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Inside Look the Best Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Explore top programs for 2020, curriculum details, and financial aid while taking the first steps towards becoming a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP).

Last Updated: 08/03/2020
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MEET THE EXPERT

Renee-Warmbrodt
Renee Warmbrodt

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Renee Warmbrodt is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with extensive experience working with pediatrics in a range of settings. She graduated from Saint Louis University with her MSN and currently works with a pediatric urology group in St. Louis, MO. Prior to becoming a nurse practitioner, Renee worked several years with critically ill children as a PICU staff nurse. She also has experience educating, precepting, and mentoring nursing students.

With mental illness affecting one in five Americans every year, more mental health professionals, including nurses, are needed to provide treatment. Online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs are helping to make that happen through their flexible study format. To help you and other prospective students find programs that have high standards, accommodating schedules, and won’t break the bank, we developed a list of accredited online PMHNP programs with the best combination of affordability, quality, and flexibility. Start your school search with our 2020 ranking of the best online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs.

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About the ranking

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Methodology for EduMed’s 2020 Rankings

To be considered for this ranking, each school must have the following:

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Program(s) offered at least partially online.

School Metrics Explained

EduMed.org data scientists analyzed government higher education data and created a proprietary algorithm to rank each U.S. postsecondary institution and its online programs using 5 primary factors:

  • Cost: Relative cost of attendance compared to peer schools on the list. Based on tuition and fees per academic year.
  • Online Program Availability: Number of online programs in subject area reported by school to Department of Education.
  • Academic Counseling: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Career Placement: Existence of this service on campus or online.
  • Students w/ Institutional Aid: Percentage of students who receive financial aid from the school itself.

About Our Data

EduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).

Most recent data pull: February 2020

# School Name Type Cost Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 New Mexico State University-Main CampusLas Cruces, NM Public $$ 1

For nurses looking to earn a terminal degree, New Mexico State University offers the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). There are three plans for this degree, including the BSN to DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. Once enrolled, students will take classes year-round that cover subjects such as nursing informatics, advanced leadership in healthcare, and advanced health assessment. For nurses who don’t need a graduate degree but still want to practice as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, there’s the Graduate Certificate Post-Master’s of Science in Nursing Psychiatric/Mental Health Practitioner program. The curriculum will teach students how to treat mental health issues in patients of all ages. After graduation, students will be eligible to take the appropriate national certification exam to practice as nurse practitioners.

Program Overviews:

Graduate Certificate Post MSN in Nursing Psychiatric/Mental Health Practitioner

  • Credits: 18
  • Length: One year
  • Cost: $275/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)

BSN to DNP with Psychiatric/Mental Health Specialty

  • Credits: 70
  • Length: Three years
  • Cost: $400/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
65%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
2 Indiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisIndianapolis, IN Public $$ 1

Indiana University – Purdue University – Indianapolis (IUPUI) has several graduate level programs available to nurses interested in working as psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP). Those seeking a master of science in nursing (MSN) can enroll in the MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. Graduates can obtain their American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) certification. Nurses who already have an MSN degree can enroll in the Post-MSN Graduate Certificate program. This program’s curriculum consists of four core courses and five PMHNP courses. Both programs will deliver most of the coursework online, but students will need to complete the necessary clinical hours at an approved site close to their location.

Program Overviews:

MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health NP

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: Two to three years
  • Cost: $578/credit (in-state resident); $867/credit (resident of Midwest Exchange Program member states); $1,553/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)

Post-MSN Graduate Certificate PMHNP

  • Credits: 20
  • Length: Two years
  • Cost: $578/credit (in-state resident); $867/credit (resident of Midwest Exchange Program member states); $1,553/credit (non-resident)Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
57%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
3 Washburn UniversityTopeka, KS Public $$ 1

Nurses interested in advancing their practice as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) can choose from two programs at Washburn University. For those who already possess a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree and don’t require a doctoral degree, there’s the Post-Graduate Certificate – PMHNP Online Program. However, some students would prefer to reach the pinnacle of nursing education, so there are the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs. Depending on the student’s prior education, they will enroll in the BSN-to-DNP, MSN-to-DNP (with APRN-NP certification) and the MSN-to-DNP (without APRN-NP certification). Regardless of which program the student enrolls in, they can expect to complete a certain number of clinical hours in addition to their online coursework.

