A Simple Guide on How to Become an RN in New Jersey

How to Become an RN in New Jersey featured image

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: 

  1. Graduate from a Nursing Education Program
  2. Apply for a License Online
  3. Apply and Pass the NCLEX

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

They have also listed registered nursing schools for both the ADN program and the BSN program

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:

  1. Create an account at the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
  2. Choose ‘Candidate’ Application’ and fill in the required basic information
  3. Upload the required documents such as transcript, affidavit of graduation, and other supporting documents that you will be asked to upload
  4. 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

  1. Go to www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/Pages/onlinelicenses.aspx and submit an online application with payment made by credit card. Print your receipt. 
  2. Submit a clear, full-face original passport photograph (2” x 2”) of your head and shoulders taken within the past six months. 
  3. 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. 
  1. 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. 
  1. Submit criminal history documents (if applicable).
  2. 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:

  1. Create an account at the NCLEX website. Fill in all the required information, including your email address. 
  2. Choose a testing schedule and a venue.
  3. Pay the $200 exam fee directly at the NCLEX website. You may use a credit or debit card.
  4. 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

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
+1 609-625-1111

Bergen Community College 400 Paramus Road Health Professions Paramus NJ
+1 201-447-7100

Brookdale Community College 765 Newman Springs Road Lincroft NJ
+1 732-224-2345

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
+1 973-751-9051

Eastern International College 684 Newark Avenue Jersey City NJ
+1 201-216-9901

Essex County College
303 University Avenue Newark NJ
+1 973-877-3000

Hudson County College
870 Bergen Ave First Floor Jersey City NJ
(201) 360-4390

Jersey College Ewing Campus 1001 Spruce Street Ewing NJ
+1 609-777-9035

Jersey College Teterboro Campus 546 US Route 46 Teterboro NJ
+1 201-489-5836

Mercer County Community College 1200 Old Trenton Road West Windsor NJ
+1 609-586-4800

Middlesex County College 2600 Woodbridge Avenue Edison NJ
+1 732-548-6000

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
+1 908-526-1200

Rowan College at Burlington 1000 Briggs Road Mount Laurel
(856) 222-9311

Rowan College at Gloucester County 1400 Tanyard Road Sewell NJ
+1 856-468-5000

Salem Community College 460 Hollywood Avenue Carney’s Point NJ
+1 856-299-2100

Warren County College
475 Route 57 West Washington NJ
+1 856-299-2100

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:

Berkeley College
44 Rifle Camp Road Woodlawn Park NJ
+1 973-278-5400

Bloomfield College Division of Nursing
74 Oakland Ave Bloomfield NJ

Caldwell University
120 Bloomfield Avenue Caldwell NJ
+1 973-618-3000

Chamberlain University College Nursing
630 US-1, North Brunswick Township, NJ 08902, United States
+1 732-875-1300

College of Saint Elizabeth
2 Convent Road Morristown NJ
+1 973-290-4000

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
+1 201-559-6000

Georgian Court University
900 Lakewood Avenue Lakewood NJ
+1 732-987-2700

Monmouth University School of Nursing & Health Studies 400 Cedar Avenue West Long Branch NJ
(732) 571-3400

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
+1 201-200-2000

Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road Mahwah NJ
+1 201-684-7500

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
(973) 761-9000

St. Peters College
2641 Kennedy Jersey City NJ
+1 888-772-9933

Stockton University School of Health Sciences
101 Vera King Farris Dr. Galloway NJ
(609) 652-1776

The College of New Jersey School of Nursing
2000 Pennington Road Ewing NJ

Thomas Edison State College 101 West State Street Trenton NJ
+1 609-777-5680

William Patterson University Department of Nursing
300 Pompton Road Wayne NJ

Visit the New Jersey BON website for updates.

In Summary

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!

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