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Employment Data

  Registered Nurse Practical Nurse
Median Wage (MT)* $67,920 yearly - $32.65 per hour $45,330 yearly - $21.79 per hour

Median Wage (US)*

$73,300 yearly - $35.24 per hour $22.83 yearly - $35.24 per hour
Annual Job Openings (MT)* 749 211
Annual Job Openings (US)* 210,400 66,300
Expected Growth (MT)* 15.3% 7.5%
Expected Growth (US)* 12.1% 10.7%
*Montana Career Information System
Career Opportunities

Nurses have the opportunity to work in an incredibly rewarding career where they help others with their health care needs. Nurses are critical to the delivery of quality healthcare in hospitals, clinics and private practice settings, to name a few options.

Demand continues to grow across Montana and the United States for educated and highly skilled nursing professionals. Students graduating from Great Falls College MSU nursing programs have the opportunity to help others, make a difference in healthcare delivery, earn competitive wages, grow and advance professionally. The Nursing programs at Great Falls College MSU give students the opportunity to choose a nursing pathways that is right for them. Both the Practical Nurse and the Registered Nurse programs educate, train and prepare students to take and pass the national licensure exams (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) and enter the workforce ready to work and make a difference. Once the NCLEX exam is successfully passed, a graduate may be eligible to apply for licensure by endorsement in any of the 50 states.

Montana is one of 34 states who belong, via state legislative ruling, to the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). "The NLC increases access to care while maintaining public protection at the state level. Under the NLC, nurses can practice in other NLC states, without having to obtain additional licenses." Information about the NLC and the participating states can be found at: www.ncsbn.org/compacts.htm. When a student nurse graduates from Great Falls College and passes the National Council Licensure Exam (RN or PN-NCLEX) in Montana, the Registered Nurse can legally work in Montana as a Registered Nurse as well as 33 other states, so long as they applied and met criteria for a multi-state license. The licensee must continually hold an unencumbered license in order to meet the requirements of the NLC.

Great Falls College MSU has not yet made a determination regarding whether its curriculum meets requirements for licensure by examination in states outside of Montana.

Why Great Falls College MSU

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Registered Nursing Program Estimated Costs

Estimated Resident Program Cost*

Tuition and Fees $8,625
Application Fee $30
Uniforms $225
Lab/Course Fees $564
Program Fee $400
Books/Supplies $3,881
Total $13,724

Practical Nursing Program Estimated Costs

Estimated Resident Program Cost*

Tuition and Fees $5,175
Application Fee $30
Uniforms $225
Lab/Course Fees $115
Program Fee $200
Books/Supplies $2,183
Total $7,848

Figure Out Your Finances

Students seeking federal financial aid (which includes grants and loans) must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) which online at fafsa.ed.gov. As a result of completing a FAFSA, an applicant will receive a federal Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail or online. An electronic version of the SAR is automatically sent to the schools listed on the FAFSA. To list Great Falls College MSU, use our school code: 009314.

Students applying for financial aid may also be required to provide proper federal income tax information, completed verification materials, and any other information requested by the Financial Aid Office. Students must apply for financial aid annually.

Assistance is available to prospective students applying for financial aid. In addition, financial aid counseling for new students is an integral part of the admissions and orientation process. Once enrolled, students may receive counseling and assistance as needed. For assistance, please call 406-771-4334, or write to the Financial Aid Office, Great Falls College MSU, 2100 16th Ave S, Great Falls, MT 59405, or email finaid@gfcmsu.edu.

Great Falls College MSU also offers a wide variety of different scholarships to assist you in paying for your college. To view a list of current scholarship offerings, please see our scholarship page.

Explore Course Lists>> Jump to Registered Nursing Program Course Lists
>> Jump to Practical Nursing Program Course Lists

Registered Nursing Program Course Lists

Prerequisites

Many students need preliminary math, science, and writing courses before enrolling in the program requirements. These courses may increase the total number of program credits. Students should review their math and writing placement before planning out their full program schedules.

Prerequisite Coursework

The following courses must be completed prior to admission into the Registered Nurse Program. All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a minimum grade of C (not a C-) in each course and a minimum cumulative GPA in prerequisite coursework of 2.5. Grades in prerequisite courses are a major factor in ranking applications for program acceptance.

Science courses must be completed within five (5) years of application to the program, and other courses must be completed within 15 years of applying to the program.

