Nursing services are in high demand in Montana, just as they are in every other state. For this reason, you’ll find that there are many opportunities to learn the trade and organizations that promote aspiring nurses. The average hourly wage for registered nurses in Montana is just over $30 an hour, or $67,949 a year. The cost of living in Montana is below the national average, making this a comfortable median range pay rate. Montana has 15 total nursing schools. Here, we’ll rank the nursing schools in Montana according to reputation, popularity, and other benefits compared to other nursing schools in Montana. You can use this ranked list as a resource to research Montana’s best schools and learn which nursing program may be the best for you.
One of the nation’s oldest community colleges, Helena College (HC) was established in 1939. Over the decades, HC has undergone many changes, but it remains one of the most highly regarded schools of its kind in Montana and offers some of the state’s most respected educational opportunities. In Fall 2019, there were 1,425 students enrolled with a 12:1 student to faculty ratio. HC offers one of the finest nursing programs in Montana, demonstrated by their perfect pass rate for both its registered nurse program and practical nursing program. It also offers robust student support services and the Honors Pathway, which “provides a clear route for students in the Helena College Honors Pathway to transfer all of their coursework to UM and ultimately graduate from UM with the Davidson Honors College University Scholar distinction.”
Another of Montana’s seven four-year universities, Montana Tech (MTU) serves an average of just under 2000 students each academic year according to the most recent NCES report from 2017. The school’s annual tuition and administration fees are $5,483 and $1,642 respectively. Located in a beautiful valley of Butte, MT, the campus offers a stunning view of the surrounding mountains. It offers highly sought after student housing and boasts a relatively high retention rate of 74%.
One of just seven of Montana’s major public four-year colleges, Montana State University-Billings (MSUB) is also one of the few colleges in Montana to be handily located in an urban area. With its location in Billings, MSUB is accessible to a wide swath of the public. MSUB also serves a higher number of students than the average college of its kind in the state. In 2017, NCES reported that 4,401 students attended. As a state school, tuition is around the average for Montana, at $4,397 per year and $1,436 in administration fees. MSUB does not publish its NCLEX rates for nursing students, but successful graduates are considered to be in medium to high demand after completion.
One of just four private, non-profit, four-year schools in Montana, Carrol College (CC) is located in the hilly and remote town of Helena. CC serves an average of 1,360 students each academic year and has a stellar 84% student retention rate. Each year 72% of the graduating class completes their studies in 150% of the time needed to complete classes. Tuition for an academic year is $33,500 and administration fees are $980. This highly prestigious private school does not specialize in nursing but does offer nursing courses. Students graduating from Carrol College are advised to pursue leadership roles.
Established in 1883, famously just eight students enrolled in the first year of this school’s existence. Montana State University (MSU) is one of the best accelerated nursing schools in Montana. It’s the largest university in Montana and offers nearly 100 different undergraduate and graduate degree programs. MSU maintains 11 colleges in total, including its College of Nursing. This school is a state leader in research, spending more than $100 million each year in the development of new knowledge. As one of the state’s most prestigious and diverse universities, acceptance is competitive. MSU’s nursing programs and graduates are highly respected and sought after.
Located in Pablo, MT, Salish Kootenai College was established in 1977 and is a dedicated Native American Tribal community college. It serves an average of 1,000 students and began offering its nursing program in 1988. SKC is known for providing its students with a supportive learning environment and students are trained to practice in rural settings where the majority of the state’s Native American community lives. This four-year school is known for providing nursing students with a good mix of practical and in-classroom learning opportunities in addition to a wealth of connections to the state’s medical community.
Located in the strikingly beautiful town of Missoula, the University of Montana (UofM) serves an average of nearly 12,000 students every year. Annual tuition rates are just over $5,000 and administration fees are $1,880. Graduating nursing students are in high demand, especially in the surrounding area where medical services are sparse. The curriculum is known to be challenging as just 46% of students successfully complete their studies in 150% of the study time expected. As such, successful graduates are considered to be better than average and can expect to be reasonably well sought after.
