Vermont RN Licensing Guide

  • Compact State
  • Participates in NURSYS
  • Renewal every 2 years

Overview

The Vermont State Board of Nursing governs nurses working in Vermont, while the Secretary of State (SOS), Office of Professional Regulation (OPR), processes nurse licensure applications and renewals. The Vermont State BON and the OPR work together to provide oversight and enforcement of the nursing profession. According to the 2021 Board of Nursing Relicensure Survey, 10,727 registered nurses (RNs) held Vermont nursing licenses and worked in the state in March 2021. By May 2022, over 21,000 RNs held Vermont nursing licenses.

About

The Office of Professional Regulation no longer accepts paper applications. Applicants for a Vermont RN license must apply online using OPR's Online Services Platform. On the online platform, nurses can apply for a Vermont nursing license, check the status of their application, request an official verification of an existing license, submit a Vermont RN license renewal application, and submit continuing education requests.

Renewal

Renewals are due on or before March 31 of odd-numbered years. Renewal applications open online 6 weeks before expiration. OPR emails three courtesy renewal notifications to the email address on file, with the first notification going out when renewal applications first become available. Licensees should log into their online account before these notices go out to ensure their information is current.

Applicants renewing their initial license may not have a full two years before they must renew based on when they received their license. An initial license issued 90 days or less from March 31 in an odd-numbered year won't be required to renew. The initial license remains active through the next full two-year licensure period. An initial license issued more than 90 days before an upcoming renewal date will be required to renew on this date.

Because Vermont just joined the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC) on February 1, 2022, a licensed RN renewing for the first time since the Vermont NLC became effective must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check. They must also indicate whether they want a single-state or multistate Vermont nursing license. To complete a Vermont RN license renewal and switch to a multistate license, RNs must:

  • Complete the online renewal application

  • Pay the non-refundable renewal fee

  • Meet required active practice hour requirement for paid compensation as registered nurse

    • 50 days (400 hours) in the last two years or

    • 120 days (960 hours) within the last five years of the current licensing period

    • RNs who don’t meet the active practice requirements must complete a Vermont nursing re-entry program

  • Complete an FBI Background Check

    • Print the Release Form

    • Complete mandatory fields

    • Have form notarized

  • Add a specialty indicating Multistate or Single-State License

    • Go to online dashboard and click “Add Specialty”

    • Select multistate specialty if desired

    • Upload proof of Vermont residency

    • Upload the completed Release Form

  • Pay the non-refundable background check fee

  • Submit the specialty application

Once OPR receives the applicant’s specialty application with the completed Release Form, it emails the applicant a Fingerprint Authorization Form in 3 to 5 business days. Applicant must complete the required fingerprinting process. OPR will email applicants if it needs further information and when applicants receive approval for their specialty.

It can take 4 to 6 weeks for the OPR to receive the results of a criminal background check and approve an applicant’s multistate specialty. If the applicant currently holds a Vermont RN license and initiates the criminal background check process as part of their on-time renewal, they can continue to practice nursing while waiting for these results.

RNs who applied for a Vermont nursing license after the Vermont NLC went into effect and/or have already completed their criminal background checks won’t need to repeat the process. To submit a regular Vermont RN license renewal:

  • Enter user ID and password on OPR's Online Services Platform

  • Click Renew License and select license to be renewed

  • Answer all questions on each page

  • Submit Vermont RN license renewal payment

  • Wait until receiving confirmation page indicating RN license has been renewed

  • Save receipt emailed to the email address on file

Licensed RNs who don't complete their renewal by midnight of the day their license expires will incur late fees. They may still renew by logging into their online account and clicking on Renew License but they must pay any late renewal penalties for their license to be renewed.

