How to Become an RN in Montana – A Simple Guide

How to Become an RN in Montana - A Simple Guide

You want to become an RN in Montana, right? 

Maybe you’ve realized that it isn’t quite simple. The requirements needed to become one vary from state to state, so it can get confusing.

But, if you want to know the necessary steps of how to become an RN in Montana, you’re in the right place!

In this article, we’ll run down a quick and simple 5-step guide for you! We’ll also answer some common questions you may be thinking of. 

But first… Did you know that there are different types of nurses, not just one? You can check this article to see if a registered nurse (RN) is the specific type of job you’re looking for.

Without further ado, let’s jump in!

How to Become a Registered Nurse in Montana: 5 Simple Steps

Here are the 5 simple steps to becoming a registered nurse in Montana! 

  1. Decide On What You Plan to Do as an RN
  2. Choose the Nursing Education Program that is Best for You
  3. Complete Your Nursing Education Program
  4. Obtain Your RN License in Montana
  5. Get a Nursing Job in Montana

Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps! 

How to Become an RN in Montana Step #1 – Decide On What You Plan to Do as an RN

Becoming an RN is a world full of job opportunities, roles, and possibilities.

First, decide on which path you plan to take as an RN.

Do you prefer working in hospitals? Or perhaps, in doctors’ offices? Are you interested in working with nursing care facilities and with aging people? 

Would you want to work for the government or teach in nursing schools?

As we’ve mentioned, becoming an RN isn’t confined to one job opportunity.

So better decide on which aspect of the job responsibilities of an RN you want to specialize in.

Of course, you don’t need to make a final decision now. You can still change your mind in the long run.

But it’s better to get a general idea of where you plan to work as an RN.

How to Become an RN in Montana Step #2 – Choose the Nursing Education Program that is Best for You

The next step is enrolling in a nursing education school and program.

You have to complete an accredited program, as you will need either a nursing diploma, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

But first, you need to know which type of degree you want to obtain.

What are ADN and BSN?

There are two options for getting a degree in nursing: ADN or BSN.

The Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) is one of the nursing education programs you can take to become an RN. 

An ADN nurse is a healthcare professional with an associate-level education that is attainable in two years. 

Meanwhile, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is an undergraduate degree. Those with a BSN degree can choose to advance their careers by taking the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.

Here is a table that gives a very general comparison of ADN vs BSN.

Time to complete2-3 years4 years
Enrollment feesCheaperMore expensive 
Course workCore nursing subjects:
MicrobiologyFoundations in NursingChemistryBehavioral HealthEnglishCommunications
Core nursing subjects and more:
Anatomy and PhysiologyNutritionEmergency CareStatisticsPsychology/AnthropologyPharmacologyHealth AssessmentFamily, Community, and Population-Based CarePublic and Global HealthNursing Theory, Research, and Ethics
Job ResponsibilitiesBasic nursing care and clinical tasksIncludes more complex aspects of nursing such as direct-care and managerial roles
Job OpportunitiesLessMore
SalaryVaries greatly, but can earn an average annual salary of $41,394.Varies greatly, but can earn an annual income of $46,096.

Based on the table, earning an ADN degree is less time consuming and cheaper compared to a BSN degree.

Getting an ADN or the more “technical” degree can be completed faster than a BSN degree. A BSN degree provides a more comprehensive nursing curriculum

You can still become a registered nurse if you choose to finish with an ADN degree, as you can focus on performing basic healthcare procedures.

Thinking ahead, the BSN degree allows you to expand your capabilities and skills. You will have more opportunities. Investing in becoming a BSN will grant you much more in return.

But don’t you worry, there are people who take the ADN course program first and then pursue a BSN degree later on.

It all depends on your preference and the career path you want to pursue.

How to Choose a Good Nursing School in Montana

Once you’re set on which option you plan to pursue in the future, now it’s time to choose a good nursing school in Montana that best suits your needs.

Enrolling in the best nursing school in Montana isn’t simple. 

You have to consider which school supports licensure and beyond.

You can also research which schools have a high NCLEX-RN passing rate.

The school you choose must be state-approved by the Montana Board of Nursing.

Be aware of schools that aren’t state-approved and are running without a license.

The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is very important as it enhances the skills and tests the competency of nursing school graduates in the US and Canada.

On the other hand, not all schools offer the same programs and curriculums. So better check which is suitable for you. Consider the location of the school and the testimonies from graduates, and do further research.

There are requirements needed for you to enroll in nursing schools in Montana.

ADN program requirements are as follows:

  • Official transcripts
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.5 and an extracted GPA of 2.85 for prerequisites
  • Application fees

BSN program requirements are as follows:

  • Completion of required prerequisite courses with a minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Proof of vaccinations
  • Evidence of current completion of an approved CPR course

How to Become an RN in Montana Step #3 – Complete Your Nursing Education Program

After being accepted into a school, you’ll take some general education courses and prerequisites.

