How to Become a CNA in Montana (A Complete 2023 Guide)

How to Become a CNA in Montana

Each state has its own requirements to become a CNA

If you’re not familiar with the process in your state, it’s very easy to get confused. 

We don’t want that for you. 

This is why, here, we’ll give you a complete step-by-step guide specific to Montana. 

So are you ready to learn how to become a CNA in Montana?

Let’s dive right in!

How to Become a CNA in Montana – The 5 Steps to Certification

Here are the 5 steps to becoming a CNA in Montana: 

  1. Figure out your options
  2. Find an ideal program 
  3. Meet the program requirements
  4. Complete your CNA training
  5. Pass the CNA exam
  6. Get certified

Besides providing essential information, we’ll include tips and techniques to make your journey as convenient as possible.

Step 1: Figure Out Your Options

In Montana, aspiring CNAs have 3 options to get their certification. These are:

  • Interstate endorsement
  • Nursing student
  • Examination 

Some are shorter than others, so it’s best to understand all of them before doing anything.

Interstate Endorsement

Not all aspiring CNAs in Montana are fresh out of a training program. Perhaps you’ve recently moved from a different state, where you already worked as a nurse aide.

If you want to continue being a CNA in Montana, you can do that. You can use your multi-state CNA certificate if your previous state is part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NCL)

If not, then the interstate endorsement applies to you. 

The good news? You don’t have to undergo another CNA program or take the exam! 

The not-so-good news? You can’t work in Montana immediately. You’ll still need to apply for certification. 

Fortunately, the application process is fast, easy, and completely online! 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the BOUNDS Portal and type in your details. Don’t forget to check the “CNA Interstate Endorsement” as your application reason. It will lead you through a series of steps to create your account.
  1. You will receive an email, which you must click on to activate your BOUNDS Portal.

NOTE: If you cannot find your name or certificate through the online verification process, you must reapply through BOUNDS.

You’re good to go once your name appears in the Montana State Nurse Aide Registry. That’s it!

Nursing Student

Nursing students attending a nursing program at a Montana university or college can already apply as a CNA. However, they must have already covered the following courses:

Carroll CollegeNU201 — Fundamentals & Health Promotion
Flathead Valley Community CollegeNRSG232 — Foundations of Nursing
Miles Community CollegeNRSG234 — Adult Nursing I
Montana State — BozemanNRSG 115 — Nursing as a Profession ORNRG220 — FNDTNS PLNG PRVDNG CLIN CRS CR
Montana State University NorthernNRGS232 — Foundations of Nursing
Montana State University — BillingsNRGS232 — Foundations of Nursing
Montana State University — Great FallsNRGS232 — Foundations of Nursing OR130 Foundations of Nursing
Montana Tech. University — ButteNRSG210 —Foundations of Prof Nursing
Salish KootenaiNSGD221 — Foundation of NursingNURS305 — Nursing Theory
University of Montana — MissoulaNRGG — Foundations of Nursing
University of Providence — Great FallsNSRG313 — Nursing Practice Fundamentals

Your school must send a copy of your official transcript to the Montana DPHHS. Then go to the BOUNDS Portal and complete the application.

If approved, you can skip to Step 5.


If you don’t fall into either category, you probably belong here. 

With this, you are required to attend an approved CNA training program and pass the CNA exam. 

To become a Certified Nurse Aide, you must attend an approved CNA Training Program and pass the certification exam.

However, you can challenge the CNA Exam. Montana allows all applicants one chance to take the CNA exam without completing the required training. 

If you want to take a shot at it, do the following:

  1. Fill out the Registry Place Application Form (Form 1101MT)
  2. Fill out the Scheduling and Payment Form (Form 1402MT) and pay the appropriate fee
  3. Send it through mail to:


PO BOX 6609, HELENA, MT 59604 

  1. You’ll receive your testing instruction and schedule from Headmaster.

If you pass the challenge, you’ll get your certification. However, if you don’t, you must complete an approved CNA training program before retaking the exam. 

If you don’t plan on challenging the CNA exam, you can move to Step 2. 

Step 2: Find an Ideal Program 

In Montana, there are 78 approved CNA programs available. You can choose to take your CNA training from any of these providers. 

But how do you pick the ideal program for YOU?

