Governor and AG Allow Recent Health Care Grads to Join COVID-19 Fight While Waiting to Take Licensing Exams

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(Camden, NJ) – Governor Phil Murphy and Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that recent graduates of nursing, physician assistant, pharmacy, and respiratory care therapy programs who have not yet been able to take and pass their licensing exams will be granted temporary emergency licenses. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs will begin accepting applications for the emergency graduate licensure program today.

The emergency graduate licensure program is open to individuals applying for licensure within six months of graduating from the following programs:


  • Accredited registered professional nursing (RN);
  • Practical nursing (LPN);
  • Physician assistant;
  • Pharmacy education and training located in New Jersey; and
  • Accredited respiratory care therapy education and training located in any state.  


“This is a necessary action to bring capable professionals off the sideline and ensure that our state has the capacity to respond to this pandemic as quickly and robustly as possible,” said Freeholder Louis Cappelli, Jr. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our health care workers and first responders who have bravely and selflessly answered the call to service and worked throughout this pandemic to save the lives of others.”

Individuals will not be eligible for the emergency graduate licensure program if they have failed the relevant licensing examination and will be dropped from the program if they fail the exam after receiving an emergency graduate license.

With the exception of respiratory care therapists, graduates licensed through this program will be eligible to work only under supervision in an acute care facility licensed by the New Jersey Department of Health. Respiratory care specialists will also be authorized to work under supervision in field hospitals.

The program will end automatically at the conclusion of the COVID-19 state of emergency and public health emergency. The Division may choose to end the program earlier if it determines that it is no longer necessary. In that case, the Division would give licensees 90 days to pass their examination and 120 days to obtain standard licenses. 

The Division has waived application fees for the emergency temporary license.

Graduates can apply for a temporary emergency graduate license online on the Division’s website.

For more information on the Division’s program, please click here.

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