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Old 10-27-2015, 09:15 PM
 
14 posts, read 10,386 times
Reputation: 18

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Hello everyone, I've been googling information about the state of Montana in preparation for a move sometime next year.I have a few questions that perhaps some locals would be interested in letting me know? If not locals then perhaps someone with some experience in the area.

The locations I'm interested in are Missoula/Billings as of right now, perhaps that will change in the future. The reason I'm choosing those two places are their potential for jobs and the ability to have a little bit of everything within reach shopping wise (I'd also considered Kalispell but I'm not fully convinced it's a valid choice due it to being more of a resort town)

First question: I hear people talking about how expensive it is to live in Montana. I live in a 800 Sq Ft 1 Bedroom Apartment in El Cajon currently paying about 1200 a month without any utilities included which is fairly expensive. I have to imagine the prices there are a bit better (As the wages are lower I'm sure). Would I expect to find difficulty in finding a 1 bedroom for 600-800 a month with equivalent or greater square footage? I'm not looking to be rich, just comfortable. Afford rent and a little bit extra such as eating out a few times a week and an occasional trip .

Second question: I've heard there's decent colleges in both Missoula/Billings. As far as animation/art would go, which would the locals say is the best between the two or is there a superior third option somewhere else?

Third Question: Is the job situation really as dire in those cities as I've heard? Montana's government job website has alot of listings that I'd be interested in applying for before I went down there. Again, not looking for a huge payday but would like to make an alright wage locally. Is there a problem with retention or initial employment and what's the biggest obstacle? I have a car and am willing to commute between 30 minutes to an hour.

Thanks!

Last edited by JollySunshineAndHappiness; 10-27-2015 at 09:33 PM..

 
Old 10-28-2015, 09:52 AM
 
4,645 posts, read 3,968,925 times
Reputation: 9716
Montana is home to thousands of college students who are considered out of state residents. Good luck with your adventure.

Rents in MT college towns can be both lower and higher than what you are presently paying--depending on vintage of apartment & location. Montana housing tends to be pricey compared to average salary.

Heating can be costly also depending on condition--insulation & window vintage.

I can not speak to animation/art studies, you will have to research that. I would guess Bozeman, but could be very wrong. There was some film production there.

Montana has two state universities and then several branches of those universities at various towns. There are also well regarded private colleges such as MT Tech at Butte and Carroll College at Helena. Missoula has the University of Montana. Bozeman has Montana State University.

Billings has MSU affiliate (used to be called Eastern MT college), private Rocky, & also a community city college aligned with Billings MSU. Kalispell lacks a university presence unless I'm unaware of a community college.

Employment unless obviously seasonal or natural resource job with market ups and downs tend to be stable. A mining job might be eliminated due to shutdown or slowdown for example. Many college student jobs are summer tourist related and exist from about Memorial day to Labor day. So the answer on job stability is --- it depends on what the job is.

As far as distance to commute, typically a 30 minute commute can be 20-30 miles from destination--Montana heavy traffic is not CA traffic. Additional time may be required if roads are snowy, icy, visibility poor, etc---so it matters what the commute is, over a mountain pass, through a canyon, etc. Winter driving abilities and vehicle type will be a factor.
 
Old 10-28-2015, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Billings, MT
9,524 posts, read 7,784,584 times
Reputation: 13259
There are two "decent" colleges in Billings; MSUB and Rocky Mountain college.
There is also a Baptist College.
If the OP has looked at the State job site, he already knows more about the local jobs than I do. I know there are a LOT of "Now Hiring" signs on various businesses around town.
The main thing to remember is never ever say "well, back home we did that THIS way!" Somebody will invite you to return "home" and don't let the swinging door hit you in the gluteus maximus on the way out!
Another thing is never complain about a pickup that has a dead deer or elk in the bed at this time of year (hunting season). You will get NO sympathy.
It is a safe bet that your neighbor has a gun or two, so don't ask. It really is none of your business. Nor is it any of your business where said guns are stored.
Montana is a great place to live. BUT, you need to be ready to leave your past life behind. The culture may be quite different from what you are used to.
Welcome, and good luck.

EDIT: Kalispell has Flathead Valley Community College, a quite well regarded educational institution.
 
Old 10-28-2015, 12:25 PM
 
726 posts, read 922,653 times
Reputation: 1319
Why does the OP want to move to Montana of all places? I ask that not to imply there is something inherently wrong with MT, but because there are 50 states to choose from, many with far more vibrant cities and cultural offerings than MT, which after all is like the 44th least populous state but the 4th largest.

I would never move to Montana for college or culture or jobs. Montana's best qualities are made up of what it has in abundance, nature and land, and what it lacks, people and laws.
 
Old 10-28-2015, 01:26 PM
 
14 posts, read 10,386 times
Reputation: 18
Sounds good, most stuff I already knew but had a few facts confirmed. Thanks for those that offered legitimate answers. Be well.
Also, if anyone else feels they have input about the questions I asked feel free to participate as well. More information is not a bad thing.
 
