Montana boasts 23 colleges and universities, 13 of which offer accredited online degree programs. Montana has the fourth-largest land area but the seventh-smallest population. Most communities in the state more than 60 miles from a college or university, which makes distance learning convenient for many residents.

One of the state's flagship schools, the University of Montana (UM) offers an online MBA program. Although the university's campus is located in Missoula, the online MBA program provides a flexible and convenient option for working professionals and students who live in other parts of the state.

Online MBA Programs in Montana

There is currently only one online MBA program available in Montana; it awards accredited degrees and provides a top-notch education.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description
The University of Montana
Location Missoula , MT Tuition $$$$$ % Receiving Financial Aid 57 Student Population 12,419 Tuition $17,968 School Type Public

Located in Missoula, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the University of Montana offers the only online MBA in Montana with the flexibility working professionals need. The program offers specializations in sustainability and digital marketing, and students can earn certificates in entertainment management or entrepreneurship.

Students can complete the 32-credit curriculum in one year of full-time study. Part-time students may take up to five years to complete the curriculum. Students with bachelor's degrees from fields other than business must take an additional 15 credits of foundation courses. The school awards credit for independent study and internships. Students need to complete an integrated project during their final semester. The university may waive the GMAT requirement for applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or higher from their bachelor's degree.

The University of Montana holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and the business college holds program accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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Why Consider an Online MBA in Montana?

The University of Montana is the only institution in the state that offers an online MBA program. The top-rated university holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and UM's business school holds accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Montana's economy is built on agriculture, forestry, and mining, but the state's top industries also include healthcare, leisure activities, and business services. MBA graduates can take advantage of this economic transition and the state's growing job market.

Montana's large rural population makes online learning a valuable option for many students. Learners participating in UM's online MBA program view recorded lectures and participate in live virtual discussions.

Number of Students Enrolled in Distance Education (2015)

Undergraduate Graduate
Any Distance 9,602 1,181
Exclusively Distance 2,694 770
On-Campus 43,372 3,962
Source: Digital Learning Compass

Distance Enrollment by Institution Type (2015)

All Students Graduate Students Enrolled in Any Distance
Private not-for-profit 4,864 67
Public 45,934 1,114
Source: Digital Learning Compass

MBA Concentrations for Montana Students

Traditionally, Montana's most prominent industries have been agriculture and mining. These industries still play a major role in the state's economy, but the fastest-growing field in Montana is healthcare. Students planning to work in the state after graduation should consider specializing in an area related to Montana's top industries. Business graduates with concentrations in areas such as the business of healthcare or agricultural and energy management often have greater employment opportunities.

The University of Montana offers a joint MBA/physical therapy doctoral program and a joint MBA/pharmacy doctoral program. Online MBA programs in states such as Colorado, Nebraska, and Washington offer agricultural concentrations. Online MBAs at Texas and Oklahoma schools often focus on energy and natural resources.

  • MBA and Doctorate of Physical Therapy or Pharmacy These joint degree programs combine business classes with coursework related to in-demand healthcare specialties, giving graduates an edge in the emerging job market.
  • Agriculture Concentration This concentration covers business and management principles applicable to agriculture and farming. Students take classes in agricultural markets, law, and pricing.
  • Energy and Natural Resources Concentration Courses in this concentration address government policy, law, and accounting. Learners explore concepts relevant to energy and natural resources, including oil and gas, along with the economic theories that shape the field.

Accreditation in Montana

Pursuing an accredited degree is crucial, as accreditation ensures that the education a school offers meets standards of academic excellence. Regional accreditation serves public and private nonprofit institutions. The University of Montana is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

The online MBA is also programmatically accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. This designation means that the curriculum at the University of Montana's MBA has been assessed to determine that it prepares its students for work in the business world.

Montana Economy, Career, and Job Outlook for MBA Graduates

Montana's economic landscape has evolved over the past 5-10 years. The state's top industries include healthcare, mining, agriculture and forestry, and leisure activities. After earning their online MBA, Montana residents can often relocate to the areas with the highest concentration of jobs: the northwestern and southwestern areas of the state, in the cities of Missoula, Billings, and Helena.

According to the 2018 Montana Economic Report, the state's financial and business services sectors are growing, fueled by the expansion of technology companies in western Montana. Mining for coal and oil has seen modest growth. Despite drought and wildfires, agricultural industries drive the state's economy. Tourists continue to visit the state's parks and recreation areas, even with compromised air quality from wildfire smoke.

Montana's Department of Labor and Industry projects the addition of 5,000 new jobs per year through 2025, with 1,000 of those new positions in healthcare. The growing healthcare industry needs MBA holders to fill positions as directors of operations, operations managers, and healthcare administrators. In addition, operations managers can also work in agriculture, oil and gas mining, and travel and hospitality.

Company Location Main Industry Number of Employees
Billings Clinic Billings Healthcare 17,850
Aageson Farm Gildford Agriculture 3,000
Malmstrom Air Force Base Malmstrom AFB Government 3,000
Source: careeronestop

After earning an online MBA, Montana graduates often find opportunities with the state's leading employers, including the three listed above. Billings Clinic encompasses many segments of the growing healthcare industry and hires a variety of professionals with healthcare and business degrees. Aageson Farm represents the traditional Montana economy and seeks job candidates trained in agricultural operations. Mountain Home Air Force Base is a military facility; such federal government installations often hire civilians with MBAs for senior executive service positions.

Careers for MBA Grads in Montana

Healthcare Director of Operations

These professionals plan, direct, and coordinate all aspects of a healthcare business. These directors develop departmental goals and objectives, manage the budget and finances, supervise employees, guide research and development, work with other executives and physicians, and ensure facility compliance with laws and regulations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare directors of operations earn a median annual salary of $99,730.

Healthcare Operations Managers

These managers plan, implement, and administer operations at healthcare facilities and clinics. They manage patient information and databases, oversee billing, formulate business strategies and budgets, and hire and train employees. They may also serve as public information officers for the facility or clinic. According to PayScale, healthcare operations managers earn a median annual salary of $62,095.

Healthcare Administrator

These professionals lead large nursing staffs at hospitals, nursing homes, primary-care practices, and correctional facilities. These administrators ensure that their facility maintains accreditation. They also formulate plans to improve healthcare delivery, conduct market analyses to identify growth and revenue drivers, and manage financial operations. According to PayScale, healthcare administrators earn a median annual salary of $59,604.

Agricultural Operations Manager

These managers oversee the daily operations of farms and ranches. Their responsibilities include setting production goals, hiring and supervising employees, maintaining equipment and facilities, managing budgets, and monitoring market prices. They also serve as the sales agent for crops, dairy products, and livestock. According to the BLS, these managers earn a median annual salary of $69,620.

Senior Executive Service

As members of a civilian corps within the U.S. government, senior executive service members manage and supervise high-level programs. These executives report directly to presidential appointees and must possess advanced business skills to lead change, create results, and build coalitions. These service members generally earn pay correlating with at least level five of the federal executive schedule, $155,800 per year.

How to Choose an Online MBA in Montana

There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Montana. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school's strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school's business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school's website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.

Online MBA Programs in Surrounding States

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