Becoming an RN in Vermont – A Comprehensive Guide

Becoming an RN in Vermont - A Comprehensive Guide

Are you interested in becoming a healthcare professional?

Are you thinking of pursuing an RN career in Vermont?

Well, we think that’s a great idea! 

A career in healthcare doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a doctor. Nurses are just as crucial. 

In 2022, Vermont’s nursing shortage hit critical levels. You can look at it as a negative, translating to heavier workloads and longer hours, but the flip side is this: having a nursing license makes you in demand. 

Filling an undeniable need is only one reason nursing can be a good career choice, but there are several others you can consider.

You can significantly impact patients’ lives if you become a nurse. You spend more time with them and are more likely to form lasting bonds. 

Nursing is also a respected profession, and since Vermont is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact, you can even provide care physically and through telehealth in other compact states. 

Doesn’t that sound good? 

But then the next question is… How do you become an RN?

Well, we’ve come up with a comprehensive and simple guide just for you.

There are several types of nurses in Vermont, but our guide walks you through the different steps of how to become an RN in Vermont. We’ll detail the following steps:

Let’s begin!

How to Become an RN in Vermont in 5 Steps

Yes, your license solidifies your nursing status, but so many other things happen before that. Our guide walks you through all of these.

We’ll begin with a deeper understanding of how you envision your career and work our way to earning your RN license.

Are you ready? Here we go!

How to Become an RN in Vermont Step #1: Identifying Your Ideal Nursing Career

The first question you must ask yourself is what kind of nursing career do you want? 

It’s not surprising that most RNs in Vermont work as staff nurses, focusing on patient care. However, it doesn’t mean it’s the only direction possible. They only make up 58.5% of the population.

Some RNs go into case management (10.8%), while others become consultants (3.5%). A smaller percentage are part of faculty, executives, or researchers. All of these don’t deal with patient care directly.

There’s more to being a nurse than working in a hospital. Or maybe you prefer that setting, but you see yourself in a leadership position.

Details like that are vital because they’ll affect some crucial decisions down the line.

Step #2: Doing Pre-College Prep

We all know there’s a lot of studying involved if you choose to go into nursing, but do you know that it doesn’t begin in college?

The earlier you realize you want to pursue this career, the more time you have to prepare. You can take classes and participate in extracurricular activities as early as high school.

Crucial Classes 

Nursing schools often have pre-requisite classes, so the nearer you get to graduation, the more you need to check these out.

The prerequisites may differ, however, the following classes are safe bets:

Subjects Required Years
English 4
Math(including geometry and algebra) 3 to 4
Science(including biology and chemistry, preferably with labs)
(physics and computer science aren’t mandatory, but can be an advantage)
2 to 4
Social Studies 3 to 4
Foreign Language 2

Encouraged Extracurriculars

We all know this — these days, it is no longer just about your GPA. Your participation in various activities also helps you get into the nursing school of your choice.

Your extracurriculars are an excellent way to strengthen your resume. Simultaneously, you can experience solid real-life experiences from it. Here are some activities to consider:

    • Volunteering in a healthcare facility: There’s no better way to see what nurses do than to see them in action. Remember, it doesn’t have to be in a hospital — you can check out private clinics or schools.

    • Shadow a nurse: This allows you to dive in a little deeper. If you can get permission to do this, it’ll give you an opportunity to ask questions.

    • Participate in a blood drive: You can get a front-row seat to how nurses work in such an event. Focus on how they deal with the people donating blood more than the logistics and setup.

Step #3: Picking a Nursing Program

Another area that needs your attention before enrolling in nursing school is deciding on your nursing program. Completing an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) qualifies you for a license.

However, it’s best to understand the difference between them so you can go with the one that can lead you closer to your career goal. You can use the table below to see the short-term and long-term effects.

As of 2021, 38% of RNs in Vermont have ADNs, while 49% have BSNs.

Comparison Areas Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Short-Term Considerations
Duration of Program 18 to 24 months 36 to 48 months
Curriculum Focus Nursing theories and clinical practice Everything covered in an ADN program plus communication, management, and ethics, among other subjects.
Tuition More affordable More expensive
Entrance to the Workforce Sooner Later
NCLEX Pass Rate 86.1% 88.9%
Long-Term Considerations
Career Opportunities Less More
Practice Areas Intensive Care
Emergency Department
Mental Health
Intensive Care
Emergency Department
Mental Health
Public Health
Case Management
Nurse Leader
Salary Lower Higher

As of 2021, 38% of RNs in Vermont have ADNs, while 49% have BSNs.

Step #4: Choosing the Right Nursing School

When you’ve got all these factors in place, the only thing left in your nursing education is finding the right school. The best school is different for everyone. You’ll have to consider your needs, preferences, and available resources.

Consider the following:

    • Accreditation: The Nursing Board only accepts CCNE or ACEN certified programs.

