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9th Annual Montana RN Program Rankings by RNCareers.org

To help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Montana and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 6 ADN degree programs and 6 BSN degree programs in Montana. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Montana to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

RN Programs in Montana

Best ADN Programs in Montana

#1 Associate Degree in Nursing

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

Sherry Lesar School of Nursing

97.23% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1300 W Park St, Butte, MT - 59701-8997
  • (406) 496-4256
Nurse Admin: Janet Coe, MSN, RN, CHSE
Title: Director of Nursing
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 97.23%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 163
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $7,400
  • Book and Supplies: $1,320
  • Percent Received Aid: 93%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $6,705
  • Percent Admitted: 97%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 31%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

Montana Tech began offering a degree in professional nursing in 2000 and has broadened its programs since that time.  Montana Technological University is a public university in Butte. It was founded as the Montana State School of Mines, but the university became affiliated with the University of Montana in 1994. Students will learn in an extraordinary picturesque environment. While accessing the state-of-the-art simulation labs and multiple clinical sites, they can visit the great outdoors for a bit of hiking, skiing, biking, and fishing. Historic Butte is the location of art galleries, music venues, theaters and festivals. To its credit, Montana Tech is one of only two publicly-funded nursing programs in the state to offer a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In addition, the BSN is the first four-year program approved by Montana in the last 78 years. All programs have the same mission to prepare generalist nurses who can assume a variety of roles in the healthcare system. The core concepts are caring, professionalism, clinical thinking, communication, and critical judgment.

Undergraduate programs – The degrees offered at Montana Tech include the Associate of Science degree (ASN) in nursing, the BS Nursing Pre-Licensure Program and the Post-licensure Bachelor of Science (RN to BSN), all accredited by National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (NLNAC) and CCNE. The school is proud of its award-winning status as among the top ten BSN and RN to BSN nursing schools in the state. Everyone appreciates the 5,000 square foot simulation lab with hospital, home, and office settings. A nurses station and medication room round out the superior facilities. It is all about hands-on learning and clinical hours. Almost 1,000 are required to complete the programs. Students can gain experience in area hospital and other clinical settings in southwest Montana. The approach is holistic within the vision to offer a nursing education design for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health, as well as the prevention of illness. The highest standard of nursing knowledge and skill follows from a combination of class room requirements and clinical experience in both simulated and actual care environment.

#2 Associate Degree in Nursing

Flathead Valley Community College

96.30% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 777 Grandview Dr, Kalispell, MT - 59901
  • (406) 756-3822
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 96.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 67
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $5,293
  • Book and Supplies: $12,643
  • Percent Received Aid: 78%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $4,149
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 30%

Flathead Valley Community College is located in Kalispell, Montana.  FVCC offers both LPN and RN programs.  Their nursing program is developed so that LPNs may gain entrance into their RN program; in fact, their RN program requires an LPN degree for entrance.  FVCC also has partnerships with local universities so that graduates may earn their bachelor's degree in nursing after graduation.

#3 Associate Degree in Nursing

Helena College University of Montana

88.44% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1115 N Roberts Street, Helena, MT - 59601
  • (406) 447-6900
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 88.44%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 30
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $3,477
  • Book and Supplies: $1,420
  • Percent Received Aid: 77%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $2,319
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 37%

A student’s nursing degree journey in Montana starts out at Helena College University of Montana, a public community college established in 1939, previously known as The University of Montana – Helena College of Technology. Over thirty degree and certificate options  are available. The school enjoys partnerships with four year universities, making Helena College an outstanding choice. Graduates become skilled practitioners in various healthcare settings after following the outstanding curriculum taught by dedicated faculty. They quickly find employment with the newly-acquired Associate of Science in Registered Nursing or Practical Nursing Certificate of Applied Science.

Undergraduate programs –  there are two nursing programs at Helena College: Practical Nursing C.A.S. and Registered Nursing A.S. Students are engrossed in acute care hospital settings along with lectures, coursework and independent study. They appreciate the simulation demonstrations and superior skill labs where they undertake supervised practice. They are ready to become licensed RNs after this ACEN- accredited degree program. Applicants may have earned pre-requisite credit in the pre-nursing program at the College. The Practical Nursing Certificate of Applied Science affords students a similar curriculum. The certificate can be followed up by licensure as an LPN. Candidates agree to study a full week whether in class or on a clinical assignment in the fall and spring semesters. It is a fast-paced and challenging program for dedicated students.

Best BSN Programs in Montana

Jump to a Best Ranked Nursing Programs

#1 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

Sherry Lesar School of Nursing

97.09% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1300 W Park St, Butte, MT - 59701-8997
  • (406) 496-4256
Nurse Admin: Janet Coe, MSN, RN, CHSE
Title: Director of Nursing
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 97.09%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 163
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $7,400
  • Book and Supplies: $1,320
  • Percent Received Aid: 93%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $6,705
  • Percent Admitted: 97%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 31%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

#2 Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Carroll College

Department of Nursing

97.08% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1601 N Benton Ave, Helena, MT - 59625-0002
  • (406) 447-4300
Nurse Admin: Lauren Swant, MSN, RN, CNE7 RNC-NIC
Title: Program Director
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 97.08%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 79
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $800
  • Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Percent Received Aid: 100%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $25,492
  • Percent Admitted: 73%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 26%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

About RN Programs in Montana

  • There are 13 nursing schools in Montana. The CCNE accredits 5 nursing schools and the ACEN accredits 6 schools in Montana.
  • Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, and a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will take about 4 years to complete.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for ADN students in Montana is between 65.00% and 97.23%.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for BSN students in Montana is between 71.51% and 97.09%.
  • The average annual salary for registered nurses is between $52,080 to $111,220 a year.
  • Registered Nurses (RN) throughout the country and in Montana can expect a favorable job growth of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026 which much faster than the average for all occupations.

