Guide to Practicing Medicine in New Jersey

Where you decide to settle down and practice medicine can have an impact on multiple areas of your medical career, including how satisfied you are with your job, the amount of compensation you receive, and what you’re able to do during your free time. Say, for example, that you’re interested in being one of the physicians in the Garden State. How would getting licensed in New Jersey affect your salary as a doctor, and what does the state have to offer that might manage to convince you to stay?

If you’re interested in settling down in New Jersey and establishing yourself as one of the physicians in the Garden State, here’s your guide to practicing medicine in New Jersey that will provide you with everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

Why Practice Medicine in New Jersey

There’s a lot to love about New Jersey, offering a range of benefits for both your personal and professional life. Some of the top reasons to consider this state as one to live and practice in outside of actual medical care include its range of high-quality public schools (something to take into consideration if you’re relocating with your family), low crime rates paired with its strong job market, numerous culinary establishments for those who love food, and natural beauty all around the state.

Speaking to why someone might wish to practice medicine here, physicians often state that there’s a diverse range of patients that you’re able to treat, keeping you on your toes and giving you the ability to address numerous different cases. Additionally, you can always choose to settle down in the big city or one of New Jersey’s many small towns, depending on what you’re looking for out of your employment or private practice.

Read this: What Should an Employment Agreement for Physicians Include?

The Disadvantages of Practicing Medicine in New Jersey

Comprehensive research is necessary before moving anywhere. While there are plenty of reasons to love living and practicing medicine in New Jersey, there are also several aspects of life there that might dissuade you from moving and practicing somewhere else instead.

For one, New Jersey has some of the highest property taxes in the country and the cost of living is quite high as well, which could put a major dent in your salary as a doctor there as you pay for other living expenses and student loans. It’s one of the most densely populated states in the country as well, which has resulted in overcrowding, insane traffic, and other qualities that some might not enjoy so much.

Some physicians in the Garden State have said that it’s hard to provide quality medicine, that payer reimbursements can be terrible, and that the healthcare system is rather disjointed, which results in simply trying to throw solutions at the issue as fast as possible instead of being able to work with other healthcare providers to offer high-quality, comprehensive care.

Granted, this might not be the experience across the board, but these are things that you should keep in mind as you do further research to determine whether or not New Jersey is right for you.

Number of Active Physicians in the Garden State

Before we dive into some of the salary information for physicians practicing in the Garden State, it can be insightful to see just how many other doctors you’re working with. After all, this can reveal the quality of care as well as some of the challenges present in the state that you may wish to tackle or avoid by moving elsewhere.

While the available data provided by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs is rather dated, it’s the most reliable. They state that in 2017, they had an active 31,583 licensed medical doctors in the state. They go on to break down these numbers a bit, adding that they had 1,231 active first-year residents, 5,779 residents from year two to five, 4,423 doctors of osteopathy, and 1,231 podiatrists.

Average Doctor Salary in New Jersey

Arguably the most important question when you’re thinking about becoming licensed in a specific state is how much you’re going to make once you settle there. According to Indeed, the average salary for physicians in the Garden State is $154,202. estimates that the average is a bit higher, providing us with $235,798. Meanwhile, ZipRecruiter states that it’s around $118,420 and Glassdoor states that it’s around $230,000.

Of course, it’s important to remember that this is just the average salary estimate for a doctor in New Jersey. If you’re looking to specialize in something, you could be looking at a substantial boost in earnings. Here are a few of the common specialties that you might be considering and the corresponding salary estimates that you should know as a doctor in New Jersey.

As you can see from the above, choosing to go with a specialty instead of being one of the general physicians or family doctors can help you increase your salary when you’re practicing in the Garden State.

Read our Annual Physician Compensation Report

How to Get a Higher Average Salary as a Doctor in New Jersey

If you’re worried that you’re not going to get paid enough as a doctor in New Jersey, or that your money won’t stretch as far, there are always strategies that you can employ to boost your salary and your wealth. These include:

Negotiate a New Contract or Renegotiate Your Existing Contract

Negotiating your contract is the best way to ensure you’re being compensated fairly and getting the benefits that you deserve as a medical professional. Brush up on negotiating strategies and reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process with confidence.

