Looking for an accelerated nursing program in New Jersey? If you have a bachelor’s degree in any field other than nursing and want to switch careers, it is possible to become a nurse in a few months.
The healthcare industry has been experiencing a shortage of nurses, and this situation led to an increase in accelerated nursing programs to try to plug the gap.
It is a win-win situation because nursing is a high-paying career. The industry gets more workers, and the nurses get high salaries after going through a short program.
If this seems interesting, accelerated nursing programs in New Jersey can make you a registered nurse in as little as one year.
But which are the best-accelerated nursing programs to enroll for in the state? Let’s find out.
Top 10 Accelerated BSN Programs in New Jersey
These schools have the best accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree programs in NJ.
As one of the three Rutgers University campuses, the Camden nursing school gives a fast-track into this profession, taking only 15 months to complete the degree.
The course duration might seem like a short time, but the intensive full-time program ensures you get the same quality of clinical practice as students in traditional nursing degree programs.
Anyone holding a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in a non-nursing major qualifies for the program. However, you will need to complete eight prerequisites, which include:
- Microbiology (4 credits with lab)
- General chemistry (I or II) or organic biochemistry (4 credits with lab)
- Anatomy and Physiology I and II (8 credits with lab)
- Genetics (3 credits with no lab)
- Nutrition (3 credits)
- Human growth and development (3 credits)
- Biomedical Ethics (3 credits)
- Statistics (3 credits)
The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the New Jersey Board of Nursing, and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education have accredited the baccalaureate degree program, so it is legit.
In addition to offering this highly marketable and intensive program, the university has a world-class campus with a close-knit environment, where you will get personalized attention to ensure you succeed in the program.
The total cost for the course is about $33,000, including books and supplies.
Set in a green and picturesque area of Caldwell town, this university is at a convenient location close to multiple leisure and entertainment joints. Since school is not all about work, these spots will help you unwind and reset during your free time while studying on this campus.
As for the course, Caldwell University is a bit different and diverse because it offers four entrance tracks. These are 2nd degree, traditional, transfer, and major nursing courses.
The 2nd-degree track offers the accelerated nursing program, and only students with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree (B.A/ B.S) qualify. However, you need to have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5, and all science courses must be at least five years old.
The accelerated nursing course has 63 credits of major course work, but before getting into it, you must complete seven prerequisite courses with a total of 25 credits. They include Human Anatomy & Physiology (I & II), Principles of Chemistry, General Psychology, Microbiology, Intro to Sociology, and Statistics.
You will be glad to know that the school has an outstanding NCLEX-RN performance, and graduates usually get jobs with clinical partners at times even before getting a license.
Additionally, the core of the institution’s education system is a liberal arts curriculum that will sharpen your critical thinking skills, give you civic & moral awareness, and help you appreciate other cultures. In-state tuition fees are about $35,000 per year.
If you are already working and don’t have time to study nursing full-time, Fairleigh Dickinson University has a two-year part-time program that can fit into your schedule. The other track option is a one-year full-time program, which is not as flexible but takes less time to complete.
Regardless of the track option, this program requires a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university or college, with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 for admission.
Compared to other institutions that require at least a GPA of 3.5, this one is significantly lower, which qualifies more students. However, there is a catch. As part of the prerequisites for entry, students with a GPA of lower than 3.7 must take the Kaplan Admissions Test (KAT), while those with 3.7 or higher are exempt.
Once you get in, the school will take you through an intensive curriculum that prepares you for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam and to be a competent professional in the field. If you look at the numbers, the university has NCLEX-RN passing rates of 90 – 95% in the last three years and an employment rate of 100% in the tri-state area.
They achieve such levels of success by training nurses in small classes that encourage student participation and combine this with clinical rotations to ensure you gain all the required skills.
Rutgers University in Newark is the primary home of the accelerated nursing program in this institution. The admission requirements and coursework are similar in the Newark, New Brunswick & Blackwood campuses, so they function as one entity.
They offer an accelerated four-semester, 14-month program that builds on your previous bachelor’s degree program and transitions your career into becoming a professional nurse.
The institution also has over 200 clinical partnerships throughout the state, so you will get enough hands-on clinical experience to enhance your skills and critical thinking.
For admission, you need a GPA of 3.3 or higher from your first degree, an automated external defibrillator from the American Heart Association, and recent certification for health care providers in infant, child, & adult life support.
On top of that, you must complete nine prerequisite courses, where you need a score of 100 or higher except for Introductory Psychology and Introductory Sociology. For these two, the university accepts a score of 50 and above from the CLEP exams.
