Becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Montana
Deciding to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is an admirable choice. An LPN is someone who cares about the comfort of their patients, and they typically work in a hospital or clinic. They do things like monitor vital signs or manage a patient’s medication. It’s their job to assist other nurses, doctors or administrators. LPNs should be comfortable helping patients with personal hygiene or giving injections. Most Licensed Practical Nurses who are employed by hospitals will become accustomed to working in a fast-paced atmosphere. Although LPNs mostly work as part of hospital staff or clinics, there are nursing jobs available in many other places like the military or correctional facilities. Each state has its own employment needs and licensing requirements for different kinds of nursing jobs.
LPN Application Process for Montana
If you want a career in nursing after getting a high school diploma or GED, you’ll need to attend an approved nursing program. These are programs that are specifically approved by the Montana Board of Nursing. Most of the LPN programs can be completed in two years. The nursing programs will cover classroom coursework and hands-on clinical hours, which are required to apply for the final test. When you apply to take your final examination, the Montana Board of Nursing requires you to send a copy of your official transcript, a background check and a fingerprint check. You can’t have a criminal record if you want to be an LPN. There is also a registration fee of $100 to apply for your exam and a recurring $100 fee every two years to keep your license active.
Getting Licensed as an LPN in Montana
After completing your nursing program and submitting your application, your next step in becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse in Montana is passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry Board of Nursing, LPNs pass their NCLEX at a much higher rate in Montana than in other states. While the national average pass rate is 84.23 percent, Montana boasts a pass rate of 99.19 percent. One unique thing about working as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Montana is that you don’t have to be a Montana resident. As long as you hold a Montana license, you can even provide nursing over the phone from any state in the U.S.
Where to Learn About Nursing in Montana
Becoming an LPN requires a serious effort in education because you will be working in healthcare. Learning how to become a nurse includes determining how to care for patients and their families. Some of these situations can be life or death, and it’s crucial that you are adequately prepared. Always make sure that any school you are interested in is an institution accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
These are a few schools in Montana that can help you on your path to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse, including:
- City College at Montana State University, Billings. This college boasts a specialized program for potential LPNs. Students can enroll in the Certificate of Applied Science (CAS) program. This is the hands-on program that prepares students for the NCLEX. The great thing about City College’s LPN program is that the majority of the coursework can be done online. Clinical hours can even be scheduled at a location near your home. This is an excellent opportunity for someone who is already working full-time but wants to make a career change. The Montana State Board of Nursing approves this program.
- Blackfeet Community College School of Nursing, Browning. This school of nursing also allows students to take much of the nursing coursework online. They have created many new opportunities with their distance learning program. Students can participate in their hands-on clinical hours in Columbia Falls, Great Falls, Cut Bank or Browning. This is another school that strives to offer opportunities in nursing careers for those who cannot enroll in traditional degree programs. Their program prepares future LPNs for the NCLEX and offers further education opportunities for those who want to go on to become Registered Nurses (RNs).
LPN Career Overview and Salaries in Montana
A career in nursing in Montana would put you almost in the middle of the other states in terms of employment projections. The Projections Managing Partnership data show a projected rise of 9.6 percent in LPN job growth by 2026. These numbers indicate that 220 new jobs for LPNs will open every year. For a state with a low population, this is a pretty high figure.
When it comes to salaries for LPNs in Montana, again the state is right around the middle nationwide. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual pay for a Licensed Practical Nurse was $42,950 in 2017. That same year, the typical hourly rate was $20.65.
Working as a Licensed Practical Nurse in Montana
Montana is a great place to work as an LPN. It’s a big state filled with a lot of forests and small towns, but there are plenty of cities in which to find work as a nurse. Helena, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman and Billings are all areas that will always have openings for LPNs. Also, don’t forget that there are other ways to make a living as an LPN. You can work as a nurse over the phone and live anywhere in the U.S. You can work in private care or as a home health aid if you don’t like the idea of a busy hospital. There are also specialized areas that you can look into and become a nurse in dermatology, pediatrics, endocrinology and more.
Discovering a passion for nursing is exciting, and Montana is a great place to cultivate your desire to help others.