How to Become an LPN in Montana – A Simple Guide

How to Become an LPN in Montana - A Simple Guide

There’s no denying how much the health industry has grown in recent years and there are no signs of it slowing down.

Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is one of the best decisions you can make in your career!

If you’re looking at doing this here in Montana, the time to do this is now as more hospitals and clinics are looking for LPNs.

But there are several requirements you need to check off to get your license.

That’s what we’ll discuss here!

In this article, you’ll know everything you need to do, submit, and pass to become an LPN. And the best part is, it’s simple and easy to understand.

We’ll also answer FAQs, including:

  • How much do LPNs make in Montana?
  • How do you transfer an out-of-state LPN license to Montana?
  • How do I renew my LPN license in Montana?

Continue reading below for the steps on how to become an LPN in Montana.

How to Become an LPN in Montana in 4 Easy Steps

  • Step #1: Attend and Complete a Board-Approved LPN Program in Montana
  • Step #2: Apply for Licensure through the Montana Board of Nursing
  • Step #3: Take and Pass the National Council Licensure Examination
  • Step #4: Get Your License and Apply for Employment

Step #1: Attend and Complete a Board-Approved LPN Program in Montana

When you become an LPN, you go beyond assisting patients in daily activities such as bathing and feeding. You record their vital signs, administer medication, monitor the health of the patients, and report these to an RN or physician. 

This is why the state, just like other states, calls for the need to enroll in state-approved training programs.

Typically, programs are as long as 1 to 2 years, depending on your schedule and attendance. 

If you are devoted to attending your classes, you can finish them in less than a year. 

What are the approved LPN programs in Montana?

Make sure that the program you enroll in is approved by the Montana Board of Nursing. If not, your LPN program will not qualify you to become an LPN in the future!

To look for accredited programs, you can check the Montana Board of Nursing’s list.

You can also look up the NCLEX-PN pass rates of the different schools to give you a better idea of whose graduates perform best on the national exams. 

What are the admissions requirements?

Before you get to enroll in a program, you need to comply with the school’s admission requirements.

Each school has unique requirements, but these are general ones you may expect:

  • A high school diploma or GED
  • Complete prerequisite courses
  • A letter of recommendation
  • Copy of your TEAS test result

What can you expect in LPN training programs?

LPN training programs are usually divided into three phases. The first phase is for your prerequisite subjects; the second phase is mostly on nursing fundamentals; and the last phase tackles adult nursing and leadership.

Here’s the usual breakdown of courses:

Phase 1

  • Basic Human Biology
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Math Applications
  • Lab
  • College Writing

Phase 2

  • Basic Human Biology
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Math Applications
  • Lab
  • College Writing

Phase 3 

  • Adult Health Nursing
  • Nursing Care of Women and Children
  • Leadership Issues for Practical Nurses
  • Leadership Issues for Practical Nurses Clinical

You will also be exposed to different healthcare settings where you get to put into practice the theories that you learn in the classroom. 

You will be supervised by RNs in real-life work settings. 

How much are the tuition fees and costs?

In Montana, a program’s average cost is around $7,000, and a semester is slightly above $2,000. 

Of course, prices would depend on the school, but best to prepare amounts closer to these figures.

And remember that there are additional costs for books, uniforms, materials, etc. 

Step #2: Apply for Licensure through the Montana Board of Nursing

Graduating from an LPN program is already a big accomplishment, but it’s not the end of the road. 

You still need to take the NCLEX-PN. 

To be able to take this exam, you first have to apply for licensure by examination through the Montana BON

These are the requirements that you will need to submit to the BON:

  • Filled up the application form 
  • Official transcript sent to the board directly from your school 
  • Registration for the NCLEX-PN exam with Pearson Vue (found through ncsbn.org/nclex) 
  • Verification of all official licenses from states and jurisdictions in which you hold or have ever held a professional license of any type
  • A detailed explanation of the event(s) and documentation from the source (if you answered yes to any of the disciplinary questions)  
  • Fingerprint Background Check  
  • Non-Criminal Notice of Applicants Rights form  
  • For internationally-educated applicants, credential review (CGFNS or Josef Silny & Associates) from source
  • An application fee of $100.

