25 Best Online DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs For 2023

Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN

Do you like learning about human thoughts, emotions, and behavior? Are you intrigued by how mental health and wellness affect all other aspects of one's life? Would you like to go back to school to earn a doctorate and need some direction? If this sounds like you, but you aren’t sure how to get started, this article, featuring online DNP-PMHNP programs, may help you. As you continue to read, you will find information about the best online DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs for 2023 and learn ways to become a student and achieve your goals.

What Exactly Is the Goal of A DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program?

The goal of a DNP-PMHNP program is to prepare advanced practice registered nurses in assessing, treating, and managing clients, their families, and communities. The programs provide students with instruction to help develop advanced health and psychiatric assessment skills, diagnostic skills, and the clinical management of mental health disorders, including pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions.

What Are the Two Different Types of DNP-PMHNP Online Programs?

The two different types of DNP-PMHNP online programs are BSN to DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and MSN to DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. While the end goal is the same, the path to get there differs because of a student's education level at program entry.

BSN to DNP-PMHNP Programs:

A Bachelor of Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice-Psychiatric NP program builds upon the essential nursing knowledge achieved in a BSN program. This path of study provides instruction to help students develop advanced knowledge and clinical skills needed to enter an advanced practice role.

MSN to DNP-PMHNP Programs:

Accredited DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online that offer the MSN to DNP path of study are the last step from a master's level registered nurse to a terminal nursing degree as a DNP with a specialization as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. The programs typically include translational research, leadership and policy, healthcare operations, interprofessional collaborations, and clinical experiences relevant to the concentration.

How Many Schools Are Currently Offering Online DNP-PMHNP Programs?

In the United States, there are currently sixty BSN to DNP and twenty-eight MSN to DNP-PMHNP online programs. Some schools offer programs that are exclusively online, while others offer hybrid programs. Hybrid programs include online coursework and in-person sessions.

Programs Offering 100% Online Education 12 10
Programs Offering 51% To 99% Online Education 48 18
Total 60 28
(Source: AANP.org)

7 Top Reasons to Pursue Online DNP-PMHNP Programs

There are many doctorate nursing programs and specialty choices for nurses who want to further their careers. If you have reached a point where you need some reassurance that pursuing one of the best online DNP-PMHNP programs is right for you, check out these top seven reasons.

1. The demand for qualified psychiatric nurse practitioners is high.

With increased awareness of the importance of mental health and the decreased stigma attached to mental health issues, more people seek professional mental health than ever before. Coupled with the Affordable Care Act that has increased the number of people who now have health insurance, the demand for mental health practitioners makes online DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs a great option.

2. Fill a pivotal role in the delivery of much-needed care for a diverse patient population.

Becoming a DNP-PMHNP requires true grit. You must show empathy and be willing to help people through what may be the most difficult times of their lives. Once you earn the degree, you can work side-by-side with other healthcare providers and together with clients to become a lifeline offering hope.

3. Earn a generous salary.

The average salary for DNP-PMHNP graduates is over $113,000. With the demand for qualified primary mental health nurse practitioners constantly increasing, wages will likely increase.

4. You can pursue your education while still working or maintaining family responsibilities.

Online DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs offer more flexibility than traditional programs that are taken on-campus.

5. More choices in schools:

Online nursing programs, like the DNP-PMHNP programs featured here, have created a significant increase in opportunities for prospective students to pursue and achieve their academic and professional goals. Because students learn online and typically complete clinical requirements near their home communities, individuals can learn from colleges hundreds or more miles from their home but still experience the benefits of quality education.

6. You can save money on your degree.

Although pursuing a doctorate can be costly, DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online can save students thousands of dollars throughout the program. A few ways students save money include using electronic books instead of paper books, no need to commute to and from campus, and some schools offer lower tuition rates for online students.

7. Diverse career paths:

DNP-PMHNP graduates can choose from different patient populations, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or women's health. Others may choose to work in centers for addiction and behavioral disorders or facilities that support veterans. The opportunities for DNP-PMHNPs are as diverse as the people who fill the role.

