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Top Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certificates & Programs in Florida Online

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Author: James Mielke

If you’re interested in a growing healthcare field with a big impact and high wages, an online psychiatric nurse practitioner program in Florida might be for you. Read on to learn more.

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If you’re an experienced nurse and want to expand your career options and increase your earning potential, completing a post master’s certificate through a psychiatric nurse practitioner online program in Florida is a solid choice. In fact, “solid choice” might be an understatement. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners (NPs) in Florida will see their field grow by more than 70% between 2020 and 2030, with over 1,900 annual job openings. Moreover, NPs in Florida earn a median yearly salary of over $107,000; RNs in the state earn just over $81,000.

As you work through one of the best psychiatric nurse practitioner post master’s certificate programs online in Florida, you’ll spend time in the virtual classroom expanding your knowledge and in healthcare facilities gaining vital clinical experience. Upon graduation, you’ll have the knowledge and clinical tools you need to secure national certification. To jumpstart your school search, we’re highlighting three standout post master’s certificate psychiatric nurse practitioner online programs in Florida. We’re also taking a deep dive into essential qualities to prioritize in your school search and detailing some of the academic pathways available to you, the working nurse. Continue reading to see if this growing, vital, and lucrative field is right for you.

Finding the right post master’s certificate psychiatric nurse practitioner online program in Florida that mirrors your academic and career goals is vital. That’s why we’ve highlighted three standout programs to help jumpstart the process.

Florida Atlantic University

Established in 1961, Florida Atlantic University is a public research institution that serves over 30,000 students. Among the school’s wide range of standout online programs is a post-graduate certificate for prospective psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners. Students complete core classes online while fulfilling the required 600 hours of clinical work at an approved healthcare site.

Throughout this 22-credit program, students complete a blend of advanced nursing coursework and specialization classes. Core classes include topics such as advanced practice grounded in caring, psychopathological disorders across the lifespan, and advanced psychopharmacology. Specialized courses cover topics such as individual and family therapy in advanced nursing practice and group therapy in advanced nursing situations.

Prospective students must hold a master’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing program. Additionally, applicants must have a cumulative 3.0 GPA and include a letter of recommendation, resume, and proof of RN licensure.

Florida State University

Logo of Florida State University. The logo features a circular seal on the left with three torches inside, encircled by the words "FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY" and "1851" at the bottom. The text "FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY" is written to the right of the seal.

Dating back to 1851, Tallahassee’s Florida State University (FSU) is the flagship institution of Florida’s state university system. FSU is home to multiple standout nursing programs, including an online post master’s certificate for mental health nurse practitioners. Students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to secure their psychiatric-mental health certification.

As students work through this certificate program, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), they complete 23 credits of coursework and 540 hours of supervised clinical experiences. Future students must have completed prerequisite courses, including advanced health assessment, advanced pathophysiology, and advanced pharmacology. Common specialization classes cover topics such as individual and group psychotherapy, professional issues in advanced nursing practice, and advanced psychiatric assessment and diagnostics.

Prospective students must hold a master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctor of nursing practice (DNP) and have an active and unrestricted nursing license. Applicants should include a current resume, proof of license, and documentation of completed prerequisites.

University of North Florida

The image features the logo of the University of North Florida. The left side shows a stylized graphic of an osprey in dark blue, mid-flight. To the right, the letters “UNF” appear large in the same dark blue color, with "University of North Florida" written below.

Based in Jacksonville, the University of North Florida serves over 17,000 students. Alongside other quality healthcare-centric programs is the school’s online psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner certificate. With a curriculum aligned to standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, graduates come away with advanced skills while preparing to secure NP certification.

Throughout this 36-credit online certificate program, students complete classes on foundational advanced nursing topics, specialized classes, and clinical work focusing on their psychiatric-mental health specialization. Specialized classes cover topics such as psychotherapeutic modalities, neuropathophysiology of mental illness, and diagnostic reasoning and management.

