10 Best RN to BSN Programs in New Jersey (Online & Campus) – 2023 Rankings
Written By: Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org
If you are an RN in New Jersey who has an ADN degree or diploma and you’re interested in furthering your education for a better and more specialized career, an RN to BSN course is a great choice. This is a program that makes it faster and simpler for you to earn your BSN degree by giving you credit for what you have already learned. Of the 16 schools offering an RN to BSN program in New Jersey, we have ranked the top 10 below based on criteria such as graduation rates, NCLEX pass rates, student-to-faculty ratios, and cost.
Online RN to BSN Programs in New Jersey: What You Need to Know?
RN to BSN degrees can be completed in a few different ways, including on campus, online, or a mix of the two. If you are currently working as an RN, an online RN to BSN program in New Jersey is a fantastic option since you can learn at your own pace. The flexibility allows a comfortable learning experience while still allowing you to work and spend time with your family.
ACEN/CCNE Accredited & Approved by New Jersey Board of Nursing:
Before deciding on a school, it’s important to ensure that the RN to BSN program in New Jersey is approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing
. It should also be accredited by one of two organizations that set high standards for nursing education, which are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
, or ACEN, or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
, or CCNE. Such approval and accreditation have become increasingly important to employers as it is an indicator of success and better overall patient outcomes.
RN to BSN degrees in NJ build upon courses you took during your ADN or diploma program to provide a more specialized and focused learning experience. They focus on age-specific health, family practice, holistic healthcare, research, and community healthcare.
| Sample Courses |
| Adult and Elder Practice, Adult and Elder Science, Child Health, Childbearing Family Practice, Childbearing Family Science, Community/Practice, Community/Science, Holistic Health Assessment, Holistic Interventions, Life Span, Nutrition, Pharmacology, Prof. Role Development, Capstone Seminar, Professional Practice Across the Life Span, Psychosocial Health, Research, and Wellness Promotion |
Some schools may require you to participate in unpaid clinical training, but others may not. If you must complete clinicals as part of your program, these will take place in a medical institution partnered with the university. You will put knowledge you learn in the classroom into practice by providing hands-on care under direct supervision.
RN to BSN degrees across New Jersey vary a great deal in program length due to your own personal needs and the online program you choose. You can often choose to enroll full-time or part-time, and many schools have several options in between, as well.
Common Admission Requirements:
Admission requirements also vary, but for almost all programs, you will need to have an ADN degree or diploma and be licensed as an RN in the state of New Jersey. As an example, in order to enter the RN to BSN degree program at Rutgers University, you must have:
• A nursing diploma or ADN degree;
• A current, unrestricted RN license in New Jersey;
• A minimum college GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale; and
• Proof of completion of prerequisite courses.
What are the 10 Best Accredited RN to BSN Programs in New Jersey for 2023?
(Based on our ranking methodology
, the following are the 10 best RN-to-BSN programs in New Jersey (Online & Campus).)
Program Overview: The RN to BSN degree at The College of New Jersey is designed for working RNs in NJ who are interested in becoming leaders in both nursing and healthcare as a whole. Though it is campus-based and classes meet in the evening, some coursework is available online. The program focuses on communication skills and the role of nursing in the global healthcare setting. On average, the program requires anywhere from two to three years of part-time study, but there are opportunities to fast-track your progress.
• The College of New Jersey has been recognized by the National League for Nursing
as one of only 40 Centers of Excellence in Nursing Education in the nation from 2015 through 2019 and has also been accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
• RN to BSN students are required to participate in a clinical course that requires hands-on training during the day at a community healthcare facility.
Type: Online, Campus
Program Overview: You can complete your RN to BSN degree in NJ either online or on campus through Rutgers University. If you choose the online track, there are no required campus visits or clinicals required and you can complete the program in as little as one year. You will have the opportunity to transfer up to 93 credits to help shorten the program duration. Rutgers is one of the most well-known names in New England, and employers throughout the region actively pursue nursing graduates known for their ability to provide high-quality healthcare.