How Long Are Online DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs?

Online DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs provide students with the education needed for advanced nursing practice and leadership within healthcare organizations and systems. These programs strive to help students focus their career goals on quality improvement, patient safety, advanced clinical expertise, and health systems change. Graduates have active roles in helping improve the delivery of healthcare services and patient outcomes for clients at all levels and from diverse backgrounds. To achieve these goals takes time and dedication. The length of time it takes to complete one of the best DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online varies from two to five years or longer. Students who enter with a BSN instead of a master's degree and those who enroll part-time instead of full-time may take longer to graduate.

The following are examples of how long it takes to complete some of our featured online DNP-PMHNP programs.

University of Nebraska Medical Center

offers BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP tracks. Students enrolled in the BSN to DNP option complete the program in three to four years, and MSN to DNP students take two to three years, depending on whether they are enrolled part-time or full-time.

At the

University of Florida

, students can choose to attend school part-time and take four years or longer to graduate or part-time and complete in as little as thirty months.


University of Buffalo

offers a post-baccalaureate DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health NP program that takes three to five years to complete.

Students enrolled in the BSN to DNP-PMHNP program at the

University of Nevada

can graduate in as few as two and a half years of full-time study or four and a half years of part-time study.

South Dakota University

offers another of the best DNP-PMHNP programs online. The program is designed for baccalaureate-prepared nurses and typically takes four years to complete if the student maintains full-time enrollment.

How Much Do Online DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs Cost?

One of the most significant concerns for people who want to earn a higher degree is the cost. Earning a graduate degree, like the DNP-PMHNP, can be costly. Students enrolled in online DNP-PMHNP programs may pay from $20,000 up to $200,000. The following are a few examples of tuition costs for some of this article's featured programs. As you research and try to find the program that is best for you, keep in mind students may have additional expenses, including the cost of books, uniforms, technology, and other student fees, as well as the cost of travel to and from clinical sites.

Rush University’s

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner DNP program educates students with knowledge and skills relevant to biological and behavioral disciplines, preparing them to treat groups, families, and individuals with psychiatric disorders. The university offers one of the best DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online, focusing on developing psychiatric nurse practitioners who can function independently in diverse clinical settings. Students complete the program in as little as twenty-four months. The BSN to DNP study path includes sixty-two credit hours, and the MSN to DNP path requires thirty credit hours. With a per-credit rate of $1,224, the tuition cost ranges from $36,720 to $75,888.


University of Iowa

offers post-baccalaureate and post-master's entry options for DNP students who wish to pursue a DNP with Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty. With a 100% certification examination pass rate and 100% job placement rates, the university truly offers one of the best online DNP-PMHNP programs.

MSN to DNP students can choose a 2-year or 3-year plan of study. The two-year path costs $33,394 for Iowa residents and $57,946 for non-residents. The three-year path options are $32,677 and $51,649 for in-state and out-of-state tuition, respectively.
Students can complete the BSN to DNP option in three or four years. Iowa residents who choose the three-year pathway pay $74,792, and those in the four-year plan pay $85,204. Non-Iowa residents pay $140,630 and $161,087 for the three- and four-year plans.

At the

University of Minnesota

, the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-DNP program faculty teaches students to apply evidence-based methods to independent clinical practice. In addition to learning to diagnose disorders, students learn to provide holistic treatment measures and encourage lifestyle management, including complementary and alternative therapies, pharmacological interventions, and psychotherapy to reduce disability and promote mental health. The program, which is designed in a BSN to DNP format, requires students to complete eighty credits at a rate of $973.75, making the total tuition $77,900.


University of Missouri

offers both BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP programs for applicants who wish to pursue a DNP with a Psychiatric Mental Health NP concentration. Distance learning students pay the same tuition regardless of their state of residency. The BSN to DNP program's estimated cost is $38,386, while the MS to DNP program averages $20,662. Program graduates have a 100% employment rate within the first year following graduation, making this one of the best online DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs.

