How to Become a Nurse in New York

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Updated on May 17, 2023
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Nursing programs attract students with a variety of interests and backgrounds. However, all nurses should be passionate about healthcare and helping others. Nurses work independently and alongside physicians to treat patients in settings such as emergency rooms, intensive care units, schools, nursing homes, and public health facilities.

Nurses play an essential role in healthcare settings and can enter the workforce without as many years of professional training as many other medical careers require. With an associate or bachelor's degree, nurses can qualify for positions with high pay and significant responsibility. Additionally, nurses with a master's degree can pursue even more advanced positions, such as nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners.

Students interested in healthcare should consider earning their associate degree in nursing (ADN) or bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) in New York. New York facilities employ hundreds of thousands of nurses, and opportunities continue to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects jobs for New York's registered nurses to increase by 20.1% from 2016 to 2026, which translates to about 4,000 new positions each year.

Career Outlook for Nurses in New York

The overwhelmingly positive career outlook for nurses in New York also extends to more advanced positions. For example, the BLS projects employment for nurse practitioners to increase by 41.6% from 2016 to 2026, with more than 6,000 new positions created over that period. The tables below include employment numbers and salary expectations for nurses in New York, illustrating how location and nursing specialty can impact individual salaries.

  Employment Annual Median Wage
New York 180,170 $83,450
United States 2,955,200 $73,550

Source: PayScale

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Salaries for Nurses in New York

New York's nurses generally earn higher salaries than nurses in other parts of the country, with RNs in the state taking home about $10,000 more than the typical registered nurse each year. However, location within the state plays a significant role on nursing salaries in New York. For example, nurses who work in the New York-Jersey City-White Plains area earn more than $90,000 per year. The table below lists the highest-paying metropolitan areas for nurses in New York.

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Nurses in New York
Area Name Employment Annual Mean Wage
New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division 122,780 $90,840
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 176,770 $89,400
Nassau County-Suffolk County, NY Metropolitan Division 28,600 $88,320
Dutchess County-Putnam County, NY Metropolitan Division 3,030 $79,060
Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY 11,480 $73,250
Watertown-Fort Drum, NY 840 $73,170
Kingston, NY 1,220 $69,240
Capital/Northern New York Nonmetropolitan Area 3,450 $68,250
Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY 10,320 $66,980
Central New York Nonmetropolitan Area 2,730 $65,080

Source: The BLS

Specialties for Nurses in New York

Graduates of New York nursing programs work in a variety of specialties. Nursing students should consider their career goals before beginning their studies. Many programs -- especially master's programs -- prepare students for work in a particular specialty.

A professional's specialty impacts their salary and responsibilities. Students who want a higher-paying nursing career should consider becoming advanced practice registered nurses. For example, nurse anesthetists and nurse practitioners earn average salaries of more than $100,000 a year in New York. Additionally, certified nurse midwives earn about $85,000 per year. In addition to above-average salaries, advanced practice registered nurses can look forward to significant growth in the field. The BLS projects employment for nurse anesthetists in New York to increase by 25.7% from 2016 to 2026, and jobs for nurse midwives in the state are projected to grow by 24.1% over the same timeframe.

Students should also consider their ideal working environment and patient population. Psychiatric nurses and neonatal nurses in New York earn average salaries of more than $70,000. Students can also pursue positions working in emergency rooms, intensive care units, and oncology wards.

Nurse Practitioner

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Master's programs in nursing prepare students for positions as nurse practitioners. Nurse practitioners share many responsibilities with physicians. For example, they can prescribe medications, order tests, and diagnose conditions.

Average Salary in New York: $109,177

Nurse Anesthetist

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Aspiring nurse anesthetists need to earn a graduate degree to gain employment. Nurse anesthetist programs prepare students to administer anesthesia for surgical procedures, covering topics like intravenous sedation, various operations, and preoperative procedures.