One of ten of the state’s two-year colleges, Aaniiih Nakoda College serves just 122 Native Americans and other students each year, making it one of the smallest nursing schools in Montana. Class sizes are competitively small, and tuition is a minuscule $1,740 a year with $670 in admin fees. ANC’s only nursing course is its ADN program.
One of just seven four-year schools in Montana, Montana State University-Northern (MSUN) is located in the remote location of Havre Town, MT. This school serves an average of just over 1200 students each academic year according to the 2017 NCES report. The cost of nursing school in Montana State University-Northern is $4,402 a year with fees coming in at $1,459. MSUN offers two-year and four-year degrees has a student to teacher ratio of 14 to 1, and is renowned for the high quality of the student housing facilities.
Established as far back as 1969, Great Falls College (GFC) is located in Great Falls, MT. GFC serves thousands of students in this part of the state and offers numerous associate degree programs. With offerings on everything from interior design to dentistry, GFC has some of the most diverse academic courses of any two-year school in the state of Montana. GFC’s nursing program is in especially high demand and annual enrolment is limited to 30 students. Not surprisingly, competition for acceptance is quite fierce. GFC is accredited through the Montana State Board of Nursing.
Located in the middle of the beautiful pine forest of Flathead Valley in Kalispell, MT, Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) is one of the best accredited nursing schools in Montana. It was established in 1967 and offers one of the widest selections of nursing programs of any community college in the state. FVCC’s nursing programs are considered to be among the finest in Montana and the school is accredited with the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation. The school is partnered with many larger universities, giving its students plenty of opportunities to branch out. Annual tuition rates for this two-year school are approximately $4,050, plus fees. FVCC is celebrated for its many student aid programs and other resources which are responsible for driving their very high pass rates. After studying nursing at FVCC, successful graduates find they are in very high demand among their peers.
Located in the town of Miles City, MT, Miles Community College (MCC) serves an average of 459 students and graduates 44% of its students in 150% of the estimated graduation time. One year’s tuition is $3,840 plus $1,575 in administration fees. With a low student to teacher ratio of 10:1, MCC offers numerous student resources to help its students meet the demands of the program. On-campus housing is available, which is one of this school’s major advantages over other two-year colleges.
Community colleges always offer competitive tuition rates, and Blackfeet Community College is no exception. The tuition for one year is approximately $2,500 plus $742 in fees. It is a non-profit 2-year school located in the rural setting of Browning, Montana. With its low annual student count of 375 on average, small class sizes and a student to teacher ratio of 1 to 11 are a benefit for the student who seeks personal guidance. Blackfeet College is a great choice for low-income students, students who live in and around Browning, and those who need to bring up their GPA before applying to another school.
One of the last private, non-profit schools on our list, the University of Providence (UofP) is located in the scenic small town of Great Falls, MT. Serving just over 1000 students each year, U of P gives a great deal of student resources to each of the nursing students it serves. Tuition is competitive for a private school at $24,240 a year and just $200 in administration fees. NCLEX rates are not published, but this school is highly respected as ranking among Montana’s finest, and successful graduates can expect to be sought after by the finest medical institutions.
With its very small student population, which averages around 500 students a year, Stone Child College (SCC) offers a uniquely focus-friendly learning environment. Located in the remote rural town of Box Elder, SCC offers very low tuition rates of $1,820 a year and $825 in admin fees. Despite its small size, the student to teacher ratio is 18 to 1. But it makes up for this with superior student services. Aspiring nurses will need to move elsewhere after graduation to complete their training.
Nursing schools in Montana were ranked according to their NCLEX-RN pass rate, which shows both the school’s ability to select excellent teachers and the teachers’ ability to effectively teach students.
Choosing the nursing school that best suits you is a highly personal decision that should be based on consideration of numerous factors. The best school for you is the school that you can afford, which accommodates any particular group you may be a member of, and which offers a curriculum closest to your interests and talents. Students are advised to strongly consider a school that accommodates the student’s unique learning style and offers course material that is strong in any specialty you wish to pursue.
If you have questions on choosing a nursing college, or comments, feel free to make contact. We look forward to answering your questions.