Top Nursing Schools in Montana

Rank School Name Score Tuition Student/Teacher ratio Program count Graduation Rate
1 Salish Kootenai College 97.75 $$$$$ 15:1 2 59%
2 Montana State University-Northern 96.50 $$$$$ 14:1 2 26%
3 Carroll College 96.50 $$$$$ 12:1 5 63%
4 Montana Tech of the University of Montana 96.25 $$$$$ 15:1 2 44%
5 Montana State University 96.00 $$$$$ 19:1 1 50%
6 The University of Montana 95.50 $$$$$ 18:1 5 48%
7 University of Great Falls 95.25 $$$$$ 13:1 5 39%

Montana Nursing School Search

Montana has only 11 nursing schools that are approved by the Montana Board of Nursing, making admission a highly competitive process. Some schools currently have waiting lists for, but more programs and additional schools may be on the horizon to help alleviate the bottleneck. With that in mind, it’s important to start your school search early to ensure that you meet all the admission requirements and stand the best chance for acceptance. Use the search tool below to start exploring and comparing nursing schools in Montana.

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Steps for Licensure by Examination in Montana

The Montana Board of Nursing handles all licensure, statutory and regulatory requirements for nursing professionals. The state is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, which means aspiring nurses will have a multi-state license that allows them to practice in other Compact states. The state board is also where the public can go to view rules and regulations for the profession. Applicants seeking initial licensure, as well as those seeking renewals and advance licenses, can use the following information for an idea of the steps throughout the process.

Requirements for New RN Licenses

  • Complete all requirements of an approved nursing program
  • Request that your school send official transcripts, with degree awarded and date conferred, to the MBN
  • Fill out the required licensure forms at the Montana Board of Nursing and submit a $200 application fee
  • Register to take the NCLEX-RN exam or other Board-recognized licensure exam
  • Successfully complete a fingerprint background check
  • Provide proof of US citizenship (International applicants must complete additional paperwork)
  • Once you receive an Authorization to Test from Pearson Vue, schedule a date and time to take the exam
  • Sign up for Nursys to receive status information about your license application and renewal

Renewing A License

Nurses in Montana are required to review the license on even numbered years. Licenses can be renewed November 1 to December 31. Registered nurses must complete at least 24 hours of continuing education credits from approved providers to renew their license. The renewal fee is $100; those with additional endorsements pay $200. A late fee of $100 applies if the nurse renews after December 31 and late renewal online is open until February 14.

APRN Licenses

Advance practice registered nurses, or APRNs, hold licenses that allow them to practice as nurse midwives, clinical specialists, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners. They require specific licensing to ensure they have the proper education, training, and experience to work directly with patients. Montana APRNs must meet the state licensing requirements for registered nurses, as well as meet the following conditions:

  • Hold a current license to practice nursing in Montana
  • Hold a master’s degree or beyond in nursing from an accredited college or university
  • Request that evidence of additional training and/or mentorship in the specialty area be sent to the Board of Nursing
  • Acquire and maintain national certification in the advance practice field
  • Ensure fingerprint background check is up-to-date
  • Renew your license by December 31 of even-numbered years

More information about advance practice nursing and nursing licensure in Montana is available through the Montana Board of Nursing.

Employment & Salary for Montana RNs

The demand for registered nurses is on the rise—across the country and in Montana. The Montana Department of Labor and Industry reports that because of attrition and an aging population, the state’s health care industry, in general, will see about 349 openings every year until 2022.Nursing in Montana is a promising profession, with wages close to the national average. Take a look at some of the top-paying metropolitan areas in the state.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Montana

Area Hourly Median Wage Annual Median Wage
Billings $29.99 $62,370
Western Montana nonmetropolitan area $29.54 $61,440
Missoula $29.44 $61,240
Great Falls $28.96 $60,240
Southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area $28.03 $58,290
Eastern Montana nonmetropolitan area $27.81 $57,850
Central Montana nonmetropolitan area $26.78 $55,700

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Montana vs. National Numbers

Salary
  • Montana
  • National
  • Annual Salary (25th percentile)
  • Annual Salary (median)
  • Annual Salary (75th percentile)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Employment
Total Employment (2014)
2022 occupational outlook
Avg. annual openings (2012 – 2022)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Resources for Montana Nurses

Montana Association of School Nurses

The Montana Association of School Nurses helps to promote and advance the quality of school health services available to the children in the state. It works to promote the interest and rights of its membership.

Montana Board of Nursing

The Montana Board of Nursing is the licensing institution for all nurses in the state of Montana. It part of the Montana Department of Labor and Industry is responsible for maintaining the regulatory requirements for nursing.

Montana Emergency Nurses Association

Montana Emergency Nurses Association is a specialty nursing organization for those committed to the advancement of emergency nursing.

Montana Nurses Association

The Montana Nurses Association works to promote professional nursing practice, sets standards for the practice of nursing and helps to educate nurses in their practice. In addition, it supports nurses in promoting quality health care.

Montana Student Nurses’ Association

Designed as a mentorship organization, the Montana Student Nurses’ Association is a pre-professional organization composed of nursing students that helps lead graduates to licensing as RNs. It offers mentoring for students who are on their way to initial licensure and furthers their education in the standards, ethics and skills of nursing.