10 Top Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs 2022 (2024)


May 25, 2022

10 Top Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs 2022 (1)

By: Chaunie Brusie BSN, RN

A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, also known as a Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), is an advanced nursing role that requires a Masters's or Doctorate degree. This career depends on a hybrid background of nursing and psychiatry and requires nurses to attend an accredited Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. Most psychiatric NPs start in the nursing profession, then go on to earn their graduate degree in the field of psychiatric mental health. Keep reading to learn about all the types of PMHNP programs available, as well as the top programs for 2022-2023.

PMHNP Program FAQs

  • How Much Do Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners Make?

    • $126,200 per year, $60.67 per hour
  • What Do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Do?

    • Psychiatric NPs perform developmental, physical, and mental health assessments. They diagnose mental health conditions, provide integration and implementation of care, prescribe psychopharmacology, offer psychotherapy, and act as a liaison all in the field of mental health.
  • What Certifications Do Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners Need?

    • You will need a Registered Nursing license before advancing to a psychiatric NP education program, where you will receive either a Masters or Doctorate degree, then sit for an exam to certify you for about the PMHNP certs.

Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Types of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs


Who is it right for? RNs that have an ADN or Diploma

If you have your RN license and an associate degree, you can enter into a bridge program that will roll the types of classes you would have taken with a Bachelor’s degree into one program to earn your Master’s.

MSN Psychiatric NP Programs

Who is it right for? RNs with a BSN degree

One of the most common options for earning your Master’s degree in any field of nursing, you can enter into a Master’s program if you already have your Bachelor’s in Nursing.

Accelerated MSN Psychiatric NP Programs

Who is it right for? Those with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree

Many graduate nursing programs also allow you to enroll directly if you have your RN license and a bachelor’s in a non-nursing-related field.

Some schools may also accept non-nurses with bachelor’s degrees to fast-track them into a master’s program; by the end of the program, you will have earned your RN and be eligible to sit for the NP certifying exam as well.

Direct-Entry Psychiatric NP MSN Programs

Who is it right for? Those with a non-nursing master’s degree

Similar to the non-nursing Bachelor’s degree, direct-entry MSN (sometimes called post-masters certification) programs welcome individuals who have a master’s degree in a non-nursing field.

With this type of program, you can fast-track your nursing education because you already have many of the master’s level courses needed, and will focus on the nursing component throughout your coursework.

DNP Psychiatric NP Programs

Who is it right for? Those who know they want to further their education

Some nurses will also choose to enroll in a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or in a Ph.D. and EdD, to perform additional work as professors, researchers, or administrators.

Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Top 10 Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs

Most psychiatric nurse practitioner programs are technically considered psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) programs. If you're looking to pursue this path, check out these top 10 PMHNP programs for 2022-2023.

1. University of Pennsylvania

Tuition: $53,166 per year

A top-ranked institution for psychiatric-mental health, the NP program at the University of Pennsylvania combines neuroscience with psychotherapy. Full-time students finish this program in just 14 months, making this a quick and high-quality option. Part-time students typically finish in two to five years.

2. Rush University

Tuition: $1,224 per credit hour

Online Options Available: Yes

Rush University PMHNP program is a doctoral program, keep that in mind before applying - it typically takes two or more years to complete. However, the program is entirely online, so students won’t have to relocate to earn their degrees.

Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

3. University of Washington

Tuition: $9,934 per quarter in-state, $14,150 per quarter non-resident

UW’s PMHNP program is technically a graduate certificate and is completed in person. Applicants must be either enrolled in the DNP or PhD program at UW OR already earned a doctorate degree from an accredited program. UW has one of the top health and nursing programs in the nation, so even without intense specialization, this is an education worth having.

4. University of California – San Francisco

Tuition: $60,482 per year in-state, $72,727 per year non-resident

While the focus of the psychiatric nurse practitioner program at UCSF is on all demographics, students have the option to complete their residency while focusing on a specific age group. This program is ideal for nurses who want to work exclusively with adults or children.

5. Yale University

Tuition: $26,162 per term

A master’s specialty, Yale’s psychiatric-mental health nursing specialty gives students the benefits of Yale’s highly respected nursing education. Yale boasts an impressive 100% pass rate on the PMHNP examination for the last five years. Students will receive an all-round education in the psychiatric-mental health field, preparing them for any setting they might end up in.

6. University of North Carolina

Tuition: $34,535 for full program in-state tuition; $61,124 for full program out-of-state tuition

A part of UNC’s Master of Science nursing program, psychiatric-mental health is an advanced practice area that students can focus their studies on. This all-around education will require students to be able to attend in-person practice, something to keep in mind before applying.

