Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) help others overcome mental and behavioral struggles. Among licensed nurse practitioners (NPs), fewer than 2% possess a certificate within the psychiatric mental health specialty.
An increasing number of Americans have sought mental health treatment over the past few years. Over 260,000 advanced practice nurses work in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and that number is projected to grow by 45% from 2019-2029.
Prospective NPs must earn a master of science in nursing (MSN). MSN programs allow candidates to specialize in certain areas, including psychiatric mental health. Most last for two years, although many online PMHNP programs feature more flexible timelines.
Read on for a list of the best online PMHNP programs in the United States.
Top 10 Best Value Online Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2021
The Best Value Online Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs of 2021
Applying to an Online Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program
The admission process for online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs is similar to that of many other MSN degrees.
Prospective students should possess an undergraduate degree and registered nurse (RN) license. While many programs only admit candidates with bachelor's degrees in nursing, some offer RN-to-MSN options. These programs consider applicants with an associate degree in nursing, an active license, and work experience.
Most programs maintain minimum GPA requirements, usually ranging from 2.5-3.0, and competitive GRE or MAT scores. Schools typically require personal essays and recommendation letters. Some request an admissions interview or documented work experience in the nursing or psychiatric/mental healthcare fields.
Frequently Asked Questions
What degree do you need to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner?
Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners need either an MSN or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP). An MSN typically requires two years of study, while a DNP can take 3-4 years to complete.
What is accreditation and why is it important?
Be sure your chosen PMHNP program is accredited. Accreditation ensures that MSN programs meet nationally recognized quality standards established for the nursing profession. The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education are the two main accrediting organizations for MSN degrees. Graduates of unaccredited programs cannot obtain state licenses and face limited employment options.
What can you do as a nurse practitioner?
NPs fulfill a role in between an RN and physician. NPs diagnose patients and prescribe medication. In many states, NPs take on all of these responsibilities independently, but some states require advanced practice nurses to enter into collaborative agreements with physicians.
What does a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner do?
PMHNPs assist patients with mental, emotional, and behavioral issues and disorders. These NPs may carry out psychiatric evaluations, make diagnoses, and provide treatment. Treatment plans could include regular psychotherapy sessions or prescription medication. PMHNPs work at clinics, psychiatric facilities, emergency services, and hospitals.