Travel Nursing in Montana | Top Paying Specialties & Cities 2023
Montana is famous for its abundance of natural resources, from gems to wildlife, gaining it the nickname “Treasure State.” Montana is known for its big skies, Native American heritage, and cowboy culture, plus world-class recreation opportunities such as hiking, hunting, fishing,and skiing. Montana is a world-renowned tourist destination and is home to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. If you enjoy nature and outdoor adventures, the beautiful Big Sky Country should be on the top of your list as a travel nurse!
How Much Do Travel Nurses Make In Montana?
According to Zip Recruiter, the average annual pay for a travel nurse in Montana is $104,836 a year. That works out to be approximately $50.40 an hour. This is the equivalent of $2,016/week or $8,736/month. Montana ranks number 12 out of 50 states nationwide for travel nurse salaries. Depending on your specialty, supply and demand, and location, you may even be able to find a higher-paying assignment.
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Highest Paying Specialties in Montana
- Rehab: average of $3090/week
- Telemetry: average of $2998/week
- OR: average of $2963/week
- ICU: average of $2828/week
- Med Surg: average of $2728/week
Top 5 Hospitals in Montana
Montana is home to several reputable hospitals and healthcare facilities that offer opportunities for travel nurses. These hospitals are just a few examples, and there are other healthcare facilities throughout Montana that may also provide excellent opportunities for travel nurses. It’s recommended to research specific hospitals, their specialties, and the areas they serve to find the best fit for your skills and preferences.
1. Billings Clinic – Billings, Montana
- Billings Clinic is a large and nationally recognized healthcare organization that provides a wide range of medical services. It is the largest healthcare facility in Montana and offers excellent opportunities for travel nurses.
2. St. Patrick Hospital – Missoula, Montana
- St. Patrick Hospital, part of Providence Health & Services, is a well-regarded hospital known for its high-quality patient care and services. It is a level II trauma center and offers various specialties.
3. Kalispell Regional Healthcare – Kalispell, Montana
- Kalispell Regional Healthcare is a comprehensive medical center that serves the Flathead Valley and surrounding areas. It includes Kalispell Regional Medical Center, a level II trauma center, as well as a wide range of outpatient and specialty services.
4. Benefis Health System – Great Falls, Montana
- Benefis Health System is a leading healthcare provider in north-central Montana. It consists of a hospital, a medical group, and various specialty clinics. Benefis Health System offers a range of services and has a strong reputation for quality care.
5. Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital – Bozeman, Montana
- Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital is a community hospital that provides comprehensive medical services in the Bozeman area. It offers a broad range of specialties and has a strong commitment to patient-centered care.
Cost of Living for Travel Nurses in Montana
Montana is ranked number 33 out of all states in overall healthcare access and affordability according to Salary.com. Unfortunately, housing and healthcare costs are all higher in Montana than they are in other parts of the country. Due to increased demand and reduced supply, the housing market in Montana is experiencing a significant boom. These high prices trickle down into the rest of the economy, resulting in a higher cost of living than the national average.
Housing costs in Montana can vary significantly depending on the city. Many of the local counties offer relaxed small-town lifestyles but have a similar cost of living that you’d expect in a large city. It is home to stunning national parks and a tranquil atmosphere which in turn drives up the cost of living and housing market, which has more than doubled in many counties since the year 2000 according to Patrick Barkey, PhD, and Director of the Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
When deciding to take a travel nurse contract in Montana, keep housing costs top of mind, as they tend to be some of your highest living expenses, especially during peak season times. You can safely assume that housing costs will take up the most significant chunk of your monthly expenses. According to Apartments.com, a 1 bedroom, unfurnished apartment in Bozeman will cost on average $1,800 per month; a furnished unit will cost upward of $2,000-3,500 per month.
In Kalispell, near Glacier National Park, a 1 bedroom, furnished apartment during peak tourist season can cost $2,200-$3,000 per month. The same apartment in Whitefish, Montana, which is home to Big Mountain – a pristine ski resort area – will cost several hundred dollars more monthly. When considering a travel nursing assignment in Montana, it is highly advisable to research the specific location and consult with your travel nursing agency to see what resources they have to help you find housing and to get a better understanding of the cost of living and how it will impact your finances.
Pros and Cons of Travel Nursing in Montana
Pros of travel nursing in Montana:
- Montana is included in the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC): What does this mean for travel nurses? It means if you have a valid nursing license from another state in the NLC, you don’t need to acquire a Montana license to legally work as a travel nurse in the state.
- Natural Beauty: Montana is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, with majestic mountains, vast prairies, pristine glacial lakes and rivers, and stunning national parks. As a travel nurse in Montana, you’ll have an endless amount of opportunities to explore and immerse yourself in these stunning landscapes while enjoying outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, fishing, hunting, skiing, and wildlife viewing on your days off.