However, you don’t need to submit any letter of recommendation, and there are no interviews in the admission process. What you need to send are all official transcripts either electronically or through postal mail. It is worth noting that the program is not open to international students.
Apart from offering an accelerated BSN program, Seton Hall University has a fast-track, direct-entry Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program that takes two years (six semesters) to complete.
The program prepares you for the NCLEX-RN and Clinical Nurse Leader exams, after which you can become an advanced nurse generalist. However, there are no admissions at the moment, so this leaves the BSN program.
It is a 14-month curriculum that takes on a 62-credit cohort model for any student with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree. You can choose to undertake your studies at the Georgian Court Campus in Lakewood (Fall start only) or the Interprofessional Health Science Campus in Nutley (Spring start only).
Either way, the programs are Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredited, and graduates qualify to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam after completion.
Seton Hall was the first university to offer the BSN program in New Jersey, and they have a faculty containing 80% full-time members with doctoral degrees.
The training staff regularly liaise with professional nurses nationally and internationally to remain at the forefront of the nursing practice. Additionally, they do their research at the university with the students to help them learn crucial skills and reach their full potential.
Apart from the nursing-related courses, you will also learn about cultural competency and the legal & financial aspects of the healthcare industry.
The nursing school at Felician University has been helping students achieve their goals since 1965, and their accelerated BSN program builds on this mission. It helps develop the next generation of experts, game-changers, leaders, and problem-solvers in the field.
The admission process at Felician University is simple because you only need a non-nursing bachelor’s degree (3.0 GPA minimum) or 60 non-nursing college credits.
They don’t specify the prerequisite courses, but the number depends on whether your primary degree was in the arts or sciences and how recent your college experience is.
The coursework options are slightly different because there is a 16-month online and an 18-month on-ground program. The online program requires you to attend nursing labs at the Parsippany off-campus facility and has three start dates annually (January, May, & August).
On the other hand, the on-ground program occurs at the Rutherford Campus and has one start date in May. Both require clinical training in local healthcare centers.
Whichever program you pick, you will get access to state-of-the-art skills and simulation labs, as well as real-world clinical experience in leading healthcare providers like the Atlantic Health System.
Having been in the business for about 35 years, Thomas Edison State University imparts high-quality nursing education that creates a solid foundation for all students who graduate.
Their accelerated nursing program takes 15 months to complete, and you can take classes online or on-campus. Both options are full-time, intense and will prepare you for the NCLEX-RN licensing exam plus employment opportunities after graduation.
You will also get clinical experience in different healthcare facilities within NJ. The university partnered with Capital Health, one of the leading providers of high-quality healthcare in NJ, to help students practice the skills and knowledge gained in class.
But what do you need to get in? If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field, you need 60 college credits. Tuition fees for the entire program are $38,250, but this does not factor in the clinical lab technology fee of $500 per clinical course.
If you wish to advance to an MSN after this course, you can apply using nine graduate credits from this program.
The accelerated BSN program at New Jersey City University is quite popular because it only takes 12 months. However, you can only do it as a full-study option on campus, making it very demanding.
The university offers the program in two of its campuses conveniently located in Jersey City (starts September) and Fort Monmouth (starts May). You can only apply to one campus per admission cycle, in which the deadlines are Feb 1 and Feb 28 for the Fort Monmouth and Jersey City campuses, respectively, for 2022.
To get admitted, you need a GPA of 3.0 or higher from your previous degree, two recommendations, an admission essay, a current resume, a score above 80% on standardized health education systems, and completion of five prerequisite classes.
Keep in mind, Jersey City and Fort Monmouth campuses have 60 and 30 seats, respectively, so admission is super competitive. However, if you qualify and the classes are full, your name will go into a waiting list to fit you in if any vacancy arises. Otherwise, you will have to reapply the following year.
The year-long program is split into three semesters, each requiring in-state tuition fees of $8,998.50 and out-of-state fees of $12,110.00. On top of these charges, there is an extra 2,500 to cater to books, uniforms, and nursing equipment.
The fast-track nursing program at William Paterson University takes 15 months to complete and consists of 60 credits. However, before getting in, there is a checklist you need to fulfill.
First, you need to have a GPA of at least 3.0 in your previous bachelor’s degree, then complete all the prerequisite nursing courses with no more than 19 credits. These courses include:
- General Anatomy & Physiology I
- General Anatomy & Physiology II
- Advanced Anatomy & Physiology
- Basic Microbiology
- General Psychology
- Lifespan Development
- Chemistry for Health Sciences
- Nursing Research
- Therapeutic Nutrition
After everything checks out and you get into the program, you need to keep your grades high because any student who scores below a C will get dismissed.