Switch Practices

Not satisfied with where you are currently? See if you can find another employer in the Garden State that will offer a higher salary and better bonuses for physicians. If you’re thinking about it, you might even wish to start your own practice and make more money that way. Another piece of advice? Make sure to structure your business properly if you do go the private practice route. While some medical professionals making less than $100,000 might choose to register as sole proprietors or LLCs, you might be best suited to register as an S-Corp.

If you’re considering opening your own practice, read our guide on How to Start a Medical Practice.

Take on More Responsibility or Patients

While you shouldn’t burn yourself out trying to increase your salary, choosing to take on more responsibility or patients may help you earn more so that you can reach your ideal income. You may also want to look into learning new skills or procedures or even getting certifications to boost your value as a doctor so you can also boost your salary in New Jersey.

Focus on Wealth Building

Whether you’re looking into traditional 401(k)s, solo 401(k)s, SEP IRAs, or other retirement accounts, now’s the time to start putting cash away to support your future. You should even look into other investment opportunities like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Don’t Forget About Insurance

Insurance is crucial for all healthcare professionals to have. For physicians, the two most important types of insurance to have are malpractice insurance to protect you against lawsuits and disability insurance to support you in the event of a major illness or injury.

Another factor that can play into your salary as a doctor in New Jersey is the current doctor shortage. While there’s a shortage nationwide and New Jersey isn’t as nearly impacted as Southern states, there still is a need. Some reports claim that the biggest shortage in the Garden State is of nurses, aides, and primary care physicians. If you’re one of the aspiring primary care physicians in the Garden State, you may be able to leverage this in order to seek a larger salary for your services.

Getting Your Medical License in New Jersey

If you’re satisfied with the average doctor salary in New Jersey, you might be asking, what’s next? While information on the licensing process can be rather fragmented, here are some of the key items you need to know according to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (some of this information is provided as is directly from their website for a clearer understanding of the requirements):

License Requirements

  • USMLE, COMLEX, or NBME examinations
  • Malpractice, Employment, and Privileges Verification Past 5 years
  • Criminal Background Check
  • AMA or AOA Profile
  • Medical School Verification and Transcripts
  • License Requirements
  • Internship, Residency, and Fellowship Verifications
  • All State Medical Licenses
  • AMA Profile

Residency Training Requirements

  • All applicants who graduated prior to July 1, 1985:
    • Must have completed a minimum of 1 year of ACGME/AOA accredited training to be eligible for licensure.
  • Applicants who graduated after July 1, 1985 and before July 1, 2003:
    • Graduates of LCME-accredited medical schools must complete 1 year of ACGME/AOA-accredited training.
    • Graduates of non-LCME accredited medical schools (i.e. international medical school graduates) are required to complete 3 years of ACGME/AOA accredited training.
  • All applicants graduating after July 1, 2003:
    • Must have completed 2 years of accredited training and have a contract for a 3rd year of accredited training.


  • Send in Application Fee with Application.
  • Current application fee:
    • $325 for physicians.
    • $125 for podiatrists.
  • The application fee is non-refundable.
  • At the time of approval of licensure – Licensure Fee:
    • One-time endorsement fee:
      • $225 for physicians.
      • $150 for podiatrists.
  • Registration fee:
    • $290 per year (varies depending if the license is issued in the first or second year of the current biennial registration period).
  • Payment methods:
    • Money Order.
    • Certified Check.

Time to Process

  • Typically takes 3 months from receipt of application to issuance of the license.
  • Variables that can affect processing time:
    • Timely receipt of necessary supporting documents from appropriate 3rd parties.
    • Completion of the criminal history background check.
    • Seasonal volume of applications received by the Medical Board.
    • Issues during application review that require additional follow-up.
  • To assist the Medical Board in timely issuance:
    • Applicants should be proactive.
    • Follow up with facilities submitting documents to ensure timely submission.