7. Duke University

Tuition: $1,910 per credit hour. The average fully enrolled tuition per semester is $11,460

According to the 2022 U.S. World News & Report, Duke’s program currently ranks #1 for PMHNP programs in the country. While Duke’s PMHNP program will teach students to help people of all ages, it does focus on people living in rural and underserved areas. Any nurses interested in treating and helping these communities will find that Duke’s program is a good fit.

8. University of Maryland

Tuition: $824 per credit hour in-state, $1,461 per credit non-resident

UM’s psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program takes anywhere from three to five years, making it one of the longer programs of study on this list. This is also a doctoral program, and students are required to be located in the Maryland/Washington, D.C. area for the program.

9. Vanderbilt University

Tuition: $1,793 per credit hour

Online Options Available:Yes

One of the top nursing schools in the nation for graduates, Vanderbilt’s PMHNP program offers a holistic approach to a complicated subject. This program doesn’t require relocation - it is offered entirely online. Also, it is possible to earn this degree without a strong psychiatric nursing background.

Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

10. New York University

Tuition: $1,983 per credit hour

The master’s program in psychiatric-mental health at NYU will teach nurses how to help people of all ages. By the end of the program, nurses will be able to conduct individual or group therapy, allowing them to pick whichever focus they feel is best for them.

While these are some of the top schools, there are many options out there, including some great online programs. Find a school that works for you!

How to Pick the Right Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner School for You

It’s hard to know what the perfect school is for what you’re looking for. While there are only a handful of institutions that offer a psychiatric nurse practitioner program, narrowing it down further will likely be based on different factors, including:

  • Cost:Is the school within an affordable range? Will you have to move to attend school, and how expensive is the new city going to be? Do they offerfinancial aid?
  • Location: Commuting to and from facilities where you get real-world experience is common for psychiatric NPs. This means you might have to move to a new area for school or work with the school to find clinical sites near your home and complete your coursework online.
  • Program length:Depending on the program you study toward, you may have to plan to be in school for 2-4 years, and possibly even longer if you’re working full-time and studying part-time. If you have to continue to work while you’re in school, you’ll also want to verify that the program can be completed while you work.
  • Accreditation:Accreditation is always something important to keep in mind before selecting any school or program–not only does it ensure that your school will properly prepare you for your certifying exams, but if you plan on applying for federal loans, you may get turned down if your school is not accredited.

Deciding on a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner program is a personal choice. In addition to doing your research online, we also recommend talking to medical professionals who currently work in the specialty. Continuing your education is not an easy decision to make but, one thing is for sure, it will open many opportunities for you in the near future.

Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

More Information on a Career as a Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner

What Does a PMHNP Do?

Some of the duties that a PMHNP could take on include:

  • Create healthcare plans, based on outpatient or home-based care for acute or chronic mental health care conditions
  • Provide consultations
  • Perform patient assessments
  • Prescribe medications per their state laws
  • Prescribe and offer various treatments, such as psychotherapy, medication therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc.
  • Work alongside doctors for referrals and to provide patient care
  • Participate and/or initiate research
  • Education on mental health disorders
  • Contribute to policy development, quality improvement, practice evaluation, and healthcare reform

PMHNP Salary

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners are one of the highest-paying nurse practitioner specialties because they are a highly-specialized field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mental Health Nurse Practitioners make a mean annual salary of $ 131,830 with an average hourly wage of $63.38 as of May 2022.

Although most NPs work full-time, salaries will also vary based on the type of occupation, hours, and the state and city.

Nurse Practitioners, in general, have a higher-than-average job outlook and because psychiatric nursing is a field that is still growing in interest and awareness, it’s reasonable to expect that wages are going to gradually climb over the coming years.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certification

Once you complete your education program, you will have to pass the PMHNP certifying exam, issued by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). According to the ANCC, upon successful completion of the exam, you will be Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (PMHNP-BC). Once you earn your license, the credential is valid for 5 years.

What’s the Difference Between a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and a Psychiatrist?

The American Psychiatric Nurse Association provides helpful details about what exactly a PMHNP does, and how the role may differ from a traditional physician role as a psychiatric or psychologist. Although many of the duties of a PMHNP and psychiatrists may be very similar (if not the same), the primary differences will be in the educational pathway and some of the state limitations that a PMHNP may have.

Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

A Day in the Life of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

10 Top Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs 2022 (2)






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10 Top Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs 2022 (3)

10 Top Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs 2022 (2024)


Which state pays Pmhnp the most? ›

1. Maine
Total Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Jobs:1,084
Average Annual Salary:$118,103
Lowest 10 Percent Earn:$68,000
Highest 10 Percent Earn:$205,000
1 more row
6 Apr 2021

How long is EKU Pmhnp program? ›

The MSN can be completed in about 2.5 years while the certificate can be completed in about 18 months. For those earning the PMHNP certificate in the adult specialty, the program begins in the Spring, while the child/adolescent specialty begins in the Summer. These programs can be completed in less than one year.