Continuing Education Requirements

The Vermont State Board of Nursing doesn't currently require any continuing education hours to apply for the biennial Vermont RN license renewal. However, they must complete the required number of practice hours:

  • 50 days (400 hours) every 2 years or

  • 120 days (960 hours) within 5 years of the end of the current licensing period

Practice hours are subject to an audit. A certain percentage of licensees are chosen at random for an audit 30 days after each renewal period ends. Licensees chosen for an audit receive notification via email.

Requirements

Fingerprinting Requirements

Fingerprint-based criminal background checks (CBC) are now required of all Vermont nurses. OPR will be opening up this new requirement in phases for currently licensed RNs. They will receive an email with information on the timing and process. Single-state RNs will see the CBC requirement open no later than with their renewal in early 2023. Currently licensed RNs who have initiated the CBC process as part of their on-time renewal may continue to practice while awaiting CBC results.

New Vermont nurse licensure applicants must follow the OPR process to complete fingerprinting requirements as part the application process. The Vermont Crime Information Center (VCIC) is the statewide repository for fingerprints. The State Identification Bureau (SIB) is part of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). All fingerprints are searched for previous records in the SIB AFIS and the FBI IAFIS databases. VCIC won't accept fingerprint cards from OPR.

OPR Fingerprinting Process

Complete the VCIC FBI National Record Check Release Form supplied within the online application. Applicants must upload their completed forms by logging into their online account and selecting “Update License/Application." Once OPR receives their release form, it sends applicants a signed authorization form they must complete and bring to their fingerprinting appointment.

Providing Fingerprints in Vermont

Most Vermont Identification Centers submit this form to VCIC with applicant's fingerprints. If the agency taking fingerprints requires applicant to mail their fingerprint card, the applicant must bring a large envelope to seal the fingerprint cards in before leaving the Identification Center or law enforcement agency. Applicants aren't allowed to leave without sealing the fingerprint cards in an envelope.

  • Mail completed fingerprint cards and signed authorization form to Vermont Crime Information Center, 45 State Drive, Waterbury, VT 05671

Once VCIC receives an applicant's fingerprints and signed authorization form, it can take 4 to 6 weeks or longer for VCIC to receive the results and forward them to OPR for processing. It can OPR additional time to process an applicant's background check results once they're received from VCIC.

Providing Fingerprints While Outside of Vermont

  • Contact a local law enforcement agency to inquire if they offer fingerprinting services

  • Ensure all required documents are filled out completely

  • Have fingerprints printed on a standard FD-258 Applicant Fingerprint Card

    • If the law enforcement agency doesn't provide these cards, applicants may download a template from the FBI website

  • Bring a large envelope to seal fingerprint cards in before leaving the agency taking the fingerprints

    • Fingerprint cards completed by agencies outside of Vermont must be submitted in an envelope sealed by the agency taking the fingerprints

  • Mail completed fingerprint cards and signed authorization forms to Vermont Crime Information Center, 45 State Drive, Waterbury, VT 05671

Once VCIC receives an applicant's fingerprints and signed authorization form, it can take 4 to 6 weeks, or longer, for VCIC to receive the results and forward them to OPR for processing. It can OPR additional time to process an applicant's background check results once they're received from VCIC.

Contact Information

Vermont State Board of Nursing
SOS Office of Professional Regulation
89 Main Street, 3rd Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-3402
Contact Form / [email protected]
(802) 828-1505

Multistate

The Governor of Vermont signed the Vermont Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC) on into law on June 7, 2021, and the Vermont NLC became effective February 1, 2022. The NLC enables RNs whose primary state of residence (PSOR) is Vermont to apply for a multistate license that they can use to practice nursing in any other Compact State without any further licensure required. It also allows RNs licensed in other Compact States with multistate privileges to practice in Vermont without any further action required.