Mailing Information

  • Send in Copies of Documents Identified in Instruction Sheet:
    • Copy of Birth Certificate/Passport.
    • Updated CV.
    • Three Photos.
    • Copy of any name change documentation.
  • Regular Mail Address:
    • New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners P.O. Box 183 Trenton, NJ 08625-0183.
  • Overnight Delivery Address (DHL, FedEx, or UPS):
    • New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners 140 East Front Street, 2nd Floor Trenton, NJ 08608.

FCVS (Federation Credentials Verification Service)

  • New Jersey accepts core credentials submitted via an FCVS packet.
  • FCVS Website
  • FCVS packet provides:
    • Confirmation of identity.
    • Medical Education.
    • Postgraduate training.
    • Examination history/score transcripts.
    • ECFMG certificate (for applicants who graduated from medical school outside the U.S.).
  • Additional Supporting Documentation Needed (besides FCVS packet):
    • AMA/AOA Physician Profile.
    • Employer Verification Form.
    • Malpractice Insurance Carrier Form-BME-MI.

This information should provide you with everything you need to see the requirements at a glance and understand how to navigate the application process.

For even more information, read Our Guide to Your New Jersey Medical License.

Highlighting New Jersey

It doesn’t matter what salary physicians are making if they don’t know how to make the most of it in the Garden State. In the following sections, we’ll take a look at some of the highlights of this state to show you what you can take advantage of, where you might like to visit, and even where you might choose to live once you get your license there.

Top K-12 Schools

School 28

School 28 is a top-performing school serving grades PK-8. Located in Paterson, NJ, School 28 boasts an impressive academic record: 100% of its students achieved or exceeded proficiency levels in both math and reading. They have a diverse student body with a minority enrollment of 93%, a low teacher-to-student ratio (which means your child gets more attention), and multiple academic accolades.

Sarah M. Gilmore Academy

Sarah M. Gilmore Academy is a public school serving grades 1-8 in Union City, NJ. It ranks 2nd among New Jersey Elementary Schools and 16th for Middle Schools. 86% and 97% of its students score at or above proficiency levels in math and reading, and they have high diversity with low enrollment rates for better education.

Infinity Institute

Infinity Institute is a public school in Jersey City, NJ, serving grades 6-12. The institute boasts an impressive academic record with 87% of students achieving proficiency or higher in math and an impressive 98% in reading. They rank 2nd among New Jersey Middle Schools and 1st within Jersey City Public Schools, also having made them eligible for the U.S. News Best Middle Schools award badge.

Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies

The Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies is a high school located in Edison, New Jersey. This high school focuses predominantly on Advanced Placement® (AP®) courses, with 100% of its students participating and 95% passing at least one AP® exam. The academy has a stellar 100% proficiency in mathematics and reading, and it boasts a 100% graduation rate. They’re one of the top 10 high schools in the state and rank 61st and 47th nationally when it comes to College Readiness and Curriculum Breadth, where it ranks 61st and 47th nationally, respectively.

Union Magnet County High School

Located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, this high school ranks first in New Jersey and 26th in the National Rankings. Like our previous school, this school emphasizes Advanced Placement® coursework, with 97% of students participating and 92% passing at least one AP® exam. They also scored 98% in mathematics, 99% in reading, and 99% in science. They have a perfect 100% graduation rate and a diverse student body to boot.

Top Medical Schools

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS)

The Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) in Newark, NJ was established in 1954 and is revered as the state’s top medical school. They offer a diverse curriculum, combining lectures, small group activities, and practical sessions. Their large research endowment has allowed them to lead advancements in various medical areas, such as brain injuries, oncology, and stem cells.

Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine (HMSOM)

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine (HMSOM) in Nutley, NJ is well-known for its integration with the Hackensack Meridian Health System, spanning across sixteen hospitals. HMSOM is bolstered by research facilities like the Hackensack Meridian Hospital Center for Discovery and Innovation and The Institute for Multiple Myeloma and Lymphoma, supporting innovative medical breakthroughs. HMSOM’s curriculum promotes an integrated approach to scientific theory and clinical practice, focusing on providing holistic patient care.

Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM)

The Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine (RowanSOM) located in Stratford, NJ, was originally known as the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. This medical school offers physicians advanced training using its simulation center, which boasts eighteen exam rooms and human patient simulators in the Garden State. Their partnerships with Jefferson Health New Jersey and Virtua Lourdes allow students access to a host of clinical experiences as they explore their medical education. RowanSOM is also involved in groundbreaking research, including studies on Canavan disease.

Rowan University Cooper Medical School (CMRSU)

The Rowan University Cooper Medical School (CMRSU) in Camden, NJ, is known for accolades like the Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Engagement. Leveraging its considerable research endowment, CMRSU aims to enhance medical education and community improvement through initiatives like the Center for Humanism. They focus on integrating hands-on training, theoretical learning, and fostering a continuous love for learning among students.

Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS)

The Rutgers University Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) in New Brunswick, NJ is dedicated to producing culturally competent caregivers, supported by an extensive faculty across multiple departments. Their Institute for Excellence in Education trains students and sets educational best practices, which proves valuable in its ranking as one of the top medical schools in New Jersey.

Keep Reading: How to Write a Medical School Letter of Intent

Best Places to Visit

Asbury Park

In the 1920s, Asbury Park shined as a coastal gem reminiscent of Atlantic City. Its prominence surged again in 1973 when Bruce Springsteen launched his album “Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.” The town, echoing its ethos “Where Music Lives,” has since revitalized its charm. Some of the things you can do in Asbury Park include visiting The Stone Pony during their Summer Stage events, checking out the Silverball Museum, or even visiting Paranormal Books and Curiosities.


Cape May

Cape May is a gorgeous city striking the perfect balance between Victorian elegance and modern charm. It has a vibrant brewery culture, ample local wineries, and new places worth visiting like the Nauti Spirits Distillery. If you’re a foodie, you might wish to check out the Mad Batter Restaurant & Bar. Do you prefer history instead? You simply can’t miss out on visiting the Harriet Tubman Museum, which tells about the life of the previous New Jersey resident in great detail.


Ellis Island

Not everyone agrees as to where the famous Statue of Liberty is truly located. Given New Jersey’s proximity to New York, one could make an argument that it’s actually situated in New Jersey. Regardless of where you stand on the conversation, Ellis Island is a sight to behold. It offers a view of the breathtaking Hudson River, a rich history given the 12 million immigrants who entered through Ellis Island and plenty of audio guides, guided tours, and even access to the Statue of Liberty itself.


Best Cities to Live in

Manalapan Township, NJ

Manalapan Township boasts a median house price of $641,568 and a typical rent of $2,138. While it’s a bit more expensive than other neighborhoods that are equally nice, it has desirable interest rates, a quiet atmosphere, and it’s 15 minutes away from the New Jersey coastline. If you want luxury without the hustle and bustle of the city, this is the place to be.

Perth Amboy, NJ

Perth Amboy boasts an appealing blend of waterfront vistas, diverse architectural designs, and marina attractions. It has a small population of around 51,000, and its recent effort to rejuvenate its waterfront properties has resulted in a promenade filled with eateries, historic sites, and a bustling marina. Better yet, it has a median home price tagged at $376,298, which makes enjoying the local culture and the stunning scenery affordable for a doctor living on a six-figure salary in New Jersey.

Jersey City, NJ

New Jersey’s second-largest city, Jersey City boasts affordable living costs with a median house value of  $560,573. For those who crave the big city, living in Jersey City means being close to Liberty State Park, Razza pizzeria, the Liberty Science Center, and so many more fun places and cultural experiences.


Knowing what to expect when you wish to practice medicine in a certain state makes the transition that much easier. Ready to get even more insights into the average doctor salary in New Jersey and what to do with it? Subscribe to our email newsletter today for expert tips about finances, insurance, employment contracts, and more!!

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