How to Become an LPN in Montana

LPN Programs and License Requirements, Salary and Job Outlook

The state of Montana maintains the health standards by promoting quality nursing education. Those individuals who are passionate about helping people and have an interest in the nursing field can get into the health care team and serve the community. The candidates can begin as an LPN and slowly, climb the ladder to attain more prestigious designations. License practical nurse is the fastest method to enter into the nursing profession. It is just a year long program and some colleges wrap it up in even lesser time.

The coursework is divided into semesters. The students are equipped with sufficient skills in laboratory and the classroom, to excel in the workplace. Some of the subjects taught are- English, Mathematics, Human Anatomy, and Physiology. There are five accredited nursing schools in Montana that provide an LPN program. Although the state has limited schools, the amenities provided are top-notch.

LPN Schools in Montana

Here is the list of approved LPN programs in the state of Montana.

1
Rank

Montana State University Billings

Type of Course:AAS (Associate of Applied Science)

This is one of the top nursing schools in Montana that provide an exceptional education. The college was founded in 1969 by the name of Billings Vocational-Technical Education Center (BVTC). The college is known for outstanding teaching faculties who are experts in their area. It shares partnership with Red Rocks Community College in Denver, Colorado.

  • Address:

    1500 University Drive, Billings, MT 59101
  • Contact Number:

    800-565-6782
  • Official Website:

  • Type of Course:

    AAS (Associate of Applied Science)
  • Fee:

    $9,453 (Tuition and Fees-$6,653, Books and Supplies-$2,800)
  • Financial Aid:

    yes
  • Number of Students:

    4,030 (all undergraduate, fall 2015)
2
Rank

Flathead Valley Community College

Type of Course:Certificate of Applied Science (CAS)

It proves to be an excellent practical nursing program in Montana. The Flathead Valley Community College was established in 1967 and is located in a large area of 216 acres. The college works with a mission of student success and meeting the needs of the community. The college has experienced faculty and small class size that guarantee individualized attention to the students. The college fosters an environment that enhances the productivity of the students and teachers.

  • Address:

    777 Grandview Drive, Kalispell, MT 59901
  • Contact Number:

    800-313-3822
  • Official Website:

  • Type of Course:

    Certificate of Applied Science (CAS)
  • Fees:

    $9,171 (Tuition and Fees-$7,671, Books and Supplies-$1,500)
  • Financial Aid:

    yes
  • Number of Students:

    2,169 (all undergraduate, fall 2015)
3
Rank

Great Falls College

Type of Course:Certificate of Applied Science (CAS)

The college was established in 1969 and got accreditation 10 years later by Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges. Great Falls College’s practical nursing program is a part of the Montana University System. The college strives to maintain high education standards through lecture, laboratory and clinical experience. It delivers competent graduates who can stand up to the needs of the employers and can work ethically.

  • Address:

    2100 16th Avenue South, Great Falls, MT 59405
  • Contact Number:

    800-446-2698
  • Official Website:

  • Type of Course:

    Certificate of Applied Science (CAS)
  • Fees:

    $8,931 (Tuition and Fees-$5,384, Books and Supplies-$3,547)
  • Financial Aid:

    yes
  • Number of Students:

    1,657 (all undergraduate)
4
Rank

Helena College

Type of Course:Certificate of Applied Science (CAS)

Helena College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The college provides online courses for students who can’t attend regular classes. The nursing program prepares the students to work in the dynamic environment of various health care settings.

  • Address:

    1115 North Roberts, St. Helena, Montana 59601
  • Contact Number:

    406-447-6900
  • Official Website:

  • Type of Course:

    Certificate of Applied Science (CAS)
  • Fees:

    $8,678 – $13,378 (as per the length of the program)
  • Financial Aid:

    yes
  • Number of Students:

    1,454 (all undergraduate)
5
Rank

Missoula College

Type of Course:AAS (Associate of Applied Science)

Missoula College provides 35 technical and occupational programs. The students are given a practical experience with the real-world applications and get a career-focused education leading to the fulfillment of their goals. The college works with a mission of developing a student-centered learning environment that encourages workforce development and leads to the growth of an individual.