Nurses who currently hold an active Vermont nursing license wanting to apply for a Compact License must log into their online profile and add the compact specialty to their license and meet the Uniform Licensure Requirements for a Multistate License. To be eligible for a Vermont-issued multistate license, RNs must:

  • Provide proof of residency in the State of Vermont

  • Hold or obtain an unencumbered Vermont single-state license

  • Possess a valid United States Social Security Number

  • Submit a fingerprint-supported criminal background check

  • Pass the National Council Licensure Exam for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN)

  • Achieve a passing score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a similar English proficiency assessment if the nursing program completed was conducted in any language besides English

  • Not have any felony convictions

  • Not have any misdemeanor convictions for offenses related to nursing, determined on a case-by-case basis

  • Not be enrolled in an alternative program

  • Agree to self-disclose participation in an alternative-program

To add the multistate specialty to an active Vermont RN license, nurses must complete these additional steps at their next on-time renewal:

  • Complete an FBI Background Check

    • Print the Release Form

    • Complete mandatory fields

    • Have form notarized

  • Add a specialty indicating Multistate or Single-State License

    • Go to online dashboard and click “Add Specialty”

    • Select multistate specialty

    • Upload proof of Vermont residency

    • Upload the completed Release Form

  • Pay the non-refundable background check fee

  • Submit the specialty application

Once OPR receives the applicant’s specialty application with the completed Release Form, it emails the applicant a Fingerprint Authorization Form in 3 to 5 business days. Applicants must complete the required fingerprinting process. OPR will email applicants if it needs further information and when applicants receive approval for their specialty.

It can take 4 to 6 weeks, or longer, for the OPR to receive the results of the criminal background check and approve an applicant’s specialty. RNs can continue practicing under their active single-state license in Vermont until they receive the results of their specialty request.

Licensure by Endorsement

Applicants who are already licensed in good standing in another state or jurisdiction in which the standards and qualifications are substantially equivalent to Vermont's may apply for licensure by endorsement.

  • Review the Statutes and Rules governing the nursing profession

  • Register for an online account or login to an existing account

  • Click "Apply for Individual License"

  • Complete the online application

  • Pay the non-refundable application fee with a debit card, credit card or ACH transaction from a checking or savings account

  • Submit verification of licensure for original nursing license and nursing license from most recent state of nursing employment

    • Request verifications through the NURSYS website for states that participate in this online verification database

    • Contact the State Board of Nursing to request completion of a Verification of Licensure form be sent to OPR for those states that don't participate in Nursys

OPR notifies applicants through email if it requires any additional items to process their applications. Applicants may check the status of their applications through their online account at any time. Allow 3 to 5 business days for processing. Once an application has met all requirements, OPR will issue the applicant's license.

Licensure by Exam

Graduate nurses must apply for Vermont nursing licensure by exam. All applicants must provide evidence of completion of an approved registered nursing education program and an official transcript if educated outside of Vermont.

  • Review the Statutes and Rules governing the nursing profession

  • Register for an online account or login to an existing account

  • Click "Apply for Individual License"

  • Complete the online application

  • Pay the non-refundable application fee with a debit card, credit card or ACH transaction from a checking or savings account

  • Submit the Verification of Education for Registered Nurse form completed and placed in a sealed envelope by the nursing education school

    • The school may send the completed, signed, and dated form affixed with the school’s official stamp or seal directly to the Vermont Board of Nursing

    • The school may give the completed, signed, and dated form affixed with the school’s official stamp or seal to the applicant who attaches the unopened envelope to their application

    • Out of state nursing schools also must include official transcripts in this envelope

    • Nursing programs in Vermont don’t have to include official transcripts

  • Complete fingerprinting requirements for a criminal background check

  • Schedule NCLEX-RN with Pearson VUE and pay $200 testing fee

  • Email office to confirm NCLEX registration to become eligible to test

Allow 3 to 5 business days for processing. OPR notifies applicants when they’re approved to take the NCLEX and they may check the status of their application online at any time. Pearson VUE sends OPR notification of exam outcome. Applicants who pass receive their license upon notification. Applicants who don’t pass must submit an NCLEX-RN Retake Application with a non-refundable processing fee and re-register with Pearson VUE with another $200 testing fee to take the exam again.