Prospective students who wish to enroll in the DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at the

University of Arizona

can choose from post-baccalaureate and post-master's entry paths of study. The MSN to DNP includes thirty-five credit hours, and the BSN to DNP requires sixty-seven. At a rate of $975 per credit hour, the program's cost ranges from $34,125 to $65,325.


Coursework for DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs online usually includes core content, advanced nursing courses, and specialty-specific classes. While each school determines the curriculum for its program, accreditation ensures that students in all programs have access to similar standards of instruction. The following are examples of coursework included in some of the best programs featured in this article.

The PMHNP program at the

University of Illinois at Chicago

is ranked #11 by US News & World Report. The program prepares graduates to assess, diagnose and care for individuals and families with mental health and psychiatric disorders. Baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses complete eighty-five credit hours in the BSN to DNP-Primary Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program. Graduates of the program meet requirements to sit for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner national certification examination delivered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Sample Curriculum:

◦ Group Dynamics, Behavior and Intervention
◦ Mental Health Assessment of Acute and Chronic Illness
◦ Child and Adolescent Mental Health Assessment and Intervention
◦ Mental Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
◦ Family Behavioral Care


University of Pittsburgh

offers a PMHNP-DNP program designed exclusively for master’s prepared registered nurses. The program prepares students for leadership roles as providers of primary health services treating clients across the lifespan who are experiencing psychiatric disorders. The program can be completed in five semesters after successfully earning thirty-six to forty-five credit hours.

Sample Curriculum:

◦ Neurobiology of Psychiatric Disorders
◦ Psychopharmacology
◦ Individual Psychotherapy
◦ Psychiatric Diagnosis Theory
◦ Ethics in Healthcare

At the

University of Kentucky

, students learn to utilize clinical and theoretical knowledge, competencies, and experiences to provide comprehensive mental healthcare to individuals, families, or groups. The student is taught to use psychopharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to treat mental health issues.

Sample Curriculum:

◦ Diagnosis and Management of Psychiatric Illnesses in Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults
◦ Epidemiology Applied to the Design and Evaluation of Nursing and Health Sciences
◦ Clinical Management of Psychiatric Illness in Adults
◦ Role and Practice Issues for the Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse
◦ Protection of Human Subjects

The online DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program at the

University of Florida

is ANCC-credentialed. The program provides educational preparation for advanced practice nurses to assume roles in leadership in the mental health industry. Students in the program learn to be advocates who promote individual client and societal wellness by meeting the need for qualified mental health practitioners.

Sample Curriculum:

◦ Physiology and Pathophysiology for Advanced Nursing Practice
◦ Advanced Psychiatric Assessment and Diagnostics
◦ Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: Family and Individual Psychotherapy
◦ Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: Group and Individual Psychotherapy
◦ Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: Individual Psychotherapy


University of Cincinnati

offers a three-year BSN to DNP Psychiatric Mental Health NP program. The program focuses on preparing advanced practice registered nurses to provide care for clients with complex psychiatric needs and to identify and manage the effects of physical health alterations related to mental health and wellness.

Sample Curriculum:

◦ Psychopathological Disorders Across the Lifespan
◦ Neurobiology and Psychopharmacology: Life-Cycle Perspectives
◦ Clinical Psychiatric Diagnostics and Management of Adults
◦ Role for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in Promoting Health
◦ Systems Interventions for Individuals and Groups

Clinical Training

The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education has defined the foundational competencies that all DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online seeking accreditation must meet. The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice, often referred to as the Essentials, state, "Regardless of the entry point, DNP curricula are designed so that all students attain DNP end-of-program competencies.” Additionally, the Essentials state DNP programs should provide a minimum of 1,000 hours of post-baccalaureate clinical practice to achieve the DNP competencies.

Like the accredited DNP-PMHNP programs online in this article, some programs allow students who enter with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) to receive credit for some of the master's program clinical hours they earned. School policies differ, and speaking with an academic advisor before enrolling in any program will help determine how many if any, clinical hours you can transfer.

Below is a list of some of the featured programs from this article and examples of the number of clinical hours they require.

