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CNA Training in Montana

Montana, or “Big Sky County” as it is often called, is located along the northern border of the U.S. Stretching far from east to west, it is an amazing combination of the flatness of the Great Plains in the east and the mountains of the west. It is perhaps best known for Glacier National Park as well as for the numerous mountains that make excellent ski runs around Whitefish and Great Falls. CNAs can most readily find jobs in these larger cities as well as in Helena, but the 50 hospitals and 6,700 nursing homes are scattered across the state. Over one million people call Montana home, and of this number, a surprising 17 percent are over the age of 65.

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More about Montana

– Capital: Helena
– Minimum Wage: $8.20
– Number of Hospitals: 50
– Number of Nursing Homes: 6,713


– Total Population: 1,023,579
– Population (ages 45-64): 281,473
– Population (ages 65+): 171,155
– Population (ages 85+): 21,985

Top Colleges & Unversities

– Carroll College
– Montana State University, Bozeman
– University of Montana

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in Montana

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CNA Training Requirements

Taking the Test (Procedure)

Out-of-State Applicants

Renewing & Expired Certification

Applications & Forms

Contacts & Additional Resources

The only way to skip CNA training in Montana is to challenge the competency evaluation. All individuals have the option to challenge it once. Should they fail, they must attend a state-approved training program. If they pass, they will need additional assessments on all CNA skills by a licensed nurse when they are hired at a health care facility.

CNA training classes must be approved by the Department of Public Health and Human Services. All programs must be at least 75 hours long, which is the federal minimum. Students must complete at least 25 of these hours at a local health care facility learning and practice hands-on skills on patients. Students may work as non-certified nursing assistants for up to 120 days as they train and test. This pre-certification work period cannot be extended or reinstated for any reason.

Students must meet certain qualifications to be admitted to training programs. While neither the state nor the United States imposes age or educational requirements, students are encouraged to hold either high school diplomas or GEDs. Those who do not may have to pass basic assessment tests before being admitted to certain programs. Students must also have clean physicals and negative tuberculosis tests from within the past six months as well as up-to-date immunizations. Finally, they will need a clean criminal background check performed with fingerprinting.

Students will need to pass the Montana CNA competency evaluation before being placed on the state’s Nurse Aide Registry. Montana uses the Headmaster examination through D&S Diversified Technologies. Many tests are performed with pencil and paper; however, some regional testing sites use WebETest, a computerized testing system. Those who take computerized testing will receive their scores sooner than those who take a paper test do. Also, oral knowledge tests can only be performed at WebETest sites. The oral examination is performed with a computer and headphones.

Headmaster uses a two-part competency examination. The first section tests CNA theory knowledge with 72 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in 90 minutes or less. Students must have a score of at least 75 percent to pass this section.

The second section tests CNA skills. Students will be asked to demonstrate hand washing as well as four other randomly selected CNA skills as described in the manual. Students must pass each skill with a score of at least 80 percent and must perform all the critical steps accurately to pass this section. Students have 35 minutes to complete the skills section.

Students receive their scores the next day for computerized testing and within 3 to 5 business days with paper testing. Both sections must be passed for students to be listed on the CNA registry. Those who fail will only need to retake the part that was failed. The fee for both sections is $97 or $108 for the oral version.

CNAs who are new to the state can transfer their certifications into Montana if they are currently active on their prior state’s registry and are not listed on the abuse registry for patient abuse, neglect or maltreatment. They will need to fill out the application for interstate endorsement and will need to send in copies of a photo ID, proof of residency in Montana and proof of prior certification. Once the Montana Registry receives the application, the CNA will be approved and placed on the Registry within 15 business days. However, CNAs can work for pay in the state for up to 30 days while they apply and wait to receive Montana certification. Candidates who are not approved must retrain and retest. Reciprocity is free.

Montana CNAs must renew their certifications every 24 months. The state sends out renewal notices a couple of months in advance. To be eligible for renewal, CNAs must submit proof to the Registry that they have worked at least 8 hours for pay performing nursing-related tasks in the past 24 months. CNAs should send in the renewal form a month before expiration to allow enough processing time. CNAs who do not renew in time or who have not worked the required hours will need either to retrain and retest or to challenge the competency examination. There is no grace period for renewal. Those who renew on time will not have to pay any fees. Those who have lapsed certifications will be subject to fees.

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services
Montana Board of Nursing licenses
Montana Nurse Aide Registry
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Nurse Aide Training Programs
2401 Colonial Drive, 2nd Floor
PO Box 202953
Helena MT 59620-2953
Phone: (406) 444-4980
Fax: (406) 444-3456
Email: [email protected]

Employment Information for Montana

Average Salary for CNAs in MT

The income per capita in Montana is $25,373, and CNAs make just below that at an average of $24,900 per year. At an average of $11.97 per hour, CNAs may not be the highest paid health care personnel, but they have plenty of career options open to them whether they want to gain experience as CNAs or further their education.

Job Outlook in MT

Across the United States and even in Montana, CNAs are increasingly needed to fill vital roles in hospitals and long-term care facilities. In the next decade, the number of openings for CNAs is expected to increase by up to 20 percent as they will be needed to care for the 281,000 people between the ages of 45 and 65. Today, they mostly care for the 171,000 residents over the age of 65.

Employment Opportunities

Top Hospitals in Montana
Hospital NameAddressCityStateZipPhoneWebsite
Billings Clinic2800 10th Avenue NorthBillingsMT59101406-657-4000Website
Kalispell Regional Medical Center310 Sunnyview LaneKalispellMT59901406-752-5111Website
St. Patrick Hospital500 West BroadwayMissoulaMT59802406-543-7271Website
Advanced Care Hospital Of Montana3528 Gabel RoadBillingsMT59102406-373-8000Website
Barrett Hospital & Healthcare600 Highway 91 SouthDillonMT59725406-683-3000Website
Beartooth Billings Clinic2525 North BroadwayRed LodgeMT59068406-446-2345Website
Benefis Hospitals1101 26th Street SouthGreat FallsMT59405406-455-5000Website
Big Horn County Memorial Hospital17 North Miles AvenueHardinMT59034406-665-2310Website
Big Sandy Medical Center166 Montana Avenue EastBig SandyMT59520406-378-2188Website
Bozeman Deaconess Hospital915 Highland BoulevardBozemanMT59715406-414-5000Website
Broadwater Health Center110 North Oak StreetTownsendMT59644406-266-3186Website
Central Montana Medical Center408 Wendell AvenueLewistownMT59457406-535-7711Website
Clark Fork Valley Hospital10 Kruger RoadPlainsMT59859406-826-4800Website
Community Hospital Of Anaconda401 West Pennsylvania StreetAnacondaMT59711406-563-8500Website
Community Medical Center2827 Fort Missoula RoadMissoulaMT59804406-728-4100Website
Crow/Northern Cheyenne Hospital10110 South 7650 EastCrow AgencyMT59022406-638-2626Website
Dahl Memorial Healthcare Association215 Sandy StreetEkalakaMT59324406-775-8730Website
Daniels Memorial Healthcare Center105 Fifth Avenue EastScobeyMT59263406-487-2296Website
Deer Lodge Medical Center1100 Hollenbeck LaneDeer LodgeMT59722406-846-2212Website
Fallon Medical Complex202 South 4th Street WestBakerMT59313406-778-3331Website

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