Nursing is an excellent career for those who are interested in helping others improve their daily wellbeing. Earning an online nursing degree prepares students to pursue careers as a registered nurse, nurse anesthetist, nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, and other occupations in general hospitals, specialized clinics, private homes, and rehabilitation facilities. Since Vermont consistently ranks as one of the top ten healthiest states in the country, this location offers rich resources for those interested in entering the healthcare industry.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an increase of 15% for jobs as registered nurses between 2016 and 2026, faster than the national average rate for job growth. Additionally, the BLS forecasts that jobs for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners will grow by 31%. This data establishes nursing as an exciting and rapidly growing field. Whether you are interested in earning an on-campus or online nursing degree in Vermont, plenty of educational and professional resources await you.
How to Become a Nurse in Vermont
While the process to become a nurse involves several steps, earning your online nursing degree and license allows you to engage in a rewarding career. Though each state has a few unique requirements, this process is relatively standardized; typically, individuals interested in this field earn a nursing degree and then take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The following section includes information for Vermont's licensing costs and procedures, as well as more information about the NCLEX and what an online nursing degree entails.
1. Choose the Path That's Right for You
An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the minimum credential needed to become a nurse. While different associate degrees in nursing exists, these associates all cover the same basic coursework. Keep in mind that while an associate degree qualifies graduates for entry-level nursing jobs, a advanced nurses often hold a bachelor's degree or master's degree in nursing (MSN). Future educators should plan to eventually earn a doctoral degree in nursing (DNP).
2. Earn Your Nursing Degree
Before applying to nursing schools in Vermont, it's important to determine whether you would like to earn your degree on-campus or online. Also research the prerequisites needed for acceptance to a specific program; most nursing schools in Vermont request prospective students previously complete introductory coursework in biology, anatomy, chemistry, physiology, microbiology, or nutrition. Keep in mind that most nursing programs also require completion of clinical hours, and some require students to participate in internships or fellowships. Associate degrees in nursing take one to two years to complete, while bachelor's degrees take about four years, master's degrees take two to three years, and doctoral degrees require three to six years. Many online RN-to-BSN programs in Vermont allow licensed nurses to quickly earn their bachelor's degree while working full-time.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License
In order to become a licensed nurse, students must pass the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN. While overall studying for the NCLEX depends on a student's learning style and experience, beginning studying at least two or three months in advance is generally recommended. Both exams cost $200. The NCLEX-RN lasts six hours, while the NCLEX-PN lasts five hours. Keep in mind that earning an online nursing degree and a nursing license does not guarantee employment, but it does improve prospects.
Nursing Licensure in Vermont
After completing an on-campus or online nursing degree, graduates must complete either the NCLEX-PN or the NCLEX-RN to obtain licensure and begin residency. While both exams test knowledge in the field of nursing, the NCLEX-PN qualifies graduates to work as practical nurses. Usually, individuals who earned their diplomas in licensed practical nursing or licensed vocational nursing take this exam. The NCLEX-RN enables graduates to work as registered nurses. Those who complete an RN program in Vermont or a BSN program in Vermont qualify to take the exam. Vermont is not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which allows nurses licensed in one state to work in other states.
For more information about nurse licensing in Vermont, contact the Vermont State Board of Nursing. Vermont does not require nurses to complete continuing education credits in order to keep their licenses. The following table outlines the costs for taking the NCLEX and acquiring a nursing license in Vermont.
State Requirements by Nursing Type
To become an RN in Vermont, students should seek out the right program for their needs from several state board of nursing-approved associate and bachelor's level programs. Since many hospitals now prefer or even require RNs to hold bachelor's degrees, students may strongly consider an approved BSN program, such as Norwich University accelerated bachelor's. Vermont actually allows RN candidates to begin working under a temporary permit if they apply for licensure within 30 days of graduation.
After graduation follows taking the NCLEX-RN, which costs $200. Students must answer at least 75 out of a maximum of 265 questions in the six hours allotted for the NCLEX-RN. Getting a first-time RN license in Vermont also entails an application fee of $60. If you do not pass your NCLEX-RN, you may retake it by completing a retake application and paying a fee of $30. If you do not pass a second attempt, you must take an NCLEX refresher course. Vermont RN licenses expire biennially and require a minimum of 400 hours of continuing practice and a $140 renewal fee.
A candidate with an out-of-state license may become a licensed RN in Vermont through license endorsement. Licensure through endorsement entails a $150 fee and completion of an online application. Then, applicants must verify their license by either obtaining verification from the website nursys.com or contacting the state directly for a paper form, if the state providing the original licensure does not verify licenses electronically.