FIRST SEMESTER
BIOH 201Human Anat Phys I/Lab (= 301) **,+4
NOTE: UM Western students may substitute BIOB 160, BIOH 365 & BIOH 379 for GFC MSU BIOH 201 & BIOH 211. All 3 classes are required and must have a grade of C or higher (not C-) within the last 5 years of application.
CHMY 121Intro to General Chem w/Lab **,+4
WRIT 101College Writing I **,+3
Select one of the following:
M 121College Algebra **,+3
M 140College Math for Healthcare **,+3
M 151Precalculus **,+4
M 171Calculus I **,+4
NOTE: STAT 216 Intro to Statistics will no longer be accepted as a math substitution effective Fall 2014. For transfer students, M 115 Probability and Linear Math will be accepted.
Subtotal14-15

Program Course Requirements After Formal Acceptance

Once enrolled in Registered Nurse program, a minimum of a grade of C in all courses is required to continue in the program. In the clinical setting, students must achieve a grade of 75% in all rotations of each clinical experience.

Students are encouraged to take BIOH 211, PSYX 100, SOCI 101, and BIOM 250 with Lab prior to program acceptance due to workload requirements of the RN program.

The courses listed below are required in the program of study for the Associate of Science in Registered Nursing. The courses are offered at Great Falls College MSU in the following sequence:

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
BIOH 211 Human Anat Phys II & Lab(=311) *,+ 4
NRSG 230 Nursing Pharmacology *,+ 3
NRSG 231 Nursing Pharmacology Lab *,+ 2
NRSG 232 Foundations of Nursing *,+ 3
NRSG 233 Foundations of Nursing Lab *,+ 3
 Credits15
Spring
NRSG 234 Adult Nursing I *,+ 3
NRSG 235 Adult Nursing I Clinical *,+ 2
NRSG 236 Health and Illness of Maternal Nursing *,+ 2
NRSG 237 Health and Illness of Maternal Nursing Clinical *,+ 1
NRSG 256 Pathophysiology *,+ 3
PSYX 100 Introduction to Psychology + 3
 Credits14
Second Year
Fall
NRSG 244 Adult Nursing II *,+ 3
NRSG 245 Adult Nursing II Clinical *,+ 2
NRSG 246 Health and Illness of Child and Family Nursing *,+ 2
NRSG 247 Health and Illness of Child and Family Nursing Clinical *,+ 1
NRSG 254 Mental Health Concepts *,+ 3
NRSG 255 Mental Health Concepts Clinical *,+ 1
SOCI 101 Introduction to Sociology + 3
 Credits15
Spring
BIOM 250 Microbiology for Hlth Sci wLab *,+ 4
NRSG 259 Adult Nursing III *,+ 3
NRSG 260 Adult Nursing III Lab *,+ 1
NRSG 261 Adult Nursing III Clinical *,+ 2
NRSG 266 Managing Client Care for the RN *,+ 2
NRSG 267 Managing Client Care for the RN Clinical *,+ 2
 Credits14
 Total Credits58

                                                                                               Total Program Credits: 72-73

Suggested Electives 

These courses are highly recommended in addition to the standard nursing curriculum.

AHMS 144Medical Terminology3
Any NASX prefix course3
NUTR 221Basic Human Nutrition3
Select one of the following:
PSYX 230Developmental Psychology3
PSYX 240Fundamentals of Abnormal Psychology3

Practical Nursing Program Course Lists

Full-Time Requirements

Many students need preliminary math, science, and writing courses before enrolling in the program requirements. These courses may increase the total number of program credits. Students should review their math and writing placement before planning out their full program schedules.

Prerequisite Coursework

The following courses must be completed prior to admission into the Practical Nurse Program. All prerequisite coursework must be completed with a minimum grade of C (not a C-) in each course and a minimum cumulative GPA in prerequisite coursework of 2.5. Grades in prerequisite courses are a major factor in ranking applications for program acceptance.

Science courses must be completed within five (5) years of application to the program, and other courses must be completed within 15 years of applying to the program.

FIRST SEMESTER
PSYX 100Introduction to Psychology +3
WRIT 101College Writing I **.+3
Select one of the following
BIOH 104Basic Human Biology & Lab **,+4
OR BOTH
BIOH 201Human Anat Phys I/Lab (= 301) **,+4
AND
BIOH 211Human Anat Phys II & Lab(=311) *,+4
NOTE: UM Western students may substitute BIOB 160, BIOH 365 & BIOH 379 for GFC MSU BIOH 201 & BIOH 211. All 3 classes are required and must have a grade of C or higher (not C-) within the last 5 years of application.
Select one of the following
M 120Mathematics with Health Care Applications **,+3
M 121College Algebra **,+3
M 140College Math for Healthcare **,+3
M 151Precalculus **,+4
M 171Calculus I **,+4
NOTE: STAT 216 Intro to Statistics will no longer be accepted as a math substitution effective Fall 2014. For transfer students, M 115 Probability and Linear Math will be accepted.
Subtotal13-18

Program Course Requirements After Formal Acceptance

Once enrolled in nursing courses, a minimum of a grade of C in all courses is required to continue in the program. In the clinical setting, students must achieve a grade of 75% in all rotations of each clinical experience.