At the

University of Buffalo

, students enrolled in the BSN to DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program are prepared to diagnose and treat clients across the lifespan who require mental health intervention and/or management. The program requires students to complete ninety-four total credits, including foundation, research, DNP core, DNP project, and PMHNP specialty courses. Students must also complete a minimum of 1,000 supervised clinical hours.

Arizona State University

understands the need for qualified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners to deliver traditional, non-traditional, and culturally diverse clients, families, and groups. The BSN to DNP program exceeds the minimum ANCC requirement for clinical experiences requiring students to participate in at least 1,125 clinical practicum hours.

Students enrolled in the BSN to DNP-PMHNP program at

South Dakota State University

are prepared to care for patients with complex psychiatric needs. The program includes instruction on advanced nursing practices related to psychiatric mental health, including outpatient and inpatient care for clients from childhood to advanced age. The curriculum consists of studying varying degrees of mental illness from mild depression and anxiety to significant, potentially disabling conditions, such as bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and schizophrenia. The program is open to baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses and includes seventy-five credit hours of coursework and 1,020 clinical hours.


Saint Louis University

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-DNP program has made our 25 best online DNP-psychiatric nurse practitioner programs list. The Family Psychiatric Mental Health NP program encourages students to use evidence-based practices and exercise culturally sensitive, recovery-oriented holistic care. The post-BSN to DNP program requires students to complete sixty-eight credit hours of didactic coursework and 1,125 clinical practicum hours.

Augusta University

, home of Georgia's first Doctor of Nursing Practice program, offers the BSN to DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health NP program as an extension to its original DNP program. The concentration prepares nurses to work in advanced roles providing individual, family, and group psychiatric and mental health services. Students are required to complete at least 1,156 hours of clinical. The clinical experiences emphasize essential competencies needed to address the mental health needs of patients, families, and communities and include laboratory simulations, clinical practicum, and DNP residency hours.

Admission Requirements

Schools of Nursing that offer online DNP-PMHNP programs determine the admission criteria for their programs per standards established by state boards of nursing. Though the requirements have some variation, minimum admission criteria remain steady from school to school. The minimum admission requirements typically include the following.

◦ Possess a BSN or MSN from an accredited nursing program (depending on whether the school offers BSN to DNP or MSN to DNP options)
◦ Possess and maintain current BLS, ALS, and PALS certifications
◦ Submit official transcripts from all post-secondary schools/programs attended
◦ Submit a resume and/or curriculum vitae
◦ Possess a valid, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse (with minimum degree level required by the college)

The list below provides examples of admission criteria at some of the best online DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs.

The DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health NP program at

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

meets educational standards established by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty's Criteria for Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Programs and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing's Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Practice Nursing. Students have a direct path from a Bachelor of Science in Nursing to a Doctor of Nursing Practice with a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track.

◦ Submit a critical analysis essay
◦ Interview with DNP faculty
◦ Computer literacy
◦ Possess a baccalaureate nursing degree from a regionally accredited college or university with the program accreditation issued by the CCNE or ACEN

Rush University

accepts applicants who are bachelor- or master's prepared to its DNP-Psychiatric NP program. Although all applications are reviewed, preference is given to applicants who are currently working in a psychiatric setting or who will begin working in a psychiatric environment by the time the program starts.

◦ Personal Essay
◦ Three letters of recommendation: One letter must come from a current supervisor, and two should come from individuals in a leadership position who can speak to the applicant's clinical abilities
◦ Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 from all college-level coursework
◦ Resume or curriculum vitae that includes community service, educational, leadership, and professional organization activities, scholarly activities (including publications, research, presentations, honors or awards), and work experience


University of Kentucky

develops DNP-PMHNPs with the expertise needed to provide advanced nursing care that improves outcomes in the mental health population. After a complete application packet is received, qualified applicants are contacted to schedule an interview with graduate nursing faculty, which is required before an admission decision is made.

