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Montana may have a fairly low population, but this does not mean that there are not plenty of opportunities out there for someone who wants to make a difference by helping others. There are many reasons for becoming an LPN in Montana. The job security is guaranteed and you will be in a financially stable situation once you have qualified as an LPN and are working as one as well.
Once you become an LPN it is easy to improve your qualification through further study and become an RN. Once you are an RN the opportunities will be even greater and you will be able to work in more skilled and advanced arenas. This will come with increased respect and salary, and you will generally be in a much better position.
The first step to being licensed as an LPN is enrolling in an accredited LPN course. In order to do this you will:
- Need to be older than 18
- Need to have a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification
- Need to have a CPR qualification
- Need to pass a background check
- Need to pass a health check
Once you have enrolled in the program you will then have to complete the theoretical and clinical sides of the course over a period of about 1 or 2 years. Then you will have to write the NCLEX-PN exam. On completion of the exam you will be licensed to practice as an LPN.
In order to write the LPN test you will need to pay an amount of money to the company that administers the exam. This company is called Pearson Vue and the amount of money that you will have to pay is $200. To apply for the exam you will also have to pay an amount of money to the Montana Board of Nursing. This amount of money is $100. You will then also have o renew your license once every two years at a cost of $100 and with proof of 24 hours of continuous training.
There are a few differences when it comes to salaries between the different nursing categories. If you plan to advance after your LPN qualification then it will be interesting for you to see what your pay options will be. The following is a table comparing LPN, RN and BSN salaries. The amounts are approximate and may vary slightly in reality.
Financial Aid Available
Many people living in Montana end up giving upon their dreams to become LPN nurses because they simply do not have the resources necessary to achieve this. However, it is important that you know that there are in fact a wide range of options open to you if you would like to study for your LPN qualification in Montana.
Grants and Scholarships
There is a subtle difference between grants and scholarships:
If you apply to FAFSA with a query about what financial aid is open to you will most likely be given a list of grants and loans. Apply for the grants first as they don’t need to be repaid. However, if this is not successful, you may have to look into getting a loan.
Unlike grant and scholarships, loans will need to be paid back in cash. They also accrue interest. In many cases you will not be required to pay back the loan until you have finished studying. However the loan may accrue even more interest while you study, so be careful. Federal loans have the best interest rates, but are difficult to qualify for, while private loans are easier to get but have higher interest rates.
If you are currently employed n a healthcare environment, perhaps as a CNA, then you may be able to apply to your employer for financial aid. Many employers are willing to help out, especially as it benefits you both.
- Benefit to your employer: Your employer will have an LPN on their staff who will be obligated to work for the company for a set period of time in exchange for the financial aid given.
- Benefit to you: You will be able to study for your LPN qualification, be assured of a job once your studies are over, and get valuable experience in a setting that you are familiar with.
Works and Study
Some colleges offer a work and study program. In a program like this you will be able to work for the college in some capacity thereby generating income to cover your studies.
If you have gone the route of getting a loan then you may want to consider a loan forgiveness program when it comes time to repay your debts. A program like this will deal with past of your loan so that you don’t have to. In return for the partial forgiveness of your loan you will be required to work in a state designated healthcare facility for a set period of time.
List of Schools
There are not many schools to choose from in Montana, but what they lack in quantity they make up for in quality. Here is a list of your options along with the information you will need to make further inquiries about the school or program.
Flathead Valley Community College
777 Grandview Dr
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 756-3801
Fax: (406) 756-3353
3803 Central Avenue
Billings, MT 59102
Phone: (406) 247-3073
MSU Great Falls – College of Technology
2100 16th Avenue S
Great Falls, MT 59405
Phone: (406) 771-4362
U of M Helena – College of Technology
1115 North Roberts Street
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-6800
U of M Missoula – College of Technology
909 South Avenue West
Missoula, MT 59801
Phone: (406) 243-7811 or (406) 243-7864
Tips for choosing a school
Now that you are aware of what schools are available to you, you have to choose from among the options. This may not be easy, but if you use the following as a guideline, you should be able to reach a sensible conclusion:
- Location of the school – Finding a school that is close to where you live is not necessarily a bad search criterion. However, there are many other considerations that you will have to take into account when looking for the perfect school for you.
- Tuition fees – Like with the location of the school, tuition fees are important but if possible your entire choice should not be based on this factor.
- Percentage of NCLEX-PN passed candidate from the school in last years – Make sure that you know how many students have passed the examination in the past. If there has been a low pass rate then perhaps the program s not adequately preparing students for the examination.
- Length of the program
- Course ware
- Clinical facilities and exposure – In order to become an LPN you will have to complete the clinical side of the training appropriately. This means that you have to find a school that offers good clinical facilities and training if you want to be successful.
- Reputation of the college
- Financial aids – Some colleges offer financial aid to students. If you are in need of financial aid in order to complete your qualification then you may need to limit your search to schools that offer assistance in this way (although it is important to remember that there are many different sources for financial aid available).
- Guidance provided by the school for NCLEX-PN exam – It is very important that the school that you end up choosing is able to prepare you sufficiently for the examination. If you are not properly prepared, then you will effectively be wasting your money with that school and you will probably have to start all over again.