Program Overviews:

Post-Graduate Certificate PMHNP

  • Credits: 25-31
  • Length: Four to six semesters
  • Cost: $637/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)

DNP with PMHNP Specialty

  • Credits: 72-76
  • Length: Approximately three years
  • Cost: $637/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
62%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
4 McNeese State UniversityLake Charles, LA Public $$ 1

If a nursing student does not have a master of science (MSN) in nursing and would like to advance their career as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP), they can enroll in McNeese State University’s PMHNP Concentration, MSN program. What makes this program special is that students can choose to complete the curriculum with a thesis or by doing a focused scholarly project. Nurses who already completed their MSN degree might be interested in the PMHNP Post-Master’s Certificate program. For maximum convenience, both programs deliver the coursework in a 100% online format. However, students can expect to meet their clinical requirements in-person, at an approved clinical site.

Program Overviews:

MSN with PMHNP Concentration

  • Credits: 48-51
  • Length: Approximately two to three years
  • Cost: $8,400/year (full-time resident); $13,400/year (full-time non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

PMHNP Post-Master’s Certificate

  • Credits: 20
  • Length: Six semesters
  • Cost: $8,400/year (full-time resident); $13,400/year (full-time non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

DNP PMHNP

  • Credits: 54
  • Length: Eight semesters
  • Cost: N/A
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program; pending Fall 2020)

Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
42%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
5 University of ArizonaTucson, AZ Public $$$ 1

Students looking for the convenience of online learning as well as the enrichment of in-person training and interaction will appreciate both psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) program tracks at the University of Arizona. Whether a student enrolls in the Nursing-PMHNP Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program or the PMHNP Certificate program, they will have the opportunity to take classes online, attend on-campus intensives, and receive in-person training during their clinical placements. The DNP program is open to both bachelor of science (BSN) and master of science (MSN) educated nurses. The certificate program is for individuals who already have their advanced practice registered nurse licensure.

Program Overviews:

PMHNP Post-Graduate Certificate

  • Credits: 30
  • Length: Four semesters
  • Cost: $975/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school)

DNP - PMHNP

  • Credits: 67
  • Length: Approximately three to four years
  • Cost: $975/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
6 University of Missouri-St LouisSaint Louis, MO Public $$$ 1

For nurses looking to work with patients suffering from mental health issues, the University of Missouri – St. Louis has several options to choose from. Nurses who already possess a graduate degree can apply to the Post Graduate Certificates in Nursing program. This program includes a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) certificate, which requires a minimum of 18 credits, depending on prior coursework. Nurses looking to make the most of their profession will be interested in attending the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. The University of Missouri – St. Louis offers several specialization tracks, including PMHNP. Either program will require students to complete the minimum number of clinical hours.

Program Overviews:

Post Graduate Certificate - PMHNP

  • Credits: 18
  • Length: One to two years
  • Cost: $500/credit (resident); $1,228 (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)

DNP with PMHNP Concentration

  • Credits: 33-70
  • Length: Two to four years
  • Cost: $500/credit (resident); $1,228 (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: HLC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
83%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
7 Southeastern Louisiana UniversityHammond, LA Public $$ 1

At Southeastern Louisiana University, nursing students looking to expand their career as psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP) have a few options to choose from. The first is the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program. This unique program is part of a four-university consortium that works together to create the best curriculum possible to prepare students for their future health care careers. The curriculum consists of classwork, which can be completed online, as well as on-site clinicals. These must be completed at an approved site within the state of Louisiana. Nurses interested in receiving PMHNP without having to earn an MSN degree can choose to enroll in the Post Master’s PMHNP Certificate program instead.

Program Overviews:

MSN with PMHNP Concentration

  • Credits: 48
  • Length: Six semesters
  • Cost: $4,719/semester (resident); $10,958/semester (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Post Master’s PMHNP Certificate

  • Credits: 18
  • Length: Four semesters
  • Cost: $4,719/semester (resident); $10,958/semester (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
56%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
8 Stony Brook UniversityStony Brook, NY Public $$$ 3

The Stony Brook School of Nursing is unique in that it offers more options for students seeking a career as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). Most schools will offer a master of science in nursing (MSN) track, as well as a graduate certificate track. Stony Brook University is no different with its MSN PMHNP and Advanced Certificate-PMHNP programs. But Stony Brook also offers its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with the PMHNP foci. All three programs will use the online format to convey theoretical knowledge as well as on-site requirements to teach hands-on, practical skills and knowledge.