• Rutgers University is one of the best options if you prefer smaller class sizes and individualized attention; the student-to-faculty ratio is low in both the online and on-campus options.
• Aside from its CCNE accreditation, the program is also accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education
, or MSCHE, a peer-based evaluation and accreditation organization that sets incredibly high standards.
Program Overview: While the RN to BSN courses at Ramapo College of New Jersey take place predominantly online, you may be required to visit the Mahwah campus or nearby health facilities for some hands-on experience. The school will allow you to complete the program at your own pace, but it also provides an 18-month preorganized completion plan. On average, full-time students complete it in about two years and part-time students complete it in three or more. Traditional clinical experiences are not required.
• Ramapo College offers students state-of-the-art labs and three simulation rooms at the Adler Center for Nursing Excellence, giving students opportunities to hone skills and address challenges.
• The college was also named one of the “Best Colleges for Your Money” by Money magazine; it was ranked #4 in New Jersey and within the top 16% in the nation.
Program Overview: The RN to BSN program at Stockton University is a hybrid program that combines both online and classroom learning. Courses are delivered every other week at the school’s Manahawkin instructional site, but you will complete coursework online, as well. The program emphasizes the entire healthcare cycle from wellness to illness, for people of all ages, and within numerous community and family settings. Students who have completed prerequisite general education and nursing courses complete the program in about two years.
• Stockton University places a great deal of emphasis on preparing RNs for a wide variety of careers and providing a framework for a future graduate degree.
• According to US News and World Report’s 2018 “America’s Best Colleges” report, Stockton University is one of the top 10 Public Regional Universities in the North.
Type: Online, Campus
Program Overview: Farleigh Dickinson University offers its BS in Nursing with an Associate Degree program both online and on campus through the Henry P. Becton School of Nursing & Allied Health. You will need 120 credits to graduate the program, and you will receive credit for a minimum of 66 for passing the NCLEX-RN and obtaining your ADN. Remaining courses will vary for most students. Program lengths depend on the number of credits you must earn and whether you choose to participate full-time or part-time. The university focuses on holistic healthcare and takes a liberal arts-based approach to teaching.
• The Farleigh Dickinson University School of Nursing has a 65-year reputation for producing top-tier nurses, including RNs.
• Courses focus on nursing research, healthcare management, and more, which will provide you important knowledge and skills for furthering your career.
Program Overview: Thomas Edison State University’s RN to BSN program is delivered in a convenient online format with no travel to the university required. To complete it, you must earn at least 120 credits, including 48 in general education, 48 in nursing, and 24 electives. Many of these credits can be transferred, allowing you to complete your program more quickly than a traditional BSN program. You will work with a nursing advisor to develop a personalized program that allows you to earn all the credits you need at a pace that works for your needs.
• The university goes to great lengths to personalize experiences for each student, which means your program will be based on your specific credit and time needs.
• As long as you complete at least three credits each year, you can continue to finish the degree requirements at your own pace with no time limit on degree completion, making it ideal for especially busy RNs.
Program Overview: William Paterson University offers a campus-based RN to BSN course in NJ designed to prepare you for a professional career. The length of time it will take you to complete the program is highly individualized and depends on the number of credits you need to meet graduation requirements, but you can choose a full-time or part-time course of study to suit your needs. Many courses are offered in the evening, and clinical courses are only available during daytime hours and take place at nearby community medical facilities.
• Though you will receive credits for previous coursework, you may be able to take a test out of certain other courses through CLEP exams, which stands for College Level Examination Program for additional credits.
• William Paterson University believes that baccalaureate education is the minimum education required for success as a professional nurse, which is in line with the Institute of Medicine’s request to have 80% of all RNs educated at the baccalaureate level before 2020.
Type: Online, Campus
Program Overview: The RN-BSN Fast Track program at Felician University is a 15-month program that is available either online or on campus. Aside from the Lodi campus, you may choose to participate via numerous off-campus locations in New Jersey, as well. In the structured program, you will earn six credits every eight weeks. Online and on-campus classes follow the same schedule, and you will work with the same group of students no matter which track you choose. You will need to earn 48 credits in total – 27 in nursing and 21 in liberal arts – to complete the program successfully.
