2021 - Best LPN Programs 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 9% increase in licensed practical nurse (LPN) jobs by 2029. LPNs in Montana earn approximately $21.05 per hour, which equates to an average annual salary of $43,770. This is roughly $3,280 per year less than the national average.
Are you looking to become a licensed practical nurse in Montana? The school you choose is important when it comes to getting your license. Approved programs in Montana are offered at community colleges, technical centers, and private career schools - we list 5 schools across the state. After careful review of NCLEX-PN exam first-time pass rates over the past several years, we have ranked the top 3 programs. For more information on our LPN program rankings, see our Methodology page.
To see all the top ranked LPN programs in Montana click here.
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
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.
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 nearly $7,000 in their entirety. This estimate is for Montana residents and does not include the cost of supplies or housing.
For those interested in advancing their nursing career, see our Montana LPN to RN/BSN programs page.
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 NLC
Montana has adopted the Nursing License Compact (NLC), 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)
- Total Number of State Approved LPN Schools: 5
- Total Number of Test Takers in 2020: 39
- 2020 Average Statewide Montana NCLEX-PN Pass Rate: 89.7%
City College of Montana State University - Billings
City College of Montana State University - Billings is home to a practical nursing program that results in a Certificate of Applied Science (CAS). The program is delivered in a convenient distance-learning format, with most courses taken online and minimal campus visits required. Students complete their hands-on clinical hours at an approved location near them. Graduates are prepared for the NCLEX-PN licensure exam and beyond.
Great Falls College MSU
Students looking for a flexible practical nursing program can enroll in Great Falls College MSU's CAS-PN option. Students can attend the program in-person or via distance/hybrid learning methods, in either a full-time or part-time format. The curriculum includes didactic learning, lab skills, and clinical experiences.
Flathead Valley Community College
For those interested in entry-level nursing, Flathead Valley Community College's LPN program can give students the knowledge and skills necessary to become efficient practical nurses. Offered at both the Kalispell and Lincoln County campuses, FVCC's program teaches students to address patients in a safe, holistic way.
Programs Not Included In Rankings
Blackfeet Community College
504 SE Boundary St, Browning, MT 59417
1115 N Roberts St, Helena, MT 59601
Are we missing your school's program or need to make changes to the information listed? Please contact us.
Additional MT Nursing Resources
- Montana State Board of Nursing
301 South Park
PO Box 200513
Helena, MT 59620-0513
Phone: (406) 841-2340
- Montana Nurses Association
20 Old Montana State Highway
Montana City, MT 59634
Phone: (406) 442-1841
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.
|Area||Total Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Salary|