logo

New Jersey Nursing License Requirements

The New Jersey Board of Nursing is responsible for licensing and overseeing the practice of nurses in the state to ensure that nurses are educated and qualified to provide health care services. The path to becoming a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse, or nurse practitioner, therefore, begins with an education in one or more nursing specialties. Continue learning about how to become a nurse in New Jersey by selecting one of the licensing categories below.

» How to become a licensed practical nurse (requires completion of a training program)
» How to become a registered nurse (requires an associate’s or bachelor’s degree)
» How to become a nurse practitioner (requires a master’s degree)

4 Steps to Become a Licensed Practical Nurse in New Jersey

1. Earn a Diploma in Practical Nursing.

Licensed practical nurse candidates in New Jersey must first earn at least a diploma from an accredited school of practical nursing.1 The New Jersey Board of Nursing provides lists of schools at the diploma and vocational levels that hold the appropriate accreditations for licensure of graduates.2 Pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination are also available for accredited schools.2

2. Submit the Application for Licensure by Examination.

The New Jersey Board of Nursing provides the Application for Licensure by Examination for prospective practical nurses.3 Alternatively, candidates may begin the application through the MyLicense Online Licensing portal.4

If the paper application is completed, candidates should include a passport-style color photograph 2 inches by 2 inches in size.3 Candidates for licensure must request that the school of nursing graduated send an Official Letter of Program Completion directly to the New Jersey Board of Nursing; this letter must be signed by the program chair under school seal.3 Note that applicants will not be made eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination until such a letter is received.3

Candidates must complete the affidavit included in the application packet in the presence of a notary public and have the document notarized.3 In addition, candidates must be sure to complete the Certification and Authorization Form for a Criminal History Background Check included in the application packet to initiate the required background check process.3

3. Complete the Criminal History Background Check.

All applicants for nurse licensure in New Jersey must complete a criminal history background check.3 After submitting a completed application with the Certification and Authorization Form for a Criminal History Background Check, applicants will receive further instructions on the fingerprinting process from the New Jersey Board of Nursing.3 Fingerprint impressions are taken using a third party service, called MorphoTrak.5 The New Jersey Board of Nursing will provide the fingerprinting form and identification information that candidates will need to have fingerprint impressions taken by MorphoTrak.6

4. Register for and Earn a Passing Score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.

The New Jersey Board of Nursing uses Pearson VUE, a third party testing company, to manage the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN).3 Candidates may complete the initial registration for the NCLEX-PN on the Pearson VUE website.7 After review of the application materials, the New Jersey Board of Nursing will make the applicant eligible to test and sit for the exam; if a passing score is earned, the applicant may receive a practical nursing license. Candidates who are not successful may re-apply to take the NCLEX-PN up to three times. If the NCLEX-PN is not passed on the third attempt, candidates must take a 30-hour remediation course before becoming eligible to re-test.8

4 Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in New Jersey

1. Earn a Degree in Registered Nursing.

To practice registered nursing in New Jersey, applicants should have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing.8 The degree should be earned from a school accredited by the New Jersey Board of Nursing.8 A list of approved schools offering programs in registered or professional nursing is available on the New Jersey Board of Nursing website.2 Candidates can also access pass rates on the National Council Licensure Examination posted by program graduates.2

2. Submit the Application for Licensure by Examination.

Candidates may complete the Application for Licensure by Examination either online or using a paper form.3 The online application is accessed through the MyLicense Online Licensing portal.4

Applicants who choose to complete the paper application must provide a color, passport-type photograph measuring 2 inches by 2 inches in size.3 In addition, applicants must request the school of nursing from which they graduated send an Official Letter of Program Completion directly to the New Jersey Board of Nursing.3 Note that the letter must bear the school seal and be signed by the program chair; applicants can not be made eligible to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination until this letter is received by the New Jersey Board of Nursing.3

Applicants must also be sure to complete the affidavit found in the application packet in the presence of a notary seal so that the document can be notarized.3 Applicants should also be sure to include the completed Certification and Authorization Form with the application to initiate the required background check process.3

3. Complete the Criminal History Background Check.

The New Jersey Board of Nursing requires all applicants for licensure to complete a criminal history background check.3 The New Jersey Board of Nursing will forward applicants detailed information on completing the criminal history background check after the license application and Certification and Authorization Form for a Criminal History Background Check have been received.3 The New Jersey Board of Nursing uses MorphoTrak, a third party service, to complete fingerprinting of applicants.5 Applicants should receive the required fingerprinting form and identification information needed to have fingerprint impressions taken by MorphoTrak from the New Jersey Board of Nursing.6

