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Nursing License Requirements in New Jersey: Become a Nurse in NJ

New Jersey’s RNs and LPNs are licensed by the New Jersey Board of Nursing (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/nursing/). The National Nursing Database reports that the state has 24,821 RNs and 2,985 LPNs.

The Board is also charged with accrediting nursing programs within the state. Any program that repeatedly (three years running) achieves less than a 75% pass rate on the licensing exam is reduced to conditional approval and runs the risk of losing accreditation altogether.

New Jersey is not a member of the nurse licensure compact. Nurses must be licensed by examination or endorsement.

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The New Jersey State Nurses Association is a professional organization that serves both RNs and LPNs (http://www.njsna.org/); there is a separate forum, or membership area, for LPNs. The NJSNA is not involved with licensing, but provides various resources.

LPN Requirements in New Jersey

LPN Education

An LPN should enroll in an approved program. As the program winds down, he should take steps toward licensure. He will need to have a 2 by 2 passport type photo taken. He will need to read the state’s nursing laws and regulations. (The application packet includes a notarized statement where the candidate attests to having read N.J.S.A. 45:11-23 and N.J.A.C. 13:37-1.)

Applying for LPN Licensure

An applicant may apply online or use a paper form (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/nur/Pages/applications.aspx). He will pay a total of $200; this covers the first licensing period as well as the application. The candidate will need to complete a criminal background check. He will receive detailed information after he applies to the Board. New Jersey uses MorphoTrak electronic fingerprinting services. The candidate will need to pay $67.50 to MorphoTrak when he gets the prints done.

The applicant will need another $200 to pay the company that administers the NCLEX-PN licensing exam. He may register in one of three ways: online, by telephone, or via a paper registration form. There is a candidate bulletin available on the Pearson VUE site (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nclex) and on the site of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm).

The NCLEX is a computer adapted test (CAT); examinations are scheduled at Pearson sites in New Jersey and around the country.

Out of State LPNs

A nurse who holds licensing in other states will need official verification from all of them. In many cases, this can be done online. There is a paper form in the endorsement packet for use in states that don’t utilize the online system.

An endorsement candidate will need to have fingerprints made. How he goes about getting them done will depend on where he lives. If he lives within ten miles of New Jersey’s borders or comes within ten miles to work or attend school, he will be expected to use the electronic service (the same as New Jersey residents do). Otherwise, he has the option of using traditional fingerprint cards. Candidates who opt to use cards will need to pay a $63.55 fee to MorphoTrak; their prints will be scanned into the system.

A candidate who opts for a paper form should still fill out a brief form online that includes contact information. This is so the Board can send him the fingerprinting information (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/nur/Pages/applications.aspx).

Endorsement candidates pay the same fees for application, licensing, and surcharge that exam candidates do – a total of $200.

Internationally educated nurses have a different process. They must have a course by course evaluation by an outside organization and also pass an English proficiency exam. Internationally educated exam candidates pay $225 to the New Jersey Board -- $25 more than those who did their education in the U.S. (This is separate from fees that will be owed to outside organizations.)

An international LPN who has a deficiency in one of the five core areas will need to make it up.

RN License Requirements in New Jersey

RN Education

An RN must complete an approved registered nursing program. After the candidate completes requirements, the candidate should have a certification of program completion sent to the Board.

The RN Application Process

The candidate will fill out an application; the candidate may if the candidate chooses, utilize the online system. The application can be viewed on the Board site (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/nur/Pages/applications.aspx). It includes questions about education, student loan and child support status, and medical conditions that could impede practice. The candidate will need to pay $200 to the New Jersey Board.

A candidate must have a criminal background check. In New Jersey, printing is done electronically through MorphoTrak for a fee of $67.50. A candidate who has already been fingerprinted by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs after November 2003 will not need to have fingerprints done again, but will need to have another background check run (for a fee of $22.55). This will apply to some individuals who have already applied to the Board for a lower level of licensing.

The candidate will also need to register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX-RN and pay the $200 testing fee. Once eligibility has been determined, the candidate will receive an ATT in the mail (or via email). At this point, the candidate can schedule an exam.

RNs must apply separately for sexual assault (SANE) certification – an application form is available on the Board site. Additional education and clinical work is required. There is an application fee of $100 and a certification fee of $100. New Jersey runs a background check any time an applicant applies for a new certification or license.

RN by Endorsement

RNs who are licensed in other states can apply by endorsement. They should fill out the correct application, have their fingerprints done, and provide license verification.

Endorsement candidates who hold SANE certification in another jurisdiction must submit multiple documents if they wish to have the certification added to their New Jersey license (http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/nursing/ForensicNurse.pdf). Among the requirements are certifications of coursework and clinical work and a copy of the current state’s statutes and rules. There is one New Jersey specific course that endorsement applicants must have.

In order to receive the SANE certification, the candidate must have worked two years full-time as a registered nurse.

International RNs

Internationally educated nurses have two preliminary steps before they complete the application, do the criminal background check, and take the NCLEX. They must have their coursework evaluated by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS). They will also need to take an English proficiency exam, and have scores sent to the CGFNS.

There is a total of $225 due to the New Jersey Board by international candidates who are applying for license by examination.

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