◦ Provide a writing sample of scholarly work completed within two years of the application. The scholarly work can include a formal research paper, a published article on a nursing issue, or a paper written on an area of interest in nursing
◦ Personal Statement of Goals: Must include the reason for seeking a DNP-PMHNP degree, short- and long-term professional goals, and identify a subject for the DNP project
◦ A resume that includes personal and professional achievements, experiences, and licensure/certifications
◦ Current, unencumbered license to practice as a registered nurse with a minimum Bachelor of Science in Nursing from an accredited program

Duke University

offers BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner online programs. Registered nurses who possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing may apply for the Duke University DNP program. Upon completing the university's DNP program, students are awarded both an MSN and a DNP degree.

◦ Undergraduate Statistics course (BSN to DNP applicants)
◦ Graduate Research Methods or Inferential Statistics Course (MSN to DNP applicants)
◦ Telephone or in-person interview may be required
◦ BSN from an accredited CCNE or ACEN School of Nursing (BSN to DNP applicants) or master's in Nursing in an advanced practice specialty from a nationally accredited ACEN or CCNE program or master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in a health-related profession (MSN to DNP applicants)

Tips to Help You Choose the Right Online DNP-PMHNP Program

If you have decided to become a DNP-PMHNP, the next step is to determine the schools you are most interested in. Although finding the right program is crucial for your success, choosing from the best DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online does not have to overwhelming. If you know what makes a program good, you can select the program that is best suited to help you reach your goals. These tips are things you should look for to help you choose the right online DNP-PMHNP program.

1. Find out if the program is accredited.

I cannot stress enough how vital accreditation is when looking for the right online DNP-psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program. Accreditation helps ensure that nursing programs across the country keep the same common standards.

2. Verify admission requirements.

Admission criteria vary from one program to another. As you research accredited DNP-PMHNP programs online, verify what the minimum entry-level is (bachelor's or master's in nursing). If you have a BSN, you can mark the MSN programs to DNP off your list, narrowing your search.

3. Ask about the program’s clinical requirements.

Distance learning, such as enrolling in a DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner program online, requires students to complete clinical practice hours. Many online students will complete clinical practice hours in their communities with approved preceptors are designated/approved clinical sites. When you talk to schools about their programs, you want to know who arranges clinicals and what the hour requirements are. This is one step that should never be overlooked, as delays in submitting requests for approval could result in it taking longer than expected to be allowed to move into the clinical portion of the program, making postponement of graduation necessary.

4. How long does the school allow students to take to complete the program?

Many people who are considering going back to school, especially working professionals, tend to look for programs that can be completed in the least amount of time. While this is not a negative thing, sometimes life does not go the way we planned. Although you may want to begin a program and complete it as quickly as possible, it is a good idea to know how long the school allows students to extend their time length. The average time limit is five years to complete programs like online DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs, but you need to be sure before committing.

5. What qualifications and clinical experience do program faculty have?

As previously mentioned, the cost associated with DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs can be significant. You deserve to learn from qualified instructors who are actively practicing. Don’t be afraid to ask schools you are considering about the faculty, their experience in and out of the classroom, and what requirements they must meet to remain members of the program.


1. University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

Types of Programs:


2. Rush University - Chicago, IL

Types of Programs:

DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

3. University of Florida - Gainesville, FL

Types of Programs:


4. University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA

Types of Programs:

DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

5. University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) - Chicago, IL

Types of Programs:

DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

6. Duke University - Durham, NC

Types of Programs:

DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

7. University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA

Types of Programs:


8. University of Kentucky College of Nursing - Lexington, KY

Types of Programs:


9. University of Rochester - Rochester, NY

Types of Programs:


10. University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, MN

Types of Programs:


11. University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison, WI

Types of Programs:


12. University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, OH

Types of Programs:


13. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center - Lubbock, TX

Types of Programs:


14. University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

Types of Programs:

DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

15. University of Arizona - Tucson, AZ

Types of Programs:

DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

16. University of Nebraska Medical Center - Omaha, NE

Types of Programs:


17. Augusta University - Augusta, GA

Types of Programs:


18. Arizona State University - Phoenix, AZ

Types of Programs:


19. South Dakota State University - Brookings, SD

Types of Programs:


20. University at Buffalo - Buffalo, NY

Types of Programs:


