Practical Nursing

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Vermont Tech offers a career ladder progression approach for students to enter and advance in a nursing career. The career ladder approach is provided in a 1+1+2 model which allows for the completion of the Practical Nursing (PN) certificate, followed by the completion of the Associate of Science in Nursing (ADN) leading to eligibility for RN licensure, and culminating with the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Qualified students may be accepted into Vermont Tech’s Nursing program at any point (pre-PN, ADN, or BSN) and may progress through the bachelor’s degree or may choose to stop after receiving the PN or ADN credentials. If so, students may re-enter the program at a later time.

Vermont Tech also offers an LPN and an RN re-entry program. These programs are provided for LPNs and RNs whose licenses have lapsed and would like to have them reinstated. The LPN and RN re-entry programs update the nurse’s credentials, allowing them eligibility to return to a nursing position upon completion of the program. For further information about these programs, contact the Nursing department.

Graduates’ NCLEX pass rates for licensure are higher than the national average. Students in our nursing programs also have high completion rates.

After licensure, PN graduates typically find employment in long-term care, outpatient clinics, physicians’ offices, and other healthcare agencies and work under the supervision of a registered nurse, physician, or dentist. With experience, they can assume increasing responsibilities in the nursing field.

The PN and ADN programs are offered at four locations across the state with campuses in Bennington, Brattleboro, Randolph Center, and Williston and at distance education sites in Lyndonville, Middlebury, Newport, St. Albans, Springfield, and White River Junction. The BSN program is offered exclusively online. We're a recognized leader in distance learning and health care simulation, which allows nursing students who practice in small rural communities across the state to experience lifelike medical situations. Our instructional curriculum is offered at distance education sites throughout the state, while the clinical experience takes place at local agencies. We also also provides the latest in simulation technology at its six simulation labs.

Gainful Employment Data

While Vermont Tech guarantees direct progression from the PN to the ADN program for qualified students, it cannot guarantee direct progression at the same site at which the PN certificate was obtained. Because of the competitive demand for ADN slots and the limitations of clinical ADN placements in some areas of the state, some students may have to continue their nursing studies at a site other than their first choice or the site at which their PN certificate was obtained.

A student progressing directly from the PN to the ADN level must request their first, second, and third site preferences for ADN education on their Nursing Direct Progress form.

Vermont Tech assigns first priority to students requesting to remain at their PN site in order of GPA. Once ADN slots are filled for any site, Vermont Tech tries to place students at their next highest stated preferences if seats are available. A student whose first preference is to attend an ADN site other than their PN site will be considered for the preferred site only after qualified PN students at that site have been offered an ADN seat.

A student who wishes to take off a semester or more after completing the PN or ADN program may apply for re-admittance to the Nursing program through the regular admissions process, but are not guaranteed admittance.

PN and ADN students must receive a grade of C+ or better in all NUR courses and a C or better in BIO and PSY courses in order to progress in the program. If a student in the last semester of the program does not achieve these grades, they are not allowed to graduate.

Grades lower than the required 75 or 77 are reflected on the transcript with the corresponding letter grade, so credits may be awarded for any grade above an F, but the student will not progress or graduate from the Nursing program.

The PN program extends over three semesters, August through June. The student learns PN skills through independent study, lectures, demonstrations, and practice in a nursing skills lab. The student also provides patient care under instructor supervision in a variety of healthcare settings.

Upon completion of the program, the graduate is awarded a certificate and may apply to take the NCLEX for Practical Nursing Licensure. The Vermont State Board of Nursing application requires information regarding past history of substance abuse, prior felony convictions, and failure to pay child support or taxes for all graduates. Other states may ask similar questions. It is the Board’s responsibility to determine eligibility to sit for the licensure examination and to issue a license to practice. For more information, please refer to

A student with a certificate in Practical Nursing will be able to:

  • Employ the nursing process for select clients to maintain, achieve, or regain their optimal level of self-care
  • Integrate knowledge of scientific, behavioral, and cultural principles in the care of clients in a variety of settings
  • Establish collaborative relationships with members of the nursing and health team
  • Maintain confidentiality in a clinical setting and support the use of legal and ethical standards
  • Assume the role of a member of an interdisciplinary team
  • Provide care which maximizes the self-care potential of individuals across the lifespan in a variety of healthcare settings
  • Contribute to the development of a teaching plan for the client with an alteration in basic self-care needs
  • Assume responsibility for self-directed, goal-oriented growth

PN students may not enroll in spring or summer courses until after Spring2 courses are complete.

The certificate program includes 495 hours of theory and 630 hours of clinical/lab.


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