For decades, nurse practitioners (NPs) have provided vital medical care to the public. NPs work as nurses, but take on additional responsibilities that require extra studies. Classified as advanced practice nurses, NPs can prescribe medication and diagnose diseases and infections within their specialization. Put simply, NPs work in a role in between registered nurses (RNs) and doctors.
Aspiring NPs who want to study and work in Montana can review this page for helpful information. This guide details NP programs in Montana, including what students learn in graduate school, how to obtain licensure, and salary and career figures. Learners can also browse this website to explore NP specializations and sub-specializations. This resource details how to attain these specializations.
Read on to learn more about the best nurse practitioner programs in Montana.
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs Based in Montana
Before aspiring NPs apply for licensure, they must first earn a graduate degree. Luckily, students can explore several nurse practitioner programs in Montana. Degree-seekers can pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN) and stop there or continue on to earn a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Applicants usually need a bachelor's degree with a high GPA and an RN license.
Students who pursue a DNP often dedicate up to a decade to higher education. A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) traditionally takes four years and a master's requires two years. A doctorate can take 3-4 years to complete.
Degree-seekers can pursue a master of science in nursing (MSN) and stop there or continue on to earn a doctor of nursing practice (DNP).
Some NPs prefer the DNP pathway despite the demanding education requirements because it helps them gain a deeper understanding of medical knowledge. DNP graduates may also find higher-paying leadership positions.
Some schools offer BSN-to-DNP programs, which allow learners to skip the master's degree. Many NPs decide not to pursue a doctorate at all and instead stick to a master's degree.
Even with online programs, learners must complete their clinical or practicum hours onsite at a healthcare facility.
Students can explore online, hybrid, and on-campus NP programs in Montana. Online programs follow a completely web-based format, while hybrid programs require both online and on-campus courses. Even with online programs, learners must complete their clinical or practicum hours onsite at a healthcare facility.
NP graduate students must choose a specialization. Some common options include family practice, neonatal care, and pediatric care.
Complete List of Online Nurse Practitioner Programs in Montana
The NP profession may grow by 37.3% in Montana, surpassing the national growth projection of about 36.1%, according to Projections Central. A Montana Department of Labor and Industry study estimated that the state could add 27 NP jobs every year up to 2025. The study also projected that about 28 NPs might graduate this year, placing the supply for NPs slightly above demand.
Nurse Practitioner Salary and Projected Job Growth in Montana and Nearby States
NPs in Montana must earn an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license in order to legally practice in the state. This license requires both a graduate degree and a national certification.
Before earning their APRN license, aspiring nurses need their RN license. Nurses can either pursue an associate or bachelor's degree for their RN license. Those aiming for APRN licensure can simplify their educational process by choosing a bachelor's degree. This is because APRN candidates also need a graduate degree, and master's programs accept applicants with four-year undergraduate degrees. Nurses should also pass the NCLEX-RN to obtain RN licensure.
All NP candidates, no matter their specialty, must pass an examination to obtain national certification.
After earning their RN license, aspiring NPs need at least a master's degree, although they may also opt for a doctorate. During this time, students choose a specialization that determines their national certification. For example, learners who focus on family practice in graduate school might go on to earn a family NP certification. All NP candidates, no matter their specialty, must pass an examination to obtain national certification.
Finally, candidates undergo a background check and submit an application. The Montana Board of Nursing provides a full application checklist online.
Other Requirements for Montana Nurse Practitioners
NPs must submit a separate application for the authority to prescribe medication. Individuals must submit transcripts proving that their graduate education provided satisfactory pharmacology courses.
Graduate students can accomplish this prescriptive authority requirement in three ways: through a three-credit course in advanced pharmacology that covers pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacotherapeutics; a course that covers differential diagnosis or disease management; or supervised clinical practice integrating pharmacologic intervention with patient management.
NPs must renew their APRN certification and prescriptive authority every two years.
NPs must renew their APRN certification and prescriptive authority every two years. If professionals miss this deadline, they can still renew their licenses up to two years after the expiration date. However, late renewal requires additional fees. Individuals can browse renewal information here.
NPs should complete 24 contact hours of continuing education (CE) during each two-year period in between renewals. To maintain their prescriptive authority, students must complete half of their contact hours in pharmacology.
The Montana Board of Nursing does not restrict the type of CE professionals choose. NPs can earn their contact hours through college courses, teleconferences, or reading a book or articles. In addition, NPs can take CE modules through the board.
Information for Out-Of-State Nurse Practitioners
In 2015, Montana joined the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The compact allows nurses moving across state lines to more easily transfer their license from state to state. NPs moving to Montana from another state still cannot immediately start practicing. They first must obtain their APRN in Montana by endorsement. This involves a verification of a nurse practitioner's previous state license and national certification.
Each state varies in prescriptive authority requirements, which learners can review on this page. NPs moving to Montana from a state without supplementary prescriptive authority qualifications may need to take additional steps to prescribe medication in Montana.
NPs in Montana who move to a non-NLC state may need to complete further requirements to earn licensure in the new state.
Resources for Montana Nurse Practitioners
Montana Medical Association This group connects professionals who work in Montana's healthcare industry, including doctors and nurses. Members can take CE courses and enjoy a discount prescription drug card.
Montana Nurses Association MNA operates as both a professional and collective bargaining association. The group provides professional development opportunities, hosts conferences, and awards scholarships.
Montana Board of Nursing This board regulates the nursing industry and grants and renews nursing licensure in the state.
Montana Primary Care Association MPCA is a nonprofit that aims to create accessible and affordable healthcare options in Montana. NPs can browse MPCA's website for job opportunities and general healthcare resources.