Top Online Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Programs

Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) play an important role in the care of patients and families in the United States. PMHNPs serve populations across the lifespan with their mental health needs including in the areas of patient education and disease prevention.

Through all phases of assessment, diagnosis, and developing a care plan, psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners take into account the environmental, lifestyle, and developmental factors of their patients, as well as the practitioner-patient and practitioner-family relationships.

Aspiring psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners may wish to earn a master of science in nursing (MSN), post-master’s certificate (PMC), or doctor of nursing practice (DNP). Over 95 percent of practicing nurse practitioners hold a graduate degree (AANP, 2019). In the future, the DNP may become the standard requirement for nurse practitioners, however, this is not the case at this time.

As online nursing programs become more commonplace, there are many graduate programs for future PMHNPs to choose from. Programs are available in several states and many allow students to enroll from other states throughout the nation. These online programs offer flexibility in learning with most coursework online, a minimal amount of campus visits, and practicums local to the student.

Online PMHNP Program Rankings

The online psychiatric-mental health NP programs listed here are ranked by cost, admissions flexibility, and program variety. This in-depth database comprises more than 700 online NP programs at the MSN, DNP, and post-master’s certificate levels, and represents what we believe to be a comprehensive list of online PMHNP programs entering the 2019-2020 school year. For our purposes, a program must require no more than nine campus visits in total to qualify for inclusion as an online program.

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Psychiatric Mental Health NP Career and Salary

According to the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Competencies from the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties, PMHNPs must know how to:

  • Perform comprehensive physical and mental health assessments, psychiatric evaluations, and family assessments
  • Identify factors that affect mental health including trauma, environment, family, genetics, coping skills, culture, gender, socioeconomic status, spiritual beliefs, cognition, substance abuse, developmental stage, and others
  • Interpret diagnostic and lab tests
  • Diagnose psychiatric disorders FNP,PMHNP
  • Develop treatment plans and recommend therapeutic interventions
  • Prescribe psychotropic medications and other types of medications necessary for the improvement of their patients

The psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner field attracts about 4 percent of those studying to become nurse practitioners (American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), 2018). The median wage for nurse practitioners falls at $107,030 with a range from $80,670 to $182,750 for nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists (BLS, 2018).

The majority of PMHNPs work in psychiatric-mental health care facilities. Other prominent PMHNP work environments include hospitals, treatment facilities, private practice, and schools and educational facilities.

With an expected nurse practitioner job growth of 28 percent between 2018 and 2028, which is well above the national average growth rate of 5 percent, over 53,000 new jobs should open up for NPs (BLS, 2018).