Licensure for Foreign Educated Nurses

Candidates applying for a Vermont RN license who acquired all or part of their nursing education and/or professional licensure in a country other than the United States must complete the same steps as a domestic-trained applicant. They must also have their qualifications evaluated by a Credentials Evaluation Service (CES) that’s a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE). Contact one of OPR’s recommended vendors:

  • Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)

  • International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (IERF)

CGFNS or IERF will send the foreign-educated nurse licensure applicant’s completed CES report directly to the Vermont Board of Nursing. Applicant’s must obtain one or both of the following:

  • A detailed course-by-course translation and evaluation report of foreign transcripts to evaluate educational qualifications for licensure

  • Evaluation of other qualifications for professional licensure, including passage of a professional competency examination, a professional license, and/or supervised practice or work experience hours

Timing

Allow 3 to 5 business days for processing Vermont RN licensure by endorsement applications.

The processing time of applications for a Vermont nursing license by exam vary. Allow 3 to 5 business days for processing initial application and approving applicant to sit for the NCLEX-RN. It can take 4 to 6 weeks or longer for the OPR to receive the results of the criminal background check. Once OPR receives these results, it may take further processing time to review these results. Permanent licensure can't occur until all items have been received and processed.

Temporary Nurse License

Vermont usually only offers a temporary nursing license when submitting a Registered Nurse Re-Entry Application for Temporary Permit as part of re-entry program. Re-entry programs are intended to prepare RNs who don't meet practice requirements for endorsement or for Vermont RN license renewal to be eligible for licensure. Re-entry programs must be approved by the Vermont Board of Nursing.

The Vermont Legislature passed emergency legislation, signed by the Governor, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that temporarily allows temporary licensure under certain circumstances.

H.654 allows Interim Telehealth Registration until June 30, 2023, and temporary licensure to out-of-state licensees in good standing and expired Vermont licensees in good standing when their Vermont nursing licenses expired. Temporary licensure is valid for six months and can’t be renewed. Applicants must apply though OPR’s Online Services Platform and select Interim Telehealth Registration or Facility Staff/Inactive Registration.

The original emergency provision was extended and currently expires on March 31, 2023.

Fees

All fees are non-refundable. Current Vermont RN license fees and other related costs include:

  • Licensure by Exam: $75

  • Licensure by Endorsement: $150

  • Vermont RN License Renewal: $190

  • Re-Entry Application for Temporary Permit: $25

  • Fingerprinting Service (Paid to Fingerprint Identification Center): up to $25

  • NCLEX-RN (Paid to Pearson VUE): $200 per attempt

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Frequently asked questions

I have a single-state license in Vermont and a multistate license in another state. Once Vermont is a Compact state, what happens to my single-state license?

As of February 1, 2022, Vermont is a Compact state. RNs who hold a Compact license in another Compact state no longer need to maintain their Vermont RN license to practice in Vermont. Your license will expire at the end of the renewal cycle.



Why are criminal background checks being required of all nurses in Vermont?

The criminal background check requirement is being initiated primarily to enhance public protection. It also brings Vermont into alignment with national nursing regulatory standards and maintains consistency with licensure requirements for all nurses practicing in the State.

When will I be required to have my background check completed for my existing Vermont nursing license?

OPR will be opening up this new requirement in phases. Nurses with existing single-state licenses will receive an email with information on the timing and process. Make sure your email address is up to date to receive important notices and check back frequently for updates.



When are the Vermont RN license renewal periods?

Vermont RN license renewals are due no later than midnight on March 31 of every odd-numbered year.

Do I need documentation of my practice hours to renew my Vermont nursing license?

The current practice is that you won't be asked to upload a verification letter at the time of renewal. However, you may be selected for an audit. If you are selected, you must obtain a letter verifying your practice hours. Remember, you're required to attest to the accuracy of all information contained in your application.