Montana is a large state, low in population, and filled with rural areas. This often makes attending class in a university difficult. Do not panic; however, because there are more nursing programs available than one might think in the state of Montana. Montana's nursing programs build on knowledge already obtained when working in the nursing field. The programs are designed to expand a nurse's education to meet the diverse needs of the rural Montana population. One university was awarded a grant for more that a million dollars from the Department of Heath and Human Services. The grant money will be used to begin the Literacy Empowerment Advances and the Diversity of Rural Nurses (LEAD).

Many of the RN or BSN programs in Montana can be completed online, which provides nurses with flexibility in scheduling classes in comparison to non-campus programs. Both educational environments have similar admission criteria: Montana RN license, transcript from an accredited associate or diploma program, and completion of prerequisite courses. When the prerequisite courses have been completed, nursing candidates will focus on leadership and community-based health. Some courses may include:

  • Health assessment
  • Transitions in professional nursing
  • RN Information systems in healthcare community health nursing
  • Nursing leadership & management
  • Family nursing
  • Care of the aging client
  • Nursing research
  • Applied pathophysiologic & pharmacologic
  • Bioethical & genetic challenges in healthcare

Community colleges and technical colleges in Montana are unique - in addition to offering an RN and an LPN to RN option, many offer an RN to BSN option.  BSN degrees are not the norm at community colleges and technical colleges but Montana has found a way to make it possible for its students.  Typically the BSN option is only available to students holding an RN license; students seeking a BSN degree without an RN license typically  must attend a traditional college or university.

Montana RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 7 6
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 85.23% 84.46%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 65.00% to 97.23% 71.51% to 97.09%

#1 Associate Degree in Nursing

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

Sherry Lesar School of Nursing

97.23% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1300 W Park St, Butte, MT - 59701-8997
  • (406) 496-4256
Nurse Admin: Janet Coe, MSN, RN, CHSE
Title: Director of Nursing
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 97.23%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate, Bachelor

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 163
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $7,400
  • Book and Supplies: $1,320
  • Percent Received Aid: 93%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $6,705
  • Percent Admitted: 97%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 31%
  • Graduation Rate: 57%

Montana Tech began offering a degree in professional nursing in 2000 and has broadened its programs since that time.  Montana Technological University is a public university in Butte. It was founded as the Montana State School of Mines, but the university became affiliated with the University of Montana in 1994. Students will learn in an extraordinary picturesque environment. While accessing the state-of-the-art simulation labs and multiple clinical sites, they can visit the great outdoors for a bit of hiking, skiing, biking, and fishing. Historic Butte is the location of art galleries, music venues, theaters and festivals. To its credit, Montana Tech is one of only two publicly-funded nursing programs in the state to offer a pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). In addition, the BSN is the first four-year program approved by Montana in the last 78 years. All programs have the same mission to prepare generalist nurses who can assume a variety of roles in the healthcare system. The core concepts are caring, professionalism, clinical thinking, communication, and critical judgment.

Undergraduate programs – The degrees offered at Montana Tech include the Associate of Science degree (ASN) in nursing, the BS Nursing Pre-Licensure Program and the Post-licensure Bachelor of Science (RN to BSN), all accredited by National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc. (NLNAC) and CCNE. The school is proud of its award-winning status as among the top ten BSN and RN to BSN nursing schools in the state. Everyone appreciates the 5,000 square foot simulation lab with hospital, home, and office settings. A nurses station and medication room round out the superior facilities. It is all about hands-on learning and clinical hours. Almost 1,000 are required to complete the programs. Students can gain experience in area hospital and other clinical settings in southwest Montana. The approach is holistic within the vision to offer a nursing education design for the promotion, maintenance and restoration of health, as well as the prevention of illness. The highest standard of nursing knowledge and skill follows from a combination of class room requirements and clinical experience in both simulated and actual care environment.

#2 Associate Degree in Nursing

Flathead Valley Community College

96.30% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 777 Grandview Dr, Kalispell, MT - 59901
  • (406) 756-3822
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 96.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 67
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $5,293
  • Book and Supplies: $12,643
  • Percent Received Aid: 78%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $4,149
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 30%

Flathead Valley Community College is located in Kalispell, Montana.  FVCC offers both LPN and RN programs.  Their nursing program is developed so that LPNs may gain entrance into their RN program; in fact, their RN program requires an LPN degree for entrance.  FVCC also has partnerships with local universities so that graduates may earn their bachelor's degree in nursing after graduation.

Montana RN Program Comparisons

Compare RN Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 7 6
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 85.23% 84.46%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 65.00% to 97.23% 71.51% to 97.09%

Nursing Programs Offered by Montana Nursing Schools

  • Registered Nursing: 10
  • CNL: 1
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: 1

Montana Nursing Schools with the Most Degree Types

Become a Nurse Practitioner in Montana

Research the best Montana NP programs, and find comprehensive guides to the following NP careers:

Become an APRN in Montana

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

RN Licensing Requirements in Montana

Comprehensive guide to Montana Nursing License Requirements Renewals RN and APRN.

Montana State Board of Nursing
301 South Park
PO Box 200513
Helena, MT 59620-0513
(406) 841-2345 

More of the Best RN Programs in Montana

Grade
University
Montana Rank
Degree
81.23 Miles Community College 5 ADN
75.34 Salish Kootenai College 6 ADN
84.03 MSU Bozeman College of Nursing 3 BSN
82.49 University of Providence 4 BSN
74.56 Montana State University-Northern 5 BSN
71.51 Salish Kootenai College 6 BSN

Compare Nursing Salaries in Montana

How much do nurses earn in Montana?

RN Programs Near Me


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