Average Salary in New York: $144,746

Emergency Room Nurse

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Professionals who specialize in emergency room nursing work alongside emergency room doctors to care for patients. ER nurses administer medication, assess patients, and prioritize patient care.

Average Salary in New York: $72,612

Neonatal Nurse

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Neonatal nurses typically work in newborn intensive care units. These nurses care for infants with cardiac conditions, birth defects, and other serious disorders.

Average Salary in New York: $73,419

Psychiatric Nurse

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Psychiatric nurses treat patients with mental health issues, such as behavioral conditions and substance abuse problems. These professionals may care for the mental health of families and individuals.

Average Salary in New York: $78,769

Certified Nurse Midwife

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Nurse midwives must complete specialized master's programs where they learn to care for women's reproductive health. Students also learn to assist with births and care for newborns.

Average Salary in New York: $85,000

How to Become a Nurse in New York

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    Earn a Degree

    Aspiring nurses must earn a BSN or ADN in New York or another state. Both undergraduate degrees qualify graduates to become registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. However, each degree type includes different program requirements and impacts a graduate's career outlook.

    ADN and BSN programs both help students develop fundamental nursing skills that prepare graduates to work in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. BSN programs, however, may include additional coursework related to topics such as management and public health. Students who want to enter the workforce as quickly as possible typically pursue an ADN, while learners interested in additional training earn a BSN. However, students should keep in mind that many employers prefer to hire RNs with a bachelor's degree.

    While an undergraduate degree allows individuals to work as an RN or LVN/LPN in New York, more advanced professions require a graduate degree. Advanced practice registered nurses, such as nurse practitioners, must complete an MSN or DNP program approved by the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

    Finally, all nursing students should attend accredited programs. Accreditation indicates that a program meets high academic standards. In addition, the New York licensing board only certifies graduates of accredited nursing education programs.

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    Obtain a Nursing License

    Practicing RNs in New York must hold a license. Candidates for nursing licensure can satisfy education requirements by attending an NYSED-approved program at the certificate, associate, bachelor's, or master's level. Candidates must also complete coursework in child abuse reporting and infection control, which New York nursing programs incorporate into their curricula.

    Licensure candidates must be at least 18 years old and have good moral character. To prove moral character, applicants answer questions about criminal charges, convictions, disciplinary action, and professional misconduct. Registered nurses in New York must also pass the NCLEX-RN exam. The exam costs $200 and the application fee for state licensure is $143.

    To become licensed as a nurse practitioner in New York, candidates must hold RN licensure and either a degree from an NYSED-recognized nurse practitioner program or certification from an approved organization. Acceptable certifying organizations include the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation, American Nurses Credentialing Center, and American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. Nurse practitioners must also complete NYSED-approved pharmacology coursework. New York certifies nurse practitioners to specialize in areas including acute care, adult health, and psychiatry.

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    Maintain and Renew Certification

    To continue practicing nursing in New York, nurses must renew their credentials every three years. LPNs and RNs pay a $73 renewal fee and can renew online. Nurse practitioners pay $35 to renew their nurse practitioner certification and $73 to renew their RN certification. To renew their credentials, nurses must demonstrate appropriate moral character by answering questions related to their criminal and professional records. Nurses must also complete continuing education coursework related to infection control every four years.

Resources for Nurses in New York

The list below contains a few handy resources for nurses and nursing students in New York. These websites contain links to licensing information, healthcare news, and nursing guidelines. Nursing students can also take advantage of many additional resources not listed below.


Top RN-to-BSN Programs in New York

Students pursuing an ADN, BSN, or MSN in New York should carefully weigh their options when choosing a program. New York boasts many online, on-campus, and accelerated programs, and each school has its own unique costs and benefits. Begin your search by reviewing the list of top schools included below; this ranking is based on information obtained from New York State's Office of the Professions.

