10 Best Nursing Schools in New Jersey – 2024 Rankings
Written By: Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
An aging population and growing number of individuals with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and obesity are straining New Jersey’s health care system almost to the breaking point. More than half of New Jersey’s current nurse workforce is between the ages of 46 and 50, and that means retirement is in their near future. Compounded by a nursing shortage that has already left 17 percent of hospital staff jobs unfilled, it’s a fair bet that the demand for graduates from accredited nursing schools in New Jersey will soar over the next few years. In fact, experts say that the Garden State is going to need an additional 40,000 nurses by 2024 to meet its health care needs.
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WHAT ARE THE BEST ACCREDITED NURSING SCHOOLS IN NEW JERSEY?
(After closely assessing all nursing schools approved by the New Jersey State Board of Nursing, based on our Ranking Methodology, the following are the best accredited nursing schools in New Jersey offering BSN programs.)
1. Seton Hall University, South Orange
About Seton Hall University College of Nursing:
Back in 1938, the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University became the first educational institution in the Garden State to offer a nursing baccalaureate degree. Fast-forward nearly 80 years, and today, the college is a recognized leader in nursing education. “U.S. News & World Report” consistently ranks this nursing school in NJ as one of the top in the nation.
Classes take place at the newly renovated Interprofessional Health Science Campus on the former Hoffmann-La Roche biomedical campus. This is also the site of Seton Hall’s new medical school, which is the first medical school to open in New Jersey in half a century. Aspiring nurses and physicians share many learning experiences as part of Seton Hall’s interdisciplinary approach to health care education. Nursing students hone their clinical skills in a state-of-the-art simulation lab that contains virtual hospital suites, operating rooms and manikins that are programmed to respond in realistic ways so that students can learn every aspect of patient care in a safe environment. Clinical experiences begin during the sophomore year at local health care facilities like Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center and VNA Health Group. Before graduating, each nursing student will have participated in eight clinical rotations.
Seton Hall offers five institutional scholarships
to eligible nursing students. Students are also encouraged to track down nursing scholarships from outside sources. Additionally, students may qualify for grants, work study and loans. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form is used to determine a student’s eligibility for New Jersey state financial aid as well as for federal financial aid.
2. The College of New Jersey, Ewing
About School of Nursing, Health, and Exercise Science:
If you think nursing should be more concerned with promoting wellness than with preventing disease, the School of Nursing, Health and Exercise Science at the College of New Jersey speaks your language. This nursing program will prepare you to guide patients and communities toward more positive health outcomes. The School of Nursing is also one of just eight Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Regional Centers that are charged with improving the quality and safety of health care systems throughout the U.S.; this nursing school’s domain extends from Maine to Washington, DC.
The College of New Jersey is consistently chosen as one of the top regional institutions for higher learning in the U.S. by media sources like “U.S. News & World Report,” “Forbes” and “Kiplinger’s.” Nursing classrooms and two simulation laboratories are located in Trenton Hall. These simulation labs can be set up to resemble clinics, emergency rooms and various hospital settings. Once they’ve mastered basic patient care skills, nursing students will be assigned clinical rotations at hospitals, ambulatory care centers and community health agencies throughout central New Jersey.
Financial Aid: Scholarships
are administered by the College’s Office of Financial Assistance. First-year nursing students may be considered for merit scholarships upon submission of their Common Applications. The College also awards scholarship funds through its Lion’s Pride Needs-Based Awards and partners with the micro-scholarship site RaiseMe.com. Students who are applying for state and federal grants and loans must submit a FAFSA form.
3. Rutgers University, Newark
About Rutgers School of Nursing:
Founded a decade before the American Revolution, Rutgers University is one of the oldest colleges in the U.S. The Rutgers School of Nursing in Newark is close to the top of practically every list of outstanding nursing programs in the U.S., cited both for the excellence of its educational programs and for the relevance of its cutting-edge research. The nursing school sponsors a number of ongoing research projects such as the Center for Community Health Partnerships and the Center for Research on HIV Management in Families & Communities, which are collaborative initiatives conducted by faculty, staff and students.
Instruction takes place at Ackerson Hall, which houses classrooms, offices and a high-tech simulation environment called the Center for Clinical Learning. Here, nursing students have access to evidence-based patient scenarios and high-fidelity manikins that will help students develop clinical skills. Once clinical skills become second nature, students will have the opportunity to practice them in both traditional and non-traditional health care settings throughout eastern New Jersey.
Every year, the School of Nursing awards scholarships
based on academic performance and need. Many of these are scholarship opportunities endowed by alumni of the nursing program. Additionally, the school makes information about outside scholarships available to students. Students may also be eligible for federal and state financial aid depending upon the information contained in their FAFSA forms.
