What is state authorization?

The U.S. Department of Education requires institutions of higher education to request authorization in states where the institution provides educational opportunities, physically or virtually.  State authorization allows institutions to conduct certain educational activities outside their home state (in this case outside of Montana). Each state has unique authorization requirements. The US Department of Education requires institutions be authorized to provide education outside their home state.  Great Falls College MSU meets this standard through membership in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) which provides a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education.

Professional Licensure

NC-SARA has worked with the SARA State Portal Entities (SPEs) and regional compacts to create the Professional Licensure Directory, which provides contact information for five programs that lead to a professional license. This professional licensure directory is general contact information, not regulations or requirements.
This resource will NOT house regulations or requirements. It is exclusively general contact information and updates to the contact information occur twice annually.

Physical Location Disclosure

Due to federal and individual state regulations, Great Falls College MSU is limited in providing online courses and programs to students in certain states and countries. Acceptance into an online program or enrollment in an online course is based on where the student is physically located while taking the course(s). Activities such as completing clinical and internship requirements in a location outside of Montana are also governed by these regulations. Therefore, should an enrolled student CHANGE PHYSICAL LOCATION, he/she must notify the Registrar’s Office at least 3 months in advance. This policy applies to students who are taking online courses in a state outside of Montana and students who are planning to complete their clinical coursework or internship in a state outside of Montana.

Student Complaint Information

How will I know if a program meets professional licensure requirements in states other than Montana?

Degree programs at Great Falls College and the curriculum for degree programs are designed to meet the licensure/certification requirements in Montana. Licensure requirements vary by state and can often change. The licensure boards in each state are responsible for setting requirements for licensure/certification in their state. Distance students with the intent of returning or moving to any state other than Montana should be aware of the unique requirements for that state.

View Professional Licensure Program Information

The Dental Hygiene programs at Great Falls College MSU train, educate, and prepare students to sit and pass the National Dental Hygiene Board Examination. Upon successful completion of the national examination, students must also obtain a license for the state in which they wish to practice in by successfully completing a regional practical examination (WREB).  Dental hygienist must practice in accordance with the requirements of the individual state’s practice acts and abide by the requirements to maintain licensure.  To find more information regarding licensure, please visit the American Dental Hygienist Association website.

Students wishing to continue with a Dental Hygiene Bachelor of Science degree completion are encouraged to look for a participating program within the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) state.  For more information, please visit the NC-SARA website

The Nursing programs at Great Falls College MSU give students the opportunity to choose a nursing pathway 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).  Nursing has compact state licensing. If the state you are licensed in is a compact state (Montana is), you can take your license and practice as a nurse in any other state that is a compact state without paying for a license in that state. "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.

Students who wish to practice in a state other than Montana will likely have additional licensing requirements to complete prior to practicing in a state outside of Montana. Nursing regulatory boards outline standards for safe nursing care and issue licenses to practice nursing. Prior to enrollment, students should review the lists below to determine whether this program meets the licensing requirements in a specific state. It is important to note that all states determine their own requirements. The NCLEX exam is a national test, so you also would not have to retest. Varying continuing education (CEU) hours may apply. See additional information available for nursing licensure from NCSBN Nurse Licensure Compact.

For specific state agencies offering nursing licensure, please see the professional licensure directory for nursing.

States for which Great Falls College MSU’s Nursing program meets the educational requirements for licensure:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

 States for which Great Falls College’s Nursing program does NOT meet the educational requirements for licensure:

  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • California
  • District of Columbia

States for which Great Falls College MSU has not yet determined whether the Nursing program meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification:

  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • Vermont

The paramedic program at Great Falls College prepares students to sit for the National Registry Certification Examination to gain licensure. Additional information is forthcoming.

Upon completion of the PTA program, the graduate is prepared to take the National Physical Therapist Assistant Examination (NPTAE) provided by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy and must receive a passing score in order to become a licensed PTA.  Licensure is required to practice as a physical therapist assistant in Montana and is overseen by the State of Montana Board of Physical Therapy Examiners. To find information regarding licensure please visit the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) website

Great Falls College MSU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), and is reporting this information in compliance with Standard 2.G.3. The Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (COARC).

This program is designed to meet the educational requirements for respiratory therapists in Montana. If you intend to seek licensure outside of Montana after finishing your program, use the link below to find information on the state or U.S. territory in which you intend to be licensed in order to identify whether Great Falls College MSU’s Respiratory Therapy program meets, does not meet, or if it has not been determined if it meets the educational requirements for licensure. If Great Falls College MSU’s program has not determined if it meets the educational requirements for licensure in the state in question, it may meet all or a portion of the educational requirements. If that is the case, we recommend that you contact the licensing agency directly before beginning the Great Falls College MSU program.

This program meets the licensure requirements in all states except Alaska.  Licensure requirements has not been determined in Alaska because licensure is not currently regulated.


Alabama State Board of Respiratory Therapy


(Not currently regulated in Alaska)


Arizona State Board of Respiratory Care Examiners


Arkansas State Medical Board


Respiratory Care Board of California


Colorado Society for Respiratory Care


Connecticut State Department of Public Health


Delaware Division of Professional Regulation

District of Columbia (D.C.)

Maryland/District of Columbia Society for Respiratory Care


Florida Board of Respiratory Care


Georgia Composite Medical Board


Hawaii Society for Respiratory Care


Idaho Respiratory Care Licensure Board                                                             


Illinois Financial & Professional Regulation


Indiana Professional Licensing Agency


Iowa Department of Public Health


Kansas Respiratory Care Society


Kentucky Board of Respiratory Care


Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners


Maine Board of Respiratory Care Practitioners


Maryland/District of Columbia Society for Respiratory Care


Massachusetts Board of Respiratory Care


Michigan Board of Respiratory Care


Minnesota Board of Medical Practice


Mississippi Society for Respiratory Care


Missouri Board for Respiratory Care


Montana Board of Respiratory Care Practitioners


Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services


Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Respiratory Care Practitioners Governing Board

New Jersey

New Jersey Society for Respiratory Care

New Mexico

New Mexico Society for Respiratory Care

New York

New York State Society for Respiratory Care

North Carolina

North Carolina Respiratory Care Board

North Dakota

North Dakota State Board of Respiratory Care


State Medical Board of Ohio


Oklahoma Respiratory Care Practitioners


Oregon Respiratory Therapist and Polysomnographic Technologist Licensing Board


Pennsylvania Society for Respiratory Care

Rhode Island

State of Rhode Island Department of Health

South Carolina

South Carolina Society for Respiratory Care

South Dakota

South Dakota Society for Respiratory Care


Tennessee Department of Health


Texas Medical Board


Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing


Vermont/ New Hampshire Society of Respiratory Care


Virginia Board of Medicine


Washington State Department of Health

West Virginia

West Virginia Board of Respiratory Care


Wisconsin Society for Respiratory Care


Wyoming State Board for Respiratory Care

Upon completion of the Surgical Technology Program, students will be prepared to begin a career as a surgical technologist. Students are prepared to sit for the national examination to become a Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Not all states require certification, to find information on certification please visit the Association of Surgical Technologists website