RN Nursing Programs in New Jersey - NJ
How to Become an RN in New Jersey
Aspiring Registered Nurses in New Jersey must choose between two education programs: an Associate Degree, Nursing (ADN), which takes two years once accepted, or a Bachelor’s Degree, Nursing (BSN), which is a four year degree. The two are similar in many respects: before applying to a school of nursing, both degrees require around 10 prerequisite courses in general studies, which usually include physiology, psychology, biology, and other similar classes. Good grades and any previous volunteer work are paramount to acceptance, and, once enrolled in either program, the bulk of the courses focus on nursing practices and theory, while also providing several general studies classes in areas like physiology, pharmacology, and psychology.
Where the two programs differ, though, is that an ADN places more emphasis on nursing practice during the first two years of study, while BSNs have a little less focus on practice and a bit more in preparation for advanced studies in the final two years. The opportunity for specialization and advanced nursing skills and knowledge of a BSN are what leads half of the RN students in New Jersey down the longer path—it can lead to more fulfilling careers and higher paying jobs down the road.
At the completion of either a BSN or an ADN, students take the same test: the NCLEX-RN, which is a nationally-standardized Registered Nurse licensure exam. Students must apply to the New Jersey Board of Nursing with proof of graduation and pay a $200 application fee that also covers the cost of a criminal background check and fingerprinting. They then pay an additional $200 to national examiners Pearson Vue and, once passed—as is the case for close to 9 out of every 10 first time applicants—students are licensed to work as a Registered Nurse in New Jersey.
RN Salary and Jobs in New Jersey
New Jersey Registered Nurses average over $74,000 per year plus benefits—even the low end of the salary scale comes in around $67,000 (according to BLS.gov) annually. They mostly work in hospitals, where their duties cover a wide range as they work with doctors and instruct nursing assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses in patient care. There are also opportunities outside of the hospital in retirement homes and doctor’s offices, as well as with community health programming departments and within the education system. Indeed, RNs have a wide range of occupations to choose from, and typically make good money—as the largest group of health care professionals in the state, becoming a Registered Nurse can be a very rewarding career.