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).

In our Montana RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Montana RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Montana, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Montana RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs76
Average NCLEX Passing Rate82.19%86.17%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range71.98% to 95.41%73.91% to 96.96%
Average Net Price$10,439.00$15,151.33
Average Net Price Range$6,927.00 to $12,363.00$11,622.00 to $23,762.00
Average Student Loan$11,265.57$15,671.50
Average Student Loan Range$7,532.00 to $18,250.00$7,532.00 to $23,384.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for Montana StateBSN Rankings for Montana State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Montana

Best Ranked RN Programs in MontanaTo 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 5 ADN degree programs and 5 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


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97.76 ADNHelena College University of Montana145 Helena

Helena College – University of Montana is located in Helena, Montana.  Their program admits 16 student each fall and spring – 8 of which are regular RN cohorts and 8 off which are LPN to BSN pathway cohorts.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
80.00 ADNFlathead Valley Community College2627 Kalispell

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.

PublicCampusSee School Details
65.47 ADNMiles Community College3703 Miles CityPublicCampusACENSee School Details
98.40 BSNMontana Tech of the University of Montana126 Butte

Montana Tech is located in Butte, Montana.  They offer two BSN programs – a pre-licensure and a post-licensure.  The pre-licensure program is for students without a prior degree.  The post-licensure program is for students with a prior RN degree.  Montana Tech’s nursing program is the first four-year nursing program to be approved by Montana in the past 78 years.

PublicCampusCCNESee School Details
92.07 BSNCarroll College2268 Helena

Carroll College is located in Helena, Montana.  Carroll College has a BSN program.  They do offer a select few pre Direct Entry nursing students in their freshman year of college.  They also will accept transfer nursing students if their is space.  Their program is unique in that clinical experiences begin in the second year of the program as opposed to the third year.

Private Not-For-ProfitCampusCCNESee School Details
91.48 BSNMSU Bozeman College of Nursing3286 Bozeman

Montana State University is located in Bozeman, Montana.  Their nursing department is proud to boast that it is the only one in he state to offer master’s degree in nursing.  It is also the oldest state-support institution offering nursing education in Montana; it has been offering its BSN program since 1937.

PublicCampus, HybridACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
81.16 BSNSalish Kootenai College4480 PabloPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusACENSee School Details

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (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.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Montana

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Montana offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties: Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Montana  RN Licensing Requirements

Montana State Board of Nursing 301 South Park PO Box 200513 Helena, MT 59620-0513 (406) 841-2345  Fees: Initial licensing fee, RN: $200 License renewal (every two years), RN: $100 Continuing Education Requirements: RNs: 24 contact hours every renewal period Before a candidate can be eligible for an RN license, he/she must complete a board approved nursing program. Some of the programs offer an Associate of Science degree while others offer a Bachelor of Science degree. There are three ways a nurse can obtain licensure in the state of Montana: by exam, by endorsement, and by completing a program abroad.

RN Licensure by Exam

Nursing graduates need to apply to the Montana Board and submit registration to Pearson VUE. When, and only when, the candidate receives authorization to test, he/she can schedule the exam. There is a $100 fee made payable to the Montana Board and an additional $200 fee paid directly to the testing company. A graduate who has scheduled the exam may obtain a temporary patient and will be able to begin work. If the exam is not passed in the first attempt, the privilege will be taken away.

RN Licensure by Endorsement

Registered nurses who completed a program in one of the other 50 states can apply for licensure by endorsement. The candidate will need to provide proof of licensure from the fist sate where he/she was licensed and from any other sate where the candidate held a license in the more recent two years. A registered nurse applying for credentialing will be required to pay a $200 fee to the Montana Board. Those who passed the licensing exam should provide a copy of their course evaluation.

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

International registered nurses who have not taken the NCLEX must apply for license by examination. They must also complete a qualifying exam through the CGFNS before completing the NCLEX. Candidates must have their credentials professionally required and an English proficiency exam will be required of those who do not come from an exempted country.

RN Salaries in Montana

There are approximately 8,700 nurses working in the state of Montana. This is reflective of the critical roles nurses play in the healthcare industry. It is predicted that there will be over 3,000 new nursing jobs in Montana by the year 2020. Now is a better time than every for registered nurses to pursue higher education to take advantage of all the opportunities that will present themselves after the completion of a BSN program. The nurses in Montana earn a median annual income of $58,200, with the high end of the median possessing more experience and specialized skills.

Montana Registered Nursing Salaries

The southwestern nonmetropolitan area of Montana has the highest number of registered nurses employed. However, it is the western non-metropolitan area that has the highest hourly mean wage and annual median wage.
Area nameEmploymentHourly mean wageAnnual median wage
Billings, MT2,030$31.34$62,370
Great Falls, MT960$29.18$60,240
Missoula, MT1,460$30.85$61,240
Eastern Montana nonmetropolitan area670$28.02$57,850
Central Montana nonmetropolitan area660$26.29$55,700
Southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area2,340$29.05$58,290
Western Montana nonmetropolitan area1,340$30.18$61,440
Source: http://www.dol.gov/, 2014 Data