Program Overviews:

MS - PMHNP

  • Credits: 45
  • Length: Approximately two to three years
  • Cost: $603/credit (resident); $1,374/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CCNE (program)

Advanced Certificate - PMHNP

  • Credits: 22
  • Length: Approximately one to two years
  • Cost: $603/credit (resident); $1,374/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CCNE (program)

MSN to DNP with PMHNP Foci

  • Credits: 42
  • Length: Approximately two to three years
  • Cost: $1,179/credit (resident); $1,472/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: MSCHE (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
70%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
9 Eastern Kentucky UniversityRichmond, KY Public $$$ 1

Eastern Kentucky University offers a very quick process to earning family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) credentials through its Post-MSN Certificate program. This program can be completed in as few as eight credits and is designed for nurses who are already practicing as adult, child, or adolescent psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, but wish to expand their practice to treating patients across their lifespan. For those who are not nurse practitioners or otherwise lack a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree, there’s the MSN-PMHNP program. The curriculum and faculty do an extremely effective job of training nursing students. In fact, Eastern Kentucky University boasts a 98% first-time national certification exam passage rate.

Program Overviews:

MSN PMHNP

  • Credits: 46
  • Length: Approximately two to three years
  • Cost: $662/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Post-MSN Certificate - PMHNP

  • Credits: 8-10
  • Length: Approximately one year
  • Cost: $662/credit
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
60%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
10 East Tennessee State UniversityJohnson City, TN Public $$$ 1

Regardless of their prior nursing education background, East Tennessee State University (ETSU) has the ideal program for any nurse interested in a career as a family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). For those with just a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), there’s either the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) PMHNP or the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)with PMHNP concentration programs. This DNP program is also open to MSN-prepared nurses. MSN-educated nurses who don’t need another degree can enroll in the Post-Graduate PMHNP certificate program, which provides the necessary PMHNP educational training as quickly as possible.

Program Overviews:

MSN with PMHNP Concentration

  • Credits: 48
  • Length: Approximately two to three years
  • Cost: $601/credit (resident); $841/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

Post-Graduate PMHNP Certificate

  • Credits: 24
  • Length: Approximately one to two years
  • Cost: $601/credit (resident); $841/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)

DNP with PMHNP Concentration

  • Credits: 32 (MSN to DNP); 80 (BSN to DNP)
  • Length: Approximately two to four years
  • Cost: $601/credit (resident); $841/credit (non-resident)
  • Mode: Partially online
  • Accreditation: SACSCOC (school); CCNE (program)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
37%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
11 Upstate Medical UniversitySyracuse, NY Public $$$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
12 University of St FrancisJoliet, IL Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
98%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
13 University of Cincinnati-Main CampusCincinnati, OH Public $$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
54%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
14 University of the Incarnate WordSan Antonio, TX Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
99%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
15 Brandman UniversityIrvine, CA Private, Not-for-Profit $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
0%
AccreditationN/A
16 Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
52%
AccreditationMiddle States Commission on Higher Education
17 Saint Louis UniversitySaint Louis, MO Private, Not-for-Profit $$$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Students w/
Institutional Aid
92%
AccreditationHigher Learning Commission
18 Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboro, GA Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
No
Students w/
Institutional Aid
15%
AccreditationSouthern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges

PMHNP Nursing School Profiles

To complement our Best of 2020 rankings above, we’ve profiled two other accredited online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs that are also worth a look in your school search. We’ve laid out all the details, from admissions requirements to curriculum information and program costs.

Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt-University

The psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (lifespan) program at Vanderbilt University allows students at different educational levels the training to provide holistic mental health treatments. Registered nurses with a master’s or bachelor’s degree can enroll in this program, as well as registered nurses with an associate’s degree or diploma, and those who are beginning their nursing education with no prior experience. As a result, students can get an education that is tailored to their previous experience.  

No matter where they are educationally when starting the program, Vanderbilt University students take coursework that familiarizes them with the realities of working as a mental health nurse practitioner. The school’s curriculum covers psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, clinical reasoning, and pathophysiology. In addition, students participate in clinical education so they get the advanced hands-on training they need to work in a mental health environment. Students in this phase of the program may be placed in prison systems, inpatient psychiatric units, community mental health centers, or outpatient private practices.

In April 2019, students paid $1,556 per credit for tuition, as well as $1,500 for books, $3,162 for health insurance, $561 for activity fees, and $100 for transcript fees.

University of California, San Francisco

University-of-California-San-Francisco

The psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner master’s degree program at the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Nursing trains students to provide mental health services. This includes treating adults or children, providing assessments, diagnosing patients, and helping patients manage their conditions. Students can use this training to go on to work for substance abuse centers, forensics organizations, and primary care clinics.