Top RN to BSN Programs in New York

  1. CUNY York College

    Jamaica, NY

    Known for its strong liberal arts department, York College enrolls students in about 50 undergraduate majors. The school also offers a BSN for registered nurses to earn a degree on campus in Jamaica, Queens. Each year, York College admits about 30 students into the full-time RN-to-BSN program. The program requires 120 credits, training nurses in meeting the healthcare needs of diverse cultural groups living in urban communities.

    In addition to 60 credits of liberal arts coursework that nurses may transfer in, students complete nursing courses in pathophysiology, professional nursing process, research in professional nursing, and management and leadership in professional nursing. The program includes clinical experiences in a variety of community settings. Admission to this nursing program in New York requires RN licensure, New York state registration, prerequisite courses, and school transcripts.

  2. Stony Brook University

    Stony Brook, NY

    Stony Brook boasts a long-standing reputation for rigorous science programs. The school's 60 degrees include a hybrid RN-to-BSN program. Students with a diploma or associate degree in nursing can enroll in the program, taking most classes online with some on-site requirements.

    The program examines different models of professional nursing, emphasizing the communication and leadership skills necessary for RNs to effectively provide care for individuals, families, and communities. The 71-credit curriculum includes coursework in pathophysiology, health assessment, and population health nursing. The degree requires a 28-credit clinical practice portfolio that learners develop while in the program.

    Once students complete required courses, they must participate in a practicum, during which they select a health-related problem and use theories and research to design and evaluate intervention strategies. Admission requires a minimum of 57 credits with a 2.5 GPA, school transcripts, and current RN license. This nursing program in New York admits students in January and May.

  3. University at Buffalo

    Buffalo, NY

    Registered nurses can earn UB's RN-to-BSN degree entirely online in 1-2 years. The 32-credit curriculum focuses on upper-division courses, as nurses can transfer up to 90 credits into the program. At UB, students study family nursing, patient-centered and family-centered care, public health nursing, and how to promote quality health outcomes. A four-credit leadership synthesis project requires RNs to develop a nursing unit project that integrates collaboration, leadership, patient-centered care, and other concepts.

    The nursing school enjoys stellar pass rates on certification and licensure exams for RNs in New York. The degree enrolls learners with a diploma or associate degree in nursing. Admission also requires a minimum 2.5 GPA and RN licensure. The program delivers all of its coursework asynchronously and enrolls learners in May.

  4. Concordia College-New York

    Bronxville, NY

    Affiliated with the Lutheran Church, Concordia enrolls about 1,500 students each year at its Bronxville campus. Registered nurses can enroll in an RN-to-BSN program delivered on the school's campus, located about 40 minutes from New York City. Students can complete the degree in as little as one year with transfer credits. The curriculum includes courses on health assessment; acute care of adult patients; nursing leadership; and prevention, health promotion, and risk reduction.

    Students complete 122 credits to earn the BSN, transferring a maximum of 72 credits into the program. Nurses can continue working full time while earning their BSN in New York thanks to flexible courses in the evenings, on weekends, and during the summer. RNs enrolled at Concordia can participate in a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, a nursing honor society. Admission to this program requires RN licensure and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.

  5. Nazareth College

    Rochester, NY

    Nazareth enrolls about 3,000 students on a 150-acre scenic campus in Rochester. The school's 60 majors include an RN-to-BSN for nurses with a nursing diploma or associate degree. The curriculum requires learners to complete core liberal arts and sciences courses. The program covers evidence-based practice, health assessment in a multicultural society, and community health promotion.

    A required seminar examines the career outlook for nurses in New York, reviewing trends impacting the profession. Nurses cultivate leadership and management experience during a required practicum at clinical sites off campus. Part- and full-time students can enroll in the RN-to-BSN program.

    The degree plan for each nurse depends on transfer credits, advanced standing credits, and credits by examination. Admission requires a minimum 2.75 GPA, prerequisite courses, and RN licensure to practice in the United States.

