As the critical shortage of nurses continues across the U.S., now’s a great time for practical nurses like you to make the move up to a career as a registered nurse. And one of the best ways to do that is by earning your nursing bachelor’s degree through one of the quality LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey.
LPN to BSN programs allow you to apply the credits you earned in your practical nursing education program, as well as the experience you’ve gained working as an LPN, to shorten the time to complete your BSN degree. And you may even save some money along the way.
If going from LPN to RN in New Jersey sounds like the right path for you, this guide can help you get there. You’ll find lots of useful information on how LPN to BSN bridge programs work, which are the best, what they cost, how long they take to complete, and much more.
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Best LPN to BSN Programs in New Jersey for 2024
To start you on your program search, we’ve spotlighted two of the best LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey. Our selections were based on a number of factors, including affordability, study convenience and flexibility, and access to useful student academic and career support services. These spotlights will give you a good idea of what to expect from any New Jersey LPN to BSN program you consider.
The LPN to BSN Accelerated Pathway program from Berkeley College is a seven-semester (2 1/3 years), full-time-only program with most courses held on the college’s Woodland Park campus and others completed online. Applicants to the LPN to BSN program must submit evidence of an unrestricted active or inactive LPN license, completion of a practical nurse education program in the U.S., and a minimum of 2,080 hours of LPN employment within the last two years. Applicants must also pass a commercially prepared nursing entrance exam. Earning the degree requires a total of 120 credit hours of coursework, 30 of which are awarded upon acceptance into the program. Program starts are available in January, April, and September.
Berkeley College is regionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Graduates of the LPN to BSN program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN. The LPN to BSN program also meets the educational requirements for New Jersey RN licensure. RN license requirements vary by state, however, so prospective students intending to practice outside of New Jersey should confirm before enrollment that the Berkeley LPN to BSN program will qualify them for licensure in other states.
Chamberlain University is a private university headquartered in Illinois with 23 campus locations throughout the United States, including one in North Brunswick, NJ. Students with an LPN license can earn their nursing bachelor’s degree in less than three years through the bachelor of science in nursing program. LPNs earn up to nine credits that are applied to their BSN program requirements after taking validation tests and proficiency exams. Students attend nursing classes and simulation labs on the North Brunswick campus (with some online classes available). Both day and evening/weekend class options are also offered. Clinical rotations are in person at program-affiliated healthcare facilities in the local area. Clinical rotation shifts average six to eight hours a day, one to two days each week.
Chamberlain University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Its BSN program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing (NJBN). Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam.
FAQs About LPN to BSN Programs in New Jersey
What additional nursing skills will I gain in an LPN to BSN program in New Jersey?
Along with higher pay and the added prestige of being a registered nurse comes a full range of nursing duties (above and beyond those of an LPN) that make up the RN’s expanded scope of practice. These advanced duties include:
- Recording patient histories.
- Evaluating patient symptoms and conditions.
- Performing diagnostic tests and analyzing results.
- Helping to formulate diagnoses and setting up treatment plans.
- Administering medications.
- Operating medical devices and equipment.
- Educating patients and their families about managing and preventing injuries and illnesses and at-home patient care and treatment.
- Supervising care provided by LPNs and certified nursing assistants.
How long does it take to complete an LPN to BSN program in New Jersey?
A major advantage to LPN to BSN programs, when compared to standard BSN programs, is the shortened program lengths. Instead of the standard four years required to earn a nursing bachelor’s degree, most LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey can be completed with two to three years of full-time study. Some programs are offered with a single program length (for example the seven-semester Berkeley College program). Others (like the Excelsior University program discussed below) allow students to set their own study pace up to a stated maximum completion time (six years for the Excelsior program). Your specific program length may also be impacted by the number of college credits you can transfer.
How much do LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey cost?
Tuition rates and total program costs for LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey vary substantially from program to program. Several factors impact program costs, including total credit requirements and, most importantly, the total number of credits you’ll need to complete in the program once all previously earned transferable credits (like those from your LPN program) are applied. Below are current costs for three New Jersey LPN to BSN programs. Remember that your total program price tag will likely be greater once you include the cost of uniforms, books, supplies, and university fees, plus the cost of traveling to and from campus.
Total Credits: 90
Total Credits: 122
Total Credits: 180
What are the admission requirements for LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey?
Admission requirements vary from program to program, so you’ll need to consult with admissions counselors for each LPN to BSN program you consider. Nevertheless, there are a few requirements common to most LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey:
- LPN license: Proof of a current, unencumbered practical nurse license from a U.S. state or, in some cases, another jurisdiction that is a member of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
- Practical nurse education program: Proof of completion of an accredited practical nurse education program, such as an official program transcript.
- LPN work experience: Proof of professional practical nurse experience. The amount of experience required can vary substantially from program to program.
Additional application materials may include letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and Test of Essential Academic Skills test scores or completion of a nursing entrance exam. International students may be required to provide proof of English proficiency, often in the form of Test of English as a Foreign Language or International English Language Testing System scores.
What should I look for in an LPN to BSN program in New Jersey?
Your choice of LPN to BSN program will have a lot to do with your individual circumstances, particularly your geographic location. You’ll need to find a program that is close enough to make attending on-campus classes and labs—as well as clinical rotations—practical. Beyond that, though, there are a number of things to look for in making your program decision. First and foremost is that the program qualifies you to take the NCLEX-RN exam and for RN licensure eligibility in New Jersey or any other jurisdiction where you plan to practice. Second, make sure that the school offering your program is accredited by one of the regional and national accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Other things you should look for that indicate an LPN to BSN program is worth your time and money include:
- Program recognition by the NJBN.