Sure, everyone looks for something different in training programs. However, the following items can help you narrow your options:

  • Cost: In this economy, every cent counts. We’re not saying that you should short-change yourself (this is your career we’re talking about, after all!). However, program rates vary between providers, so it’s best to ask around before deciding.
  • Location: Remember that traveling to your school eats your time and money. The nearer the venue is, the more cost-effective it becomes.
  • Program Length: Curriculums between program providers aren’t identical. Some might be shorter than others. There’s nothing wrong with taking a course that finishes sooner. However, make sure it complies with Montana’s education requirements.
  • Flexibility Learning Options: Some students can attend programs full-time, while others have family obligations. See if providers offer different schedules that can work better for you.
  • Reputation: Your network can help you find the ideal CNA school. If you know other CNAs, try asking where they completed their training and how their experience was. They might be able to give you insights about some providers.

Step 3: Meet the Program Requirements

So you’ve chosen your ideal program. 

Now it’s time to enroll. 

Remember, each provider will have its own requirements that you need to meet. 

Here is a general guideline of what CNA programs in Montana look for: 

  • Be at least 16 or 17 years old
  • Have a high school diploma to demonstrate Math and English proficiency (if this is not available, you can show a GED or TABE score)
  • Proof of vaccinations for Hepatitis B and Chickenpox 
  • Proof of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) immunization
  • A negative TB test
  • Pass a criminal background

Step 4: Complete Your CNA Training

In Montana, you are required to go through at least 75 hours of CNA training. Within the 75 hours, expect to spend 45 hours in a classroom and 25 hours in clinical training. 

If the program is longer, that might mean 50 hours of classroom instruction and 30 hours of hands-on clinical training. 

Here are some topics your training may cover:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Safety and emergency procedures
  • Communication skills
  • Behavioral responses
  • Taking and recording vital signs
  • Proper handwashing techniques 
  • And much more!

Step 5: Pass the CNA Exam

D&S Headmaster administers the CNA exam in Montana. 

Now, it’s your responsibility to register and schedule an exam. 

Here’s what to do:

  1. Log in to your D&S Headmaster account with your Test ID and PIN. If you complete an approved CNA program, the provider will create an account for you.
  1. While there, schedule your CNA exam, pick your testing location, and pay the appropriate fees:
    • Knowledge test – $20
    • Oral test – $31
    • Skills test – $77

NOTE: If you can’t pay online, fill out the Payment and Scheduling Form-1402 MT and submit it, along with the appropriate fee, to D&S Headmaster.  

  1. You’ll receive a confirmation letter with your scheduled test date and location. You will need to bring it to your test site. 

NOTE: “No show” candidates must reapply and pay the exam fees again.

  1. On your scheduled date, arrive 30 minutes early so you can check-in. Don’t forget to bring the following:
    • A valid government-issued ID with a signature and photo
    • Your original Social Security card
    • Sharpened, number 2 pencils with erasers
    • Appropriate attire 
    • A watch with a secondhand
  1. Take and pass the CNA exam. 

What can you expect from the exam?

For the knowledge or oral test, you have to answer 72 multiple-choice questions in 90 minutes. To pass, you need a score of at least 75%.

As for the skills test, you will need to perform 5 nurse aide skills. The first skill you will have to perform is proper handwashing techniques. The remaining 4 will be selected at random. 

To pass, you need to perform the key steps perfectly and get at least 80% for the non-key steps. 

Step 6: Get Certified

Once you pass the CNA exam, the D&S Headmaster will add your name to the Montana Nurse Aide Registry. 

Congratulations! You can now practice as a nurse aide. 

Frequently Asked Questions About CNAs in Montana

For more information, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about CNAs in Montana. 

What happens if I fail the CNA exam in Montana?

If you fail both portions of the exam, you will have to retake everything. 

If you fail one portion of the exam, you will only have to retake the portion you failed. 

To retake, you will need to schedule another appointment and pay the retake fee. 

When does my CNA certification expire in Montana?

Your CNA certificate expires after 24 months. Its expiration date is on the last day of the month you received it.

To renew your certification, you must have worked as a CNA within the renewal period. Although Montana does not require a specific number of hours, you must have received compensation for your services.

Can I renew my CNA certificate online in Montana?

Yes, the Montana DPHHS only accepts CNA certificate renewals online through BOUNDS

How much do CNAs earn in Montana?

The median annual salary of certified nurse aides in Montana is $32,050. It’s only slightly lower than the national median of $33,250.

Where do most CNAs work?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that most CNAs find employment in skilled nursing facilities. They make up 37% of all nursing assistants as of 2020.

Hospitals rank second. 30% of CNAs work there, regardless of whether it’s state, private, or public.

Some CNAs work in retirement communities and assisted living facilities (11%), home healthcare (6%), and government agencies (4%).

It’s up to you to decide where you want to work as a nurse aide. 

The Wrap Up

So that was how to become a CNA in Montana. 

It was so complicated, right?

If you just follow the steps one by one, you’ll soon be on your way to being a certified nurse aide in the state. 

Good luck!

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