- Friendly Communities: Montana is known for its friendly and welcoming vibe. The state has a strong sense of community, and you’re likely to find warm and hospitable locals during your stay. This can make it easier to adapt as a travel nurse to your new environment and have a sense of belonging. You may never want to leave!
- Cultural Experience: Montana hosts a unique blend of cultures, influenced by Native American Heritage, western traditions, and outdoor-oriented lifestyles. By immersing yourself in the local culture, attending events, and connecting with the community, you can enrich your travel nurse experience and gain a deeper understanding of Montana’s history and way of life.
Cons of travel nursing in Montana:
- High cost of living: Montana has a higher cost of living compared to the national average, with higher housing and healthcare costs, especially in popular tourist destinations like Bozeman, Big Sky, and Whitefish.
- Harsh weather: While Montana experiences all four seasons, winters can be harsh, with heavy snowfall and below-freezing temperatures.
- Limited Job Opportunities: While there are various healthcare facilities in Montana, certain rural areas may have limited job opportunities for travel nurses.
Fun Things To Do on Your Days Off
- Glacier National Park: This is arguably one of the prettiest National Parks in the entire country. Glacier National Park stands proudly as the Crown of the Continent in northwest Montana. This pristine wilderness is comprised oif jagged mountain ranges, alpine meadows, thick forests, tall waterfalls, countless crystal clear, sparkling lakes, and numerous glaciers. It is home to beautiful wildlife such as grizzly and black bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, mountain lions, marmots, and others. It is a magnet for adventure lovers, with over 700 miles of hiking trails. Some of the most iconic hiking trails include the Highline Trail, Grinnell Glacier, Iceberg Lake, and Avalanche Lake to name a few. It is also home to the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road. The GTSR is a scenic mountain road that traverses the west side of the park to the east side. It winds along the mountainsides, hugging the cliffs and offering panoramic views at every turn. It is considered one of the most spectacular drives in the U.S. and stretches for approximately 50 miles, crossing over the Continental Divide at Logan’s Pass where it reaches an elevation of 6,650 feet. It doesn’t typically open to vehicles until late June because of the huge amounts of snow that must be plowed. During the springtime, you may experience it on a bike or e-bike before it is open to cars. It is truly a magical experience that should be added to your bucket list!
- Yellowstone National Park: While most of Yellowstone lies in Wyoming, the park’s western and northern section extends into Montana. You can witness geothermal wonders such as Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic along with other colorful hot springs. It is also home to a diverse array of wildlife including grizzly and black bears, wolves, bison, elk, and moose. You can take guided wildlife tours and enjoy the park’s scenic drives and hiking trails.
- Drive the Iconic BearTooth Highway: Be sure to check out this scenic mountain road that winds its way through the Beartooth Mountains in Montana and Wyoming, connecting the towns of Red Lodge and Cook City. It is often regarded as one of the most spectacular drives in the United States, offering breathtaking views and dramatic landscapes.
- Visit the Museum of the Rockies: Located in Bozeman, this museum is renowned for its paleontological exhibits, including one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur fossils. Explore the rich history of Montana and the Rocky Mountain region.
- Go skiing or snowboarding in Big Sky: Big Sky is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, visitors can enjoy views of the snow-capped peaks, pristine forests, and crystal-clear streams. It is known for its world-class winter sports in Big Sky Resort, known for its more than 5,800 acres of ski terrain and powder snow. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, Big Sky offers a variety of slopes for all skill levels.
- Tour the State Capitol in Helena: Montana’s capital, Helena, once known as Last Chance Gulch after a group of disheartened gold-diggers decided to have one final dig before striking gold, possesses one of the most attractive state capitol buildings in the US. The building resembles a Greek Renaissance style of architecture with sandstone and granite. It’s topped with a copper dome and reveals several eye-catching murals featuring themes of Montana’s past.
- Tour the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument: Located in southeastern Montana is the historic Battlefield and Monument of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand. You can learn about the historic battle, where Lieutenant Colonel George Custer and his men faced the Lakota and Cheyenne Warriors. You can tour and explore the battlefield, visit the museum, and gain insight into Native American history.
Montana is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, including the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains to its vast expanses of prairies, crystal clear lakes, and rivers. The state offers unparalleled beauty and a diverse range of ecosystems. There is a reason Montana is nicknamed the “Last Best Place” with its pristine and natural paradise. The nickname captures the essence of Montana’s unspoiled landscape, abundant wildlife, and the sense of freedom and adventure that the state offers. It’s worth adding it to your travel nurse destination bucket list and will likely steal your heart!