The healthcare industry desperately needs more nurses both in New Jersey and throughout the country. This need exists for all types of nurses, too, including licensed practical nurses (LPNs). Whether working for hospitals, assisted living facilities, or doctor’s offices, LPNs provide critical hands-on patient care. As an added benefit, becoming an LPN is one of the quickest paths into the nursing profession.
If becoming an LPN in New Jersey interests you, you’ll first need to graduate from an accredited LPN program and become licensed by passing the NCLEX-PN exam. This guide will help you learn more about the process and find a program that’s right for you.
College Spotlights: Best LPN Programs in New Jersey
Whether it’s their low tuition rates, high NCLEX-PN pass rates, or flexible scheduling options, several LPN programs in New Jersey stand above the rest. The three schools detailed below set the standard in terms of affordability, academic quality, and student support. Most importantly, all three are approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing, so you can feel confident they’ll prepare you for licensure. Use these schools as a good starting place when choosing the right program for you.
Jersey College’s LPN Program is designed for students looking to start working as LPNs as quickly as possible after high school, so the primary application requirement is having a high school diploma or GED. After completing this program, you’re ready to sit for the NCLEX-PN. This LPN program also puts you in a solid position to transition to an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing at some point.
The program can be completed in as few as four, 12-week terms and includes classes in nursing fundamentals, mental health nursing, maternal nursing, and pediatric nursing. Most classes are offered on campus and are available during the day or evening for maximum flexibility, but some courses may be offered online. There’s also a hands-on learning component that provides clinical experiences.
The Licensed Practical Nursing Program from Essex County College takes just 48 weeks of academic training to complete and results in a certificate after one, 12-month cycle (January-December). After finishing this 49-credit program, graduates are prepared to sit for the NCLEX-PN and become LPNs. This competitive program ranks applicants based on admissions criteria and accepts students from the list until seats are filled.
Most courses must be completed on campus, including specialized training at the state-of-the-art simulation laboratory at Essex County College’s main campus. Courses include Fundamentals of Practical Nursing, Adult Health, Maternal-Child Health, and Role Transition. One of the program’s benefits is that students can later apply to the LPN Articulation Option from Essex County College to earn their associate degrees and RN licensure.
Camden County College’s Practical Nursing Certificate Program is comprised of 42 credits of classes that include Foundations in Practical Nursing, Anatomy and Physiology, and Basic Psychology. There are also a few general education coursework requirements, including Communications and Social/Behavioral Science. Classes can be completed on campus with clinical training requiring face-to-face time at a medical facility.
This certificate program was created not just to train students to sit for the NCLEX-PN and become licensed practical nurses but to also receive a well-rounded education. Prospective LPN students need a GED or high school diploma with a GPA of at least 2.5. Applicants also need to pass a physical exam, provide proof of vaccination status, and clear a criminal background check.
FAQs About LPN Programs in New Jersey
What skills do you learn in LPN programs in New Jersey?
Accredited LPN programs in New Jersey, like the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School’s Practical Nursing Program, develop their curriculums to teach students in three major areas. Theory-based instruction includes critical thinking skills, patient assessment methods, and fundamentals of the human body and medical care. Practical skills include those needed to complete specific clinical tasks and are often taught in simulation labs with clinical training. Finally, professional principles in areas like communications and ethics help LPNs succeed in their careers.
How much do LPN programs cost in New Jersey?
LPN programs in New Jersey differ in how they structure their programs. While some provide a total number of credits required to graduate, others simply list the classes needed and the number of instructional hours, including in-class and on-site clinical training. Most programs last about a year of full-time study, so many provide a total program instead of a per-credit fee. The following schools and their LPN program costs give you a general idea of the tuition costs are for LPN programs in NJ.
Total Credits: 1,500 instructional hours
Total Credits: 85 quarter credits
Can I get financial aid to help pay for my LPN program in New Jersey?