  • Address:

    909 South Avenue West, Missoula, MT 59801-7910
  • Contact Number:

    406-243-7852
  • Official Website:

  • Type of Course:

    Associate of Applied Science
  • Fees:

    • In-State – $4,943 (Tuition Fees – $3,543, Books and Supplies – $1,400 )
    • Out-of-State – $13,555 (Tuition Fees – $12,155, Books and Supplies – $1,400 )
  • Financial Aid:

    yes
  • Number of Students:

    13,044 (10,777 undergraduate)

Licensure Requirements

When the LPN program is about to end, the candidates should start preparing for the licensure test by filling the required application and registering with the exam conducting agency. NCLEX-PN is the exam that every candidate needs to pass in order to become a licensed practical nurse. Soon after passing this examination, these professionals get the license and are eligible to work in the professional environment. The government has made it necessary for the candidates to attain the license before practicing the profession as a nurse is a responsible position where inaccurate knowledge can lead to the serious consequences.

Licensure by Examination

The candidates who have completed their nursing education in the state must follow the given procedure to attain the license by examination.

  • The nurses must complete a practical nursing program from an accredited college.
  • Download the application form and submit it with a fee of $100 through money order or cashier’s check payable to the “Montana Board of Nursing”. In case; the candidate is also applying for a temporary permit, s/he must pay an additional fee of $25
  • Next, the nurses must request the school (from where they have completed their education) to submit the official transcripts directly to the Board.
  • The candidates should submit the complete application along with the relevant fees and documents to:
  • Montana Board of Nursing
    PO BOX 200513 (301 S Park, 4th Floor)
    Helena, Montana 59620-0513

  • The students should also register with the nursing agency that conducts the test, before or immediately after submission of the application form by any of the following ways:
  • Online- The candidates can fill the form and submit online by paying a fee of $200 by Visa, American Express, or MasterCard.
    By Mail- The candidates can download the application and mail it to the exam conducting agency along with a money order or cashier check of $200 payable to the NCSBN (National Council of State Boards of Nursing).
    NCLEX Operations
    Post Office Box 64950
    St. Paul, Minnesota 55164-0950

  • The Nursing Board would inform the testing agency (Pearson VUE) after verifying all your documents.
  • Pearson Vue would send you ATT (Authorization to Test) by dropping an email or sending it to your address.

Note: The application fee is non-refundable.

Foreign Nursing School Graduates

Those students who have completed their education from a foreign nursing school should download and submit a complete application along with the required fees and the following documents:

  • The results of credentials review by a credential review agency or any other Board of Nursing that verifies the foreign nursing program and ensure that it is equivalent to the LPN programs in the United States.
  • Next, the candidates should provide a proof of clearing the NCLEX-PN program.
  • License verification (those who are holding an active license in another state).
  • Documentation, including jurisdiction and date of any previous license, held or denial.
  • A detailed explanation and supporting documentation to all the background related queries.
  • Acquire an official course-by-course evaluation report by foreign education evaluation agency, like CGFNS or IERF, that is approved by the board.
  • The candidates should also complete an English proficiency test that is authorized by the Board-approved foreign education evaluation agency, i.e., CGFNS. The graduates, who have completed their nursing education from Ireland, New Zealand, Tobago, Trinidad, Australia, Canada (except Quebec) and the United Kingdom, are free from this obligation.
  • The candidates must request the Board-approved foreign education evaluation agency to send all the certification documents directly to the Board office.

The applications remain active for one year. If the applicant is unable to complete the application process within one year, s/he must register again by filling the application form and depositing the appropriate fees. The candidates, who are unable to clear the exam in the first attempt, need to submit the examination retake fee to sit for the exam again.

To download the offline application for licensure by examination, click here.

Licensure by Endorsement

The practical nurses, who hold an active license in any other U.S. state and want to continue work in Montana, can do so by getting licensure by endorsement. For this, you need to follow the following procedure:

  • The candidates must fill the application for licensure by endorsement and attach a money order or cashier’s check of $200 (payable to the “Montana Board of Nursing”). A temporary license can be requested by depositing an additional fee of $25 to the Board, along with the application.
  • The nurse should request the verification of license by the original state of licensure and all the other professional licenses that the candidate held in the last two years (irrespective of the status).
  • If the original state of licensure participates in NURSYS, complete the verification process online and submit the required fees.
  • Those candidates, who are licensed in the states that are not a member of NURSYS, need to request the verification directly from the original Board of licensure.

