Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Montana

The rural state of Montana is growing and as a result its need for registered nurses is expected to increase as well. To help prepare aspiring nurses, nursing schools in Montana are working to increase the number of nursing programs and beginning to offer more flexible options. Find out more about how to become a nurse in Montana, including licensing requirements and where to find an accredited school.

Top 10 Nursing Schools in Montana

Rank School Location
1 Salish Kootenai College Pablo, MT
2 Montana State University-Northern Havre, MT
3 Carroll College Helena, MT
4 Montana Tech Butte, MT
5 Montana State University-Bozeman Bozeman, MT
6 University of Montana Missoula, MT
7 University of Great Falls Great Falls, MT
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Top Nursing Schools in Montana

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  • OUR METHODOLOGY+

    To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:

    • Accredited at the institutional level
    • Private nonprofit or public school
    • Minimum of 1 bachelor’s or master’s degree in subject area for 4-year schools
    • Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools

    Schools were then scored on factors such as:

    • Cost & Financial Aid
    • Number and variety of program offerings
    • Student-teacher ratios
    • Graduation rates (4-year schools only)
    • Placement and support services offered
    • Academic/Career counseling services
    • Employment services
    • Loan default rates

    These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or “bang for your buck” of a college or degree program.


  1. Salish Kootenai College
    Location

    Pablo, MT

  2. Montana State University-Northern
    Location

    Havre, MT

  3. Carroll College
    Location

    Helena, MT

  4. Montana Tech
    Location

    Butte, MT

  5. Montana State University-Bozeman
    Location

    Bozeman, MT

  6. University of Montana
    Location

    Missoula, MT

  7. University of Great Falls
    Location

    Great Falls, MT

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

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual 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

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Employment

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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.

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Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.


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