Montana registered nurses with big ambitions are turning toward higher education in droves. That's because RNs with a Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree have the potential for prestigious nursing careers, higher salaries, and better patient outcomes. For nurses who currently hold an Associate or a Bachelor's degree in nursing, earning a graduate degree via an RN to MSN program can lead to new career heights.

RN to MSN Admissions Requirements in Montana

Prospective students will need to ensure that they meet all requirements upon applying to an RN to MSN program. Typical requirements include:

  • Completed ADN or BSN from an accredited university (degree level will vary by program)
  • Current unencumbered Montana RN license
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75
  • Minimum 2 years of clinical experience as an RN

RN to MSN Courses

RN to MSN program curriculum usually consists of advanced, graduate-level core nursing courses, in addition to specialized nursing courses that correspond to a student's chosen concentration. Popular nursing concentrations include Family Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Educator, but many other specialties exist. A minimum number of supervised clinical hours may also be required to complete the degree.

Montana State University, for example, offers the following courses as part of its RN to MSN program:

  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Statistical Applications
  • Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Health Care Informatics

Online RN to MSN Programs in Montana

Online graduate degree programs are popular with busy nurses who need maximum flexibility and want to complete coursework from home. These programs are academically rigorous and offered through accredited universities, and typically allow students to complete the courses at their own pace. Clinical hours can often be arranged in the student's local area.

Featured Online School

Montana State University in Bozeman offers an RN to MSN program that can be taken primarily online via their distance education program. Teleconference and video conference technologies are used to supplement the program content, but travel to Bozeman is required at the beginning of each Fall semester.

Admissions and Program Length

The length of an RN to MSN program can fluctuate wildly depending on a student's individual factors. Part-time or full-time study can make a big impact, as well as whether the student is starting out with an ADN or BSN. Many programs, on average, can be completed in 2-3 years. Admission is typically granted at the beginning of each semester, often including the summer semester.

Tuition and Cost of Attendance

While a graduate degree in nursing can be a costly venture, many students are able to receive financial aid or scholarships to help them pay for school. Like an undergrad degree, students are responsible for tuition, fees, and other mandatory expenses. For instance, a student at Montana State University can expect to pay roughly $15,100 per year for tuition, fees, books, and more. This is not inclusive of additional nursing-related fees.

RN to MSN Career Pathways in Montana

MSN-educated registered nurses are eligible for rewarding careers such as:

  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Clinical Nurse Leader

RN to MSN Salary Comparison

Aside from the prestige that comes with advanced nursing careers, RNs who hold an MSN degree also enjoy an increased salary. For example, a nurse practitioner with an MSN in Billings, Montana earns an annual base salary of $94,541. A general registered nurse in Billings, however, earns a median annual salary of $54,000.

Helpful Links

RN to MSN Listings

Montana's College of Nursing has adopted a distance education approach to offering RN to MSN degree programs. Distance education can be the flexibility needed to continue working while upgrading your qualifications. The program includes teleconferencing, video conferencing, and has scheduled times at the beginning of the semester to meet face-to-face. Upon completion of the MSN program candidates can look forward to careers in specialty fields like women's health, research, critical care, and more - as well, these specialties are highly compensated for the qualifications brought forward by having an MSN degree.

Montana State University
211 Montana Hall
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-3783