Becoming an LPN in Montana

The state of Montana works toward consistent standards of health practices by encouraging continuing competency standards, as well as rules, policies and procedures for healthcare. They also promote professional nursing practices to ensure high quality healthcare service for the whole community. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has predicted a staggering 12% increase in licensed practical nurse (LPN) jobs by 2026. With the BLS reporting the average annual salary of LPNs in Montana at $40,920, it’s easy to see why students are choosing to pursue these nursing programs.

Details on Montana LPN Schools & Classes

Montana is home to a handful of schools that offer quality practical nursing programs. Prospective students in the state can expect a total length of roughly 1-2 years to complete the program, depending on full-time or part-time study. Many can be completed in just 3 semesters.

Once enrolled in an LPN program, students take a mix of basic courses and specialized nursing courses/labs as part of the comprehensive curriculum. Course titles may include:

  • Fundamentals of Nursing
  • Nursing Pharmacology
  • Gerontology and Community Nursing
  • Adult Health Nursing
  • Nursing Care of Women and Children
  • Leadership Issues for Practical Nurses

Accreditation

In order to find a high-quality LPN program, students are advised to search for accredited schools. These schools have gone through evaluations to ensure that they meet every standard. Accrediting bodies such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing are good ones to look for when researching programs. Students can also see which programs are endorsed locally by the Montana Board of Nursing.

Admission Requirements

Practical nursing programs are popular and therefore can be highly selective. Students must ensure that they meet all admissions requirements before applying. While these may differ depending on school, they usually include:

  • High school diploma/GED
  • Completion of any/all prerequisite courses
  • Previous hands-on healthcare experience in the last 5 years
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Copy of TEAS test
  • Personal interview with nursing faculty/staff

Tuition and Costs

Paying for nursing school might seem challenging, so understanding your projected expenses is important. Total cost will vary from school to school, but students will generally be expected to cover tuition, supplies such as textbooks, and mandatory school fees. For those worried about the affordability of these programs, financial aid and scholarships are typically available (be sure to inquire with your school of choice’s financial aid department).

As an example, tuition and fees for the practical nursing program at MSU Billings City College will run you roughly $6,653 in their entirety. This estimate is for Montana residents and does not include the cost of supplies or housing.

Montana LPN Licensing Requirements

In order to receive state nursing licensure in Montana, the applicant must submit an application to the state once he or she has completed the required educational program and registered for testing (NCLEX-PN). Proof of the following must also be submitted along with the application:

  • Official transcript from state-approved nursing program sent directly from the school
  • Proof of registration (ATT) for the NCLEX

Montana LPN licenses expire December 31st every even-numbered year, and 24 hours of continued education must be met every 2-year licensing period.

NCLEX Exam Information

All Montana practical nursing students are required to pass the NCLEX-PN examination before being granted an LPN license. A comprehensive overview of the test can be found here. Additionally, an NCLEX-PN practice test is available to help students prepare and study for the examination.

LPN Reciprocity and eNLC

Montana has adopted the Enhanced Nursing License Compact (eNLC), which allows licensed nurses to practice in any state that is a part of the compact without having to apply for a new nursing license.

Montana will allow LPNs from non-compact states to apply for a license by endorsement. This application requires the following:

  • Proof of current license in another US state for at least the last 2 years
  • Official transcripts from state-approved nursing program
  • Proof of having passed the NCLEX exam
  • Course-by-course review (foreign applicants)
  • English proficiency (foreign applicants)

LPN Salary in Montana By Area

The table below lists career information obtained from the BLS for licensed practical nurses in Montana. The table is sorted by total employment, with the largest metropolitan areas listed first.

AreaTotal EmploymentAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Billings530$18.91$39,330
Missoula380$18.68$38,840
Great Falls300$19.91$41,410

For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Montana LPN to RN/BSN programs page.

LPN Programs in Montana

ProgramDetails
Blackfeet Community College
504 SE Boundary St, Browning, MT 59417
(406) 338-5441 Visit Homepage
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City College of Montana State University - Billings
1500 University Dr, Billings, MT 59101
(406) 657-2011 Visit Homepage
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Flathead Valley Community College
777 Grandview Dr, Kalispell, MT 59901
(406) 756-3822 Visit Homepage
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Great Falls College
2100 16th Ave S, Great Falls, MT 59405
(406) 771-4300 Visit Homepage
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Helena College
1115 N Roberts St, Helena, MT 59601
(406) 447-6900 Visit Homepage
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