Instead of Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) licensure, Vermont offers Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) licensure to nursing assistants with at least 30 clinical and 80 overall training hours. Candidates can choose from many LNA training programs approved by the state board, often offered by technical colleges, health centers, and university medical centers.
Candidates must pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). The NNAAP comes in two parts, an exam for knowledge and another for skills. They can choose to take the written section in an oral form. An in-person skills section administered by a training specialist takes 30 minutes to complete. The two parts of the exam together initially costs $130; however, some training programs may pay some or all of the fee. Subsequent reattempts costs $95 and $35, for the skills and written exams, respectively. The application for LNA licensure entails a $20 fee. The license remains valid for two years.
Out-of-state certified nursing assistants or LNAs with 400 hours of work experience from the past two years may get licensed through endorsement in Vermont. They must verify possession of a CNA or LNA license either electronically or via a paper form directly from the state and complete an endorsement application. If applicants do not meet the work experience requirement, the state may allow them to test without retraining if they completed a program meeting the 30 clinical hours out of 80 standard within the past two years. Endorsement candidates can receive temporary licenses valid for up to 90 days.
Becoming an LPN in Vermont begins with taking Vermont Technical College's state board-approved LPN training program, the sole LPN training program statewide, from one of its five campuses. Students could also consider taking a nearby LPN program out-of-state, if they cannot take classes conveniently at any of Vermont Technical College's campuses. Once you complete the program, you may register to take the NCLEX-PN, which costs $200. You must answer a minimum of 85 out of a maximum of 205 questions in the allotted five hours, though most candidates only need two hours. The application for the license entails a fee of $60.
Candidates for the license may obtain a temporary license valid for 90 days if they apply right after program completion. However, if the candidate fails the NCLEX-PN, they lose the temporary license. Subsequent retakes entail a retake application and a $30 retake fee along with the cost of the test, and retakes after a second failed attempt require completion of an NCLEX-PN refresher course. After five attempts, the candidate must contact the state board. The license remains valid for two years, at which point the licensee must renew their license online.
An out-of-state LPN may get endorsed by completing a licensure through endorsement application and paying a $150 fee. Candidates must present proof of either relevant employment from the past five years or recent completion of an LPN program. If they cannot present either, they must apply to complete a reentry program through the state and pay a $25 fee.
Nurse practitioners (NPs) begin their journey by completing a state board approved graduate or postgraduate program in nursing, currently only offered by the University of Vermont and Norwich University. Additionally, they must first pass the NCLEX-RN before application to take an advanced practice national certification exam. The candidate must secure national certification from a credentialing body recognized by the state board, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. After, the candidate must typically accumulate no less than two years and 2,400 hours of practice in a transition to practice formal agreement with a doctor or advanced practice nurse.
Candidates for different specialized roles may take a transition to practice track that takes one year and 1,600 hours. The application entails a $75 fee and presenting proof of certification, experience, and graduate or postgraduate education. The license expires biennially in April. Renewal requires licensees to present proof of either 960 hours of continuing practice in the past five years, 400 hours of continuing practice in the last two years, or completion of a refresher course from the state.
Out-of-state NPs may secure APRN licensure by verifying their initial licensure and national certification. Vermont requires out-of-state APRNs who cannot present continuing practice from within the past two years to complete a refresher course.
Career Outlook for Nurses in Vermont
According to the American Nursing Association, there is currently a national shortage due to the growing number of Americans over the age of 65 and to recent reforms in healthcare.The Vermont Department of Labor reports that registered nurses rank 16th in the state's list of occupations with the most job openings, with an average annual growth rate of 2.2%. Nursing assistants rank 18th on this list, with an average annual growth rate of 1.1%. According to the BLS, there are currently around 6,270 registered nurses, 1,260 practical and vocational nurses, and 440 nurse practitioners employed in Vermont. Completing an online or on-campus nursing degree qualifies students for one of the highest demand occupations in the state.
Employment Data For RNs in Vermont
RNs in Vermont face average wage and employment prospects compared with the rest of the nation. According to the BLS, as of 2017 RNs make a median annual salary of $70,000. Annual earnings range widely: the 10th percentile earn $48,690, while the 90th earn $104,100. While RNs typically work in settings such as hospitals, offices of physicians, and outpatient care centers, they make their highest average annual earnings in pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing; accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services; and the federal executive branch.
In Vermont, RNs make a mean annual wage of $69,560, below the national mean and median but still very close to both. Most of these RNs reside in the Burlington-South Burlington and Southern nonmetropolitan areas. RNs in the Burlington-South Burlington area make the state's top earnings, annually averaging around $70,690. Nevertheless, all of Vermont's three main areas hover near the national median in terms of earning potential. Nursing work compensates and employs unevenly depending on the state, but Vermont offers comfortably average prospects.