    • Program Availability: Which nursing program does it offer? Here’s a quick overview of the programs each nursing school has.

Nursing School ADN BSN
Castleton University Yes Yes
Vermont Technical College Yes Yes
Norwich University   Yes
Southern Vermont College   Yes
University of Vermont   Yes

    • Learning Options: Is the program only delivered through in-person classes during the day? Or are night classes and online modules available?

    • Faculty: What degrees do their instructors have? Do they cover a broad array of nursing specialties?

    • Class Size: How many students does an advisor or faculty member handle? Will he have time for you if you need additional assistance?

    • NCLEX Pass Rates: Is the school’s pass rate higher than the state averages?

    • Student Support: Does the school offer assistance to its students outside of classes? These may pertain to financial aid or career placement?

Step #5: Processing your RN License

Aspiring RNs in Vermont can get their licenses by examination or endorsement. Let’s see how these processes work.

The Examination Process

This is the process aspiring RNS should take if they’ve never taken or passed the NCLEX-RN before. 

Here is the process:

    1. Complete the online application and pay the $75 fee. Remember that this is non-refundable.

    1. Submit a filled-out Verification of Education Form or CES Report.

    1. Nursing schools of applicants who completed their education in the U.S. must place the completed form in a sealed envelope. It must be signed, dated, and have the school seal or stamp.

They can choose to submit it with a copy of your official transcript directly to the Vermont Board of Nursing. Another option is to give it to you so you can attach it unopened to your application. 

Your official transcripts aren’t required if your nursing school was in Vermont.

Note: You must be responsible for getting the verification of your education if you took specific classes somewhere other than your primary nursing school.

    1. International students must submit a CES Report. You can comply with this by reaching out to one of the Board of Nursing’s preferred vendors (CGFNS or IERF). In turn, they’ll send the report directly to the Board.

    1. Register with Pearson VUE to take the NCLEX. Note that the testing fee is $200.

    1. Go to a Pearson VUE testing center on your schedule and take the licensure exam.

The Endorsement Process

If you already have a license and your original state of residence is not a compact state, you must undergo licensure by endorsement. You must have remained in good standing to qualify for an RN license in Vermont.

    1. Complete the online application form and pay the application fee. For endorsement candidates, it’s $150.

    1. Submit your verification of license. It applies to your original one and your most recent, assuming you worked in a different state.

Note: You can get license verification from Nursys. Remember, the Board does not accept Quick Confirm Reports. If the states aren’t part of their system, you must reach out to your Nursing Board.

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an RN in Vermont 

Now that you know how to become an RN  in Vermont, you may still have some questions about what life as an RN will be like. 

We’re here to answer some of those questions. 

How much do Registered Nurses in Vermont earn?

The median annual salary for RNs in Vermont is $75,160. That’s 9% lower than the national median of $82,750.

However, remember that several factors affect your compensation. These include your tenure, your nursing degree, and even your location.

What are common practice settings for RNs in Vermont?

Based on the Board of Nursing’s Relicensing Survey of 2021, 30.5% practice telemedicine or telehealth. It’s different from the results in other states, but the ongoing pandemic may have been a contributing factor.

Besides this, the top 6 work settings include:

    • Inpatient: Hospital: 19.5%

    • Hospital: 10.8%

    • Ambulatory: 5.8%

    • Extended Care / Nursing Home: 5.1%

    • Home Health: 5%

The report mentions other practice settings, but each is less than 5% of the population.

What specialties do RNs in Vermont commonly pursue?

The top six areas are as follows:

Specialty Active Telehealth
Case Management 3.5% 34.8%
Medical / Surgical 10% 0.6%
Acute / Critical Care 9.1% 0.7%
Geriatrics 6.6% 1.6%
Trauma / Emergency Room 5.9% 1.4%
Women’s Health 5.4% 2.1%

Vermont Technical College Nursing Department P. O. Box 500 1 Main Street Randolph Center, VT 05061 802-728-1586

Visit the Vermont OPR website for updates.

List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in Vermont

Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the Vermont OPR:

Vermont Technical College Nursing Department
P. O. Box 500 1 Main Street Randolph Center, VT 05061 802-728-1586

Castleton University
Nursing Department
251 South Street
Castleton, VT 05735
(802) 468-1230

University of Vermont Department of Nursing Rowell Building 106 Carrigan Drive Burlington, VT 05405 (802)656-3830

Norwich University
School of Nursing
158 Harmon Drive Northfield, VT 05663 (802)485-2672

Visit the Vermont OPR BON website for updates.

The Wrap Up

This guide has it all — from envisioning your ideal nursing career to a step-by-step breakdown of getting your RN license in Vermont. We’ve even looked at potential salary, typical work settings, and sought-after specialties.

We hope you have all the information you need to push through with your application. 

We wish you all the best!

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