21. East Tennessee State University - Johnson City, TN

Types of Programs:

DNP (BSN to DNP and MSN to DNP)

22. Creighton University - Omaha, NE

Types of Programs:


23. University of Nevada-Reno - Reno, NV

Types of Programs:


24. Saint Louis University - Saint Louis, MO

Types of Programs:


25. University of Missouri-St. Louis - St. Louis, MO

Types of Programs:



Career Opportunities for Graduates of This Programs

Graduates of the best DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online practice in diverse settings, including hospitals, community mental health centers, psychiatric home-care programs, colleges and universities, private practices, and forensic mental health programs. Some are active members of community-based psychiatric case management teams.

A few examples of places DNP-PMHNP graduates may work include:

◦ Forensic Psychiatry
◦ Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinics
◦ Long-term or Assisted Living Centers
◦ Inpatient or Outpatient Addiction Centers
◦ Behavioral Health Units

Average DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salary

The average yearly salary for graduates of DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online is $113,038. This salary, equivalent to $54.35 hourly or $9,420 monthly, is attractive but is not the maximum amount DNP-PMHNPs can earn. With experience, salary can significantly increase.

Per Hour $54.35
Per Month $9,420
Per Year $113,038
(Source: ziprecruiter.com)

Job Outlook for Graduates of This Program

There are over 300,000 nurse practitioners in the United States, and less than two percent of them specialize in psychiatric care. As society becomes more aware of the importance of mental health and its impact on one's overall health and well-being, the need for qualified DNP-psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners continues to rise. According to a study by the University of Michigan Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center, the psychiatric workforce is experiencing a shortage of professionals expected to worsen by 2025. These factors are a strong indication that the job outlook for graduates of DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online is positive.

Useful Organizations & Associations

Nursing associations and organizations can be helpful as they create an opportunity for members to broaden their professional network and find future career prospects. Students enrolled in DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs online can benefit from joining an organization while still enrolled as they open the door for opportunities that non-members may not have access to.

American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA):

The APNA exercises core values, including inclusivity, collegiality, empowerment, innovation, transparency, and stewardship. The association provides quality continuing education for psychiatric mental health nurses and advocates for the furtherance of mental healthcare by developing positions on critical issues that affect the psychiatric field.

Association of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses (AAPPN):

The Association of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses serves members by advocating to protect the profession, providing resources and programs to enhance practice, sharing resources, teaching new skills, providing continuing education programs designed specifically for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. Membership in the association means being part of an active community that works together to preserve the field of psychiatric nurses. The AAPPN welcomes all advanced practice psychiatric nurse practitioners, including graduates of online DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs.

International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses:

The ISPN was formed by combining four independent psychiatric nursing organizations. The society's mission is "to support advanced-practice psychiatric-mental health nurses in promoting mental healthcare, literacy, and policy worldwide." The International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses strives to strengthen the voice of PMHNPs by making contributions to curriculum, standards, and public policies that promote quality mental healthcare for individuals and society as a whole.


If you have a genuine desire to impact patients on multiple levels and be engaged in promoting emotional and mental well-being, there has never been a better time to become a Doctor of Nursing Practice with Psychiatric Mental Health NP specialization. The best online DNP-Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs for 2023 featured in this article offer several ways to become part of this specialized group of providers and to begin affecting mental healthcare efforts for clients, their families, and communities.


I want to enroll in a DNP-PMHNP online program, but I need financial assistance. What can I do?

Like students in any college or university program, students who choose to pursue an online DNP-PMHNP program can get different types of financial assistance. Some employers offer education stipends or scholarships in exchange for a promise to work for them after graduation. Colleges, universities, and private organizations offer grant and scholarship opportunities, as does the federal government. Talking with a financial advisor as soon as possible is a great way to get started.

How much nursing experience do I need before becoming a student in a DNP-Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner online program?

Each program has admission criteria that applicants must meet before being accepted. Many DNP programs require students to have a specific amount of work experience before being admitted. The average amount of work experience required is two years of direct patient care. However, some schools may differ. Admission faculty members can tell you what the criteria are for their programs.

Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.