How many Pmhnp are there in the US? ›

There are over 9,714 psychiatric nurse practitioners currently employed in the United States.

How many Pmhnp are there in California? ›

More than 27,000 NPs now practice in California, but only 1,200 are certified to treat psychiatric patients.

Is the psych NP market oversaturated? ›

Some specialties are in higher demand than others which factors into market saturation. The job market for psych NPs is decidedly not saturated. If you're a specialized NP looking for a job in a small town, it may not take more than a few other similar local providers to make the job market feel full.

What is the highest paid NP specialty? ›

1. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist ($181,040) The highest paid profession for an NP seems to be that of the Nurse Anesthetist. As of May 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts their median hourly wage at $87, making it the top paid position for a nurse with an MSN.

Is Eastern Kentucky University a good school? ›

Eastern Kentucky University is ranked #331-440 out of 443 National Universities. Schools are ranked according to their performance across a set of widely accepted indicators of excellence.

Is EKU a good nursing school? ›

The EKU BSN program has outstanding faculty with strong clinical backgrounds and expertise in various nursing specialties. Graduates of the program can provide patient care at the bedside or move into leadership positions in nursing.

Does EKU have a good nursing program? ›

Thanks to excellent National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates and great independent reviews, Eastern Kentucky University's School of Nursing has been recognized as the #1 Best RN to BSN online program in Kentucky by RNtoMSN.org.

Is there a shortage of PMHNP? ›

While this is great news, it is evident that the demand for a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) will soon outweigh the supply. The number of jobs for a Psych NP will increase 31% from 2014 to 2024.

Is being a PMHNP worth it? ›

An outstanding job growth outlook also makes a career as a PMHNP a good choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the outlook for nurse practitioners is 45 percent from 2019 to 2029. Compared to the average 4 percent outlook rate for all jobs, this reflects an increasing demand for NP jobs.

Do PMHNP make more than FNP? ›

The average hourly pay for the FNP is $46.22, while the PMHNP earns around $53 per hour. These numbers are a reflection of the national average for these two job fields. Things that will affect your hourly pay rate are what state you are working in, if you are in a specialty, and the setting in which you are working.

Can a psych NP do therapy? ›

Many PMHNPs provide therapy and prescribe medications for patients who have mental health disorders or substance abuse problems. PMHNPs may also provide physical and psychosocial assessments, emergency psychiatric care and treatment effectiveness evaluations.

Can Psych NP have their own practice in California? ›

[1] The law brings California in line with over half of the states in the U.S. by permitting NPs to practice independently and to the full extent of their training and education.

How much do Pmhnp make in CA? ›

The average salary of PMHNPs in California is $148,446 per year.

What type of NP is in high demand? ›

Which In-Demand Nurse Practitioner Specialty Is The Most Popular? The most popular NP specialty is a family practice. This is most likely due to the flexibility the job offers. If you pursue FNP in school—you can work in family medicine, urgent care, and most specialty clinics, including palliative care and hospice.

What is it like being a Pmhnp? ›

PMHNPs tend to work full-time, with 40-hour weeks and varying shifts, depending on where they work. Those in hospital settings may commit to on-call and some overnight shifts, but have several days off at a time. Those in private practices may work Monday through Friday, during office hours.

Should I Do PNP or FNP? ›

The essential difference between an FNP vs. PNP is that a PNP specializes in providing care to children, from infants through adolescents, whereas the focus of an FNP is broader based. FNPs are qualified to provide care for family members of all ages, from infants to geriatric patients.

What is the easiest nurse practitioner specialty? ›

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Once again, this is a single population focus specialty with a primary care focus, not acute or critical care, making it one of the easiest nurse practitioner specialties to get accepted into.

What do the top 10% of nurse practitioners make? ›

According to BLS data, NPs can expect a general salary range of $79,470 for the lowest 10% and up to $163,350 for the highest 10%. Within this range, however, several factors influence NP salary levels, such as certifications, education level, years of experience or experience type, and practice setting.

Is NP higher than PA? ›

Is NP higher than PA? Neither profession ranks "higher" than the other. Both occupations work in the healthcare field, but with different qualifications, educational backgrounds, and responsibilities. They also work in different specialties.

What is Eastern KY University known for? ›

Eastern Kentucky University is a regional, coeducational, public institution of higher education offering general and liberal arts programs, pre-professional and professional training in education and various other fields at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

What is the acceptance rate for University of Kentucky? ›

University of Kentucky admissions is selective with an acceptance rate of 94%. Half the applicants admitted to University of Kentucky have an SAT score between 1083 and 1330 or an ACT score of 22 and 29.