Prospective students must hold an MSN or DNP along with an active and unrestricted license. Applicants must include proof of at least 2,000 hours of clinical work, a current resume, and an admissions essay. Students also complete an admissions interview as part of the application process.

Qualities of a Top Online Psychiatric NP Program in Florida

When searching for the right post master’s certificate psychiatric nurse practitioner online program in Florida, it’s vital that you seek out schools that provide quality online instruction, experienced instructors, and extensive training opportunities. Read on as we dive into crucial qualities of the best programs.

Focus on Geriatric Mental Health

Considering that the state has a sizeable aging population, top online psychiatric NP programs in Florida often focus on geriatric mental health. While courses vary, it’s typical to focus on common psychiatric challenges for older adults, medication management for the elderly, and practical strategies for addressing the mental health challenges of geriatric patients. Additionally, you’ll likely be able to complete extensive clinical work at facilities focusing on senior care.

Trauma-Informed Care

Standout post master’s certificate psychiatric nurse practitioner online programs in Florida also prioritize trauma-informed care. From natural disasters to trauma-related disorders, Florida NPs are uniquely positioned to hone skills that are foundational to competent, compassionate, and effective trauma care. Throughout their training, students gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact of trauma while learning how to assess, diagnose, and treat patients in an empowering environment.

Degree Paths to Becoming a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

As you begin your journey toward becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner, it’s essential that you understand the educational pathways available. From a master’s degree to advanced certificates, there’s likely a program that best aligns with your academic and career goals. Read on to see which degree path is right for you.


One of the most common pathways to becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner is completing a master’s degree. This educational path typically involves completing an MSN specializing in psychiatric-mental health nursing. You’ll need a bachelor’s in nursing before enrolling.

Throughout these programs, you’ll complete a blend of advanced nursing classes, specialization classes, and extensive clinical work. Common classes include topics such as foundations of advanced psychiatric-mental health practice, advanced psychiatric-mental health care of adults and older adults, and the assessment and diagnostic process for psychiatric NPs.

Advanced Certificate

For RNs who already hold a master’s degree, a post master’s certificate offers a flexible pathway for working nurses to develop new skills and advance their careers. An advanced certificate for psychiatric NPs includes both theoretical coursework and hands-on clinical training, resulting in an accelerated certificate that’s specifically tailored for this field.

Coursework varies between programs, but psychiatric NP certificate students tackle foundational classes such as advanced pharmacology and professional issues for nurse practitioners while completing multiple courses focusing on advanced mental health care. Typically, students complete these programs in fewer than two years.

Post-BS to DNP

For those with a bachelor’s degree who know that an NP career is in their future, a post-BS to DNP program offers a flexible online pathway toward professional certification. Often taking as few as 40 months, standout programs offer multiple concentrations while allowing students to complete clinical work at a convenient healthcare site.

While clinical concentration areas vary between programs, common specialty areas include adult-gerontology, psychiatric-mental health, pediatric, and family nurse practitioner. Students complete a blend of core, concentration, and clinical courses. Foundational courses include topics such as theoretical foundations of nursing practice, evidence-based practice in nursing, advanced health assessment, and foundations of clinical scholarship.

A Closer Look at Florida PMHNP Career & Earning Potential

Securing your psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner certification doesn’t just result in new skills. Completing one of Florida’s standout programs expands your career options and enhances your earnings potential. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, RNs earn a median annual salary of about $81,000, while nurse practitioners earn just over $107,000 annually.

Still, earning potential in Florida varies dramatically based on location. For example, NPs in the Fort Myers area earn a median income of over $130,000, while NPs in Lakeland earn just over $107,000. Earning potential can also fluctuate based on experience, education, and clinical specialty. Top earners in the state rake in more than $164,000 annually.

However, annual salaries aren’t the only metrics worth considering when deciding if a post master’s certificate psychiatric nurse practitioner online program in Florida is right for you. According to national employment data, nurse practitioners in the state can anticipate their field to grow by more than 70% between 2020 and 2030. NPs can also expect more than 1,900 annual job openings.