• In order to provide the most well-rounded education possible, the RN to BSN program curriculum at Felician University includes required courses in business and computers designed to facilitate your transition into a leadership-oriented, high-tech position.
• Class times vary and may take place in the morning, afternoon, or early evening any time between 8am to roughly 6:30pm.
Program Overview: New Jersey City University’s RN to BSN is open not only to currently licensed New Jersey RNs, but also to those who are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. However, you must have passed the exam and obtained your licensure prior to your first clinical course. Focuses include research, leadership, and implementation of the liberal arts in healthcare, and during the program, you will work directly with the community by completing projects related to the promotion of good health. You will take your required classes at the university’s satellite location, the Wall campus, which is located in Monmouth County, New Jersey.
• New Jersey City University’s nursing program is competitive and requires you to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale in all of your upper division nursing courses.
• Students who completed their ADN degrees at local community colleges, including Brookdale, Essex County, Hudson County, and Passaic County will have specific curriculum plans based upon courses taken during their associate programs.
Program Overview: Saint Peter’s University is a Jesuit university located in Jersey City, and it offers an excellent online-only RN to BSN program that takes 21 months to complete. It was designed to prepare you for your role as a general professional and places a great deal of emphasis on courses in leadership. Holistic healthcare is of the utmost importance at Saint Peter’s University, and in order to keep you connected to your peers and fellow classmates, the online program offers discussion boards and collaborative projects designed to provide you with experience in working as a team.
• The university focuses on treating the whole person rather than just the body, offering a holistic approach to both learning and your future in nursing.
• You will have the opportunity to learn about and discuss contemporary issues and trends in nursing, including political, ethical, and social trends that you may encounter in your career both now and in the future.
VIEW OUR RANKING METHODOLOGY
USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT RN TO BSN PROGRAMS IN NEW JERSEY
Latest on New Jersey’s Push Towards 80% BSN
The Institute of Medicine has challenged the American healthcare industry to have 80% of all its RNs educated at the BSN level before 2020. Numerous case studies from across the country have shown that higher education leads to better patient outcomes, and New Jersey’s proposed BSN in 10 bill would go a long way toward meeting those goals. In essence, it would require all RNs who earn licensure through ADN or diploma programs to return to school for their BSN degrees. Existing nurses would be exempt, and while there is wide support for the bill, it has not yet been signed into law in NJ.
In order to make the BSN in 10 legislation successful, legislators, educators, and nurses would all need to cooperate. BSN degrees take longer to earn than their ADN counterparts, put additional strain on aspiring nurses, and redirect healthcare education away from community and technical colleges that cannot legally provide baccalaureate degrees. Though states like New York are making the transition, New Jersey’s bill is still in the works.
Options to Fund Your RN to BSN in New Jersey
As part of the push to educate 80% of all BSNs across New Jersey at the BSN level, costs for RN to BSN programs are often heavily discounted. Nonetheless, for a working RN, the financial burden can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways to get help paying for your education.
Grants exist at the federal level to help you pay for your degree. Unlike loans, these funds do not need to be repaid once you graduate. The most common of these, known as the Pell Grant, is awarded to those who demonstrate financial need. To apply, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
, or FAFSA.
Loans can come from many sources, as well. Some student loans are federally-backed. You can learn more about the types of loans available to you through the US Department of Education
, and you can apply by filling out the FAFSA. Private loans are another option for some RNs, especially if you can secure low interest and flexible repayment terms. These are available through banks and credit unions throughout New Jersey.
Numerous scholarships exist throughout New Jersey, and many of these are offered by the very same schools providing RN to BSN programs. Ask your school of choice if it offers scholarships and how to obtain them. Other options include the Hoffmann-Laroche Scholarships for members of the New Jersey State Nurses Association, the New Jersey League for Nursing Scholarship, and the New Jersey Legion Auxiliary Past President’s Parley Nurses Scholarship for relatives of American veterans.
