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Steps to Becoming an APN in New Jersey

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Get your Graduate Degree in New Jersey
Earn your National Certification in New Jersey
Apply for your Certificate in New Jersey
Renewing your Certificate in New Jersey

 

The New Jersey Board of Nursing (phone: 973-504-6430, APN@dca.lps.state.nj.us), under the Division of Consumer Affairs division of the Department of Law and Public Safety, regulates the nursing profession in New Jersey and certifies advanced practice nurses (APN) in three categories:

  • Nurse practitioner (NP)
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)

To be approved to work as an APN in New Jersey, you must hold a valid, unencumbered New Jersey RN license.

New Jersey Job Statistics

  • 2011 base salary for NPs in NJ: $94,337
  • There are 4,000 certified APRNs in New Jersey in 17 different specialties
  • Average annual job openings for RNs in New Jersey: 2,400
  • 2008-2018, RNs listed as #2 occupation with greatest employment growth
  • If you are a graduate of an approved school for professional nursing, you may apply for Licensure by Examination.
  • If you are a graduate of a foreign nursing program, your transcripts have been reviewed by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, and you have achieved a passing score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam, you may apply for Licensure by Examination for Graduates of Foreign Nursing Programs.
  • If you currently hold an RN license in good standing from another state or jurisdiction, you may apply for Licensure by Endorsement.
  • If you previously held a license in New Jersey, you must complete the Application for Reinstatement, provided you have met the proof of competency requirements set forth by the Board.


 

Step 1. Get Your Graduate Degree

To work toward APN certification in New Jersey, you must successfully complete a master’s-level program designed to educate and prepare either nurse practitioners or clinical nurse specialists. The school you attend must be accredited by an institutional, programmatic, or specialized nursing accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education.

If you are an advanced practice nurse specializing in anesthesia, you may be exempt from the master’s degree requirement as long as you can show evidence of the successful completion of a Board-approved advanced practice nursing program for certified registered nurse anesthetists.

You must be able to show evidence that you completed your education no more than two years prior to submitting your application for APN certification to the Board.

Prescriptive Authority

Your education program must include at least 39 hours in pharmacology, as well as 6 contact hours in pharmacology related to controlled dangerous substances, including pharmacologic therapy and addiction prevention and management overseen by:

OR

If you completed your pharmacology course more than five years prior to filing your APN application, you must provide proof of meeting at least one of the following pharmacology requirements:

  • A graduate-level, three-credit pharmacology course from a school accredited by a national accrediting agency approved by the Board
  • Continuing education program certificate(s) for 30 contact hours in continuing professional education, which:
    • Are related to your advanced practice category
    • Include pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics principles and their clinical application
    • Include the use of pharmacological agents in the prevention of illness, restoration and maintenance of health
    • Are obtained in the five years preceding your application for prescriptive authority


 

Step 2. Earn Your National Certification

After you complete your graduate education, you are then eligible to take an exam to become nationally certified in your general area of specialty:

  • Nurse practitioner (NP)
  • Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)

To become eligible for APN state certification in New Jersey, you must pass an advanced practice exam in your specialty through a national certifying agency that is accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties and/or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

The Board of Nursing currently recognizes 17 advanced practice specialties within the three general areas of specialty:

  • National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists
    • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
    • Adult Nurse Practitioner
    • Family Nurse Practitioner
    • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
    • Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
    • Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
    • Clinical Specialist in Medical-Surgical Nursing
    • Clinical Specialist in Gerontological Nursing
    • Clinical Specialist in Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
    • Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing
    • Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Adult and Family)


 

Step 3. Apply for your Certificate

To apply for your APN certification in New Jersey as a Nurse Practitioner (NP), Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), you must request an application packet from the Board.

If you are an RN in New Jersey, and you meet the educational and examination requirements to become an APN, you must submit a request to the Board for an APN application. Submit the request by email at APN@dca.lps.state.nj.us.

You must include the following information in your email:

  • Your contact information, including your name, address, and phone number
  • Your highest college or university degree for advanced practice nursing
  • Your advanced practice nursing specialty and type of certification
  • The type of application  you are requesting (e.g., Initial Certification, Endorsement or Reinstatement)

Once the Board has received your email, you can expect a reply with an application for download.

APN Application Initial Certification

Once you have received and completed your APN application for download, you can submit it to the Board, along with the following documents:

  • Proof of your current New Jersey RN license
  • An application fee of $100 in a check or money order made payable to the New Jersey Board of Nursing (there is an additional certificate fee of $80 or $160, depending on the status of your RN license, once your application process is complete)
  • Your original, official educational transcript, sent directly from the university or college to the Board of Nursing
  • A copy of your APN certificate, sent directly from the national certifying agency to the Board of Nursing
  • Proof that all APN certifications or licensures held in other states are in good standing or are expired (a verification form is included with the application)

Submit the application fee, completed application and all related documents to the New Jersey Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 45010, Newark, NJ 07101.

Prescriptive Authority

All APNs in New Jersey have prescriptive authority and are therefore required to have a joint protocol with a collaborating physician who is licensed in New Jersey before prescribing any medication or medical device.

In addition, if you plan to prescribe controlled dangerous substances after you become certified as an APN, you will need to secure a CDS (Controlled Dangerous Substances) registration and a DEA certification. You can obtain an application for either on the New Jersey’s Drug Control Unit website or by contacting them at 973-504-6351.