4. Ramapo College, Mahwah
About Nursing Programs @ Ramapo College:
Ramapo College is justly proud of the 36,000-square-foot Adler Center for Nursing Excellence, which houses both its undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. In addition to classrooms, the Adler Center features an Anatomy and Physiology lab, computer labs and three simulation environments where students learn basic clinical skills as well as how to respond to medical emergencies. Once they’re confident about their skills, nursing students move on to placements at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, Ramapo’s primary clinical partner, or to rotations at one of many other acute care institutions, long-term care facilities, community health agencies, outpatient/ambulatory care settings, professional organizations and occupational health/industrial sites throughout northern New Jersey.
Ramapo is another New Jersey school that’s been singled out as one of the best regional colleges in the U.S. It’s a liberal arts college, so nurses who graduate with a nursing degree in NJ from here have a strong foundation in humanism as well as in evidence-based science. If you see yourself as a health care leader at a global level who’s determined to help meet the need for health care among increasingly diverse populations, then this may well be the school for you.
The Russell Berrie Nursing Scholarship is a scholarship awarded annually by Ramapo’s Nursing Student Affairs Committee. Ramapo offers many other institutional scholarships
as well, some of which may have criteria that nursing students can meet. Nursing students may also qualify for state and federal aid once the college’s financial aid team has reviewed their FAFSA forms.
5. Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck
About The Henry P. Becton School of Nursing & Allied Health:
The Henry P. Becton School of Nursing & Allied Health is located in Madison, 35 miles away from Farleigh Dickinson’s Teaneck campus. Its graduate nurse practitioner program in particular has received high marks from NurseJournal.com. The school regularly sends faculty members and student representatives to global health conferences sponsored by the United Nations. The Becton School also maintains an educational partnership with nursing programs at the University of Nigeria.
Grants from the Hearst Foundation allowed the school to renovate its clinical skills labs so that these labs are now high-tech virtual hospital environments complete with manikins that can be programmed to represent patients affected by various chronic and acute conditions. Undergraduate and graduate students perform clinical rotations with health care providers throughout the eastern part of the Garden State, including the Palisades Medical Center, Children's Specialized Hospital, Valley Hospital, the VA of East Orange, JFK Medical Center and the NJ Vets Memorial Home in Paramus.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded a generous grant to the Becton School with the proviso that part of the donated funds must go to the support of Farleigh Dickinson students pursuing accelerated BSN degrees. The school also administers two nursing scholarships
: the Marvin and Alice Perry Scholarship and the Henry P. Becton Scholarship. Students may also apply for federal and state needs-based grants and loans by submitting a FAFSA form.
6. Rutgers University, Camden
About Rutgers School of Nursing - Camden:
In partnership with Camden Community College, Rutgers University has a second nursing program that’s based in southern New Jersey, just outside Philadelphia. The program is geared to meet the needs of students who want to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, and the curriculum is every bit as demanding as Rutgers’ other nursing programs. The program was implemented in part in hopes that it would help mitigate the chronic shortage of nurses and other health care providers in Camden and surrounding communities, which are among the most impoverished areas in the U.S.
Camden’s new 107,000-square-foot nursing building contains classrooms, common areas, study spaces and a simulation lab and incorporates environmentally features such as a radiant floor system, low-flow plumbing and LED lighting into its architectural design. The simulation lab is a 9,160-square-foot space fitted with realistic hospital, outpatient, and home care settings that can help students refine the skills they will need to cope with professional challenges. Clinical partners for hands-on practicums include Mercy Philadelphia Hospital; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Departments of Health in Camden and Cape May Counties; Cherry Hill, Pleasantville, Delanco, Egg Harbor Township and Burlington School Districts; and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia.
Since the Camden nursing campus is affiliated with Rutgers University, students attending nursing programs here have the same scholarship opportunities
as students attending the nursing programs that are based in Newark. Students should also submit FAFSA forms, which can help determine their eligibility for various state and federal grants and loans.
7. Stockton University, Galloway
About School of Health Sciences:
“U.S. News & World Report” ranks Stockton University at 9th place among public regional universities in the northeast. Its nursing programs operate under the auspices of the School of Health Sciences, which also educates ancillary health care professionals who will work in the fields of public health, physical therapy and occupational therapy. The curriculum aims to teach aspiring nurses the critical thinking skills they will need to function as patient advocates in the rapidly evolving world of health care delivery.
Classes take place in the West Quad building on the Galloway campus. Nursing students acquire basic patient care techniques in a 3,500-square-foot simulation center where computerized manikins and live actors help students learn the appropriate responses to situations they may encounter when they begin working professionally. Stockton University also has a nursing cohort at its Manahawkin campus; these students hone their clinical skills in an 8,000-square-foot simulation environment. Clinical rotations take place at health care facilities throughout Ocean, Monmouth and Atlantic Counties.