You can further advance into more health-related and nursing courses soon after.

In some cases, you may need to maintain a certain GPA throughout your study.

In school, expect to get hands-on experience as a nursing undergraduate.

As part of your training, you’ll assist professional nurses, do laboratory work, and the like.

Studying in a nursing school will be a great place to make connections with your fellow colleagues. 

This is also where you can get recommendations from other nurses, which will be useful if you choose to take higher studies in the future.

How to Become an RN in Montana Step #4 – Obtain Your RN License in Montana

You need to obtain your license if you plan to become a registered nurse.

Obtaining a Montana RN License by Examination

After graduating and completing your nursing program, you need to pass your national examination to be able to get an RN license. 

To apply for a license with the Montana Board of Nursing, you need to submit documents and pay the application fee of $100. 

You will need to wait for the Montana Board to give you Authorization to Test for the NCLEX-RN. If you’re approved, you will then need to take and pass the exam.

An additional fee of $200 will be paid to the testing company.

If you fail to pass on the first try, you may retake the exam along with a retake application to the Montana Board and pay the $50 fee.

Obtaining a Montana RN License by Endorsement

You can also obtain your Montana license through recommendation or endorsement. 

This only applies to those who already passed the NCLEX-RN in another US state or territory but plan to get a license in Montana.

You will also need to submit documents and pay the application fee.

How to Become an RN in Montana Step # 5 – Get a Nursing Job in Montana

Once you’ve done the previous steps, you’re now a registered nurse!

The healthcare system in Montana lies mainly in the hands of registered nurses. RNs in Montana are employed in diverse organizations, such as long-term care, hospice, and doctors’ offices.

RNs are usually described as staff nurses, but they can also be nurse managers.

According to a summary published by the Montana Department of Labor & Industry in November 2016, only 1.3% of Montana’s RNs are unemployed. 

Montana is a great place to become a registered nurse. There are more part-timer workers than full-time workers in Montana’s healthcare facilities.

It’s also worth noting that you can apply for a temporary permit so that you can start working while waiting for your official RN license to be released. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming an RN in Montana

What is the Average Salary of an RN in Montana?

The average yearly salary of an RN in Montana is $73,610 (or $35.39 per hour), 11% lower than the national average.

How can I upgrade my license?

If you already have an ADN, you can pursue a bachelor’s degree or BSN.

If you are a BSN educated nurse, you can become an advanced practice nurse (APN).

You can also opt to take higher studies and get a master’s and doctorate degree in nursing.

In the world of nursing, you can choose to take limitless possibilities and opportunities.

So choose which one works best for you!

How often do I need to renew my RN license in Montana?

You need to renew your license every two years. 

You will need to complete 24 contact hours of continuing education to be able to renew your license and keep it active. 

How do I apply for a nursing license in Montana if I am a nurse from another country? 

If you plan to apply for a nursing license in Montana and are already a nurse from another country, here’s what you’ll need to do.

You need to provide proof of licensure from the country where you are licensed in the previous two years.

You need to pay $200 to the Montana Board. 

If you’re an international RN who hasn’t taken the NCLEX-RN, you can apply by examination. 

An English proficiency exam will also be required of those who aren’t from exempted countries.

Helpful Resources for Montana RNs

List of Baccalaureate Degree Programs (BSNs) in Montana

Here’s a list of BSN programs approved by the Montana BON:

Montana State University-Bozeman Montana State University
P.O. Box 173560
Bozeman, MT 59717-3560 (406) 994-3783

Montana Technological University
1300 West Park Street
Butte, MT 59701

Montana State
300 West 11th Street
Havre MT 59501

Carroll College
1601 N Benton Ave.
Helena, MT 59625

City Colege at Montana
State University
3803 Central Avenue
Billings, Montana 59102

Miles Community College 2715 Dickinson Street
Miles City, MT 59301

Missoula College
University of Montana
32 Campus Drive
Missoula, MT 59812

Salish Kootenai College
8138 US Hwy 93
Pablo, MT 59855

Helena College
University of Montana
1115 N Roberts St #117, Helena, MT 59601,
United States
+1 406-447-6900

Flathead Valley
Community College
777 Grandview Drive, Kalispell, MT 59901
(406) 756-3822  (800) 313-3822

Blackfeet Community College 504 SE Boundary St, Browning, MT 59417,
United States
(406) 338 5441

Aaniiih Nakoda College
269 Blackfeet Avenue-Agency, Harlem, MT 59526, United States
+1 406-353-2607

University of Providence
1301 20th Street South
Great Falls, Montana 59405 800-856-9544

Visit the Montana BON website for updates.


And there you have it!

We hope we’ve given you some insight through this comprehensive guide on becoming a registered nurse in Montana.

Whether you plan to pursue an ADN or BSN degree, we hope these steps will guide you in your future career as an RN.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below!

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