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Hi everyone,

I’m currently in PA school down in Florida but will be moving to Montana (around Livingston) once I graduate. I was wondering if any PAs currently working in Montana can tell me a bit about the job market there and what you like about living/working in Montana. Thanks in advance! 

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4 hours ago, at0014 said:

Hi everyone,

I’m currently in PA school down in Florida but will be moving to Montana (around Livingston) once I graduate. I was wondering if any PAs currently working in Montana can tell me a bit about the job market there and what you like about living/working in Montana. Thanks in advance! 

Certified in August 19’. Had to move from the area to go to school in FL. Been trying to get back into that area, as well as WY for the last 5 months. Very competitive and NP preferred, and job availability is slim to none. They also have a large preference for new grads (if by chance a job opens for a new grad) for the students coming out of Billings, as they rotate here. I’ve seen maybe 1 or 2 jobs open up in Livingston itself over a span of several months. Bozeman’s surrounding area is a highly desirable living space so competition is stiff. My point is (this is going to be the most realistic advice you’re going to get) get started now if you want to have the slightest chance at employment there after graduating. No joke. Choice of salary, speciality, and specific location in that area are highly unlikely. 

Edited by ANESMCR
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On 1/24/2020 at 2:33 AM, at0014 said:

Hi everyone,

I’m currently in PA school down in Florida but will be moving to Montana (around Livingston) once I graduate. I was wondering if any PAs currently working in Montana can tell me a bit about the job market there and what you like about living/working in Montana. Thanks in advance! 

I have been a practicing PA in MT since 2008. with the exception of one small hospital, I have not experienced or heard of a preference of NP over PA, or new grad over experience. A ten second search of indded.com tonight resulted in 30+ PA jobs in MT. That does not include IHS jobs, 3r.net, or jobs advertised elsewhere. So there are plenty of jobs. Depending on specialty and where you are willing to live of course. I agree with the above that the Bozeman area (as well as other areas such as the Missoula area and the Flathead valley) are very desirable places to live. As such there are fewer jobs in these areas. (St. Patrick's Hospital in Missoula is currently advertising for a full time cardiology PA). If you are flexible you shouldn't have a problem finding a finding a job. Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. Hope this helps. 

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I want to be clear in response to the latter poster. I commonly hear this same response from working PAs that aren’t in the current market of job searching in 2019/2020. They do a search online and see X amount of jobs so you should have no problem, right? Of those 31 jobs. 3 of them are open to new grads. Over 10 of them have preference for NPs. 28/29 of them have preference for 1+ year experience. Of the 3-4 jobs in Montana that are open to new grad PA’s, two of them are located on the MT/ND border (Sidney, Wibaux) approximately 6 hours drive from Livingston. The non-invasive cardiology job in Missoula open to new grads has been open for 4 months. And has about 40-70 new grad applicants. The IHS is an option, however, again you will not be in your location, and you will start at a nursing salary. I’m not trying to be abrasive, I’m just being real with you. As I wish I had similar advice when I was at your stage in PA school, thinking we had everything available at our finger tips after certification, as it was in a year like 2008.

Edited by ANESMCR
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5 minutes ago, ANESMCR said:

I want to be clear in response to the latter poster. I commonly hear this same response from working PAs that aren’t in the current market of job searching in 2019/2020. They do a search online and see X amount of jobs so you should have no problem, right? Of those 31 jobs. 3 of them are open to new grads. Over 10 of them have preference for NPs. Of the 3-4 jobs in Montana that are open to new grad PA’s, two of them are located on the MT/ND border (Sidney, Wibaux). The non-invasive cardiology job in Missoula open to new grads has been open for 4 months. And has about 40-70 new grad applicants. The IHS is an option, however, again you will not be in your location, and you will start at a nursing salary.

Any inkling as to why it isn't being filled?  That's a long time to accept applicants.

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13 minutes ago, GetMeOuttaThisMess said:

Any inkling as to why it isn't being filled?  That's a long time to accept applicants.

No idea. I was declined over a month ago from that position but have seen it remain open. In this day and age I honestly don’t find it odd. I’ve been in talks with a practice for nearly two months now in WY, and only now getting them to schedule an interview.

Edited by ANESMCR
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12 hours ago, ANESMCR said:

I want to be clear in response to the latter poster. I commonly hear this same response from working PAs that aren’t in the current market of job searching in 2019/2020. They do a search online and see X amount of jobs so you should have no problem, right? Of those 31 jobs. 3 of them are open to new grads. Over 10 of them have preference for NPs. 28/29 of them have preference for 1+ year experience. Of the 3-4 jobs in Montana that are open to new grad PA’s, two of them are located on the MT/ND border (Sidney, Wibaux) approximately 6 hours drive from Livingston. The non-invasive cardiology job in Missoula open to new grads has been open for 4 months. And has about 40-70 new grad applicants. The IHS is an option, however, again you will not be in your location, and you will start at a nursing salary. I’m not trying to be abrasive, I’m just being real with you. As I wish I had similar advice when I was at your stage in PA school, thinking we had everything available at our finger tips after certification, as it was in a year like 2008.