After you submit the requirements, the BON will evaluate if you qualify to take the exam. 

You can proceed to take the test when you receive the Authorization to Test (ATT) document after submitting the requirements.

Step #3: Take and Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN)

The NCLEX-PN is a nationally-required examination to determine if you are ready to practice as a practical nurse. 

Exam takers are provided 5 hours to complete the 85 to 250-question test. 

What are the contents of the NCLEX-PN?

The NCLEX-PN covers 4 main categories – Safe and Effective Care Environment, Health Promotion and Maintenance, Psychosocial Integrity, and Physiological Integrity. 

Each main category is further divided into different subcategories. It’s best to remember and study for these items, as they will surely come up in the exam.

Safe and Effective Care Environment

  • Coordinated Care
  • Safety and Infection Control

Health Promotion Maintenance

  • Aging Process
  • Ante/Intra/Postpartum and Newborn Care
  • Data Collection Techniques
  • Disease Prevention
  • Immunizations
  • High-Risk Behaviors
  • Self Care
  • Developmental Stages and Transitions

Psychosocial Integrity

  • Mental Health Concepts
  • Chemical Dependency
  • Behavioral Management
  • Crisis Intervention
  • End-of-Life Care
  • Coping Mechanisms

Physiological Integrity

  • Basic Care and Comfort
  • Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
  • Reduction of Risk Potential
  • Physiological Adaptation

Questions are mostly multiple-choice, where you can choose the answer from a selection provided. Some parts, though, will have multiple responses, fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop, and chart questions.

Don’t worry! There are many resources online that can help you prepare for this exam. They mimic the NCLEX and give you a feel of what the exam will be like. 

How much is the NCLEX-PN Exam?

The exam costs $200, whichever state you’re in. 

This is separate from the $100 application fee that you need to pay to the Montana BON. 

Step #4: Get Your License and Find Employment

You will receive your results from the Montana Board of Nursing whether or not you passed.

If you do pass, we encourage you to look for a job pronto and harvest the fruits of your labor!

Where can you find jobs?

You can go to many places if you are an LPN in Montana. 

The top and most common choices would be nursing homes and extended care. Around 22% of LPNs choose to work in these facilities. Closely following this would be hospitals, home health care services, and public health settings.

Other places you could work include schools, correctional facilities, and even private duty organizations. You can also find LPNs in correctional institutions and dialysis centers.

Once you’re employed, don’t forget to keep your license active!

LPN licenses expire every 2 years in Montana. So make sure to submit a renewal application before it expires.

FAQs About Becoming an LPN in Montana

How much do LPNs make in Montana?

LPNs earn around $21.05 per hour, which can total an annual salary of $43,770. 

The top 3 areas based on employment and average hourly wage are the following:

Area:Hourly Wage:
Butte$49.11/hour
Roundup$42.66/hour
Dillon$40.01/hour
Havre$38.24/hour
Glendive$37.78/hour
Billings$33.91/hour

You can check other areas’ hourly salaries here

How do you transfer an out-of-state LPN license to Montana?

The first step is to check whether or not your state is an NLC (Nursing Licensing Compact) state. 

If it is, then you can get your LPN license through reciprocity. This’ll remove all re-application processes for LPN licenses and additional fees.

If not, then you will have to go through the whole process of getting your LPN license in Montana. 

How do I renew my LPN license in Montana?

Montana licenses – both RN and LPN expire at the same time. You need to renew them on or before December 31st every 2 years.

To do so, simply go to this site and complete the application form. Filling out the application form will take you less than 5 minutes since it’ll ask for your basic information, your educational background, and previous work experience.

Prepare a total of $130 for the renewal fee ($100) and processing fee ($30). 

You’ll also need to complete at least 24 hours of CE education. 

Conclusion

That’s all you’ll need if you wish to become an LPN in Montana!

One to two years of preparation is not so bad if you want a stable and fulfilling job! 

Just complete all the requirements and don’t forget to enjoy every step of the way.

We wish you all the best on your LPN journey! 

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