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 the PN certificate was obtained.

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

Vermont Tech will assign first priority to students requesting to remain at their PN site in order of GPA. Once the ADN slots are filled for any site, Vermont Tech will try to place students in the ADN site of their next highest stated preferences if seats are available. Students whose first preference is to attend an ADN site other than the one where they took their PN program will be considered for the preferred site after qualified students attending that site for their PN have been offered a seat in that ADN program.

Students wishing 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 nursing program admissions process, but will not be guaranteed admittance.

PN and ADN students must receive a grade of C+ or more in all NUR courses and a C 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 will not be allowed to graduate.

Grades lower than the required 75 or 77 will be reflected on the transcript with the corresponding letter grade, so credits may be awarded for any grade above an F, but students will not continue to progress or graduate from the Nursing programs unless their grades conform with the standards stated here.

The PN program extends over three semesters, August through June. Students learn PN skills through independent study, lectures, demonstrations, and practice in a nursing skills lab. Under instructor supervision, students also provide patient care in a variety of healthcare settings in neighboring healthcare agencies.

Upon completion of the program, PN graduates are awarded certificates and are eligible to 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 and/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 the license to practice. For more information, please refer to

To progress directly from the PN to the ADN level, students must:

  • Declare their intent to progress on a Change of Program form no later than the date of graduation of the year in which they wish to progress
  • Receive a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 during each of the PN semesters
  • Obtain the Practical Nursing License (LPN) during the summer between the PN and ADN years

Students 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 (see VSC Enrollment Consortium Agreement).

All BIO courses and PSY 1050 must be completed with a grade of C or better; NUR courses must be completed with a grade of C+ or better to continue in the program; only 35 credits from the PN program will count toward cumulative credits. Only non-clinical hours/courses count toward GPA.

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

Any student who fails to receive a passing grade in the clinical and/or didactic portion of their final semester Nursing and/or Allied Health course is considered to have failed the program and is not eligible to participate in commencement activities.

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Education & Career Opportunities


Percent Job and Advanced Education Placement Rate in Practical Nursing

Vermont Tech Practical Nursing student outcomes are strong. The class of 2015 had a 95% job and advanced placement rate within six months of graduation. Many students have internships while they’re in college that lead to full-time employment after graduation.

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