Note- The candidates should not submit the photocopy of the license as they are not accepted as verification.

Montana Nursing License Renewal

Montana nursing license can be renewed on December 31st of even-numbered years. Every state requires the nurse to complete a minimum number of CEU (Continuing Education Units) or contact hours at the time of renewal. The practical nurses in Montana must complete a minimum of 24 contact hours during the renewal period of two years.

For online license renewal application, click here. Also, you can apply offline in order to renew your LPN license.

Montana Nursing License Verification

The nurses can check the status of their license through Nurse Licensure Verification System. The applicants need to submit a fee of $30 to verify the license. The NURSYS online verification system can be used by the candidates who are applying for licensure through endorsement.

Licensure Denial

The candidates can be denied of licensure in the following cases:

  1. Failure to satisfy the standards and requirements sought by the law and the board.
  2. Unable to clear the licensure examination.
  3. Misrepresentation in the licensure or examination application.
  4. Behavior that may result in a disciplinary action as stated under 37-1-316.
  5. Conviction of a felony except as stated in 37-1-203.

Temporary Practice Permit

Once the application is submitted with all the documents and fees, the candidates can start practicing nursing by attaining a temporary work permit. If the candidate is unable to clear the exam, the permit becomes invalid within three days of the result.

If the candidate has cleared the examination, then the permit would remain valid till the license is granted or until two weeks after the Board notifies the exam result by mail, whichever occurs first. Click here to get detailed information.

You can contact Montana’s Nurse Aide Registry at 406-444-4980 or at cna@mt.gov to get information about the license.

Click here to download the offline application form for a temporary permit.

Name and Address Change

The candidates who wish to change the address in the license can click here. Choose the option of “Address Change” from the box given on the left-hand side.

For changing the name, the candidates should download the form by clicking here. The students must fill the form and attach a copy of any of the following as an evidence of your new name.

  • Social Security Card (with your new name)
  • Driver’s license (with your new name)
  • Marriage license or divorce decree or any other document that indicates your changed name.

Average Annual Salary of Licensed Practical Nurses in Montana

As per indeed.com, the average annual salary of the practical nurses in Montana was $43,000 (as of 23rd December 2016). According to the surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of LPNs in Montana was $39,490, while the mean hourly wage was $18.98 (as of May 2015).

Various Job Titles for LPNs/LVNs with Average Annual Salaries

Job Title Salary
LPN Ambulatory $28,000
LPN Long Term Care $27,000
Correctional Prison Facility $19,000
Medical Assistant Family Practice $24,000
CNA Medical Surgical $23,000
Patient Care Technician Student $14,000
Nar Nursing Assistant Hope $21,000
LPN Primary Care $39,000
Clinical Nurse LPN $31,000
Psychiatric Nurse $48,000
Nurse RN LPN $41,000
LPN LVN $34,000
Renal Dialysis Nurse $44,000
LPN Cma Rma $25,000
Long Term Care LPN $22,000

Information Source: indeed.com

From the analysis of the above table, it can be inferred that the Psychiatric Nurses earned the maximum salary with $48,000 per annum, whereas the Patient Care Technician Students earned the least (i.e., $14,000) in Montana (as of 23rd December 2016).

Average Annual Salaries of LPNs/LVNs in Different Cities

Name of the City Salary
Billings $42,239
Bozeman $27,219
Butte $27,219
Great Falls $39,285
Helena $36,281
Kalispell $41,143
Missoula $27,219

Information Source: salary.com

As per the above information, LPNs earned the maximum salary (i.e., $42,239) in Billings, whereas in Butte, Missoula, and Bozeman, they received the same amount, i.e., $27,219 per annum (as of 30th November 2016).

Job Outlook for Licensed Practical Nurses in Montana

Licensed practical nurses have a bright future in Montana with more job opportunities coming up. The reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics predict that the job opportunities are expected to increase by 16% by 2024. As per the data of the BLS, there were 5.606 employed LPNs per 1000 jobs, in May 2015. This data shows that this state is a great platform for the aspirants of licensed practical or vocational nursing.