Becoming a Nurse in New Jersey
You can pursue a number of ways to become a nurse in New Jersey. They all begin with education and end with a license to practice, but the requirements differ based on the type of nurse you want to be.
The New Jersey Board of Nursing regulates licenses in the Garden State. You can choose from four different nursing paths: certified nurse aide (CNA), licensed practical nurse (LPN), registered nurse (RN), or advanced practice nurse (APN). Each license or certification leads to different job duties, but all involve caring for patients. New Jersey is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact, so you can opt for a single-state license or a multistate license that's valid in other Compact member states.
New Jersey, like most states, is in the midst of a nurse shortage. The stresses of COVID-19 have caused many nurses to leave the profession or retire early, and many colleges don't have enough faculty to keep up with demand for nursing education. This situation might lead to plenty of job opportunities for nurses who do manage to enroll in and graduate from a nursing program, but keep in mind that understaffing could lead to tough working conditions in the near term.
To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:
Nursing Degrees by State
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Read on to find out how you can become different kinds of nurses in New Jersey.
How To Get Certified Nurse Aide Certification in New Jersey
The New Jersey Department of Health regulates CNA certification in this state, separate from the Board of Nursing. The typical first step for CNA hopefuls is to complete the Nurse Aide in Long Term Care Facilities Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP). This program requires a total of 90 hours of training, including 40 clinical and 50 classroom hours.
There are a few ways professionals can skip the NATCEP if they plan on getting certification through equivalency or reciprocity. They just have to provide documentation from another state verifying that they completed a similar program, prove that they have no pending criminal charges or accusations of neglect or abuse on their records, and complete a criminal background check.
Students who have already completed a nursing program may also opt out of the New Jersey CNA 90-hour training if they can pass the NATCEP exam on the first try. This exam includes a skills evaluation and written evaluation. The test costs $75. Reciprocity fees are $30 for students who are licensed in another state.
Regardless of whether they take the training, all applicants must submit to a criminal background check before they can earn their New Jersey CNA license.
How To Get a Licensed Practical Nurse License in New Jersey
Aspiring LPNs must attend a board-approved nursing program to ensure that students learn the necessary skills to practice in New Jersey. LPNs hopefuls then take the version of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) that's designed for them: the NCLEX-PN.
LPNs who are licensed in another state can choose the licensure by endorsement option. This allows them to skip retaking the NCLEX-PN if they submit their license details from the other state where they worked. Licenses are valid for two years and cost $120 to renew. LPNs must complete 30 hours of continuing education credits to maintain their New Jersey license.
How To Get a Registered Nurse License in New Jersey
New Jersey RN license applicants need an undergraduate degree from an accredited program, usually either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). After graduating, candidates need to pass the NCLEX-RN to demonstrate their knowledge. Nurses who already hold an RN in a different state can apply for a New Jersey nursing license by endorsement if they submit the proper verification documents.
The RN license application costs $75 to submit plus a $120 initial license fee. Nurses applying for endorsement licensure need to pay an additional $30 fee for verification.
A New Jersey RN license needs to be renewed every two years. The cost to renew the license is $120, and nurses must complete a minimum of 30 continuing education credit hours before each renewal.
How To Get an Advanced Practice Nurse License in New Jersey
APNs are often called "advanced practice registered nurses" in other states. Regardless of title, they represent the highest levels of education and experience in nursing. Possible specialties for APNs in New Jersey include nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), and certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).
Professionals who want an APN certification in New Jersey must hold an active RN license. They also need to graduate from a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program. If a nurse already has a master's degree in a different field, they can complete a post-master's curriculum specifically for APRNs. These nurses must also take a specific three-credit course in pharmacology. Finally, the student must also provide proof of national nursing certification in their clinical specialty.
Applicants need to pay a $100 application fee plus a $17.50 fee for a background check.
Once the board approves an APN license, the new APN will owe either $80 or $160 as an initial certification fee, depending on the expiration date of their RN license. Renewal of the license occurs every two years and costs $160. APNs must complete 30 hours of continuing education credits within that time.
Aspiring APRNs might want to read How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist, Guide to Online Nurse Practitioner Degrees, and 2023 Best Online Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs.
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