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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Montana

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 7/21/2023

Embarking on a nursing career in Montana? Selecting the appropriate online nursing program is crucial. Our 2023 list of the best online nursing programs in Montana is designed to help aspiring nurses find a program that suits their needs. With an increased demand for flexibility and convenience in educational systems, online nursing courses have gained popularity. Our list below includes colleges in Montana with online nursing programs and available NCLEX data, making it easier to choose a program that graduates professionals with the best pass rates. 

Alternatively, you may want to check out the most affordable nursing degrees list to help find a budget-friendly option. 

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2023 Best Online Nursing Programs in Montana

School NCLEX Pass Rate Online Enrollment
Montana State University - Billings 87.5% 1,237
University of Providence 86.36% 549
Montana State University - Northern 76.19% 239
Salish Kootenai College 63.64% 3
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Becoming a Nurse in Montana

There are a few paths to becoming a nurse in Montana, and they all start with education. You need a nursing diploma or degree — ranging from a licensed practical nurse (LPN) diploma to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree — and a passing score on the appropriate National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for your level. You can generally earn a license with these accomplishments under your belt, though different types of nurses have different licensing criteria. 

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts high demand for all types of nurses in Montana over the next few years.

The Montana Board of Nursing oversees nursing licenses and renewal in the Treasure State. Aspiring nurses can pursue several different license types, including LPN, registered nurse (RN), and advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) licenses. You can also become a certified nursing aide (CNA) in Montana if you wish to pursue a hands-on, healthcare-related career in less time. 

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts high demand for all types of nurses in Montana over the next few years. The pandemic increased stresses on the healthcare workforce in the state, which is now facing continued shortages of qualified nurses. Thankfully there are several nursing schools in Montana to choose from providing education at all levels.

Read on to discover the pathways needed to become each type of nurse in Montana.

To learn about online nursing programs and requirements in other states, explore our list of accredited nursing degrees by state below:

How To Get a Certified Nursing Aide License in Montana

A prospective CNA must complete a CNA training program approved by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. Enrollees study a range of topics and skills to support their future CNA role, including resident personal care and physical environment, safety and emergency care, nutrition, and death and dying.

Applicants who've graduated must also pass the state CNA exam, which includes a knowledge section and manual skills-based section. Certificate renewals for Montana CNAs occur every two years. To renew a Montana nursing aide registration, CNAs must have worked for pay in their field within the last 24 months. There are no continuing education requirements with the exception of home health aides, who require 12 hours every renewal period.

How To Get a Licensed Practical Nurse License in Montana

To receive a Montana LPN license, applicants must first complete an approved LPN nursing program. Official transcripts should be sent from the school directly to the Board of Nursing. Applicants must submit a $100 fee payment with their forms. They must also pass the NCLEX-PN exam. If they fail the test, they have to wait 45 days before taking it again.

Another portion of the application is a background and fingerprint check. Applicants must send the completed fingerprint card and a $30 payment to complete this step of the process.

LPNs with an active license in a Nursing Licensure Compact state can receive a Montana license without retaking the NCLEX-PN. The state needs to verify their licensure status and receive a $200 fee payment.

LPN renewal occurs every two years, with licenses expiring on December 31 of the second year. Licensed LPNs receive a notice for renewal at least 45 days in advance of their license expiration date. In order to maintain an active Montana nursing license, LPNs must complete 24 continuing education credits during the two-year licensing period.

How To Get a Registered Nurse License in Montana

Aspiring Montana RNs need to graduate from an accredited Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Their college must then send transcripts directly to the Board of Nursing. 

After this, the graduate submits a Montana nursing license application and a $100 fee payment before taking the NCLEX-RN exam. All applicants must undergo a background and fingerprint check and also submit a $30 processing fee.

As with LPNs, RNs with permanent residency in another compact state can practice in Montana. The state needs to verify their status and receive a $200 payment for licensure by credentialing.

All RN licenses expire on December 31 every two years. Licensed RNs receive a renewal notice 45 days before the expiration date. RNs are required to complete 24 continuing education credits within the two-year renewal period. New graduates must also complete continuing education, but the hours are prorated to one hour per licensed month.

RNs can specialize in dozens of practice areas. See our pages about how to become a neonatal nurse, a pediatric nurse, or a travel nurse for details.

How To Get an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse License in Montana

Montana APRN license applicants must be graduates of an accredited Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or DNP program. They must also submit proof of an active RN license in order to receive this more advanced credential. Candidates must complete a fingerprint and background check, which involves a $30 processing fee.

After filling out the application, aspiring APRNs must pay a $75 fee for each specialty for which they are applying. These include the following:

Certified nurse practitioner (CNP)

Certified nurse midwife (CNM)

Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)

Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)

APRNs must receive national certification from an approved professional organization for their specialty before being granted a license in Montana. There is also a separate application process in order to receive authority to prescribe medication and other treatments.

Renewal for APRNs occurs every two years by December 31. The renewal fee is $50 for each APRN certification. During the renewal period, APRNs must complete 24 hours of continuing education.

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