2 Year Nursing Programs in New Jersey – Associate’s Degree in Nursing

Registered Nurses in New Jersey must hold a minimum of an associate degree from an educational institution licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education and pass the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.

There are approximately 19 ADN programs across the state of New Jersey, delivered primarily by community colleges. Most associate degree programs in the state have a duration of between two and three years, depending upon the institution and the number of pre-requisite courses necessary. Options include traditional daytime studying, flexible evening/weekend programs and there are also some newer formats emerging that feature some online components.

New Jersey is not a member of the original Nurse Licensure Compact. However, the state of New Jersey has legislation pending which will allow it to become a member of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact. This means that RNs registered in New Jersey will become eligible to obtain a multi-state license.

List of nursing schools with 2-year nursing programs in NJ

  1. Atlantic Cape Community College
  2. Bergen Community College
  3. County College of Morris
  4. Essex County College
  5. Ocean County College

In this article:

  • Read nursing requirements
  • Discover admission information
  • Find programs near you

Featured Associate Degree Programs

  • Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.
  • As a regionally accredited, private, online and graduate-focused university, NCU offers doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business, technology management, education, and psychology, as well as doctoral and master’s degrees in marriage and family therapy.


  • Doctor of Education - Nursing Education

Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.


  • Master of Science in Nursing

2 Year Nursing Programs in New Jersey

Atlantic Cape Community College

Upon successful completion of the 66 credit nursing program at Atlantic Cape, graduates receive an Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS) and are prepared to take the NCLEX-RN examination for state licensure as an RN. The course is designed to be challenging, and students are encouraged to reduce all other time commitments throughout the two-year duration of the program.

Applicants for the nursing program must first be admitted to the college to complete 20 credits of pre-requisite courses and may then apply to begin their 46 credits of nursing education. Admission to the nursing program is competitive and applicants must demonstrate a minimum GPA of 2.5 and complete the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS). Atlantic and Cape May County residents are given priority consideration.

The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.

5100 E Black Horse Pike

Mays Landing, NJ 08330


Website: http://atlantic.edu/program/degrees/aasDegrees/nursingDegree.html

Bergen Community College

Bergen Community College offers both a daytime and evening track two-year 66 credit program that leads to an award of Associate in Applied Science (AAS). The day option begins in the fall semester; the evening option begins in the spring semester. The program prepares its graduates for work as an RN by integrating classroom content with both simulated clinical experiences and real-life patient interactions.

Entry to the nursing program is competitive and pre-requisites for application include college-level courses in biology, chemistry and math and a minimum GPA of 2.5. Candidates are also required to take an admissions test. Admissions decisions are based on the results of the entrance exam and the broader academic record.

Graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN licensure examination as the education program is fully accredited by ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing) and licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.

400 Paramus Road

Paramus, NJ 07652


Website: https://bergen.edu/academics/academic-divisions-departments/health-professions-division/nursing/

County College of Morris

CCM offers an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) which is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit the NCLEX-RN licensure examination.

The core nursing program requires six semesters of study. Part-time and evening schedules are also offered which may take longer to complete. Before applying for the nursing program, students must be first admitted to the college to complete a pre-professional phase where they undertake general education and science pre-requisites. Once these are underway, students can then apply for the professional (clinical) phase. Acceptance into the professional phase is competitive, minimum requirements include a GPA of 2.5 and a grade of “C” in all science courses.

Nursing students at CCM benefit from a newly renovated nursing laboratory with state-of-the-art patient simulators and up-to-date software including virtual clinical experiences.

214 Center Grove Road

Randolph, NJ 07869


Website: http://www.ccm.edu/academics/divdep/health-professions-natural-sciences/department-of-nursing/nursing-degree/

Essex County College

Nursing students at Essex County College undertake a comprehensive education program that leads to an award of Associate in Applied Science (AAS). The program is designed to prepare students for entry-level positions in hospitals and other healthcare facilities immediately upon graduation. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to take the certification exam (NCLEX-RN) to become a Registered Nurse. Essex County College is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.

The nursing program employs state-of-the-art on-campus laboratories, including a nursing simulation laboratory and a multimedia computer laboratory, to assist students in their learning endeavors. Once the program pre-requisite courses have been completed, students are able to complete the 66 credit associate degree program in a two-year period if studying on a full-time basis and taking 13 credits each semester.

303 University Avenue

Newark, NJ 07102


Website: http://www.essex.edu/academics/programs/stem/nah/nursing/

Ocean County College

At Ocean County College nursing students can embark upon a planned, two-year curriculum of classroom study and clinical experience that prepares them to graduate with an Associate in Applied Science degree (AAS), ready to sit the NCLEX-RN licensure examination and gain employment as a Registered Nurse in New Jersey.

The college offers a traditional nursing program featuring a combination of classroom study and clinical experiences that can be completed in two years. There are two start dates each year and both day and evening courses are available. The college also offers an on-site online program for candidates with previous healthcare experience. This allows individuals to study the majority of academic content through online sessions at home alongside attending clinical and face to face sessions with a faculty member.

The program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.

1 College Drive

Toms River, NJ 08754


Website: https://www.ocean.edu/content/public/study-on-campus/academics/academic-schools/School-of-Nursing-and-Health-Sciences/Nursing.html


Benefits of Associate Degree Programs

Community colleges are known for engaging faculty who have extensive practical knowledge and experience. Students who choose to pursue an associate degree in nursing at a community college will benefit from the real-world foundations of their curriculum.

An associate degree offers a faster track to becoming a licensed Registered Nurse and entering the healthcare workforce than studying for a BSN. It is, therefore, a suitable option for students who would prefer to put their learning into action more quickly with the option to potentially return to their studies at a later date.

Accreditation and Licensing in New Jersey

Educational institutions use accrediting organizations to demonstrate that their programs meet and achieve educational standards. The two accrediting organizations for ADN programs are the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

The New Jersey Commission on Higher Education is responsible for licensing all higher education programs within the state including nursing education programs. To meet the education requirements for an RN license in New Jersey, you must graduate from a nursing education program that has been registered by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education.

In addition to educational institutions requiring licensure, RNs must obtain an individual license in order to practice in the state and this is managed by the New Jersey Board of Nursing. ADN graduates obtain a license by passing the NCLEX-RN examination at the end of their program of study.

Overview of Associate Degree Programs in New Jersey

Although there are almost 20 ADN programs running across the state, entry to these programs is often highly competitive. Applicants must frequently apply first to the college as a general entry student, with no guarantee of being later accepted into the nursing program. Applicants are asked to complete pre-requisite courses, admissions tests and achieve minimum GPAs.

There are a number of different ways of referring to associate degrees in nursing. These include ADN, for Associate Degree, Nursing; AN, for Associate of Nursing; ASN, for Associate of Science in Nursing; and AAS, for Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. As long as the institution granting the degree is fully accredited by either ACEN or CCNE and approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing, graduates of all of these types of associate degrees are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination to obtain a license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the state.

Choosing an Associate Degree Program in New Jersey

With almost 20 ADN programs to choose from across the state, there are plenty of options available. The most important factor in choosing an institution is that it is fully accredited by either ACEN or CCNE, and licensed by the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education. After this has been checked, some of the other factors worth considering include:

  • The admissions process and pre-requisites
  • Curriculum, educational philosophy and quality of the teaching;
  • Length and format of program;
  • Clinical hours and where these take place;
  • Program outcomes such as the pass rates for the NCLEX-RN licensure exam compared to the state and nationally, student course completion rates, student satisfaction rates, and graduate hiring data;
  • Tuition and additional costs.