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Montana Nursing Programs and Degrees Guide

The following guide contains important information on the nursing programs offered in the state of Montana. The undergraduate and graduate nursing programs in Montana often allow students to focus their studies on a specific area of nursing, such as family nurse practitioner and health administration and informatics. Some students, however, require more flexibility than a traditional, on-campus nursing program affords. Online bachelor’s and master’s nursing programs can be a flexible alternative to traditional on-campus study.

Schools with Nursing Programs

  • 12 colleges and universities offer an associate’s degree in nursing.
  • 6 colleges and universities offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing.
  • 1 university offers a master’s or advanced degree in nursing.
  • 1 school ranked in US News Best Nursing Graduate Schools in 2017 for Master’s in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs: Montana State University (#115, MSN; #88, DNP).

Institutional Facts for Schools with Nursing Programs

  • Highest graduation rate: Carroll College 64%.1
  • Highest transfer-out rate: Montana Tech 30%.1
  • Highest net price: Carroll College $23,789.1
  • Lowest net price: Flathead Valley Community College $8,290.1
  • Annual undergrad tuition range for schools in Montana with a bachelor’s in nursing program: $10,564 – $24,431.2

Continue below where you will find more information about undergraduate and graduate nursing programs offered in Montana and online.

Schools in Montana with Nursing Degrees

Associate’s in Nursing Programs

City College of Montana State University-Billings
City College of Montana State University-Billings offers an Associate of Science in Nursing that helps students develop the clinical skills and knowledge needed to begin entry-level careers as registered nurses. Admission is competitive and is based on the prospective student’s grades in prerequisite courses as well as the student’s performance in an admissions interview. The degree requires 72 credit hours to complete and includes such courses as Adult Nursing, Health and Illness of Child and Family Nursing, and Nursing Pharmacology. Many of the required courses include lab and/or clinical experience components. The RN program at City College of Montana State University is approved by the Montana Board of Nursing. City College of Montana State University also offers a certificate of applied science in practical nursing.

Helena College
Helena College’s associate degree nursing program prepares graduates to earn registered nurse licensure and work in a variety of healthcare settings. The Associate of Science Registered Nursing has limited space and uses a competitive admissions process. Once admitted students complete such courses as Health and Illness of the Childbearing Family, Health and Wellness of Mental Health Nursing, and Managing Client Care. The program can typically be completed in five semesters. The RN program at Helena College is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and is approved by the Montana Board of Nursing. Helena College also offers a certificate of applied science in practical nursing.

Bachelor’s in Nursing Programs

Montana State University
Montana State University’s Bozeman College of Nursing’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program prepares students to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The four-year, 120 credit program allows students to complete upper-division nursing courses at any of the university’s campuses in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Kalispell, or Missoula. The nursing curriculum includes such required courses as psychiatric nursing, acute and chronic illness, care management, and research in health care. Students are required to complete clinical rotations at local medical facilities. Scholarships may be available for eligible students.

University of Montana
The University of Montana’s four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is divided into three phases. During the first phase, which covers the first year and a half, students complete general college prerequisite coursework at the university’s main campus in Missoula. In the second phase during the second half of the sophomore year, nursing majors begin taking lower level nursing courses. The third phase, during the junior and senior years, immerses students in challenging nursing coursework, which includes clinical practicums. Students can study at the Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls, Kalispell, or Missoula campuses for the second and third phases.

Master’s in Nursing Programs

Montana State University
Montana State University offers the only master’s level nursing program in the state of Montana, a BSN to MSN distance degree program. The MSU Master of Nursing (MN) program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and graduates leave with the skills necessary to become leaders and to take graduate certification exams like the one needed to be certified as a Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNL). All MN students will complete an MN Professional Project during their time at MSU, completed in collaboration with a faculty chairperson and designated committee and defended with an oral defense. Past student projects have included developing mental health outreach programs, exploring alternative healing practices, and creating rural support groups for young cancer patients. Most of the coursework for the program is offered online using teleconference and video, with one on-campus visit required each Fall semester to Bozeman.

NCLEX Pass Rate and Accreditation Information for Nursing Schools in Montana

The following table allows you to easily compare not-for-profit Montana nursing schools on a variety of factors. Click on the arrows in the top row to sort the table. In addition to seeking a program that leads to licensure in your desired area of nursing, it’s advisable to consider accreditation as a factor in your decision. If you are considering education beyond the associate’s level, know that a degree from a school that holds accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is a common requirement for admission to master’s degree, ADN/LVN and RN to BSN, and specialized certificate programs. You should also check to ensure that the school you are considering is approved or accepted by the Montana Board of Nursing (http://boards.bsd.dli.mt.gov/nur).

School ADN or LVN Program BSN Program Graduate Nursing Program ACEN/CCNE Accredited* NCLEX-PN First Time Pass Rate** Number Taking NCLEX-RN First Time Pass Rate*** Number Taking Net Price****
Blackfeet Community College Yes No No No 50% 4 100% 3 $11,688
Carroll College No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 84.21% 38 $23,789
City College of Montana State University-Billings Yes No No No 100% 21 69.44% 36 $11,064
Flathead Valley Community College Yes No No No 100% 17 75% 16 $8,290
Great Falls College Yes No No No 100% 21 66.67% 24 $8,765
Helena College Yes No No ACEN 96.55% 29 100% 24 $10,079
Miles Community College Yes No No ACEN N/A N/A 53.85% 26 $8,432
Missoula College-University of Montana Yes No No ACEN 100% 20 89.19% 37 $12,581
Montana State University-Bozeman No Yes Yes CCNE N/A N/A 89.9% 208 $14,416
Montana State University-Northern Yes Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 64% 25 $10,787
Montana Tech No Yes No CCNE N/A N/A 94.59% 37 $11,764
Salish Kootenai College Yes Yes No ACEN N/A N/A 88.89% 9 $8,375

*The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredits ADN/ASN/BSN programs. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accredits BSN/MSN/DNP programs.4,5
**NCLEX-PN pass rates are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.6 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
***NCLEX-RN pass rates reported are for first-time undergraduates testing between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016.7 You can compare these pass rates to the national average through the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
****The National Center for Education Statistics calculates net price from the total estimated cost of attendance, including includes tuition, books, room and board, and other expenses, for in-state students minus the average financial aid award (such as grants and scholarships).

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. US News & World Report Best Nursing Grad Schools Rankings: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/search?program=top-nursing-schools
3. Niche College Search: https://www.niche.com/colleges/?degree=4-year&state=MT&major=nursing&sort=best
4. Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN): http://www.acenursing.us/accreditedprograms/programSearch.htm
5. American Association of Colleges of Nursing Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE): http://www.aacn.nche.edu/ccne-accreditation/accredited-programs
6. Montana Board of Nursing: http://boards.bsd.dli.mt.gov/Portals/133/Documents/nur/nclex_pn.pdf
7. Montana Board of Nursing: http://boards.bsd.dli.mt.gov/Portals/133/Documents/nur/new_nclex_rn.pdf