As of 2015, the shortage of nurses in Montana was so critical that it was featured in local media outlets such as KRTV.com. This piece quoted the Executive Director of the Montana Nurses Association, Vicky Byrd, who said “absolutely there’s a shortage” in “our critical access hospitals or school nursing.”
Predictions from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry indicate that RNs will have the 5th largest number of job openings between 2014 and 2024. Part of this is due to the aging of an increasingly well-insured population which will require significantly more health resources.
New job estimates from the Montana Department of Labor and Industry highlight the critical need for highly educated nurses by showing the projected job growth rate for the ten-year period through 2024:
- Nurse Practitioners – 25.7%
- Nurse Educators – 21.4%
- Nurse Administrators and Executives – 19.1%
- Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners – 18.9%
While a master’s degree used to suffice for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and other types of advanced nursing professionals, stakeholders increasingly advocate that APRNs obtain the highest level of practical training for nurses—a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
Montana’s nurses are heeding this call, and 75 nursing students were enrolled in DNP programs in the state as of 2015 according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. More than four times as many nursing students were enrolled in DNP programs as master’s programs that year.
Obtaining a DNP offers an assurance of high salaries as demonstrated by the Advance Healthcare Network’s survey of nurse practitioners in 2014. The Network determined that nurse practitioners with a DNP earned an average of 13% more than NPs who possessed a master’s degree.
Salaries for DNP Nurses in the Major Regions of Montana
The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary information for DNP-educated advanced nursing professionals in Montana’s major metropolitan and rural areas (2015):
Nurse Administrators and Executives:
- Billings: $106,940 – $139,670
- Great Falls: $96,380 – >$187,200
- Missoula: $106,660 – $128,830
- Nonmetropolitan areas:
- West Montana: $102.000 – $123,500
- Southwest Montana: $100,490 – $119,190
- Central Montana: $98,250 – $115,210
- Eastern Montana: $93,080 – $187,200*
- Billings: $108,080 – $130,520
- Great Falls: $99,820 – $120,340
- Missoula: $102,630 – $118,120
- Nonmetropolitan areas:
- Central Montana: $107,850 – $125,030
- Southwest Montana: $113,250 – $141,380
- West Montana: $91,410 – $105,710
Shown here are the average ranges for salaries that fall between the 75th and 90th percentiles for each role. This best represents the average earnings for DNP-educated nurses, giving consideration to the fact that DNPs earn more than master’s-prepared nurses in the same roles.
An Overview of Salaries for Montana’s DNP-Educated Nurses as Published by the US Department of Labor
The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics provides an overview of the annual and hourly salaries for Montana’s nurses earning within the 75th and 90th percentiles to best represent earnings for DNP nurses (2015):
*These values are equal to or greater than $90 an hour and $187,199 per year. The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data higher than these values.
This page includes salaries that fall within the 75th and 90th percentiles for each nursing role to account for the fact that DNP-educated nurses are recognized as earning more than master’s-prepared nurses in the same roles.