Health Professions

Practical Nursing

Mission Statement

The mission of the Missoula College Nursing Program is to pursue academic excellence to promote the preparation of students to become competent and caring individual for entry-level positions to help meet the health care needs of Montana.
The Nursing Program strives to create an environment of collaboration and mentorship among faculty, students and staff. This environment promotes the development of the student-faculty relationship supporting student accountability for their own learning. The learning environment provides opportunity for developing critical judgment and thinking, professional accountability and appreciation for life-long learning. Student learning is enhanced through professional and community relationships, intellectual strength and exposure to diverse populations.
Students interested in the Nursing program first enroll as Pre-Nursing students. Students then take prerequisite general education courses.  When required prerequisite course work is in its final semester or successfully completed, students may apply for admission to the Practical Nursing (PN) program. The PN program is a competitive admissions program that requires a separate application process after prerequisite course work is completed.

Practical Nursing

The Missoula College offers an Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS) in Practical Nursing. Upon completion of the PN program, the students are eligible to take the National Council Licensing Examination (PN-NCLEX) examination to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Applicants for the PN program must have a high school diploma or equivalency, have completed the AA general prerequisite courses with a C or better, except in SCN 201N and SCN202N which requires a B or higher grade. Prerequisite and nursing courses may only be attempted twice.  Math courses are combined so success must be accomplished within two attempts of M 121 and acceptable transfer courses. Assessment of writing and math for course placement follows The University of Montana guidelines and is done during orientations and at various times in the semester.
Students must also have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.75 in the required general AA courses to be eligible to apply to the PN Program.  Transfer credits are allowed from National Accredited Colleges and Universities only with credit substitutions as follows:

Pre Nursing Coures Substitution

Age of Course Acceptability

  • General Education courses are 10 years
  • College Algebra equal to or greater than 10 years must have an ALEK placement test with a Level III placement to accept. Must take math at level assigned from placement test result.
  • College Writing equal to or greater than 10 years must have a writing placement test with a WRIT 101 placement to accept. Must take Developmental Writing if that is the placement test result.
  • General Education courses (other than College Algebra and Writing), greater than 10 years can be evaluated by program director for acceptability.
  • Science courses must be completed within 5 years
  • Microbiology
  • Chemistry
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Science courses greater than 10 years can be evaluated by program director for acceptability.

Admission to the PN program requires a separate application that includes:

  • documented completion of the prerequisite courses
  • minimum of 2.75  cumulative GPA
  • active Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Certificate
  • a cover letter (15% of application score)
  • completion of a proctored TEAS test and (20% of application score)
  • a cumulative GPA in the nursing prerequisite courses (50% of application score)
  • top 30 students will participate in an interview (15% of application score)

All application materials will be submitted to the Health Professions Admissions Committee. The application specifications for the PN program are posted prior to the application deadline on the Missoula College web site. Application deadlines are April 1 and November 1. Applications may be submitted during the semester where the applicant is completing the last semester of AA prerequisite courses.
The 20 students who meet the selection criteria will be accepted into the PN nursing program. The Practical Nursing program extends over two semesters. Students learn practical nursing skills through lectures, demonstrations, independent study, ATI, simulation and practice in nursing skills lab on campus. Under instructor supervision, students also provide patient care in a variety of clinical health care settings. The program is approved by the Montana State Board of Nursing.

Students must provide proof of the following health requirements prior to entry into the clinical portion of the program:

  • tuberculosis testing using the PPD (Purified Protein Derivative) or chest x-ray (positive results will require a physician’s letter before a student can work in the clinical settings)
  • hepatitis B vaccine (HBV) prior to beginning clinical experience with potential exposure to blood-borne pathogens (a three injection series is required and may be obtained at Curry Health Center at The University of Montana and other health care providers)
  • two measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination are required for any one born after 1957 and a booster for anyone born before 1957
  • up-to-date Diphtheria-Tetanus vaccination
  • Influenza during appropriate season

All students must also show proof of a completing an up-to-date BLS CPR training approved by the American Heart Association, insurance and completion of a background check.

Many licensing bodies/employing institutions in health care have increasingly stringent requirements and background checks as conditions for licensing or employment. If students have a concern about this, they should contact the Montana State Board of Nursing Licensing department at
Successfully completing the Practical Nursing Program makes a student eligible to sit for the NCLEX National Practical Nursing Examination. This does not guarantee Montana State Practical Nursing licensure.
After licensure, as an LPN, graduates typically find employment in hospitals, nursing homes, physician offices and other health care agencies. They work under the supervision of a registered nurse, physician, dentist, osteopath or other health care provider as specified in the Montana Nurse Practice/Act.
The Practical Nursing Program is approved by the Montana State Board of Nursing with the next site visit doe re-approval due 2016.
301 South Park
Helena, MT 59601
406) 841-2340

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Contact Information

Please contact the Administrative Assistant for general program information or to make an advising appointment


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