If this happens, you can transition to the institution’s generic nursing program and follow the Nursing Student Academic Standards Policy as posted in the student handbook.
The main advantage of transitioning into nursing via the accelerated nursing program at Georgian Court University is that you will get hands-on experience at Hackensack Meridian Health, the largest healthcare provider in the state.
The university has had a decade-long partnership with the provider, which has helped to give the graduates all the necessary hands-on experience.
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1908, the institution maintains the Mercy core values of integrity, respect, service, compassion, and justice. Therefore, you will learn in an environment that lets you grow through shared cultural, spiritual, and social experiences.
As for the accelerated BSN program, it takes 14 months to complete, taking you through an intensive, hands-on experience that prepares you for the NCLEX-RN license exam and your career afterward.
Looking at the numbers, the school has a maximum student-to-faculty ratio of 13:1, which ensures you get personalized attention in the small classes. Over the last three years, this has led to an average NCLEX pass rate of 92% and an employment rate of 87.5%.
Tuition fees are $737 per credit, plus a comprehensive fee of $300 per term. Also, there is a mandatory accident insurance cover of $130 annually, and if you want to use your car to campus, you will have to pay $198 + tax annually.
Typical Information of Accelerated BSN Programs in New Jersey
Although the BSN programs differ from school to school, some general information is standard. It includes:
As standard, the basic admission requirements are an existing bachelor’s degree or college credits. If you have a degree, you need at least a 3.0 GPA, but some institutions put the lower limit as high as 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. With college credits, these vary per the university, but it is usually about 60.
Apart from these two, we recommend having the following documents ready:
- A copy of your resume
- Copies of your transcripts
- Recommendation letters from a colleague, professor, or supervisor
- Admission essay
You will also have to complete a set of prerequisite courses, usually 7 – 10, each with varying credit points.
Cost and Length
Some programs take as little as 12 months, while others go up to 18 months. If the institution charges per semester, the long 18-month period will most likely cost more as there will be at least an extra semester.
However, if they charge per program, the duration is not a problem unless you have limited time.
Tuition costs are also cheaper for New Jersey residents. Put all these variables into consideration before picking the best school to enroll in for the program. Remember, there are usually extra charges for uniforms, books, and equipment. Consider all the costs.
The end goal is to make you a competent nurse, so the courses focus on several tenets of the profession that are important in the state. However, some add on extras like cultural competency courses and the legal & financial aspects of the healthcare industry.
Universities usually list the curriculum on their websites, and you can go through the courses to clarify the details before proceeding with the application.
Clinical training is a prerequisite before program completion because it gives hands-on experience. Most universities have partnerships with healthcare providers, where they place students on rotation, enabling them to get into the actual working environment. It is a crucial part of the curriculum as it lets you apply what you learned in the classroom to care for patients.
Is the Program Worth It?
If you are thinking of switching careers, it could be due to passion, but salary and job opportunities weigh a lot in this decision. Is the accelerated BSN worth it?
The annual salary for registered nurses (with accelerated BSN) ranges from around $59,000 to $105,000 annually. If you advance to a nurse practitioner after undertaking the accelerated MSN, the salary range increases from roughly $91,000 to $151,500.
Such salaries are competitive in the healthcare industry and even exceed the national average of $56,310. Compared to the annual salaries for other professions, such salaries makes the nursing program worth every penny. Eventually, you will get back the tuition and license exam fees.
Current Employment Opportunities and Prospects
As the population increases, the demand for quality healthcare and trained professionals increases, which means there is a demand for more registered nurses and nurse practitioners.
Considering registered nurses, the number of available jobs was over three million in 2020, and the projected growth is 9% for the next ten years. By 2030, there will be close to 277,000 new jobs, so the prospects look good.
What Next After Completing the Program?
How do you settle into your new career? After completing the accelerated nursing program, here is what you should do.
Get a License
You need a registered nurse license to work in New Jersey, and there are two steps to get it. First, visit the New Jersey Board of Nursing to apply for the document, then head to Pearson Vue to sign up, pay, and schedule your NCLEX-RN license exam.
Look for a Job
With your second degree and license at hand, it is time to put your skills into practice. Most registered nurses get jobs in hospitals and nursing homes, and you can begin there. Keep in mind that such workplaces are super busy, and you might have to work night, weekend, and holiday shifts.
Clinics, schools, and private physician offices are less busy workplace alternatives, although you might get less pay as a nurse in these jobs.
There you have it! If you want to switch careers to nursing and are unsure about the best universities to study in, the ones listed above are the top 10 institutions in New Jersey.
If you meet the requirements, send in your documents as soon as possible before the application window closes.