request and complete fingerprint cards.
- If you live in the metropolitan New Jersey area, you will receive digital fingerprint information via regular mail. Please schedule your appointment as soon as possible.
- Submit criminal history documents (if applicable).
- Provide written verification of licensure in good standing from the state in which you were originally licensed, or are currently licensed, and from every state in which you have ever been licensed.
It is also worth noting that New Jersey is a nursing license compact state. This means you can also apply for a multistate license to work as an RN in other compact states.
Applying for a Criminal Background Investigation
A criminal background investigation (CBI) is required for every aspiring nurse, whether they’re applying via endorsement or examination.
To get a CBI, you should make an appointment with New Jersey State Police. You can request your criminal background history and fingerprint scanning during this appointment.
*According to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, those applying via endorsement and examination have been combined under the “Candidates” application. If you have all the requirements to get a Compact license, the Board of Nursing will issue a multistate license to you.
How to Become an RN in New Jersey Step #3: Apply and Pass the NCLEX
The last step, and also the most important one is the NCLEX. Once you get your ATT, you can already apply for an NCLEX schedule.
Here are the steps to get an exam schedule:
- Create an account at the NCLEX website. Fill in all the required information, including your email address.
- Choose a testing schedule and a venue.
- Pay the $200 exam fee directly at the NCLEX website. You may use a credit or debit card.
- Wait for your final testing schedule via email.
It will take a few business days before you receive confirmation for your testing schedule. Once you get this email, make sure to prepare well for the NCLEX.
The NCLEX is a nationwide exam that will test your knowledge in nursing subjects. Both ADN and BSN graduates must take this test before getting their license.
Once you finish the exam, wait for 4-6 weeks to receive the results. You may receive an email regarding your exam results.
If you pass, you will be able to get your RN license in New Jersey.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Registered Nurse in New Jersey
How much does it cost to become an RN in New Jersey?
The application fee costs $80 and the NCLEX fee is $200. The CBI is free of charge as long as you take it in the New Jersey State Police office.
As for the nursing program, the cost is higher if you choose to get a BSN degree than pursuing an ADN.
How long is the nursing program in New Jersey?
Depending on the program of your choice, you may spend 2-4 years studying for an RN license.
If you choose to take the ADN, you would only spend two years studying if you are a full-time student. If you take a BSN, you will spend four years.
How long is a nursing license good for in New Jersey?
Your RN license is good for two years.
You will need to renew your license by completing 30 contact hours of continuing education within those 2 years.
How much do RNs in New Jersey earn?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for registered nurses is $77,600.
Helpful Resources for New Jersey RNs
- New Jersey Board of Nursing Website (Official)
- Information for RN Applicants (Official)
- New Jersey RN Continuing Education Requirements (Official)
- Associate Degree Programs (ADNS) Approved by New Jersey BON
- Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) approved by New Jersey BON
List of Associate Degree Programs (ADNs) in New Jersey
Here’s a list of ADN programs approved by the New Jersey BON:
Atlantic Cape Community College 5100 Black Horse Pike Mays Landing NJ
Bergen Community College 400 Paramus Road Health Professions Paramus NJ
Brookdale Community College 765 Newman Springs Road Lincroft NJ
County College of Morris
214 Center Grove Road Randolph NJ
Cumberland County College PO Box 1500 College Drive Vineland NJ
Eastern International College 251 Washington Avenue Belleville NJ
Eastern International College 684 Newark Avenue Jersey City NJ
Essex County College
303 University Avenue Newark NJ
Hudson County College
870 Bergen Ave First Floor Jersey City NJ
Jersey College Ewing Campus 1001 Spruce Street Ewing NJ
Jersey College Teterboro Campus 546 US Route 46 Teterboro NJ
Mercer County Community College 1200 Old Trenton Road West Windsor NJ
Middlesex County College 2600 Woodbridge Avenue Edison NJ
Ocean County College College Drive PO Box 2001 Toms River NJ
Passaic County Community College 2 Paulson Avene Passaic NJ
Raritan Valley Community College 118 Lamington Road Branchburg NJ
Rowan College at Burlington 1000 Briggs Road Mount Laurel
Rowan College at Gloucester County 1400 Tanyard Road Sewell NJ
Salem Community College 460 Hollywood Avenue Carney’s Point NJ
Warren County College
475 Route 57 West Washington NJ
Visit the New Jersey BON website for updates.
List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in New Jersey
Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the New Jersey BON:
44 Rifle Camp Road Woodlawn Park NJ
Bloomfield College Division of Nursing
74 Oakland Ave Bloomfield NJ
120 Bloomfield Avenue Caldwell NJ
Chamberlain University College Nursing
630 US-1, North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902, United States
College of Saint Elizabeth
2 Convent Road Morristown NJ
Fairleigh Dickinson University Henry Becton School of Nursing
1000 River Road Teaneck NJ
(973) 443-8900 | (201)-692-7308
Felician University School of Nursing
262 South Main Street Lodi NJ
Georgian Court University
900 Lakewood Avenue Lakewood NJ
Monmouth University School of Nursing & Health Studies 400 Cedar Avenue West Long Branch NJ
Montclair State University School of Nursing
1 Normal Avenue Montclair NJ
New Jersey City University College of Professional Studies
2039 Kennedy Boulevard Jersey City NJ
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah NJ
Rutgers, The State University School of Nursing
311 North 5th Street Camden NJ
Rutgers, The State University School of nursing
180 University Avenue Newark NJ
Seton Hall University College of Nursing
400 South Orange Avenue South Orange NJ
St. Peters College
2641 Kennedy Jersey City NJ
Stockton University School of Health Sciences
101 Vera King Farris Dr. Galloway NJ
The College of New Jersey School of Nursing
2000 Pennington Road Ewing NJ
Thomas Edison State College 101 West State Street Trenton NJ
William Patterson University Department of Nursing
300 Pompton Road Wayne NJ
Visit the New Jersey BON website for updates.
Becoming a registered nurse in New Jersey opens up many career opportunities for you, especially if you graduate with a BSN degree.
Regardless of what program you wish to take, the road to becoming an RN is not as complicated as it seems.
Just remember to follow the three steps we’ve outlined here, and you’ll be an RN in no time!
We wish you all the best!