As the state’s population ages, the need for NPs will continue to grow. Pursuing an online NP degree results in a dramatic pay raise while also expanding your marketability in the healthcare field. Take a moment to review the employment and earnings data below to see how much you can earn in Florida’s various cities.

New Jobs
Job Growth RateAvg. Annual Openings
United StatesNurse Practitioners220,300114,90052.2%26,000
FloridaNurse Practitioners13,4809,54070.8%1,910

Source: Projections Central

AreaOccupation10th PercentileMedian90th Percentile
U.S.Nurse Practitioners$87,340$121,610$165,240
FloridaNurse Practitioners$63,880$107,600$136,290
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FLNurse Practitioners$99,510$130,040$152,400
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin, FLNurse Practitioners$77,430$106,440$144,150
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FLNurse Practitioners$81,270$106,100$164,260
Gainesville, FLNurse Practitioners$80,640$105,090$123,260
Homosassa Springs, FLNurse Practitioners$73,400$100,720$137,220
Jacksonville, FLNurse Practitioners$81,200$110,990$135,980
Lakeland-Winter Haven, FLNurse Practitioners$83,520$104,460$136,000
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FLNurse Practitioners$30,850$107,510$136,290
Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, FLNurse Practitioners$98,370$121,220$144,460
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FLNurse Practitioners$83,580$105,030$147,850
Ocala, FLNurse Practitioners$52,000$99,960$139,980
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FLNurse Practitioners$87,340$106,450$136,400
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FLNurse Practitioners$98,650$113,350$152,860
Panama City, FLNurse Practitioners$80,280$104,200$143,800
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, FLNurse Practitioners$95,740$116,720$129,450
Port St. Lucie, FLNurse Practitioners$99,460$130,910$135,340
Punta Gorda, FLNurse Practitioners$82,100$99,830$127,740
Sebastian-Vero Beach, FLNurse Practitioners$79,410$103,980$126,040
Sebring, FLNurse Practitioners$70,240$102,130$151,250
Tallahassee, FLNurse Practitioners$86,780$116,960$145,620
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FLNurse Practitioners$76,060$104,480$134,250
The Villages, FLNurse Practitioners$79,940$102,560$150,900

Answering Your Questions About Online Psych NP Programs in Florida

If you’re considering a post master’s certificate psychiatric nurse practitioner online program in Florida, you likely have a few questions. That’s where we come in. In the following section, we answer some of our readers’ most pressing questions about these flexible and affordable programs. Read on to learn more. If you still have questions, be sure to reach out to prospective programs for answers.

Are there accelerated psychiatric nurse practitioner programs?

There are accelerated psychiatric nurse practitioner programs in Florida, including at the University of Florida. Students can complete this standout BSN-to-DNP program more quickly than a standard program. In addition to a psychiatric-mental health concentration, other options include adult-gerontology, pediatric, and family nurse practitioner pathways.

How do I become a psychiatric nurse practitioner in Florida?

If you’re interested in becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner in Florida, you typically need to complete an MSN or a DNP specializing in psychiatric-mental health nursing. Additionally, those already holding an advanced nursing degree can complete an post master’s certificate psychiatric nurse practitioner online program in Florida.

Is it possible to become a PMHNP without a bachelor’s degree?

The most common pathway to becoming a PMHNP is to complete a bachelor’s in nursing followed by an advanced degree with a specialization in psychiatric-mental health. Still, some programs do offer direct entry programs for students holding an unrelated bachelor’s degree. In these programs, you can complete undergraduate nursing requirements in a more condensed curriculum.

What is the shortest PMHNP program in Florida?

The shortest pathway to securing your psychiatric NP certification depends on multiple factors, including your academic credentials, nursing certification, and the program you choose. Additionally, your status as a full-time or part-time student also significantly impacts graduation timelines. Online programs often allow students to complete more coursework in less time.

Who accredits online PMHNP programs in Florida?

Accreditation is vital when choosing the right online nurse practitioner program in Florida. To ensure that a program meets professional standards, enroll in a program that’s accredited by the CCNE or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.