Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in New Jersey

Updated August 18, 2022 • 6 Min Read

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Nursing is a growing occupation in New Jersey and the state's 80,000 registered nurses command wages that are well above the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. With projections showing an even greater need for qualified health professionals in coming years (an 11 percent increase from 2012 to 2022), the profession will continue to be a source of employment for NJ residents. Read more to find out what you need to become a nurse and what resources and tools are available to help you along the way. 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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Top Nursing Schools in New Jersey


Methodology +


The top nursing programs listed in this state's ranking were determined by comparison of three primary, equally-weighted criteria including

  • Student-to-faculty ration
  • In-state tuition
  • Graduation rate

Additional details for each school were included:

  • Count of programs available
  • Public and not-for-profit schools
  • Normalized on a 100 percent curve

The methodology used for tie-break is as follows...

  • Ties are broken based on lowest average net price for full-time, first-time undergraduates paying in-state tuition (average cost of tuition and expenses after grants and scholarships).
  • If necessary, the lowest in-state tuition rate is used as a second tie-break

2-Year Schools

4-Year Schools

Where to Find Nursing Programs in NJ

The New Jersey Board of Nursing accredits nursing schools and approves clinical affiliates to standardize the practice of nursing. It oversees those programs to ensure that curriculum and practical study is rigorous and provides adequate training for aspiring nurses. There are a number of approved and accredited nursing schools in New Jersey that offer certificate programs as well as degree options. The tool below can help narrow down the search for a nursing program that fits your needs.

NJ Licensing Requirements

All nurses looking to practice in the state of New Jersey must apply for and receive a license. Nurse licensure requirements can vary from state to state, so below is an overview of what applicants can expect during the process in New Jersey.

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  • Applicants who have not previously been licensed in New Jersey or another state are eligible for licensure by examination, which starts with the completion of an accredited nursing program. Those who have a license and want to apply for reciprocity should fill out the License by Endorsement application.
  • Register to take the NCLEX-RN with Pearson Vue and pay the appropriate fee
  • Submit proof of citizenship to the Board. If you are not a US citizen, submit USCIS immigration documents.
  • Complete the Certification and Authorization for a criminal background check
  • Request fingerprint cards
  • Submit the $200 fee to the New Jersey Board of Nursing
  • Once you receive an eligibility notice from the Board, sign up for an exam date
  • Request that a complete, official transcript for your nursing degree be sent to the board if you graduated from an out-of-state school

License Renewal in New Jersey

Nurses with an active license must meet certain criteria to renew their license, which includes ensuring that they are up-to-date on current practices and technology. Licenses are good for two years and expire on May 31. To renew a license, nurses must complete a minimum of 30 approved contact hours of continuing education during the two-year period before renewal. Any RN that has not received education or continuing education on organ and tissue donation and recovery must take a one contact hour CE on this topic. The renewal fee is $120 and an additional $50 will be added for any applications that do not meet the renewal date.

Advanced Practice Nursing in New Jersey

Advanced practice nurses receive additional education and training in a specialized field, such as acute care nurse, pediatric nurse practitioner, neonatal nurse and OB/GYN nurse practitioner. There are currently about 4,000 advanced practices nurses in New Jersey, and these nurses must meet all the qualifications of registered nurses, as well as additional criteria.

  • Earn a graduate degree or higher from an accredited program
  • Pass an exam in your specialty through a national certifying agency that is also accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies
  • Request a certificate application packet from the Board
  • Complete the application and submit the $100 application fee (additional fees may apply), an official transcript, a copy of your national certification certificate, and proof that all information is in good standing

You can find more information about advanced practice nursing and license renewal at the New Jersey Board of Nursing.

New Jersey Salaries for Nurses

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development projects that there will be nearly 90,000 nurses at work in the state by 2022, an 11 percent increase from 2012. Nurses in New Jersey command one of the highest median salaries in the profession across the country, making it a competitive career to enter.

Find out more about where the highest-paid nurses work and what the future of nursing looks like in New Jersey.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in New Jersey

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Newark-Union NJ-PA Metropolitan Division$38.89$80,880
Edison-New Brunswick NJ Metropolitan Division$37.25$77,470
Camden Metropolitan Division$37.03$77,010
Atlantic City-Hammonton$35.82$74,500
Ocean City$32.01$66,590

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

New Jersey vs. National Numbers

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Resources for New Jersey Nurses

Institute for Nursing

The Institute for Nursing is a charitable affiliate of the NJSNA and provides scholarships and research grants to nursing students. It also offers 24-hour assistance for nurses with practice problems, primarily substance abuse.

NCIN Scholar Alumni Toolkit

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides an NCIN Scholar Alumni Toolkit to those transitioning into the field of nursing. It gives nursing students leadership development and mentoring resources as they plan to start their careers.

New Jersey State Nurses Association

The New Jersey State Nurses Association represents the state's nursing population and advocates on behalf of the nurses and the general public. It is an affiliate of the American Nurses Association.

Sigma Theta Tau International Kappa Eta Chapter

Sigma Theta Tau International Kappa Eta Chapter is an honor society for nursing and was founded in 1922 to provide grants and learning opportunities to nursing students.

Society of Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurses

This organization serves all advanced practice nurses who specialize psychiatric care. It advocates for its members and works to uphold the standards for excellence in the profession.

Popular Resources

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

See All Posts 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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