Old 10-28-2015, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Montana
1,752 posts, read 1,645,211 times
Reputation: 5951
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrwumpus View Post
Why does the OP want to move to Montana of all places? I ask that not to imply there is something inherently wrong with MT, but because there are 50 states to choose from, many with far more vibrant cities and cultural offerings than MT, which after all is like the 44th least populous state but the 4th largest.

I would never move to Montana for college or culture or jobs. Montana's best qualities are made up of what it has in abundance, nature and land, and what it lacks, people and laws.
You answered you own question in the bolded.
 
Old 10-28-2015, 01:50 PM
 
14 posts, read 10,386 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuck's Dad View Post
You answered you own question in the bolded.
I'm glad my desires aren't completely foreign to everyone.
 
Old 10-28-2015, 01:59 PM
 
14 posts, read 10,386 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post

Employment unless obviously seasonal or natural resource job with market ups and downs tend to be stable. A mining job might be eliminated due to shutdown or slowdown for example. Many college student jobs are summer tourist related and exist from about Memorial day to Labor day. So the answer on job stability is --- it depends on what the job is.
.
I have a B.S. in Computer Networking. I don't think that many places in Montana have huge infrastructures so I would likely be looking to work for a local hospital or other big business as either helpdesk or network tech. I also have 4 years in Logistics and extensive clerical experience so those are good to fall back on.

If all else fails, I'll get a job at a local retail outlet. Not a big deal for me. My wife can also work a part time job so we should be alright if I'm estimating costs alright.
 
Old 10-28-2015, 02:08 PM
 
14 posts, read 10,386 times
Reputation: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by historyfan View Post
Montana is home to thousands of college students who are considered out of state residents. Good luck with your adventure.

Rents in MT college towns can be both lower and higher than what you are presently paying--depending on vintage of apartment & location. Montana housing tends to be pricey compared to average salary.

Heating can be costly also depending on condition--insulation & window vintage.

I can not speak to animation/art studies, you will have to research that. I would guess Bozeman, but could be very wrong. There was some film production there.

Montana has two state universities and then several branches of those universities at various towns. There are also well regarded private colleges such as MT Tech at Butte and Carroll College at Helena. Missoula has the University of Montana. Bozeman has Montana State University.

Billings has MSU affiliate (used to be called Eastern MT college), private Rocky, & also a community city college aligned with Billings MSU. Kalispell lacks a university presence unless I'm unaware of a community college.

Employment unless obviously seasonal or natural resource job with market ups and downs tend to be stable. A mining job might be eliminated due to shutdown or slowdown for example. Many college student jobs are summer tourist related and exist from about Memorial day to Labor day. So the answer on job stability is --- it depends on what the job is.

As far as distance to commute, typically a 30 minute commute can be 20-30 miles from destination--Montana heavy traffic is not CA traffic. Additional time may be required if roads are snowy, icy, visibility poor, etc---so it matters what the commute is, over a mountain pass, through a canyon, etc. Winter driving abilities and vehicle type will be a factor.
Very good information, thank you. As for heating being expensive...Utilities are outrageously expensive here. We have certain hours to use electricity between. If you use electricity outside of these "peak hours" then it's a much smaller price but God help you if you use your washer/dryer/ac/anything majorly electrical between like 10AM - 6PM you will get gouged hard. And if you have an electric stove, you're simply up the creek without a paddle. Same goes for Water. If you use above a certain amount of water (Which isn't really that hard to hit) You will be charged at the "Excessive users" rate and will be gouged. Utility bills here for a family of two are easily over 100$ a month just for water and electricity and oftentimes can hit the 125+ mark.
 
Old 10-28-2015, 09:38 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado
3,277 posts, read 4,011,722 times
Reputation: 4205
Moderator cut: Off Topic


Back to the point, I spent over 2 weeks travelling in Montana, staying in small towns, hiking the mountains and eating at local diners, instead of fancy restaurants at resorts, etc. I spent time meeting locals and learning their way of life and going to out of the way places in addition to the places on the tourist grid.

I've spent years learning about Montana and do know quite a bit about the various places, the cost of living (which was one of your questions), which you so ignorantly chastised me as not knowing about, as well as have conversed wiht many of the long term Montanan residents. MOntana is a huge state and even some Montanan people haven't seen or even know the depths of every part of a state that literally larger than many European nations. I also grew up in the Northwest and have known many MOntanan people and know we share a common culture, economics, and both rural states with an emphasis on an outsdoorsy life. Like Montana, Oregon is a state that thrived on logging and forestry, as well as mining. Many of the same people who settled MOntana also settled Oregon. Eastern Oregon is very much identical to Rural Montana. I've also lived in Idaho which also has many similarities to MOntana.

Moderator cut: Off Topic

Last edited by Jeo123; 10-28-2015 at 10:42 PM..
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