Employer Assistance Programs:
Finally, many working RNs may have access to employer assistance programs. These include options like tuition reimbursement, which may be full or partial depending on your employer. In some cases, employers may pay for the program outright if you agree to work with them for a set period of time, usually in an underserved area.
6 Advantages of Pursuing an RN to BSN in New Jersey
Completing your baccalaureate degree will give you an incredible sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Aside from this, there are numerous other advantages associated with completing your BSN in NJ.
1. Expand Your Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:
From the very first day you begin your RN to BSN courses, you will gain additional knowledge, skills, and abilities that you can put to use in the workplace. Whether you want to go into nurse management, research, or even a specialized form of healthcare such as pediatrics, BSN education will help you succeed.
2. Salary Bump:
Furthering your education can also lead to a sizeable boost in your annual salary. RNs in New Jersey who have not yet earned their BSN degrees earn an average of $88,100, which is already well above the national average for RNs in all 50 states. However, after completing the program, RNs earn roughly $101,100. That’s a difference of $13,000 a year.
3. More Job Openings:
| New Jersey |
|Before RN To BSN || After RN to BSN || How Much More Will I Earn |
|(Source: Compiled using data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) |
Though the nursing shortage in New Jersey offers up a great deal of stability for RNs across the state, there is far more demand for those who are educated at the baccalaureate level. In NJ, there are approximately 1,540 job openings each year for RNs with ADN degrees, but for RNs with BSN degrees, there are 2,770 openings each year on average. This means that once you complete your BSN program, you will have more opportunities to secure the job you really want.
4. The Outlook is Brighter for a BSN Graduate:
| New Jersey Annual Job Openings (New + Replacement) |
| Annual Openings for BSN Graduates ||2,770|
| Annual Openings for ADN Graduates ||1,540|
| (Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)|
Another factor that greatly influences your job security is the growth in the nursing industry as a whole across the state. Between the years of 2020 and 2030, it is estimated that some 1,700 new positions for ADN-educated RNs will open up across New Jersey, representing growth of 6.80%. When compared to the 4,220 new jobs opening up in that same time frame for BSN-educated RNs, representing growth of 9.63%, it becomes clear that your BSN degree will provide you a significant advantage and more opportunities.
5. Career Advancement:
| 10 Year (2020-2030) Job Outlook |
| || Employment || New Job Growth |
| 2020 || 2030 || Number || % |
| BSN ||43,840||48,060||4,220||9.63%|
| ADN ||25,010||26,710||1,700||6.80%|
| (Source: Compiled using data from careeronestop.org)|
RNs who successfully complete their RN to BSN degrees have numerous career advancement opportunities. Many of the programs in New Jersey put emphasis on leadership and management, which means you could go on to become a charge nurse, a nurse manager, or even a director of nursing. Your bachelor’s degree will also allow you to become a nurse educator at one of many community and technical colleges offering diploma and associate degree nursing programs.
6. Post-RN to BSN Study Options:
| Advancement Opportunities |
| Charge Nurse || Director of Nursing |
| Chief Nursing Officer || Nurse Educator |
|Clinical Nurse Specialist ||Nurse Manager |
| Clinical Research Nurse || Nurse Supervisor |
Although your BSN will open up new doors for you across NJ, it also serves as an amazing foundation for a graduate degree in one of several exciting specializations. If you go to school for an additional two years, you could earn an MSN degree, allowing you to pursue a career as a certified nurse midwife, registered nurse anesthetist, or administrator, and you could earn as much as $156,890 per year. If you continue your education for another four to six years and pursue your PhD or DNP doctoral degree, you could become an advanced practice registered nurse, work as a college professor, or become a researcher and earn as much as $183,170 each year.
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| Type of Degree || Length || Roles and Responsibilities || Salary |
|Master’s Degree (MSN/MS)||Up to 2 years||Administrator, Certified Nurse Midwife, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Clinical Leader, Clinical Nurse Specialist & Nurse Practitioner||$102,390 - $156,890|
|Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree||4 to 6 years||Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, College Faculty, Nursing School Dean, Health System Executive, Researcher, & Senior Policy Analyst||$102,390 - $183,170|