4. Register for and Earn a Passing Score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses.

The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) must be successfully passed in order to receive a license in registered nursing.3 Pearson VUE, a third party testing company, administers the NCLEX-RN on behalf of the New Jersey Board of Nursing.3 Applicants can register for the NCLEX-RN through the Pearson VUE website.7 After the New Jersey Board of Nursing has received all required documentation from an applicant, the applicant will be made eligible to schedule and sit for the exam.3 Once a passing score is earned, a license can be issued. Those who are not successful may re-take the exam up to three times.8 If the third attempt does not result in a passing score, the candidate must complete a 30-hour remediation course before a fourth attempt will be allowed.8

6 Steps to Become a Nurse Practitioner in New Jersey

1. Become a Licensed Registered Nurse in New Jersey.

Applicants for nurse practitioner licensure must possess an active, unencumbered license in registered nursing in the state of New Jersey.8 Prospective nurse practitioners should, therefore, prepare to obtain a basic education in registered nursing and pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

2. Complete a Master’s or Post-Master’s Degree in Nursing.

All nurse practitioners in New Jersey must hold at least a master’s degree in nursing. A master’s degree from a school that holds accreditation from an organization recognized by the US Department of Education is recommended.8 If a master’s degree is earned from a school that does not hold such accreditation, nurse practitioner candidates must complete a post-master’s program in advanced practice nursing that is so accredited.8 The master’s or post-master’s program must include a minimum of 39 hours in pharmacology instruction and six contact hours in pharmacology focusing on controlled dangerous substances.8 A list of Master of Science in Nursing programs that meet these requirements is available on the New Jersey Board of Nursing website.2

3. Earn National Certification from an Accredited Association.

Nurse practitioners in New Jersey must hold and maintain national certification from a recognized association in order to obtain a license to practice in New Jersey.8 The certifying association must be accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties and/or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.8 The certification must be based on examination, and candidates must successfully pass the highest level practice examination in their specialty field(s) to be eligible for licensure in New Jersey.9

4. Request and Complete an Application for Licensure.

Note that candidates must apply for a nurse practitioner’s license no more than two years after completing the qualifying education program.8 An application for nurse practitioner licensure may be requested by emailing APN@dca.lps.state.nj.us.9 The completed application must be returned to the New Jersey Board of Nursing. In addition, applicants must request that the graduate school of nursing attended send official transcripts directly to the New Jersey Board of Nursing.9 Evidence of national certification should similarly be sent directly from the certifying association to the New Jersey Board of Nursing.9

5. Form a Collaborative Agreement with a Licensed Physician.

Nurse practitioners must have a joint protocol with a collaborating physician licensed in the state of New Jersey.8 The joint protocol must be in writing, updated as changes are made, and reviewed on at least an annual basis.8 The joint protocol must specifically address practice guidelines as well as protocols for prescribing medication.9 Note that prescriptive authority for non-controlled substances is granted automatically with nurse practitioner licensure.9

6. Register for Controlled Substances Prescriptive Authority (Optional).

Nurse practitioners in New Jersey may choose to register for prescriptive authority for controlled substances.9 Prescriptive authority for controlled substances is overseen by the New Jersey Drug Control Unit.10 Nurse practitioners who wish to prescribe or dispense controlled substances should complete the Initial Application for Registration for Dispenser/Prescriber Mid-Level Practitioner and submit the form to the New Jersey Drug Control Unit for processing.11 A controlled substances registration with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration is also required, which can be initiated on the DEA website.12

New Jersey Nursing Associations

The nursing associations of New Jersey can help current and prospective nurses in the state access opportunities like professional networking, employment openings, and continuing education.

New Jersey Nursing Salary

Occupation Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Nursing Assistants 49,210 $27,430
Licensed Practical Nurses and Licensed Vocational Nurses 14,360 $51,350
Registered Nurses 74,700 $75,820
Nurse Practitioners 2,580 $101,030

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

References:
1. New Jersey Board of Nursing Laws
2. New Jersey Board of Nursing: Consumer Information
3. New Jersey Board of Nursing: Application for Licensure by Examination
4. New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs: MyLicense Online Licensing
5. New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs: Frequently Asked Questions Criminal History Background Check
6. Safran MorphoTrak: New Applicants
7. Pearson VUE: The NCLEX Examination
8. New Jersey Administrative Code Title 13: Law and Public Safety, Chapter 37: New Jersey Board of Nursing
9. New Jersey Board of Nursing: Advanced Practice Nurse Certification
10. New Jersey Drug Control Unit
11. New Jersey Drug Control Unit: Initial Application for Registration for Dispenser/Prescriber Mid-Level Practitioner
12. US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration: Application for Registration Under Controlled Substance Act of 1970