Montana is experiencing a shortage of qualified LPNs, creating new openings in the coming years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nationally, the role will grow 16 percent between 2014 and 2024. Given that many LPNs in Montana are expected to reach retirement in the near future, the need for skilled practical nurses to replace baby boomers is high.
Those who are ready to take on the challenge can use the following guide to learn more about the state's LPN programs, requirements for licensure, and salary and employment trends.
Finding an LPN Program in Montana
Whether looking to attend a community college or state university, accredited LPN programs in Montana prepare aspiring practical nurses for a challenging yet rewarding career caring for others. Finding all the available academic options, however, can be difficult. Use the search tool below to browse Montana schools by acceptance rate, number of LPN programs offered, school type, student population, and tuition. You can also get a side-by-side comparison of your top choices by clicking the compare schools button at the top.
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Licensure Requirements for Montana LPNs
Because LPNs work so closely with patients and other healthcare providers, it is imperative for state boards of nursing to ensure each and every worker has gone through the proper steps to be eligible for licensure. The mandated requirements for Montana are reviewed in the following section.
Before starting an LPN program, potential students should review these basic eligibility requirements to ensure they'll be able to undertake necessary education and examinations leading to licensure. These requirements include:
- Being at least 17 years of age
- Holding High school diploma or equivalent
- Obtaining a social security number
Education & Training Requirements
Recent graduates of state-approved nursing programs are eligible to apply for licensure by examination via the Montana Board of Nursing. In order to do this, students must also have official transcripts sent by their school to the Board and pass the NCLEX-PN examination. The exam, administered by Pearson Vue testing centers, can be undertaken once the candidate has received an Authorization to Test notice from the Board. Candidates should also be prepared to pay a $100 licensure fee.
After completing the NCLEX-PN exam, students who passed the test will be issues a practical nursing license.
Additional Requirements for Licensure
After completing the steps above, candidates are near the finish line for becoming fully licensed. The only other requirements standing between them and finding their first job include:
- Submitting to a fingerprint background check
- Obtaining a CPR card
- Completing continuing education credits
LPNs working in Montana will need to renew their license by December 31st of every even-numbered year. In addition to paying a $100 renewal fee, LPNs must complete an application and show proof of 24 contact hours of continuing education credits completed during the previous two years. The Board notes that random audits of licensees are regularly performed.
Salary for LPNs in Montana
The average mean salary for all occupations in Montana is $39,880 and annual wages for LPNs are comparable to this figure. Two of the biggest factors affecting salaries are experience and location, with those living in urban areas and having more years of experiencing garnering the highest wages. The following tables review both of these variables within the context of Montana.
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas
Montana LPN Employment Trends
Although a large majority of the state is comprised of farmland and agricultural regions, LPNs can find work in both these settings and in larger towns and cities, such as Billings. The tables provided below were designed to help interested individuals see how roles for LPNs are expected to grow in various parts of the state in the coming years.
Top Locations for Employment
|Area||Total Employment (2014)|
|Southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area||650|
|Western Montana nonmetropolitan area||320|
|Area||Total Employment (2014)|
|Central Montana nonmetropolitan area||150|
|Eastern Montana nonmetropolitan area||120|
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014
Employment of LPNs in Montana
2012 - 2,740
2022 - 3,220
Average Annual Openings 120
Source: Projections Central
Resources for LPNs in Montana
Montana Board of Nursing
The official website for the state's board of nursing provides helpful information and resources for prospective and current LPNs in Montana.
Montana Health Care Association
The MHCA serves as the voice of healthcare professionals in Montana, offering a variety of services and events to ensure each member of the profession feels valued and supported. The organization also has a scholarship foundation for nursing students.
Montana Nurses Association
MNA provides a range of benefits to its members, including information about labor services, advocacy efforts, policy updates, continuing education credits, regular events, and a career center. Student nurses can take advantage of numerous awards and scholarships available.
Montana Public Health Association
Current or prospective LPNs with an interest in the public health arena can learn more about this area of healthcare and search for LPN jobs allowing them to combine their skills and interests.
Predicting Future Healthcare Employment in Montana
This report, compiled by Montana's Department of Labor & Industry, takes a close look at the future of healthcare-related careers within the state, including licensed practical nursing roles.
Standards for Continuing Education
Montana's Secretary of State maintains an up-to-date portion of the website dedicated to stands for CE and biennial CE requirements. The site also outlines activities that are not accredited.
VA Montana Health Care System
The Department of Veterans Affairs in Montana maintains an up-to-date list of jobs available throughout the state, including roles for LPNs.