Compare School Options

Most schools have rolling admissions and financial help so you can start your degree in a few weeks!

Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Montana. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

We helped assure the quality and integrity of these academic programs by limiting our selections to accredited institutions. The majority of these schools are accredited by The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), a voluntary, non-governmental organization dedicated to improving postsecondary institutions. It is recognized by both the United States Department of Education (USDE) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Montana

Best Online Colleges in Montana Badge

The University of Montana

Montana State University

University of Providence

Montana State University-Billings

Montana Tech of the University of Montana

Montana State University-Northern

Discover More Options

Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Montana

Does Montana have good online colleges and universities?

Absolutely. The state offers a wealth of online educational opportunities, such as the University of Montana Western’s Online Associate in Early Childhood Education. After you graduate, you may want to consider staying in Montana to complete a master’s degree while you work in one of the state’s many growing fields. Montana is rich in online graduate school options, like the University of Montana’s Online Master of Social Work or Rocky Mountain College’s Online Master of Educational Leadership.

That said, there are many excellent online college programs available in other states as well. If you’re open to attending a school that’s located in another state, check out our guide to the best accredited online colleges. In addition to showing you the top 30 options in the entire United States for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

Do online college credits in Montana cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some schools offer discounted rates for online courses, whereas others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. For example, if you’d like to take online classes at Montana State University, you’ll need to pay an extra “Distributed Learning” fee of $10 per credit.

Why should you choose Montana for online higher education?

From affordable community colleges to private religious institutions to top public research universities, Montana offers something for every type of online college student. One option that stands out as a particularly appealing choice for out-of-state undergraduate students is Montana State University Billings, where online tuition for non-residents is considerably less than in-person tuition.

The Cost of Online College in Montana

How much does an online degree in Montana cost?

The cost of an online degree in Montana depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree that you decide to pursue. For example, private schools are typically more expensive than public schools, and undergraduate degrees are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you’ll probably find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, also consider that you may be able to save money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Montana below. Note that, as of this writing, there is only one school in Montana that offers online bachelor’s degrees.

Most affordable online college in Montana: University of Montana Western, $485 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Montana to get in-state tuition rates?

Typically, you will be eligible for in-state tuition rates after you have lived in Montana for one year. Some groups, such as military veterans, tribal members, and graduate fellows, are entitled to in-state tuition rates without meeting this one-year requirement.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Montana?

In 2017, Gov. Steve Bullock signed the Montana Promise Act to establish a grant program for resident students at Montana’s tribal, two-year, and community colleges. Students awarded a grant under this program may receive reduced tuition for no more than two years and must maintain a GPA of at least 2.7.

A unique part of the Montana Promise is that recipients must contribute a minimum of eight hours of community service each semester. Recipients must also meet admissions requirements and complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Montana

If you don’t qualify for the Montana Promise, there are many other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are based on financial need, whereas others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent scholarship options for you below:

Youth Serve Montana Scholarships

All Montana high school seniors are invited to apply for these volunteerism-focused scholarships funded by Reach Higher Montana, Montana Campus Compact, and the Governor’s Office of Community Service. The scholarships can only be used at one of the 17 Montana higher-education institutions that are part of the Montana Campus Compact.

Who’s eligible? A minimum GPA is not required to apply for this scholarship; however, you must have a minimum of 50 community service hours within the past year. You must also have filled out a FAFSA showing financial need.

Contact information: [email protected] | 406-444-9077

Learn more

Montana Life Members Scholarship

The Montana Federation of Garden Clubs, Inc. awards an annual scholarship to a student who is a Montana resident and majoring in a horticulture-related field, such as conservation, horticulture, parks, forestry, floriculture, greenhouse management, or land management.

Who’s eligible? Applicants must be a resident of Montana, be at least a college sophomore, and have a GPA of at least 2.7.

Contact information: [email protected] | 406-727-7633

Learn more

Reach Higher Montana: Senior Send-Off

All Montana high school seniors are eligible to apply for Senior Send-Off awards from Reach Higher Montana, a nonprofit that helps Montana residents reach their educational goals. Senior Send-Off awards include scholarships as well as equipment and prize packages.

Who’s eligible? Montana high school seniors who upload a photo or video of themselves explaining their college plans are eligible to win a scholarship or other prize.

Contact information: [email protected] | 406-422-1275

Learn more

Pride Foundation Scholarships: Northwest

Residents of Montana who identify as LGBTQ+, have demonstrated leadership skills, and have faced barriers hindering their education access are invited to apply for these awards. The Pride Foundation was founded in 1985 in Seattle and has invested more than $70 million in transformative community change, including scholarships.

Who’s eligible? Applicants must be pursuing postsecondary education at a community college, four-year college, certificate program, vocational/technical/trade program, law school, medical/dental/veterinary school, or graduate school.

Contact information: [email protected] | 800-735-7287

Learn more

Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries in Montana

If you still don’t know where you will attend college, it’s quite possible you don’t yet know what you will major in as well. In that case, one of the most important factors that you should consider is which industries are growing the fastest in Montana — this will make it easier to find a job, and the higher demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Employment Projections (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Montana:

Software Developers and Testers

As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise the skills of software developers and testers are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be rather high — for example, software testers in Montana earn an average salary of $70,710.

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers work in many different fields, from healthcare to finance. They focus on maximizing efficiency and eliminating waste. Unlike some other types of engineers (nuclear, chemical, etc.), industrial engineers can typically enter their careers with only a bachelor’s degree. In Montana, industrial engineers earn an average annual salary of $90,590.

  • Growth: 25%
  • Degree options: Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering, Bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Bachelor’s in Operations Research, Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management, Bachelor’s in Manufacturing Engineering, Master’s in Industrial Engineering

Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists

Market research analysts and marketing specialists use data to understand consumer preferences and tailor a company’s marketing campaigns to what will bring the greatest return on investment. In Montana, market research analysts and marketing specialists make an average salary of $72,280.

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts monitor and manage an organization’s computer networks and systems. Specifically, information security analysts keep an organization’s data safe. As cybersecurity and information security become increasingly important in our digital world, security analysts are in high demand. They are also well-compensated, making an average annual salary of $90,100 in Montana.

Dental Laboratory Technicians

Dental laboratory technicians work with dentists to design and manufacture corrective devices for and replacements of natural teeth, such as dentures, implants, and orthodontics. As people live longer, it makes sense that Montana and other states will see an increased demand for these professionals. In Montana, dental laboratory technicians make an average annual salary of $50,940.

  • Growth: 15.4%
  • Degree options: Certificate in Dental Laboratory Technology, Associate in Dental Laboratory Technology

Discover More Accredited Online Colleges and Degree Programs

Compare School Options