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Becoming an RN in Vermont

A Vermont resident becomes an RN by completing a degree program and passing the NCLEX-RN, a licensing exam. The state currently has three ADN programs and three BSN programs. Some Vermont students choose to do their initial preparation in New Hampshire. Graduates may apply for a temporary permit, which allows them to practice up to 90 days while awaiting NCLEX results.

Although associate’s and bachelor’s programs both qualify graduates for the NCLEX-RN exam, the bachelor’s, or BSN, degree is becoming the preferred credential. Nationwide, studies have linked greater educational levels to better patient outcomes. ChooseNursing, Vermont’s nursing workforce site, notes that the state wants to emphasize the BSN degree as they expand programs within the state. According to 2009 reports, 31% of hospitals and 15% of outpatient centers paid BSN nurses at a rate higher than ADN nurses.

Nursing education does not have to be completed all at once, however. There are a number of BSN completion programs, some of which are available online.

Education Pathways for Registered Nursing in Vermont

Second career professionals often make excellent nurses, and Vermont is reaching out to them. One option is the direct entry master’s program at the University of Vermont. Students who already have a BS or BA can complete an intensive 12 to 15 month program to gain initial RN licensure, then spend another two to two and a half years earning advanced practice status in a specialty area.

Another option, for those who aren’t ready to go for a master’s, is the accelerated second degree BSN. According to the AACN, there are currently no accelerated second degree options in Vermont, but there are in the neighboring states of Massachusetts and New York. There are also a few accelerated online BSN programs that accept students from around the nation.

Licensed practical nurses also have advanced placement options. Such programs aren’t always labeled LPN to RN. Some of Vermont’s programs allow LPNs to challenge lower level coursework. Work experience as an LPN may be required, in addition to licensing, in order to receive full credit. At Castleton, for instance, LPNs with a year of experience and all prerequisites may test out of two foundation courses and enter at the second year level of the ADN program. Those with less than a year’s experience may test out of only one.

Registered Nursing Career Outlook in Vermont

Long term career prospects should be very good. Occupation trends projected 20% growth between 2008 and 2018. However, job candidates should be aware that job openings do tend to reflect the general economy. According to Vermont’s nursing workforce site, this occurs because experienced nurses choose to return to the workforce or postpone retirement in order to offset a spouse’s financial difficulties.

Ultimately, though, changing demographics will necessitate many new nurses. According to a 2009 report, 57% of Vermont’s registered nurses are over the age of 50. This means that the next fifteen years will see many retirements. At the same time, the “baby boom generation” will be aging and requiring more health care attention. The report estimated that the number of nursing graduates would need to be increased by about 30%.

A number of hospitals report difficulty filling specialized positions, like those in the operating room.

The Application Process

ChooseNursing notes that nursing is once again being seen as a desirable career by young people. However, nursing schools have not yet expanded to meet demand. How can a prospective nurse increase his or her chances of getting in? University programs often have a complex application process which requires essays and letters of recommendation. A representative on HOSA notes that schools value multi-faceted candidates with leadership potential and professionalism.

Even ADN programs may set academic standards high. Castleton, for example, only admits those in the upper 25% on their class.

ADN Programs Approved by the Vermont State Board of Nursing

Castleton State College

The Associate's Degree in Nursing program is approved by the Virginia Board of Nursing and is NLNAC accredited.

  • Castleton State College - Nursing Department, Castleton, VT 05735, PH: 802-468-1236

Southern Vermont College

NLNAC accredited Program and approved by the state Board of Nursing

Program Offered: ADN

  • 982 Mansion Drive, Bennington, VT 05201-6002, PH: 802-442-5427

Vermont Technical College

The Associate's Degree in Nursing program is approved by the Virginia State Board of Nursing and is NLNAC accredited.

  • Vermont Technical College, PO Box 500, Randolph Center, VT 05061-0500, PH: 802-728-1243

BSN Programs Approved by the Vermont State Board of Nursing

Norwich University

NLNAC accredited Program & Approved by the Vermont State Board of Nursing

Program Offered: BSN

  • Norwich University, 158 Harmon Drive, Northfield, VT 05663, PH: 802-485-2000

Southern Vermont College

NLNAC accredited Program & approved by the VT State Board of Nursing

Program Offered: BSN

  • 982 Mansion Drive, Bennington, VT 05201-6002, PH: 802-442-5427

University of Vermont

NLNAC accredited Program and approved by the VT State Board of Nursing

Program Offered: BSN

  • University of Vermont - School of Nursing, 216 Rowell Building, Burlington, VT 05401, PH: 802-656-3830
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