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Navigating the Nursing Profession in Montana

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Let us help you land on your dream job here in Montana! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in Montana, and more!


Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Montana

  • Popular hospitals in Montana

  • Nursing associations in Montana

  • Contact details


Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. You can also visit the Montana licensing page to know more details.

As a nursing compact state, Montana lets nurses obtain multi-state licenses.

*Fees may change without any notice.


Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the Montana Board of Nursing website. Montana has a Verification page for you to verify your license.

  2. Complete all your continuing education requirements BEFORE your license expires

  3. Apply for your renewal process by going to the Montana Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information. Be reminded that if your Primary State of Residency is not Montana, you can not apply for a licensure in Montana because it is a compact state. You must declare that Montana is your Primary State of Residency to be able to do so.


Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

The following are the Continuing Education Requirements for nurses in Montana.

  • For RN, you must have 24 contact hours every 2 years.

  • For LPN, you need to complete 24 contact hours every 2 years.

  • For APRN, 24 contact hours every 2 years is required every 2 years.

Required Nursing CEU Courses in Montana

The Montana Board of Nursing mandates nurses to obtain contact hours on the following topics, added to any CEUs that nurses choose.

  • 1.5 contact hrs - Role of the Board

  • 1.5 contact hrs - Delegation

  • 2.5 contact hrs - Filing of Complaints to the Board

  • 1.5 contact hrs - Nurse Licensure Compact

  • 2 contact hrs - Licensing Process

  • 2 contact hrs - Substance Abuse Disorder

  • 2 contact hrs - Scope of Practice for LPNs and RNs

  • 2 contact hrs - Ethics

The Montana Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.


Licensing and Certification

Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. These programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. If you have an ADN but you wanna pursue your bachelor’s, there are certain programs that let you earn your BSN in 12 to 18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. Said programs let you save on time and money as you work towards advancing your career.

Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1) health promotion and maintenance; (2) safe and effective care environment; (3) physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.

Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.


Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Montana

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is currently $73,610.

Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if Montana is the right place for you.


Popular Hospitals in Montana

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in Montana or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in Montana. Here are some of them:

  • St. Patrick Hospital – (Missoula, MT):

    • Regionally ranked #1 in Montana

    • Rated high performing in 1 adult specialty and 10 procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Part of the Magnet Recognition Program®

    • Specialties include Pulmonology & Lung Surgery, Aortic Valve Surgery, and Procedures and conditions related to Neurology & Neurosurgery

  • SCL Health-St. Vincent Healthcare-Billings – (Billings, MT):

    • Rated high performing in 6 adult procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Part of the Magnet Recognition Program®

    • Specialties include Colon Cancer Surgery, Maternity Care (Uncomplicated Pregnancy), and Procedures and Conditions Related to Orthopedics

  • Barrett Hospital and Healthcare – (Dillon, MT):

    • Rated high performing in 1 adult procedure or condition

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Specializes in Hip Fracture, among other fields.

  • Benefis Health System-Great Falls – (Great Falls, MT):

    • Rated high performing in 3 adult procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Specialties include Heart Failure, Kidney Failure, and Stroke

  • Billings Clinic – (Billings, MT):

    • Rated high performing in 1 adult specialty and 6 procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility and a teaching hospital

    • Specialties include Colon Cancer Surgery, Heart Attack & Heart Failure, Maternity Care, Kidney Failure, and Pneumonia.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) awards Magnet Status to Hospitals that apply and meet certain criteria. This award is also considered as the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care.


Nursing Associations in Montana

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in Montana.

Montana Student Nurses’ Association – “This association is a provider of numerous activities on outreach programs all throughout the year. Having this association helps you develop your ability to lead and it is a “plus point” having this written on your resume.”

Montana Nurses Association – “This organization is known to be a leader for the professional nurses in the state. It serves as the voice of the local nurses to national levels.”

Montana Association of School Nurses - “The main goal of this group is to promote and advance healthcare services in schools by catering the interests and rights of its school nurse members.”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Contact Details

Montana Board of Nursing

For licensing questions:

Phone: (406) 444-6880

For questions related to practice, rules, or education call the Executive Director:

Phone: (406) 841-2380


301 S. Park Ave. 4th Floor

PO Box 200513

Helena, MT 59620-0513

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