  6. University of Rochester

    Rochester, NY

    One of the nation's top research colleges, Rochester enrolls about 10,000 students, most of whom study on the 154-acre River Campus and nearby medical center. The school's RN-to-BSN program offers learners the option to earn a nursing degree from a distance, with access to support from the region's largest healthcare system. The School of Nursing, housed at the medical center, provides a curriculum that RNs can complete within 16 months.

    The 128-credit BSN requires 64 credits of arts and sciences coursework. The 32-credit RN-to-BSN major includes coursework in population health, pathophysiology and pharmacology, and nursing leadership and management. The capstone requires RNs to synthesize learning by implementing a healthcare project that addresses a specific need.

    Students may transfer up to 94 credits into the degree. Admission to this nursing program in New York requires a preferred minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA and RN licensure in the United States.

  7. Farmingdale State College

    Farmingdale, NY

    The largest college for applied science and technology in the State University of New York system, Farmingdale focuses on hands-on learning and research, boasting excellent employment outcomes -- 90% of Farmingdale's graduates secure employment within six months of graduation. The school's fully online RN-to-BSN requires 62 credits beyond an associate degree in nursing. The curriculum includes courses in bioethics, healthcare organizations, and community nursing.

    The practicum in this nursing program in New York requires that RNs plan, implement, and evaluate patient care in an area of interest. Additionally, they must identify and address a healthcare management problem. Extracurricular activity opportunities include membership in a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, the nursing honor society.

    The RN-to-BSN program enrolls learners in the fall only. Admission requires RN licensure and current registration in a U.S. state. California residents cannot apply to this program due to NC-SARA regulations.

  8. Molloy College

    Rockville Centre, NY

    Molloy, a private college affiliated with the Catholic Church and located in Long Island, Molloy enrolls over 4,800 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students each year. The school's RN-to-BSN provides a hybrid learning format for nurses with a diploma or associate degree in nursing. RNs enter the program with advanced standing and complete 30 credits to earn the 128-credit degree.

    This nursing program in New York's curriculum includes study of integrative nursing practice, leadership management, and community health assessment. Notable aspects of the program include an 8-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and 250 clinical partners that facilitate clinical practicum experiences.

    Molloy also offers a pathway for RNs to pursue a BSN and MSN at the same time. The nursing school emphasizes humanistic nursing practices that promote patients' dignity and Molloy's tradition of academic rigor, spirituality, and service to the community. Admission requires RN licensure and transferable credit.

  9. SUNY College at Plattsburgh

    Plattsburgh, NY

    Founded in 1889, SUNY Plattsburgh administers programs on its campus in the scenic Champlain Valley. Nurses seeking to earn a fully online nursing degree in New York can enroll in the RN-to-BSN program.

    To meet the 120-credit general education requirement, RNs can transfer up to 67 credits from two-year colleges and up to 84 credits from four-year colleges. The nursing curriculum at SUNY Plattsburgh includes study of health assessment, informatics in healthcare, and health promotion and social justice.

    Students use three credits to pursue electives covering topics such as HIV/AIDS global perspectives. This nursing program in New York requires a practicum that nurses complete in their communities. Admission requires a minimum 2.5 GPA on prior college credits, unencumbered licensure in a U.S. state, and RN registration.

  10. St. John Fisher College

    Rochester, NY

    Fisher, a Catholic university located in Pittsford, just seven miles from Rochester, has ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges in America every year for the past eight years. The largest educator of nursing students in the region, the school’s strong nursing program produces graduates that are ready to enter the workforce -- over 95% pass the National Council Licensing Exam on the first attempt.

    Fisher's online RN-to-BSN accepts part- and full-time students with an associate degree or diploma in nursing and active, unencumbered RN licensure. Students complete all required coursework online through the Blackboard platform. The program does not require clinical courses, instead embedding clinical learning experiences into project-based classwork.

    The RN-to-BSN at Fisher requires 120 credits total, split evenly between liberal arts and nursing courses. The liberal arts requirements include courses in statistics and ethics. The nursing component includes studies in evidence-based practice, nursing informatics, and a required capstone portfolio to conclude the program. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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