Once you have obtained your CDS registration, you can obtain an application for new DEA certification on the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s website.

APN Application by Endorsement

If you are an advanced practice nurse certified in another state, you may practice as an APN in New Jersey, provided the educational requirements of the state in which you are certified are similar to those of New Jersey.

Once you have received and completed your APN application for download, you can submit it to the Board, along with the following documents:

  • Verification of certification as an APN in good standing in another state
  • An application fee of $100 paid by check or money order made payable to the New Jersey Board of Nursing (there is an additional certificate fee of $80 or $160, depending on the status of your RN license, once your application process is complete)
  • A transcript showing the successful completion of an APN program from the school where you obtained your educational requirements. The transcript must be sent directly from the college or university to the Board of Nursing.
  • A copy of your APN certificate, sent directly from the national certifying agency to the Board of Nursing

Submit the application fee, completed application, and all related documents to the New Jersey Board of Nursing, P.O. Box 45010, Newark, NJ 07101.

Temporary Work Permit

If you have met the educational requirements for advanced practice nursing in New Jersey, but you are awaiting the completion of your examination for certification as an APN, you may apply for a work permit (without prescriptive practice authority) along with your initial application. You must have already applied to take the examination to be eligible for a temporary work permit. During the work permit stage, you may use the designation “Applicant Advanced Practice Nurse.”


 

Step 4. Renewing Your Certificate

Your APN certificate is issued for a two-year period, and its renewal will coincide with your RN license renewal period.

To renew your APN certificate in New Jersey, you must submit a renewal application online through the Board’s Online Licensing System, along with proof that you are currently certified by a national certifying agency that is accredited by the American Board of Nursing Specialties and/or the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (an APN who was certified before June 16, 2008 does not need to show certification). You must submit a biennial renewal fee in the amount of $160 (which covers both your RN and APN certification), which can be paid with a credit card through the online licensing system.

Any certificate that is not renewed within 30 days of its expiration will automatically become suspended, and you must complete a Reinstatement Application and meet all reinstatement requirements to become licensed again.

The Board will send a renewal notice at least 60 days prior to the expiration of your certificate. If you do not receive your renewal notice at least 60 days prior to the expiration of your certificate, you will not be penalized with late fees. You may also renew your certificate up to 30 days past the expiration date by completing a renewal application online through the Board’s Online Licensing System and paying both the renewal fee of $160 and the late fee of $50.

Continuing Education Requirements

You must complete at least 30 hours of continuing education requirements during each biennial period to maintain an active APN certification. If you complete more than 30 hours of continuing education during a biennial period, you may carry up to 15 of those additional hours over to the next biennial period.

You may satisfy your continuing education from one or more of the following sources:

  • Continuing education courses or programs related to nursing and approved by a credentialing agency accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies or provided by an International Association for Continuing Education Training (IACET) Authorized Provider
  • Continuing education course or program related to nursing, which complies with the requirements of a State or Federal agency
  • Continuing medical education courses recognized by the American Medical Association, the American Osteopathic Association, or the American Podiatric Medical Association
  • Continuing education course offered by a provider approved by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education
  • A nursing course given by a school, college, or university accredited by the New Jersey Department of Education or an agency of another state with requirements similar to those of the New Jersey Department of Education
  • A course in a doctoral program which has a research component
  • Teaching or developing the curriculum for a new continuing education program related to nursing that is approved by the New Jersey Department of Education

Reinstatement Application

If your certificate has been automatically suspended for more than 30 days, but less than 5 years due to nonpayment of your renewal fee, you may be reinstated by the Board if you submit the following:

  • The reinstatement fee of $100, plus all past delinquent biennial renewal fees, in a check or money order made payable to the New Jersey Board of Nursing
  • Evidence of the completion of continued education units required for each biennial registration period during which your APN certificate was suspended
  • An affidavit of employment, which must include a list of all jobs held during the period your certificate was suspended, including the name, address, and telephone
  • number of each employer (found in the application)

You must request an Advanced Practice Nursing Reinstatement Application via email sent to the Advanced Practice Nursing Department at the Board of Nursing: apn@dca.lps.state.nj.us.

If your certificate has been automatically suspended for failure to renew for more than five years, you may have it reinstated by fulfilling all of the initial certification requirements, including retaking the national certification examination. You must contact the Advanced Practice Nursing Department at the Board of Nursing (apn@dca.lps.state.nj.us) for more information.

Inactive Application

If you want to place your APN certificate on inactive status, you may choose this option on your online renewal application through the Board’s Online Licensing System and pay a fee of $80.

If you have been on inactive status for less than five years, you may be reinstated by the Board by completing the online renewal application through the Board’s Online Licensing System, along with the following:

  • Pay the active status fee of $160
  • Submit proof of the completion of the continuing education units required for each biennial registration period you were on inactive status
  • Submit an affidavit of employment, which must include a list of all jobs held during the period your certificate was suspended, including the name, address, and telephone number of each employer (found on the application)

If you have been on inactive status for more than five years, you must fulfill all initial licensure requirements to return to practice, including retaking the certification examination. Contact the Advanced Practice Nursing Department at the Board of Nursing (apn@dca.lps.state.nj.us) for more information.

Advanced Practice Nurse Associations in New Jersey

There are a number of professional organizations worth joining that support APNs in New Jersey:

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