How to Become a Nurse in New Jersey

Those who wish to become nurses in New Jersey will need to follow requirements set by the New Jersey Board of Nursing. This organization controls all nurse licensing in the state, and students have the choice of four different nursing paths to choose from. They can become Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) or Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs). Each license or certification offers different functionality in terms of workload and job duties, but all involve caring for patients. Nursing schools in New Jersey help prepare students for these careers.

As of 2018, there were 80,560 registered nurses and 17,240 licensed practical nurses in New Jersey, which had an annual median wage of $82,010 and $54,840, respectively. By 2030, the demand for RNs and LPNs is expected to grow to 102,200 and 27,400, respectively, indicating a massive rise in job opportunities.

How to Get Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Certification in New Jersey

Becoming a certified nurse aide or CNA in New Jersey is a slightly different process than other New Jersey nursing licenses, as this certification is regulated by the New Jersey Department of Health. The first step for all New Jersey CNA certification 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 hours 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 saying they completed a similar program, have no pending criminal charges or accusations of neglect or abuse 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, and costs $76. If students opt for an oral exam rather than the written component, they need to pay $90. Reciprocity fees for students who are licensed in another state are $30.

Whether or not 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 (LPN) License in New Jersey

Applying to earn a New Jersey LPN license is a very similar process to the RN license application process. In fact, LPN applicants must fill out the same application and other forms as an RN applicant. They must also attend a nursing program that is accredited by the New Jersey Board of Nursing, as these programs have strict educational requirements that ensure students learn what they need to practice nursing in New Jersey. Instead of taking the NCLEX-RN exam, an LPN hopeful must take the NCLEX-PN exam, which has slightly different content. Otherwise, application fees are the same: $75 for the application and $120 for the initial license fee.

LPNs who are licensed in another state and wish to earn their New Jersey nursing license can choose the Licensure by Endorsement option, which allows them to skip taking the NCLEX-PN in exchange for submitting their licensure from the other state they worked in. Again, licenses are good for two years and cost $120 to renew. LPNs are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education credits to maintain their New Jersey LPN license.

How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in New Jersey

Students who wish to earn their New Jersey RN license (also called a registered nurse or registered professional nurse) must apply for licensure with the New Jersey Board of Nursing. Students will need to possess a degree from a school that offers an accredited nursing program as defined by the criteria set forth in Title 13 of the New Jersey Administrative Code. They also need to take and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) examination, which helps to judge a student’s knowledge and expertise in the field of nursing. Nurses who hold an RN in a different state may apply for a New Jersey nursing license by endorsement, where they must verify their current license with the New Jersey Board of Nursing.

Next, the student will need to file the official New Jersey nursing license application, which asks numerous questions on the student’s educational and experiential background, as well as a signed form from their school’s registrar certifying that they have completed all program requirements. This application costs $75 to submit, and students will also need to pay a $120 initial license fee. Students applying for endorsement will also need to submit a copy of their licensure from any other states they’ve practiced in and an additional $30 fee for verification.

Once the nurse obtains a New Jersey RN license, it will need 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 (APN) License in New Jersey

Professionals who wish to be certified in New Jersey as an advanced practice nurse must hold an active RN license in New Jersey. Also, applicants will need to have at least a master’s degree from an approved APN program. Possible specialties for APNs include clinical nurse specialist (CNS), nurse anesthetist (CRNA), and certified nurse midwife (CNM). If a nurse already has a master’s degree in a different field, they can complete a post-master’s curriculum specifically for advanced practice nurses. Nurses must also specifically take a three-credit course in pharmacology.

An official transcript from the student’s school must be submitted with the application form to ensure the student has completed the educational requirements. Finally, the student must also provide proof of passing the highest level national Advanced Practice Nurse Examination in the clinical area they’d like to specialize in.

Next, the professional must request a state nursing license application for APNs. This application will include basic info like contact and educational information. Applicants will also need to submit a passport-style photo of their head and shoulders from the past six months. Along with this application, nurses will need to send in a $17.50 fee for a background check as well as the $100 application fee.

Once the New Jersey APN license application has been approved, the 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 biennially and costs $160, and APNs must complete 30 hours of continuing education credits within this time frame.