Home to 1,185 residents per square mile, New Jersey is one of the most highly populated and wealthiest states in the nation. Sources of economic stability stem from pharmaceutical and telecommunication industries, as well as real estate, agriculture, tourism, retail, and more. Health care is also a growing field. According to New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce 171,100 new jobs in medicine were created between 1990 and 2011.
Across the nation most states recognize a key component to quality patient care stems from employing and retaining qualified nurses. In New Jersey new graduates are valued, just as advanced care nurses versed in specialized fields are prized. Wages for Nurse Practitioners and LPNs are some of the highest in the country, and New Jersey has even set up a rural care initiative to help entice qualified medical staff to work in less populated towns.
If just getting started in health care, prospective students will have 65 nursing schools to choose from. Many, such as Rutgers, Seton Hall and Fairleigh Dickinson rank highly on a national level.
Job Outlook for Nurses in New Jersey
On the whole, New Jersey is an incredibly wealthy state. However its unemployment rate is 9.3%. Despite that discouraging percentage, there is good news for nurses, both on a local and national level. According to New Jersey’s Department of Labor, health care provided $30 billion to local coffers in 2010. The health industry is also the only one that has consistently added jobs in NJ since 1990.
A national view shows 26% growth in RN jobs between 2010 and 2020, though it is important to note that state-led health boards are starting to seek more RNs with Baccalaureate degrees and higher. As the nursing need grows, so too does the need for qualified nursing educators to help meet student demand. If considering an advanced degree, fields such as teaching and health management could give applicants an edge; additional certifications and specialization could also greatly improve job odds. And never underestimate the power of hands-on training.
In New Jersey many of the larger cities such as Newark, Jersey City and Paterson will have more options for hospital work, while more rural regions may provide unique job opportunities for advanced RNs such as Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwifes. Nurses should also remember that jobs in outpatient centers and home healthcare are also on the rise nationally. New Jersey LPNs earn a mean annual wage of $51,350 and Nurse Practitioners earn an average annual income of $101,030, both some of the highest paid in the entire country. Note too that Nurse Anesthetists are some of the highest paid jobs in the field of nursing.
New Jersey’s Department of Labor breaks local medical jobs down into three avenues; Ambulatory (aka Outpatient) care covers 45% of jobs, while hospitals comprise %35 and residential and nursing care provides the remaining 20% of jobs. It stands to reason that more jobs will be offered where the most patients are but that is also where the most job competition will be.
Average Nursing Salaries in New Jersey:
|Data from BLS 2011||10th Percentile||25th Percentile||50th Percentile|
|Licensed Practical Nurses||$40,370||$45,590||$52,150|
|Home Health Aides||$18,670||$20,360||$22,150|
Licensing for Nurses in New Jersey
New Jersey has yet to sign the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) which allows nurses licensed in other complying states to practice in NJ, so to practice in-state you must be licensed in-state. After graduation from an accredited nursing program, LPNs must pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN). RNs must also pass their own NCLEX, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. Advanced care roles such as Nurse Practitioners and Critical Care Nurses may need to earn additional certifications to legally practice in New Jersey, depending on where they choose to work. The best resource for nurse licensing is the New Jersey Board of Nursing website.
Nursing Programs in New Jersey
New Jersey is home to 65 nursing programs offering a variety of degrees from LPN certification to Master’s and Doctoral programs. In addition to standard two and four-year programs, schools such as __ also offer accelerated nursing programs for students holding Bachelor degrees in other subjects.
Of the numerous nursing colleges, many stand out nationally. According to US & World News, Rutgers ranks #79 in the nation, Seton Hall University ranks #127, and the College of New Jersey ranks #166. Other fine schools include the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, William Paterson University of New Jersey, Henry P. Becton School of Nursing, and Allied Health at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Choosing a nursing college will largely depend on a variety of factors but don’t forget to review each school’s NCLEX pass rate for graduates, as well as the relationships each has built with various clinics and hospitals.