The courses listed below are required in the program of study for the Associate of Applied Science degree in Practical Nursing. The courses are offered at GFC MSU in the following sequence:

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
FallCredits
NRSG 130 Fundamentals of Nursing *,+ 3
NRSG 131 Fundamentals of Nursing Lab *,+ 3
NRSG 135 Pharmacology for Practical Nurses *,+ 3
NRSG 136 Pharmacology for Practical Nurses Lab *,+ 1
NRSG 152 Gerontology and Community Nursing *,+ 2
NRSG 153 Gerontology and Community Nursing Clinical *,+ 2
 Credits14
Spring
NRSG 140 Adult Health Nursing *,+ 4
NRSG 141 Adult Health Nursing Clinical *,+ 2
NRSG 142 Nursing Care of Women and Children *,+ 3
NRSG 143 Nursing Care of Women and Children Clinical *,+ 1
NRSG 148 Leadership Issues for Practical Nurse *,+ 2
NRSG 149 Leadership Issues for Practical Nurse Clinical *,+ 1
 Credits13
 Total Credits27

TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS: 40-45 

Suggested Electives

These courses are highly recommended in addition to standard nursing curriculum.

AHMS 144Medical Terminology3
Any NASX prefix course3
NUTR 221Basic Human Nutrition3
Any PSYX prefix course3
Application Deadlines

Students must be admitted to Great Falls College prior to submission of either the Associate of Science Nursing, Registered Nurse program application or the Certificate of Applied Science, Practical Nursing program application. Students must be in good academic standing with the institution. Therefore, no applications will be reviewed unless the applicant applies first to the Great Falls College and the official transcripts are reviewed by the Registrar.

Acceptance to Great Falls College requires a completed admissions application file. For more information on applying to Great Falls College please visit the Admissions page.

Associate of Science Nursing, Registered Nurse program

The Registered Nurse program is a limited enrollment program with an intake of 30 students once per year. Interested students must apply for entry into the program. An application packet with the criteria for admission is available on the Registered Nurse program website. Applications become available the second Friday of February and are due the second Friday of May every year. Students are notified of acceptance or denial late June to early July for an anticipated program start in the Fall.

Certificate of Applied Science, Practical Nursing program

The Practical Nurse program is a limited enrollment program with a total intake of 30 students once per year. There are a small number of these spots reserved for distance/hybrid students. An application packet is available on the Practical Nursing program website. Applications become available the second Friday of February and are due the second Friday of May every year. Students are notified of acceptance or denial late June to early July for an anticipated program start in the Fall.

For students that live more than 30 miles from Great Falls, Great Falls College MSU offers Practical Nursing as a distance/hybrid program with distance learning options. Great Falls College MSU also offers a part-time option for the Practical Nursing program, available to both traditional face-to-face and distance/hybrid students. For more specific information about these options, please refer to the Practical Nursing program website.

Certification/Accreditation

MT-Board of Nursing Approval

In order for a nursing graduate to be eligible to take the NCLEX exam, the nursing program needs to be regionally approved by the presiding Board of Nursing and needs to meet the curriculum requirements for that particular state. Both Associate of Science Registered Nursing (ASN-RN) and Certificate of Applied Science Practical Nursing (CAS-PN) programs are based on statewide curriculums and but are fully-approved by the Montana Board of Nursing, meeting all the requirements to make students eligible to take the appropriate licensing exam (the NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN).

National Accreditation

Great Falls College MSU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education. GFC-MSU has both Associate of Science Registered Nursing (ASN-RN) and Certificate of Applied Science Practical Nursing (CAS-PN) programs. The ASN program began in the Fall of 2016 and the CAS PN program began in the Spring of 2017. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the goal of accreditation is to assess and ensure the quality of academic programs at institutions of higher education is acceptable. This accreditation process is completed by an accrediting agency, a private educational association of regional or national scope. The Great Falls College – MSU, Associate of Science in Nursing, Registered Nursing program is currently pursuing pre-accreditation candidacy status from the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA).