In order to prepare students for the challenges of working in a mental health setting, they are required to take coursework about symptom management, advanced clinical assessments, psychopharmacology, and lifespan development. In addition, students learn about the therapy that mental health patients may receive in individual, group, and family settings.

Students who already have a master’s degree in nursing may also be able to join the mental health sector by enrolling in the school’s post-master’s study option. Depending on their previous training, students can complete the program in four to six semesters.

In April 2019, the tuition and fees for this program were $28,911 for California residents and $41,156 for out-of-state students. The school offers stipends and scholarships specifically for PMHNP students.

Finding the Online Psychiatric NP Program for You

Nurses who are interested in entering the psychiatric area of the field should examine their professional and educational goals before enrolling in a program. In addition, they should consider what learning environment will work best. For example, students who like to work independently may prefer a program conducted mostly online, while those who prefer to have some classroom interaction with instructors and peers may perform better in a partially online program.

Online Learning Flexibility

  • Mostly online
    In mostly online programs, students will complete the majority of their coursework online, but may be required to complete certain parts of the program in person. For example, some schools allow students to complete classes online and then participate in the clinical part of the program at a health care facility. In other cases, students can do some of their coursework via the internet, but are required to come to campus periodically for practicums that reinforce their online learning.
  • Partially online
    Students who prefer to spend most of their time in a traditional classroom can enroll in partially online programs, where most of their courses are conducted on campus. In these cases, students may be able to take a few classes online, which can add convenience for those who are juggling their education with a full-time nursing job.

Types of Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Degrees

1. RN to MSN
RN to MSN degree programs are for nurses with a diploma or associate degree, as well as a bachelor’s degree in a field other than nursing. These programs are designed to teach students how to assess and treat patients with mental health issues, communicate effectively with patients and families, and promote mental health in their communities. In addition, students become familiar with the legal and ethical responsibilities associated with providing mental health treatment.

2. RN to DNP
RN to DNP programs allow registered nurses to prepare for leadership roles in a mental health setting. People with these degrees may become consultants, go into private practice, or work as educators. In order to provide this training, the curriculum combines coursework on mental health treatment with classes designed to develop leadership skills. Specific classes may include pharmacology, nursing decision making, health care informatics, epidemiology, and human pathophysiology.

In addition to program level and delivery, prospective PMHNP students should also consider how long the program takes to complete, how much it costs, and the credentials of the faculty members in a department. Also, students may have a preference on the size of the school they would like to attend.

Entrance Criteria & Prerequisites

Every school has its own specific entrance requirements. The following are some of the expectations that schools may have for applicants to psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner programs.

  • BSN or higher from an accredited program
  • Active RN license
  • One or more years of clinical experience
  • Clinical training in at least two psychotherapeutic treatment modules
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Personal statement describing career goals and interest in psychiatric nursing
  • A minimum 3.0 grade point average
  • A specific minimum score on the GRE
  • A personal interview
  • Evidence of immunizations and recent physical examination

Eye on the Curriculum

The curriculum in PMHNP programs is designed to give nurses the high-level clinical skills necessary to provide specialized care to patients. These programs include coursework that teaching students to develop patient care plans, promote mental health and education, and perform psychotherapy, crisis interventions, and consultations. In addition, these programs provide in-depth information about psychiatric nursing models, pharmacotherapies, and neuroscience. The following are examples of some of the classes involved in most programs.

Advanced pharmacotherapeutics

Students learn about the medications used to treat chronic and acute health issues and gain an understanding of when these drugs should be used. The class also teaches students how to understand the side effects of different medications and monitor the way patients respond to treatments.

Health assessment

Health assessment classes build on nurses’ former education in order to help them understand how assessments are conducted in a mental health context. Students also learn different evidenced-based assessment principles.

Mental health care for individuals and groups

This course trains students to care for people with mental health challenges in different age groups. The curriculum covers care from assessment to diagnosis to pharmacological interventions.

Neuroscience for mental health practitioners

This class explores the relationship between neuroscience and mental health conditions. Topics may include psychiatric disorders and their treatment, neuroanatomy, and diagnostics.

Health care law and policy

Nurses in this course learn the regulations and laws involved with working in both private and public psychiatric settings. This also includes how laws and policies impact health care delivery and outcomes.

Nursing theory

Students gain an understanding of major nursing theories and study the professionals who created them. In addition, the class may cover how seminal nursing theories are applied in day-to-day practice.

Nursing leadership

This course is designed to instill leadership skills in nursing professionals so they can effectively interact with peers, employees, and families, as well as their community at large. Specific course topics may include managerial ethics and conflict resolution.