I never said the OP was qualified for all the posted jobs. Just pointing out there are jobs out there. I didn't see where the 10 jobs have preference of NP. thou, I will admit I didn't look close. And yes if the OP wants to live in or near Livingston he/she would have a better chance of getting a job as a ranch hand. On the other hand if the OP is flexible they could take a position in another area and work on getting to the Livingston area. I'm not saying its going to be easy, but its not impossible. 

Edited by Evolute
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'm pretty worried now but I appreciate the honesty. My goal has always been pediatrics so to hear that there is a very small chance of me getting into the specialty I want sucks. But I guess it is better to face that now rather than after I graduate. I will start looking into jobs as soon as possible then to try and get a head start. Do you guys recommend any other ways to find job openings besides online sites such as indeed? 

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1 hour ago, at0014 said:

I'm pretty worried now but I appreciate the honesty. My goal has always been pediatrics so to hear that there is a very small chance of me getting into the specialty I want sucks. But I guess it is better to face that now rather than after I graduate. I will start looking into jobs as soon as possible then to try and get a head start. Do you guys recommend any other ways to find job openings besides online sites such as indeed? 

Saw one pop up in Livingston a few days ago on indeed. Hospitalist. Might want to check that out. Not sure if they’re open to new grads etc. but you should just apply to it anyways. Peds is unfortunately very hard to come by in the mountainwest. Off the top of my head I’ve honestly not seen any. You can always hover over those areas on google and search Pediatrics, then cold call the practice.

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  • 1 month later...

I'm moving to MT after I graduate in December. I'm definitely willing to relocate to more rural areas as long as it's in the western part of the state. Currently interested in EM or UC. Really like Libby, West Glacier, Kalispell area but may need to go more rural depending on the job market. 

It's kind of disheartening to hear how tough it's likely going to be. Any idea if I'm going to have better luck in more rural towns? 

@ANESMCR @Evolute

Edited by kjavadi
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21 hours ago, kjavadi said:

I'm moving to MT after I graduate in December. I'm definitely willing to relocate to more rural areas as long as it's in the western part of the state. Currently interested in EM or UC. Really like Libby, West Glacier, Kalispell area but may need to go more rural depending on the job market. 

It's kind of disheartening to hear how tough it's likely going to be. Any idea if I'm going to have better luck in more rural towns? 

@ANESMCR @Evolute

Your best bet is going to be looking in Missoula if you desire that area. I’ve seen one position open up in Kalispell through a 9 month period. It’s going to be even more difficult now after the pandemic. I’ve since settled on employment in a different state but if it’s anything like it is here, people are being furloughed, losing bonuses, and being laid off. Hospital systems are bleeding cash right now. Private practices and specialties even worse. Just start searching and applying early, hopefully you can get something in the works this summer when everything hopefully blows over. Evolute prob has a better idea of the state of healthcare systems there currently. 

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Thanks @ANESMCR. I like Missoula a lot but kind of gave up on working there because I figured it would actually be more difficult to find work with everyone and their mommas moving to the area. I've also heard Montana has depressed wages which are worse in these highly desirable towns like Bozeman and Missoula. 

I'm hoping by the time I start applying (August) this pandemic will have settled and places will be hiring again. 

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1 minute ago, kjavadi said:

Thanks @ANESMCR. I like Missoula a lot but kind of gave up on working there because I figured it would actually be more difficult to find work with everyone and their mommas moving to the area. I've also heard Montana has depressed wages which are worse in these highly desirable towns like Bozeman and Missoula. 

I'm hoping by the time I start applying (August) this pandemic will have settled and places will be hiring again. 

I was the same way. Hate metropolitan areas. Even small cities. Grew up in the country, and wanted to stay there after sacrificing so much for PA school. Took me 7-8 months to get hired and still didn’t get my desired location. I don’t wish that on anyone else. So keep looking, start now, and let me know if you need any advice on job searching etc. I’m happy to help. 

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23 minutes ago, ANESMCR said:

I was the same way. Hate metropolitan areas. Even small cities. Grew up in the country, and wanted to stay there after sacrificing so much for PA school. Took me 7-8 months to get hired and still didn’t get my desired location. I don’t wish that on anyone else. So keep looking, start now, and let me know if you need any advice on job searching etc. I’m happy to help. 

Thank you!

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On 1/24/2020 at 3:33 AM, at0014 said:

Hi everyone,

I’m currently in PA school down in Florida but will be moving to Montana (around Livingston) once I graduate. I was wondering if any PAs currently working in Montana can tell me a bit about the job market there and what you like about living/working in Montana. Thanks in advance! 

I'm going to be a bit blunt with you, but you will have a very very difficult time trying to find a job here as a new grad without school connections in Park or Gallatin county. Do NOT move here before getting a job offer. It'll hurt you financially.