One of the biggest challenges to becoming an LPN is paying for your education. Luckily, there are a variety of financial aid options available, including federal student loans, private grants, and scholarships. Grants and scholarships are available both through schools offering LPN programs as well as through a variety of private organizations. New Jersey also administers its own financial aid program through the New Jersey Financial Aid Management System that is open to all New Jersey students.
To learn more about financial aid and scholarship opportunities specific to LPN programs in NJ, visit our LPN scholarships guide and our main financial aid guide.
How long do LPN programs in New Jersey take to finish?
Most LPN programs in NJ have on-campus instruction where students attend class full-time. With these types of programs, students typically earn their LPN diplomas or certificates in about a year. Some programs, like Ocean County Vocational Technical School’s Practical Nursing Program, are accelerated and can be completed in as little as 10 months. Programs like the one at Eastwick College can take as long as 21 months, though, for students taking part-time, evening classes.
Inside Look at Online LPN Programs in New Jersey
Like most nursing programs across the nation, LPN programs in New Jersey teach students through in-class and on-site training. Given the number of hands-on skills needed to work as an LPN, nursing students can expect about half of their academic hours to consist of hands-on training. This means that online LPN programs aren’t common in New Jersey. In fact, most accredited NJ LPN programs are primarily on campus. This doesn’t mean online learning isn’t possible for LPN students. A few schools, like Jersey College, provide the opportunity to take a limited number of classes online. This arrangement is especially common due to the coronavirus pandemic, and some schools plan to keep this as an option for the foreseeable future.
LPN Licensing Information and Requirements in New Jersey
Before you begin your LPN training, be sure you understand all of the qualifications for LPN licensure. For example, in addition to graduating with a certificate or diploma from an LPN program, you’ll also need to pass a criminal background check.
The general process to becoming an LPN or LVN (licensed vocational nurse) is similar across the country, but each state does have its own specific requirements. The licensing of LPNs in New Jersey is handled by the New Jersey Board of Nursing.
Education and Training
The first major requirement to becoming a licensed practical nurse in New Jersey is graduating from a certified LPN program. Almost none of the LPN programs in NJ have programmatic accreditation from an independent nursing accrediting agency like the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) but are instead approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing. Check out the applicable New Jersey statutes for detailed information about the specific requirements for licensure in the state.
Professional Nursing Examination
The second major requirement to becoming an LPN is passing the national certification exam, more commonly known as the NCLEX-PN. This computer adaptive test (CAT) is administered by Pearson Vue, and questions get harder or easier depending on the test taker’s performance on previous questions. The CAT method avoids giving easy questions to well-qualified test takers and hard questions to those who aren’t prepared to pass the exam.
LPN Licensing Application
To apply for your LPN license, complete an application online on the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs website. This process includes paying an application fee of $75 and an initial licensing fee of $120. Applicants must also pass a criminal history background check, provide information confirming their academic and experiential backgrounds, and confirm their completion of an approved LPN program.
License Renewal & Continuing Education
LPNs must renew their licenses every two years through the New Jersey Board of Nursing and by paying a $125 fee. During those two years, LPNs should complete 30 contact hours of continuing education. A continuing education course must be approved by a credentialing agency that’s accredited by the American Nurses Crediting Services (ANCC). When an LPN renews a license, they confirm the completion of these continuing education requirements.
Salary and Job Outlook for LPNs in New Jersey
Like many other nursing professions, the need for LPNs is strong in New Jersey when compared to other non-nursing careers. Students graduating from LPN programs shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a job after they graduate even though the projected growth rate for LPNs in New Jersey is below the national average. What makes working as an LPN in New Jersey really stand out is the pay.
What LPNs earn in New Jersey is well above the national average across the board. New Jersey LPNs also make more than their counterparts in neighboring states like New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Whether it’s the lower-end, the middle, or the top of the pay scale, LPNs in New Jersey can expect to earn a salary that exceeds what the typical LPN makes in the United States. This difference is especially pronounced in New Jersey’s major metropolitan areas.
Job Outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses in New Jersey (2018-2028)
Source: Projections Central
Annual Earnings for Licensed Practical Nurses in New Jersey
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020