Employment Data For CNAs in Vermont
Certified nursing assistants looking for employment in Vermont can expect better-than-average salary and employment prospects. According to the BLS, as of 2017, nursing assistants, like CNAs or LNAs, in the U.S. earn a mean annual salary of $28,540 and a median of $27,520. Most of them work in nursing care facilities, general hospitals, and long-term care facilities such as assisted living communities. They make their best wages in the federal executive branch, facilities support services, and scientific research and development services industries. Nursing assistant salaries stay in a narrower range than nurses, with the 10th percentile making $20,680 annually on average, and the 90th making $38,630.
Vermont presents nursing assistants like CNAs and LNAs with comfortable salary expectations. Nursing assistants earn a mean annual salary of $29,720 statewide, slightly above the national mean and median. Most of the 3,290 employed in Vermont work in either Burlington-South Burlington or the Southern nonmetropolitan area. Interestingly, nursing assistants make the most on average statewide, $30,310, in the less populated Northern nonmetropolitan area. Whether you locate to the more populated westernmost areas surrounding Burlington or the northernmost expanse, you can anticipate upper-level compensation for nursing assistant work.
Employment Data For NPs in Vermont
Advanced practice nurses, those occupying the terminal positions in the field, make more than their contemporaries on average. Statistics from the BLS show that as of 2017, they make a median annual wage of $103,880. Those in the 90th earning percentile make around $145,630. The specialized knowledge and training of advanced practice nurses equips them for high earning positions in the personal care services; management, scientific, and technical consulting services; and religious organization industries, making well over $100,000 annually. Most advanced practice nurses work in general hospitals, offices of physicians, and outpatient care centers. The versatility of an advanced degree and national certification for an NP makes them an important asset -- one that in states such as Vermont remains in short supply.
Employment data for advanced practice nurses in Vermont highlights the need for more advanced practice nurses in the state; employing only 440 in total, Vermont employs the third lowest number of advanced practice nurses in the nation. Most make their home in the Burlington-South Burlington area. Nevertheless, Vermont NPs enjoy an annual mean salary above the national median at $103,920. Consider locating to Vermont to form a practice or pursue specialized types of nursing.
Biggest Hospitals in Vermont
Large hospitals offer internships, fellowships, and job opportunities to students and graduates of nursing schools. Vermont nursing schools often partner with specific hospitals nearby. Below spotlights two of the biggest hospitals in Vermont.
- University of Vermont Medical Center: Home to 562 beds and 7,500 employees, the UVM Medical Center is the largest hospital and one of the largest employers in the state. Over 1,750 of its employees are registered nurses, 160 of which are advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. The medical center features a children's hospital, a cancer center, a trauma center, and the only neonatal intensive care unit in Vermont.
- Rutland Regional Medical Center: Rutland Regional is the second largest hospital in the state and the largest community hospital. With 133 beds and over 1,600 employees, this hospital provides preventive, diagnostic, and rehabilitation services and employs providers in 37 specialized areas of medicine. The hospital also features state-of-the-art equipment and treatment for cancer patients.
Additional Nursing Resources in Vermont
- American Nurses Association Vermont: As a branch of the national American Nurses Association, ANA Vermont advocates for workplace standards for nurses, promotes safe, quality patient care, and implements professional development programs. This organization also helps nurses engage in decisions regarding policy, legislation, and workplace issues concerning occupational health and safety.
- Vermont Nurses in Partnership: A nonprofit organization that consists of nursing leaders from across the state, VNIP supports Vermont nursing professionals in the workplace through creating and implementing internships, mentorships, coaching, and other professional development trainings and programs. VNIP also connects nurses to other healthcare professionals across the state and around the world.
- Vermont Department of Health: This state department website offers resources for healthcare professionals, including information about licensing and regulations, hospitals and healthcare centers, and the overall state of health for Vermont's residents. The website also features information about nursing positions, internships, and student opportunities.
- National Council of State Boards of Nursing: The NCSBN includes nursing member boards for all 50 states, as well as nursing boards from around the world. This organization's website offers information and resources regarding licensing and regulation across the country, including Vermont. The NCSBN also offers webinars and online courses for nursing professionals.
- Vermont Association of Nurse Anesthetists: A branch of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, VTANA advocates for registered nurse anesthetists in Vermont. The association's website includes student resources and links to local and national events related to the fields of anesthesiology and nursing
Accredited Online Nursing Programs in Vermont
The following database includes all of the accredited ADN, BSN, RN-to-BSN, MSN, and DNP online nursing schools in Vermont. This resource will provide you with more information about the different program formats, requirements, and coursework, as well as information about what makes each online nursing degree unique.