- Program accreditation by the CCNE or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
- High NCLEX-RN exam pass rates for the specific program.
Not all LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey will have all of these elements. However, you must be certain that the program you pick is institutionally accredited and provides academic eligibility to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and licensure in your chosen practice area.
Can I get financial aid to help pay for my LPN to BSN program in New Jersey?
Many common types of financial aid are available to students in LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey. These include scholarships and grants, work-study programs, employer tuition reimbursement programs, and benefits for veterans, active duty military, and qualifying family members. The U.S. government is a big source of nursing education financial aid. Potential federal government resources include scholarships, loan repayment programs, and student loans. Another major funding source is the State of New Jersey’s Higher Education Student Assistance Authority.
Not all resources (especially federal programs) are available for all New Jersey LPN to BSN programs, however. The key to knowing what’s available is to speak with a financial aid officer at each of the schools you’re considering. To learn more about how and where to start your funding search, check out EduMed’s own nursing scholarship and financial aid guides.
Detailed Look at Online LPN to BSN Programs in New Jersey
Practically all LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey feature some level of online content, most often in the form of readings, assignments, and correspondence with faculty, staff, and fellow students. You’ll also find that some programs offer class sessions online as well. These sessions may be synchronous (requiring attendance via live stream at specifically scheduled dates and times) or asynchronous (prerecorded sessions that can be accessed at any time). Most classes, as well as labs and practice simulation sessions, require your attendance in person on the school’s campus. These activities are typically scheduled during weekday hours, but some programs offer evening and weekend sessions as an option. And, of course, LPN to BSN students also complete substantial clinical rotation hours at program-approved healthcare agencies and facilities in the school’s or student’s local area.
A good example of an online LPN to BSN program in New Jersey is the LPN to bachelor of science in nursing program from Excelsior University. Although headquartered in Albany, NY, Excelsior’s primarily online LPN to BSN program accepts students from 18 states, including New Jersey. The bulk of the program’s coursework, including weekly skills labs, is delivered online in an asynchronous format. However, students are required to travel to clinical sites in either Albany, NY, or Chambersburg, PA, to attend two in-person clinical weekends.
Be sure to contact an admissions officer for the details on program online components before you enroll. And for more information on how online LPN to BSN programs work, visit EduMed’s Top LPN to BSN Programs Online guide.
Common Questions About Online LPN to BSN Programs in New Jersey
Are hybrid and online LPN programs more affordable than campus programs in New Jersey?
As we mentioned earlier, tuition rates and total program costs vary substantially from program to program, so it’s difficult to determine if online programs are more affordable than on-campus ones. However, online students will likely enjoy lower total program costs once the savings on transportation (gas, parking, etc.) to and from campus to attend in-person classes is factored in.
Can I finish my LPN to BSN program in New Jersey faster by taking coursework online?
That will depend on the particular program. For example, the Excelsior University program mentioned above is self-paced and delivered asynchronously. As a result, students may be able to complete their online coursework faster than on-campus programs with a strict class schedule. In most cases, however, completing online coursework will likely not shorten your total program length.
Will earning my LPN to BSN degree online or through a hybrid program impact my ability to get licensed?
Absolutely not. Your ability to obtain your RN license requires that you take and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and meet all other licensure requirements of the NJBN or nursing board of any other state in which you intend to practice. As long as your LPN to BSN program qualifies you for the NCLEX-RN exam and state RN licensure, the fact that you completed your degree online will be irrelevant.
Will employers care if I took some of my LPN to BSN classes online?
That is up to the individual employer. However, given the wide acceptance of online college degree programs and courses today, it’s highly unlikely that any healthcare organization or facility would care whether or not a prospective employee earned their degree in a program that included online classes. In fact, employers would be hard pressed to find any prospective employees today whose degree programs did not include online components.
How Do I Go from Being an LPN to a BSN Nurse in New Jersey?
If you’re an LPN, you’ve gone through the process of completing a practical nursing program, applying for your practical nurse license, and taking the NCLEX-PN exam. The process for obtaining your RN license is very similar. Here’s a brief look at the steps LPN to BSN students complete to obtain a New Jersey RN license:
- Complete an LPN to BSN program.
- Begin the license application process with the NJBN. Along with filling out the application, students must submit certification of completion of their BSN program (issued by the program) and the application fee. After all initial license application requirements are met, the NJBN will inform the administrator of the NCLEX-RN exam (Pearson VUE) of the applicant’s eligibility to test. Pearson VUE will then issue an Authorization to Test to the applicant.
- Register and pay the registration fee for the NCLEX-RN exam, and schedule to take the exam.
- Take the NCLEX-RN exam. Upon passing the exam, Pearson VUE will inform the NJBN, after which the NJBN will issue the RN license.
LPN to BSN Salary and Employment Trends in New Jersey
As you might expect in the midst of a major nursing shortage, the job prospects for new graduates of LPN to BSN programs in New Jersey are strong and expected to stay that way for many years to come. And that’s in terms of both salaries and job security. Here’s a closer look.
How much more can I earn going from an LPN to BSN in New Jersey?
Practical nurses completing their LPN to BSN program in New Jersey and obtaining their registered nurse license can expect a major boost to their paycheck, as the chart below indicates. This chart will give you a more detailed idea of what you might expect to earn as an RN in particular metro areas in New Jersey, compared to earnings for LPNs in those areas.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2021
What’s the job market like for BSN nurses in New Jersey vs. LPNs?
As the U.S. Department of Labor figures in the chart below show, long-term growth for the registered nurse job market is healthy in New Jersey, its surrounding states (particularly New York), and across the entire country. And, of course, with that healthy long-term job market comes solid job security.
Source: Projections Central