Population-based nursing

Students in this course learn how mental health nursing is delivered in different populations and communities. The course may explore law, health maintenance, and disease prevention.

Nursing ethics

Students in this course learn the different ethical theories nurses are expected to use in their practice. Specific ethical dilemmas nurses face are also discussed.

Popular Psychiatric NP Subspecialties

Within the psychiatric realm of the nursing field, there are several subspecialties that professionals can focus on. As a result, students who train for PMHNP jobs should enroll in a program that not only teaches mental health nursing, but caters to their area of interest within the field. The following are common subspecialties that psychiatric nurses may pursue.

  • Addiction
    Nurses who focus on addiction may work with patients who are dependent on alcohol and drugs, as well as those with internet, gambling, food, or sex addictions. These professionals may work in detoxification centers, rehab clinics, or hospitals.
  • Forensics
    PMHNPs focusing on this subspecialty apply their nursing expertise to legal matters. After evaluating patients, these nurses may give their opinions in criminal, child custody, and juvenile justice cases. They can work for courts, hospitals, or correctional facilities.
  • Child/adolescent
    Professionals in this nursing subspecialty focus on the psychiatric disorders affecting children and adolescents, and how these issues not only affect the patient, but the entire family. Nurses who focus in this area may work with patients who have mood disorders, learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders.
  • Geriatric
    Psychiatric nurses who want to focus their practice on older generations may pursue the geriatric subspecialty. These professionals work with senior citizens who have depression, dementia, and addiction, as well as those who are struggling with loss and isolation.
  • Psychosomatic medicine
    PMHNPs who specialize in psychosomatic medicine focus on the relationship between mental and physical illnesses.

Paying for Your Online PMHNP Program

The cost of an online PMHNP program depends on the specific school that students attend. Students may be charged per semester or credit hour, and in some cases, are charged a lump sum for their entire program. The price range for the program is around $700 to $1,700 per credit, $3,800 to $16,400 per semester, and $20,000 to $44,600 for an entire program. Information about the cost of certain specific programs can be found in our listings above.

Online PMHNP Courses & Financial Aid

Many students who enroll in PMHNP training schools are concerned about how they will pay for their education. Those who qualify may be able to obtain financial aid to help them pay tuition and fees, and there may be some standards students are expected to adhere to in order to receive these awards. The following are some of these stipulations.

1. Accreditation
Programs are designed to prepare students to get their certification, and in order to ensure that they’re getting the high-quality education they need, they should enroll in accredited programs. As a result, students can only qualify for financial aid for attending accredited schools.

2. Courses for credit
Students cannot apply financial aid awards to non-credit courses.

3. Minimum grade point average
In order to receive certain scholarships and grants, students may be expected to demonstrate academic excellence by maintaining a minimum grade point average.

4. Enrollment status
In some cases, financial aid awards are only available to students who are enrolled in a program on a full-time basis.

For more information about how to pay for a PMHNP education, check out EduMed’s full page on financial aid for medical support.

Other Ways to Pay

Students looking for ways to pay for their education have several options. The following are some examples of ways they can defray the cost of their PMHNP studies.

1. Scholarships
This type of aid may be available through professional associations that cater to the needs of health care professionals, and is also typically offered by the school a student is attending as well.

2. Loans
Graduate students can receive loans without demonstrating financial need. However, the amount that students can borrow depends on their education costs and the other aid they may be receiving.

3. Veterans benefits
The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program allows students who served in the military after 9/11 to receive funding for their degree program.

4. Employer tuition assistance
Organizations need highly-skilled workers and in some cases, may have tuition assistance programs available to encourage workers to advance their education.

5. Payment plans
Some schools allow students to enter a plan where they make monthly payments toward their education. The terms of the plan vary from school to school.

Certification: The PMH in PMHNP

After students complete their psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner degree program, the next step is to become nationally certified. In most cases, professionals are not able to obtain a state license unless they receive a PMHNP certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

In order to receive the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification, or PMHNP-BC, professionals must pass a 200-question examination that takes four hours to complete. To qualify for the exam, candidates must have an active nursing license and a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner master’s, doctoral, or postgraduate degree.

10 Valuable Resources for Nursing Students

  1. APRN Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Practice
  2. ANA Certification Prep
  3. APNA Awards & Scholarships
  4. What Do Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurses Do?
  5. How to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
  6. Meeting the Needs of People with Mental Illness: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners
  7. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Salary
  8. Continuing Education for the APRN-PMH
  9. Self Care Tip Sheet For Nurses
  10. A Night in the Life of a Mental Health Nurse