What is Eastern Kentucky known for? ›

The region is known for its coal mining; most family farms in the region have disappeared since the introduction of surface mining in the 1940s and 1950s.

How much does nursing school cost in Kentucky? ›

University of Kentucky Nursing School Overview

University of Kentucky is a public school. The College of Nursing has an application fee of $50 for U.S. residents. Tuition for the master's program at the College of Nursing is Full-time: $13,674 per year (in-state) and $33,548 per year (out-of-state).

Does WKU have a good nursing program? ›

Yes, in addition to having SACS-COC approval, all WKU nursing programs are accredited by professional nursing organizations. The BSN and Higher programs at WKU are accredited by AACN-CCNE. The ASN program is accredited by ACEN. In addition all WKU nursing programs are approved by the Kentucky Board of Nursing.

Is University of Louisville good for nursing school? ›

University of Louisville is ranked No. 99 (tie) in Best Nursing Schools: Master's and No. 95 (tie) in Best Nursing Schools: Doctor of Nursing Practice.

How much is Eastern Kentucky tuition? ›

Who is the chair of the school of nursing at EKU? ›

Brooke Bentley, PhD, APRN, FNP.

Is EKU School of Nursing form out? ›

Currently, School of Nursing Eku Admission Form 2021 is not yet out online. This page will be updated immediately the form is out.

What state pays the highest for nurse practitioners? ›

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is the highest paying state for nurse practitioners. Entry-level nurse practitioners in the state earn over $50 hourly and average about $107,310 yearly. NPs with ten to nineteen years can earn up to $165,140 yearly.

What is the most a Pmhnp can make? ›

Zip Recruiter states that the average psychiatric NP yearly salary is $123,607 but can range between almost $91,000 to about $138,000, depending on your state and city. According to the BLS, nurse practitioners of all specialties on average earn about $117,670 annually or $56.57 per hour.

How much do Pmhnp make in Texas? ›

Pmhnp Salary in Texas. $104,536 is the 25th percentile. Salaries below this are outliers. $155,286 is the 75th percentile.

How much do Pmhnp make in Arizona? ›

The average PMHNP salary in Arizona is $126,040 a year, which breaks down to $10,500 a month or $60.59 an hour.

Do Pmhnp make more than FNP? ›

The average hourly pay for the FNP is $46.22, while the PMHNP earns around $53 per hour. These numbers are a reflection of the national average for these two job fields. Things that will affect your hourly pay rate are what state you are working in, if you are in a specialty, and the setting in which you are working.

What is the lowest paid nurse practitioner? ›

Of all US states and territories, Puerto Rico has the lowest salary for NPs at $20,900.

Where is the biggest need for nurse practitioners? ›

Featured Online MSN Programs
State*Number of Jobs
1. New York21,870
2. California19,700
3. Texas16,430
4. Florida15,200
6 more rows

Are psych NP in demand? ›

The demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners is projected to rise as the U.S. population increases. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the employment of all nurse practitioners will grow by 52% between 2020 and 2030.

Is Psych NP stressful? ›

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, like so many healthcare workers, struggle with job stress. But their rates of burnout are worse than nurses in other specialties. According to the American Psychological Association, between 21% and 61% of mental health workers experience burnout.

What is it like being a Pmhnp? ›

PMHNPs tend to work full-time, with 40-hour weeks and varying shifts, depending on where they work. Those in hospital settings may commit to on-call and some overnight shifts, but have several days off at a time. Those in private practices may work Monday through Friday, during office hours.

Are NP salaries increasing? ›

NP starting salaries show increase

The average salary offer for NPs increased 12 percent year-over-year to $140,000 in 2020/2021. These numbers represent base salary or guaranteed income only, not accounting for any production bonus or benefits.

How much do Pmhnp make in California? ›

Pmhnp Annual Salary in California ($144,866 Avg - Aug 2022) - ZipRecruiter.

How much do psych NP make in Houston? ›

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) Salary in Houston, TX

How much does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) make in Houston, TX? The average Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (NP) salary in Houston, TX is $115,960 as of August 29, 2022, but the range typically falls between $103,660 and $127,200.

How much does a DNP make in Arizona? ›

Phoenix: $127,480-$149,300.

How much do nurses make in Az per hour? ›

Registered nurses in Arizona earn an average of $81,600 per year (or $39.23 per hour). Arizona registered nurses earn 1% lower than the national average salary for RNs, at $82,750 (or $39.78 per hour).

How many NPs are in Arizona? ›

Of the 3,068 nurse practitioners (NPs), 91% are in urban Arizona, of the 182 certified nurse midwives (CNMs) 82% and of the 2,039 physician assistants (PAs) 87% are urban. Too few providers delays necessary care, worsens health outcomes and increases costs through greater hospital and emergency department use.

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