Stockton University awards a number of scholarships
to incoming freshmen and transfer students who have demonstrated academic excellence, and nursing students are eligible to apply for these scholarships. In order to be considered for these funding sources, students must submit a FAFSA form. Students will also need to submit a FAFSA if they’re applying for state or federal needs-based financial aid.
8. Felician University, Lodi
About Felician University School of Nursing:
If you envision yourself as a change agent prepared to take on every professional challenge the health care industry throws your way, Felician University is one of the nursing colleges in New Jersey you should investigate further. The School of Nursing offers ten separate nursing tracks, one of which may be the right fit for your educational needs. Though Felician University’s School of Nursing is open to students of all religious denominations, it cleaves to the Franciscan values of community, compassion and reverence for all life.
Nursing students get their first tastes of patient care by working with high-fidelity, computerized manikins in the 11,000-square-foot Barbara J. Toscano Nursing Resource and Simulation Center. The Center not only mirrors actual hospital settings the students will encounter on the job but also features Workstations on Wheels where students can learn the ins and outs of electronic medical charting. Clinical rotations take place at Hackensack University Medical Center, Englewood Hospital & Medical Center, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and other hospitals and community clinics throughout northeastern New Jersey.
Two of the Felician University’s institutional scholarships
awards are specifically designed for nursing students: the Ridgewood Registered Professional Nurses Scholarship and the Switzer Foundation Scholarship for Professional Nursing Students. By filling out the Felician University Scholarship Application, students will be automatically considered as well for any other scholarship for which they qualify. Students may also apply for Pell Grants, work-study programs and other types of federal and state aid by submitting a FAFSA form to Student Financial Services.
9. William Paterson University, Wayne
About William Paterson University Nursing Department:
The Nursing Department at William Paterson University is one of several nursing programs in New Jersey that’s funded in part by the Garden State’s “Building Our Future” Bond Act. First chartered as a teachers’ prep school in 1855, Paterson began a diploma program for nurses in 1939 and a baccalaureate program for nurses in 1966. Paterson University has one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse populations of any institution of higher learning in the Garden State, so it’s not surprising that cultural sensitivity and a respect for diversity are two of the core values that inform this nursing program.
The Department of Nursing is headquartered in University Hall, which has 16 classrooms, six patient simulation rooms and three skills labs where nursing students learn basic techniques such as drawing blood and starting IVs. Once they are comfortable providing bedside care, nursing students pursue clinical rotations at health care facilities such as Valley Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital and other hospitals, ambulatory clinics and community health agencies throughout northeastern New Jersey.
While William Paterson University has no institutional scholarships
available for nursing students, the financial aid team is extremely helpful in connecting students to external scholarship sources and maintains a list of outside nursing scholarships
. Nursing students may also be eligible for Pell Grants, work-study, loans, New Jersey Tuition Aid Grants and New Jersey Education Opportunity Fund Grants if their FAFSA forms indicate financial need.
10. New Jersey City University, Jersey City
About NJCU Nursing Department:
Do you believe that nursing is both an art and a science? As a nursing student at New Jersey City University, you’ll learn to synthesize what you’ve learned through your liberal arts education and use that as the foundation upon which you build your nursing skills. The university was chartered in 1927 as a training school to meet the demand for teachers in the Garden State; today, its nursing programs are among its most popular offerings. The university’s main campus is located along the waterfront in Jersey City, but it will soon be adding a new 21-acre campus on the west side of town.
The Nursing Education Center is located at Rossey Hall. When renovations are complete, the fourth through sixth floors of this building will become classrooms and simulation labs where nursing students practice the fundamentals of bedside care in virtual environments. The nursing department partners with numerous hospitals, ambulatory care centers, community health agencies and hospices throughout the area to provide nursing students with clinical experiences that will build upon those skills.
The New Jersey City University Foundation awards more than 300 endowed scholarships
annually, and nursing students are eligible for these awards if they meet the specified criteria. The Financial Aid Office will also help you identify scholarships from outside sources for which you might qualify. State and federal loans, grants and work-study are also options if your FAFSA submission qualifies you for those types of assistance.
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Pattie Trumble, MPP, MPH
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Pattie Trumble is a nurse who worked in both California and New York for many years as an emergency room nurse. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Associate Degree in Nursing from the Samuel Merritt Hospital School of Nursing. After 10 years of providing direct care, she went back to school and earned concurrent Master’s degrees in both public policy and public health from the University of California, Berkeley. Thereafter, she worked for various public health agencies in California at both the community and state levels providing economic and legislative analysis.