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RN Nursing Programs in Montana - MT

How to Become an RN in Montana

An aspiring Registered Nurse in Montana must choose between either an Associate Degree, Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor’s Degree, Nursing (BSN), with the prior being a two year degree, and the latter a four year degree. Both degrees require around 10 prerequisite courses in general studies, like intro psychology, biology, anatomy and physiology before applying. Entry is very competitive, and high grades, as well as volunteer experience, are the best ways to ensure you get accepted. Once enrolled in either program, students take core courses in nursing care, which are rounded out by sociology, psychology, statistics, physiology, and more. But this isn’t to say they are exactly the same; an ADN places more emphasis on practical training over the two years of study, while a BSN spends the first two years both on practical training and preparing students for advanced studies in nursing theory, practice, research and beyond. Specialized courses in areas like pharmacology and public health, health care management, nursing in a third world setting and beyond are all possible course offerings as part of a BSN. And this is why half of the aspiring RNs in Montana choose a BSN: it prepares students for a wider variety of careers beyond the hospital, as well as management and specialized positions within a direct health care setting.

Both ADN and BSN students take the NCLEX-RN upon graduation. Application to take the test goes through the Montana Board of Nursing, who requires proof of completion and a $100 application fee. Then, prospective RNs pay $200 to national examiners Pearson Vue and, once passed—as is the case for a little under 90 percent of first time candidates—students become Registered Nurses and enter the work force.

RN Salary, Hours and Duties in Montana

The average salary for a Registered Nurse in Montana is about $58,500 and wages up to $70,000 per year (according to BLS.gov) are a possibility. Upwards of sixty percent of RNs in Montana work in hospitals, where, in conjunction with doctors and nursing assistants, they create and modify patient care strategies for each individual case. Those who work outside of the hospital in such settings as a physician’s office, retirement home, or other health care institution might not see as many patients as RNs in a hospital, but they still must use critical thinking skills to balance the needs and problems of numerous patients at all times. And they may be required to work irregular hours—patient needs must be met around the clock, so nurses sometimes are asked to work weekends, nights, holidays, split shifts, and more.