Registered Nursing

Program Introduction

Earning an Associate of Science degree in Nursing (ASN) at Missoula College prepares students to be excellent nurses who will play a vital role in patient care and recovery. Students obtain knowledge and skills to promote health, prevent disease, help patients cope with illness, and be an advocate for patients, families and communities. Registered Nurses (RNs) are employed in many different healthcare settings providing direct patient care, assessing, and recording symptoms, reactions, progress and outcomes. RNs also collaborate with other healthcare team members to help patients take steps to improve or maintain their health.

The Missoula College Nursing Program is very proud of the success our nursing students have had, not only in passing the NCLEX (National Certification and Licensing Exam), but in using the knowledge and skills obtained while at Missoula College to pursue their profession.

An ASN degree from Missoula College empowers students to become competent and caring individuals that assist in meeting the healthcare needs of the local community, region, state, nation, and the world. The nursing program offers small class sizes with a state-of-the-art skills lab. Financial aid is available for those who qualify, helping to open doors for anyone who wants to improve his or her education and career opportunities.

Our 4-semester Registered Nursing (RN) Program admits 18 students each autumn and spring semester and consists of 72-73 credits, which includes 14 prerequisite credits, 14-15 co-requisite credits, and 44 credits in nursing core courses. The 14 credits of prerequisite courses can be completed in one semester as a pre-nursing major. Additionally, it is strongly advised that students also complete the 14-15 credits of co-requisite courses before beginning the RN program. Four semesters of registered nursing core courses are required to complete the ASN degree requirements.

Our RN Program is open to all applicants who have completed or are in the final semester of completing our posted prerequisite courses. However, LPNs applying for admission should contact our program directly about potential prerequisite courses that may need to be taken, and where they would fit into the four-semester RN core curriculum.

Practical Nursing: We no longer offer a practical nursing (PN) program; however, there are a few PN programs offered in schools across Montana. Please contact these campuses directly if you are interested in applying to a PN program:  City College at MSU, Billings; Flathead Valley Community College, Kalispell; Great Falls College MSU, Great Falls; and Helena College UM, Helena (also available via Bitterroot College).

Nursing Program Application Cycles  

  • Fall Admission: The application cycle for Fall Admission opens in mid-February with an early April submission deadline. 
  • Spring Admission:
The application cycle for Spring Admission opens in mid-September with an early November submission deadline

Pre-Nursing Advising

Students must meet with an advisor at least once per semester to review registration plans for the following semester and to insure graduation requirements are in order.  Students are encouraged to meet with an advisor at any time of the semester for help or guidance. Your advisor(s) should be listed in your student profile on Cyberbear (

  • Pre-Nursing Majors with Freshman or Sophomore Status are advised by Maryann Dunbar in the MC Academic Advising Center. Students access her appointment scheduler online via the Navigate for Students system (  The website provides step-by-step instructions on how to schedule an appointment.
  • Pre-Nursing Majors with Junior, Senior, or Post-Baccalaureate Status are advised by Linda Barnes, Nursing Program Director, with the assistance of nursing faculty. Students should email for an advising appointment that can be conducted in-person or via phone.

Applying to the RN Program

  • The Registered Nursing Program admits students two times a year: fall semester and spring semester.  The RN application period is open for approximately 6 weeks each semester.  The dates are generally: 
    • Fall Admission: The application cycle for Fall Admission opens in mid-February with an early April submission deadline. 
    • Spring Admission: The application cycle for Spring Admission opens in mid-September with an early November submission deadline
  • The Program has an internal application process separate from application to Missoula College, therefore admission is a two-step process:
    • Submit the nursing program application and if admitted to the program, then:
    • Submit application to Missoula College (if not already a current student of Missoula College, Bitterroot College, or University of Montana-Missoula).
  • Eighteen students are accepted each semester.
  • Meeting the admission requirements does not guarantee admission.
  • Application eligibility, the application process, and how admission decisions are made are explained in detail on the RN Program, Application, Admission, and Curriculum webpage.

Approval / Accreditation

Board of Nursing Approval:
The Missoula College ASN program is approved by the Montana State Board of Nursing (MT BON) (, 301 South Park Avenue, Suite 401, PO Box 220513, Helena, MT, 59620-0513; 406-841-2380.

The associate nursing program at the University of Montana at Missoula College located in Missoula, Montana, is accredited by the:

logo of ACEN (Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing)

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (
3390 Peachtree Road, NE, Suite 1400, Atlanta, GA 30326

The most recent accreditation decision made by the ACEN Board of Commissioners for the associate nursing program is Continuing Accreditation.

View the public information disclosed by the ACEN regarding this program at

Completion, Employment & Pass Rates 

  • Missoula College 3-Year RN Program Completion Rates
    • 2020:  91%
    • 2021:  92% 
    • 2022:  94%
  • Missoula College 3-Year RN Program Employment Rates
    • 2020:  100%
    • 2021:    91% 
    • 2022:  100%
  • Missoula College 3-Year RN Program NCLEX Pass Rates
    • 2020:  94.12%
    • 2021:  72.73% 
    • 2022:  82.86%
  • National Average 3-Year RN NCLEX Pass Rates
    • 2020:  86.58%
    • 2021:  82.48%
    • 2022:  79.91%
National Council of State Boards of Nursing
Montana Board of Nursing

Nursing Program Expectations

  1. Licensure exam (NCLEX-RN) pass rates will be at least eighty percent (80%) for all first-time test-takers during the same 12-month period.

  2. At least eighty percent (80%) of students admitted to the program will graduate within one year of expected graduation date.

  3. At least ninety percent (90%) of graduates who pass the licensure exam and seek employment as an RN will report being employed.

  4. At least ninety percent (90%) of the surveys returned by graduates will indicate they are satisfied with their education.

Missoula College Nursing Program Mission Statement

To provide an excellent and dynamic learning environment through creative educational and clinical opportunities. This will prepare graduates for today's practice as caring and skilled nurses who assist in meeting the diverse health care needs for local and global communities. The Missoula College Nursing Program pursues fulfillment of their mission through the five UM Core Themes by:

  1. Creating a supportive environment where students are mentored by knowledgeable faculty and empowered to reach their full potential;
  2. Promoting the development of knowledge and skills necessary for the intellectual, professional, and personal growth of students;
  3. Developing partnerships with local and regional healthcare facilities to establish a variety of learning opportunities and provide exposure to diverse populations;
  4. Acknowledging the necessity for lifelong learning and providing nursing education pathways to BSN or higher; and
  5. Fostering discovery and creativity, critical thinking skills, and competencies at the associate degree nursing entry level.

U.S. Department of Education Notice

Working as an RN Outside of Montana After Graduation  

Nursing is an incredibly diverse and rewarding career. Nurses are an essential element of the healthcare system, and demand continues to grow across Montana and the U.S. The Registered Nursing program at Missoula College--UM prepares students to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN) and enter the workforce as skilled and competent entry-level nurses. Once graduates have successfully passed the NCLEX, they may be eligible to apply for licensure by endorsement in any of the 50 states. Montana is one of 34 states who belong 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 on their website. 

  • The ASN Program at Missoula College -- UM has not yet made a determination regarding whether its curriculum meets requirements for licensure by examination in states outside of Montana. For further information, please refer to the website for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. (NCSBN) ( 
  • If you are considering working outside of Montana after graduating from a Montana nursing program, please do your research. The links above will provide you the information you need to choose the nursing program that is right for you.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Linda Barnes, Nursing Program Director, at or (406) 243-7875.