A substantial body of research has shown that advanced practice nurses such as nurse practitioners provide a level of care comparable to that of physicians at a fraction of the cost. Advanced practice nurses generally have at least an MSN, and in 1995, the Montana State Board of Nursing made this a formal requirement to be licensed as an APRN in the state.
Such MSN-educated nurses are highly compensated for their advanced education. The average annual salaries for APRNs in Montana are at least $32,000 higher than that of staff nurses who generally have an ADN or BSN according to a 2013 salary analysis from the state’s Department of Labor and Industry.
Sixty-one students were enrolled in MSN programs in Montana in 2013 according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. This was 2.9 times more students than were enrolled in nursing doctorate programs that year.
Salary Analysis of APRNs as Compared to RNs in Montana
An analysis of the wages of various classes of nurses reveals the salary benefits of obtaining an MSN. The Montana Department of Labor and Industry provides salary information from 2013 for two types of APRNs as compared to staff RNs who typically lack a graduate degree:
Average Annual Salary:
- Nurse Anesthetist – $127,290
- Nurse Practitioner – $92,700
- RN – $60,700
Average Hourly Wage:
- Nurse Anesthetist – $61.20
- Nurse Practitioner – $44.57
- RN – $29.18
Another analysis that demonstrates the substantial earning power for MSN-educated nurses such as APRNs is the 2012 salary survey of the Advance Healthcare Network for Nurses. Its comparison of salaries for nurses in Montana and other parts of the west revealed that MSN-educated nurses earned an average of $20,508 more than staff nurses:
- MSN – $90,975
- Staff nurse – $70,467
Nurse Practitioners Salaries in Montana’s Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas
Salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average annual salaries of nurse practitioners in Montana ranged from $84,520 to $102,440 a year in 2013. Such professionals who were located in the central nonmetropolitan part of Montana were the most highly paid:
*These figures represent hourly wages that are at least $90.00 per hour or annual salaries that are at least $187,199. These are the maximum salaries reported for Montant by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.