How to Become a Nurse in Montana
Aspiring nurses in Montana can pursue several different license types, including registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN) and advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), which also has the option to qualify for prescriptive authority. The Montana Board of Nursing oversees nursing licenses and renewal in Montana. Nurse aide (CNA) certification is also available to those who wish to pursue a hands-on, healthcare-related career in Montana with less advanced training. The Department of Health and Human Services maintains the Montana Nurse Aide Registry, which handles CNA certification and registry.
The Montana Department of Labor and Industry predicts a continued high demand for nurses over the next several years. Not only are new jobs being created throughout the state, but there are also a growing number of openings due to retirement and other job changes. Regardless of which licensing path is chosen, choosing the right nursing program in Montana is a crucial step in the licensing process. There are several nursing schools in Montana to choose from, providing students with a range of opportunities that best suit their needs.
How to Get a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) License in Montana
To become a certified nurse aide in Montana, a student must complete an approved CNA training program. Students study a range of topics and skills to support their future CNA role, including resident personal care and physical environment, safety and emergency care, nutrition, and death and dying.
Once the program is completed, graduates can submit the CNA application. Applicants must also pass the state CNA exam, which includes a knowledge section and manual skills-based section. As of April 2019, certificate renewals for Montana CNAs occur every two years. To renew a Montana nursing aide registration, CNAs must have worked for pay in their field within the last 24 months. There are no continuing education requirements with the exception of home health aides, who require 12 hours every renewal period.
How to Get a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) License in Montana
To receive a Montana LPN license, applicants must first complete an approved LPN nursing program. Official transcripts should be sent from the school directly to the Board of Nursing. Along with the application form, applicants must submit a $100 fee to get a Montana nursing license. They must also pass the NCLEX-PN exam. If they fail the test, they have to wait 45 days before taking it again.
Another portion of the application is a background and fingerprint check. Applicants must send the completed fingerprint card and a $30 check or money order to complete this step of the process.
LPN renewal occurs every two years, with licenses expiring on December 31 of the second year. Licensed LPNs receive a notice for renewal at least 45 days in advance of their license expiration date. In order to maintain an active Montana nursing license, LPNs must complete 24 continuing education credits during the two-year licensing period.
How to Get a Registered Nurse (RN) License in Montana
Aspiring nursing professionals can qualify for a Montana RN license by following these steps. First, applicants must graduate from an approved nursing program and ask the educational institution to send their transcript directly to the Board of Nursing. A $100 fee must also be included when submitting an application.
Once the Montana nursing license application has been received, applicants can sign up to take the NCLEX-RN exam. All applicants must undergo a background and fingerprint check and also submit a $30 processing fee for this part of the application. Once the application is approved and the candidate passes the NCLEX-RN exam, they will receive their RN license.
Montana is also part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, allowing RNs with permanent residency in another compact state to practice nursing in Montana.
All RN licenses expire on December 31 every two years. Licensed RNs receive a renewal notice 45 days before the expiration date. RNs are required to complete 24 continuing education credits within the two-year renewal period. New graduates are also required to complete continuing education, but the hours are prorated to one hour per licensed month during the renewal period.
How to Get an Advanced Practice Nurse (APRN) License in Montana
Graduates from an accredited graduate-level nursing program can apply for a Montana Advanced Practice Nurse license. An official transcript must be sent directly from the school. Applicants must also submit proof of an active RN license in order to receive this more advanced Montana nursing license. In addition to submitting an application, applicants must also complete a fingerprint background check, which involves a $30 processing fee.
After filling out the application, aspiring APRNs must pay a $75 fee for each specialty for which they are applying. These include:
- Certified nurse practitioner (CNP)
- Certified nurse midwife (CNM)
- Certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA)
- Clinical nurse specialist (CNS)
Before being granted a license in Montana, APRNs must also receive national certification from an approved certified body for their specialty. There is also a separate application process in order to receive prescriptive authority.
Renewal for APRNs occurs every two years by December 31. The renewal fee is $50 for each APRN certification. During the renewal period, APRNs must complete 24 hours of continuing education.