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Best Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs


A psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, or PMHNP, is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who is specially trained to provide mental health services. As a PMHNP, you will earn roughly $116,870 a year, and you will have your choice of work settings – in inpatient or outpatient facilities, in psychiatrists’ or psychologists’ offices, or even in home health. Becoming a PMHNP requires a great deal of education, and it’s important to take your time when choosing psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner programs for this reason. We have ranked the best programs across the country below to help you make your decision.

Degree Options Available to Become a PMHNP


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Program Cost: It will cost an average of $9,800 to $92,410 to obtain your MSN degree, which is the minimum degree requirement to work as a PMHNP.

Program Length: You will spend an average of two to three years completing your MSN program. Keep in mind that online PMHNP programs offer more flexibility and may allow you to take more time with your studies.

Curriculum: The curriculum will include both core nursing and specialized psychiatric courses. Advanced pathophysiology, health assessment, healthcare policy, and health promotion/disease prevention are core courses, and you will also take courses related to psychiatric and mental health diagnosis and management. Your classroom (lecture-based) knowledge will be accompanied by clinicals, or practicums, which you will perform under the supervision of a doctor or certified PMHNP in a local facility. The number of hours you will need to complete varies from state to state.

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Program Cost: If you choose a DNP degree, you will pay anywhere from $14,600 to $136,610 to complete the program. Because the program is longer and contains more specialized courses, the cost is higher.

Program Length: Starting with a BSN degree, it will take you five to six years in total to earn your DNP. You may find that online and hybrid programs offer you more flexibility.

Curriculum: DNP-PMHNP curriculum goes above and beyond that which is offered in a master’s program. You will learn about more specific mental health issues and how to help your patients manage them, and you will also be given the tools to become a nurse educator in your chosen field. Like the MSN option, you will be required to participate in clinicals at a local facility. Depending on your career goals, this may involve working hands-on with patients and aiding a PMHNP educator in a local college or university.

Following are the 10 Best Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs - 2020


1. Yale University - Orange, CT


Program Type

Post-Master’s Certificate Program: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

2. University of South Alabama - Mobile, AL


Program Type

MSN Program: Family Psychiatric NP

DNP Program: Psychiatric (Family) Nurse Practitioner

Post Graduate Certificate Program: Psychiatric (Family) NP

3. Rush University - Chicago, IL


Program Type

DNP Program: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

4. The Ohio State University - Columbus, OH


Program Type

MSN and DNP Programs: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

5. University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing - Philadelphia, PA


Program Type

MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs: Psychiatric-Mental Health

6. University of Miami - Coral Gables, FL


Program Type

Post-Master’s Certificate Program: Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

7. Duke University School of Nursing - Durham, NC


Program Type

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Post-Graduate Training Program: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

8. University of Cincinnati - Cincinnati, OH


Program Type

DNP Program: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (BSN to DNP)

Post-Master's in Nursing Certificate Program: Psychiatric Mental Health NP

9. Frontier Nursing University - Hyden, KY


Program Type

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Post-Graduate Certificate Program: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

10. Stony Brook University - Stony Brook, NY


Program Type

Master of Science Program: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Advanced Certificate Program: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

PMHNP Board Certification


You must become board certified in order to work as a PMHNP anywhere in the country. There are two different certifications you can obtain. The first is the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and the Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certifications, both of which are offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, or ANCC. The former certifies you to work with patients of all ages while the latter certifies you to work only with adults.

CertificationCertifying BodyLink
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan) Certification (PMHNP-BC) American Nurses Credentialing Center(ANCC)https://www.nursingworld.org/our-certifications/psychiatric-mental-health-nurse-practitioner/
Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification (PMHNP-BC)American Nurses Credentialing Center(ANCC)https://www.nursingworld.org/our-certifications/adult-psychiatric--mental-health-np-renewal/


<2>What does PMHNP Do?
Your PMHNP duties may vary depending upon the state in which you work, your chosen work setting, and your credentials. You may provide a wide variety of services, which include (but are not limited to) diagnosing patients with mental illnesses, conducting various types of therapies, prescribing medications for patients who have psychiatric conditions or brain disorders, and assisting patients who have substance abuse problems. In some states, the level of care you can provide and the services you can offer may be limited by your scope of practice.

PMHNP Scope of Practice


The PMHNP scope of practice is typically determined by your state’s nursing board and may limit the care you are legally able to provide. For example, you may be able to practice autonomously (without the direct supervision of a psychiatrists, psychologist, or physician) in some states, and you may even be able to prescribe medications independently in others. Some states also place limits on PMHNPs’ ability to forcibly admit patients for holds or evaluations; in these cases, you will need to obtain a written order from the patients’ psychiatrists or primary caregivers.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Salary


The average psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner salary in the United States is $116,870 a year, which equals $56.19 an hour or $9,740 a month. A newly-graduated and certified PMHNP who works in a low-population area will earn significantly less than a more experienced PMHNP who works in a high-stress environment in a busy metro area. What’s more, PMHNPs who provide in-home services tend to earn slightly more than those who work in clinics and psychiatric hospitals.

TypeSalary
Hourly$56.19
Monthly$9,740
Annual$116,870


PMHNP Job Outlook


The outlook for the healthcare industry over the course of the next several years is incredibly promising, and when it comes to nurse practitioners, that outlook is higher than any other healthcare career. Between 2016 and 2026, the employment of PMHNPs is expected to climb by some 31%. This increase will be driven by numerous factors, but the reduction of the social stigma that surrounds mental illness and increasing willingness to seek treatment for mental issues will play large roles.

Important PMHNP Organizations


1. American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA): The American Psychiatric Nurses Association, or APNA, is a professional organization that serves to promote the quality of psychiatric nursing care. As an APNA member, you will obtain access to more than 230 different continuing education options, access to the clinical psychopharmacology institute, the ability to participate in regional events and educational opportunities as part of your local chapter, and access to resume management and job searches with the APNA CareerLine.

2. Association of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses (AAPPN): The Association of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses, or AAPPN, is an organization dedicated to enhancing the advanced practice psychiatric nursing career. Membership provides you with incredible connection and networking opportunities with access to chapter meetings, a Facebook group, a member directory, and numerous volunteer opportunities to make a difference in your local area and build your own community.




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