I and several PAs in Bozeman went to Rocky and 4 of them are from Bozeman, 2 out of 4 got jobs through their rotations in Bozeman (one with a second master's degree to get into her specialty, first PA in that department.) One is currently out of state getting experience and hoping to come back. One of the friends struggling to get a job here used to nanny for several of the docs in town and her mom is a physician here. You need experience, connections, and/or you need clinicals here. I did half of my rotations in Bozeman and didn't get a job here until I had over a year experience and I was severely underpaid in my second job here, new job is much better but not FTE--I supplement with locums. Bozeman did say they are planning to add a significant number of APC positions in the next 2+ years but when I talked to the lead APC she said most if not all would require 2+ years experience in the exact position.

This area does not favor NP over PA... It heavily favors physician. NP and PA are on equal pay scales with the hospitals. 

Bozeman has a DNP program adding to your competition for positions here (in addition to PAs from Rocky). 

I couldn't get a job in Missoula with literally 54 weeks of work experience, they wanted "a year" but really it was 3+ they were looking for. Missoula is also very competitive.

This isn't to discourage you, but just to paint a very realistic picture. 

On 2/18/2020 at 8:37 PM, ANESMCR said:

Saw one pop up in Livingston a few days ago on indeed. Hospitalist. Might want to check that out. Not sure if they’re open to new grads etc. but you should just apply to it anyways. Peds is unfortunately very hard to come by in the mountainwest. Off the top of my head I’ve honestly not seen any. You can always hover over those areas on google and search Pediatrics, then cold call the practice.

This is posted, I know someone who did rotations there recently and said it seemed like they are only hiring an APP because the docs don't want to do it. I'd be a bit weary of that, but may also be a great opportunity that didn't fit their interests. Again though, very pro MD area, I don't know of any PAs in that hospital outside of primary care offices. The patients are great though. LHC also occasionally has UC openings that have been filled with new grads before so keep an eye out. The FQHC pays under market value.

On 3/31/2020 at 12:34 PM, kjavadi said:

I'm moving to MT after I graduate in December. I'm definitely willing to relocate to more rural areas as long as it's in the western part of the state. Currently interested in EM or UC. Really like Libby, West Glacier, Kalispell area but may need to go more rural depending on the job market. 

It's kind of disheartening to hear how tough it's likely going to be. Any idea if I'm going to have better luck in more rural towns? 

@ANESMCR @Evolute

I have been practicing for almost 6 years. I cannot get an EM job even with high level of UC autonomy and high procedural experience in my positions and prior EMS experience, practice in remote Alaska, and all my certs (ATLS, ACLS, PALS). You might get lucky and find a position, but I wouldn't count on it. I'm very seriously considering going back to Med school at this point or doing a residency out of state and then trying to come back but I have little hope left. The PAs in Bozeman ED have been there since I was a student 7+ years... Very low turn over. 

I did almost work at the UC in Kalispell (MedNorth?) 1 year out of school. It seemed like a good opportunity but the pay was low at that time and I got a similar salary offer but with NHSC repayment so I went with that. The owner typically advertises for jobs on Craigslist I think, not the job boards. 

Some places will hire new grads but if you go rural, you really need an SP to consult with your first year ON SITE/in town, otherwise you are setting yourself up for misery. Most rural sites prefer a bit of experience first because of the nature of rural medicine, or they prefer NP as they don't require a SP to be available and certain rural areas often can't afford an MD. The eastern part of the state or the "high line" (towns along the northern border) are always looking for someone and would probably consider you even as a new grad, you could do that for a year, learn everything you can, then apply to your desired areas and move.... You have to have about 3-5 years experience to work in Yellowstone. Libby seems to be trying to find someone and may consider a new grad as I think they also have FP residents from time to time. Billings and the communities around there are best for new grads as they are used to Rocky students being around and are familiar with PAs. 

If you are interesting in EM and UC I would recommend either a residency in EM (the UC ones are ridiculous to me, half the pay for work you can learn on the job) or get a job in a busy UC in a more populated area with at least one other provider on per shift to learn from and gain experience, it'll make you competitive.

Feel free to PM and you will get back here someday!

Edited by travlmedpa
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@kjavadi I actually have a pretty good set up right now, just frustrated about the classic "you need PA ER experience but we won't hire you to get it" run around. I could leave to do a residency but I'd lose this cool position, not sure I'm ready for it yet. My new SP this year significantly increased my scope of practice compared to last year so that has been nice, and the hospital is actually handling covid19 incredibly well. 

There are some new grad jobs here but really they tend to be in non-desirable places or with terrible employers (my first was a roller coaster of emotions and crazy situations, he "fired" me from jail...... because I refused to take his side). The entire medical/hospital team in Havre seemed genuinely nice, but I just couldn't picture myself living there.

I would genuinely recommend staying where you are if cost of living is reasonable, get a job at a busy clinic with a team that is excited to help you learn, the first year is tough and you need that support, then start applying up here. As I mentioned, that job in Missoula wouldn't hire me a at 11+ months of experience (which by the time paperwork and credentialing is done I'd be over a year) but all 4 jobs I applied to at 1 year and 2 days experience offered me jobs.

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