Frequently Asked Questions

Great Falls College MSU nursing program graduates do NOT have any state limitations on employment, once the graduate has successfully passed his/her NCLEX exam. Both the Practical Nurse and the Registered Nurse programs educate, train and prepare students to take and pass the national licensure exams (NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN) and enter the workforce ready to work and make a difference. Once the NCLEX exam is successfully passed, a graduate may be eligible to apply for licensure by endorsement in any of the 50 states.

There are select employers that require nurses to have graduated from a nationally accredited program recognized by the Department of Education in order to be eligible for hire. These employers have historically been limited to very specific military installations around the United States. Outside of this rare situation, graduates of Great Falls College MSU nursing programs that have passed their NCLEX examinations have not encountered any employers that include this as a requirement of hire.

Both programs are based on statewide curriculums and, as fairly new programs have not yet been nationally accredited but are regionally approved by the Montana Board of Nursing. Accreditation has NEVER been revoked for either program.

While SOME BSN-completion programs indicate that ASN/PN graduates need to have graduated from an accredited program, not all programs require this. Additionally, Great Falls College’s nursing programs have an Articulation Agreement established with Montana Tech to waive this requirement. Part of the mission of the GFC MSU Nursing Programs is that our “Nurses will value team work, Evidenced-Based Practice, continuous quality improvement, patient safety and a pattern of lifelong learning.” We encourage our students to continue to pursue further education if they desire and help to facilitate their endeavors. For more information on continuing your education, please check out the information located in the “Continuing Your Education” tab on this page.

Continuing Your Education

Part of the mission of the GFC MSU Nursing Programs is that our “Nurses will value team work, Evidenced-Based Practice, continuous quality improvement, patient safety and a pattern of lifelong learning.” We encourage our students to continue to pursue further education if they desire and help to facilitate their endeavors.

Already an LPN looking to pursue an RN?

Current LPNs looking to become RNs are required to complete and meet all competitive entry requirements for consideration of their application into the ASN-RN program. Pre-requisite coursework needs to have been completed within the appropriate guidelines, without exception. If an LPN is selected for one of the 30 competitive entry spots within the ASN intake, specific courses are waived in lieu of previous coursework or experience. The courses an LPN-to-RN student would not be required to take include:

  • First Year - Fall semester
  • NRSG232 Foundations of Nursing
  • NRSG233 Foundations of Nursing lab
  • First Year - Second semester
  • NRSG234 Adult Nursing I
  • NRSG235 Adult Nursing I Clinical

For more information about the ASN-RN program, please visit the Registered Nursing Program website and the Nursing Pathways website.

Interested in pursuing a BSN or beyond after completing the ASN-RN program?

After graduation from a nursing program, the entry level wages and locations of employment are often very similar for RNs with either an ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing) or a BSN (Bachelor's of Science in Nursing). Some facilities may have precedents that require employees to obtain their BSN within a set number of years. After completing our ASN-RN program, students looking to pursue a BSN should anticipate taking additional courses in leadership and management, research, community/global health, and ethics. Great Falls College has an Articulation Agreement in place with Montana Tech, establishing a partnership to help facilitate this transition beyond Great Falls College. While this streamlines continuing a student’s education beyond Great Falls College, it does not limit a student’s ability to attend other universities.

Information about Montana Tech’s ASN-BSN program can be found here: https://www.mtech.edu/nursing/BS_Nursing.html

Additional Information

For policies regarding the Nursing Programs please view the Nursing Program Handbook.

Boards of nursing are state governmental agencies that protect the public's health by overseeing and ensuring safe nursing practice. They establish standards for safe nursing care and issue licenses to practice nursing, monitor licensees' compliance to state laws, and take action against the licenses of nurses who have exhibited unsafe nursing practice. Most boards also review and approve nursing education programs to ensure that graduates are eligible to take the national licensure examinations (NCLEX) and are prepared for safe, effective practice. Montana Board of Nursing Website

To be considered for placement in one of the nursing programs at Great Falls College MSU, a prospective student that is currently enrolled in, who has withdrawn from, or failed out of another nursing program will be required to provide a written, detailed explanation of the circumstances of their withdrawal or failure and a letter of recommendation by at least one current faculty member or the program director from the previous nursing program. The student is required to take part in the competitive entry process and will be considered for placement in the appropriate semester based on available space in the class and/or clinical in which they would enter. Visit the Pathways page for more information on the steps to take if you are interested in transferring into a Great Falls College nursing program.


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