Montana is considered the third-least densely populated state in the U.S. and the main industries there are ranching, wheat farming, oil and coal mining, lumber, tourism, and rock mining. Though the nursing shortage in the healthcare industry is being felt across the nation, the shortage in Montana is hitting even harder. With 40 percent of the workforce nearing retirement age, new nurses will be needed to fill positions for registered nurses and advanced practice nurses. They are struggling to fill the gap due to lower numbers in nursing graduates as well as qualified applicants being turned away due to a lack of faculty in nursing programs.
The Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) predicts that about 800,000 registered nurses will be needed nationwide over the next 10 years in order to keep facilities adequately staffed. They predict that 4,300 will be needed in Montana alone just to fill the spots of nurses leaving the profession. Nursing licenses currently offered by the Montana Board of Nursing include:
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Registered Nurse (RN)
- Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)
- Nurse Practitioner (NP)
- Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
- Clinical Nurse Specialist – APRN
- Clinical Nurse Specialist – PYSCH
Nursing Licensure in Montana
Nursing regulations are governed by each state, and each state’s Nursing Board is responsible for regulating the profession. Licenses are awarded to those who complete all of the necessary requirements. The Montana Board of Nursing issues licenses to nurses who fulfill all of the following obligations:
- Successfully complete an approved nursing program
- Successfully complete a Board recognized licensure examination (NCLEX)
- Complete 24 contact hours of continuing education every two years by time of license renewal
- Renew license every two years before the expiration date
For advanced practice nurses, each state holds a different set of requirements and renewal guidelines. Generally your area of specialty will determine what obligations must be met to maintain your eligibility.
Average Nursing Salaries in Montana
All salary data is as of May 2011.
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a registered nurse practicing in Montana is $60,190. This is almost $9,000 lower than the national median of $69,110. Employment of RNs is the highest in Montana’s main metropolitan area of Billings, but average salaries throughout the state sit lower than the U.S. average.
|Area||Registered Nurses||Average Salary|
|Eastern Montana nonmetropolitan area||680||$56,640|
|Central Montana nonmetropolitan area||660||$55,560|
|Southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area||1,900||$57,950|
|Western Montana nonmetropolitan area||1,220||$60,800|