Online DNP Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Programs – What’s the Best Program for You?

Last Updated/Verified: Jun 1, 2022

Earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is the pinnacle of nursing education. If you’re ready to take your career to new heights while specializing in the mental health field, earning your psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner DNP is a fantastic investment in your long-term career success. Some DNP programs require nurses to already have a graduate degree, while others allow nurses to earn their MSN and DNP within one program. No matter what your current educational level, you’ll need to have a current, unencumbered RN license and one to two years of practice nursing in the mental health field in order to be a solid candidate for DNP programs. You may also need to submit a resume, professional references, and a statement of purpose explaining how you’d like to move forward in your career after you earn your DNP.

Compare the 2021 Top Ranked Online PMHNP DNP Programs

As the need for psychiatric care rises in the United States, nurses who seek to reach new heights in their career often gravitate to the terminal degree choice - the DNP. Once you've made the decision to pursue a DNP-level Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, the next step is to narrow down your educational options. With online learning increasing in popularity, many students are opting for distance-learning programs. To help you narrow down your choices, we've ranked the best online PMHNP DNP programs in the nation. Check out the rankings below, and learn more about our rankings process here.

1.
University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

Overview:

The University of Kansas offers a primarily online post-bachelor's PMHNP DNP for nurses who are ready to take their practice careers to the highest levels. Nursing leadership is woven throughout the curriculum as improving health outcomes, applying research to healthcare delivery, and using technological capabilities.

Highlights:

  • Program offered every other year
  • Some in-person components may be required
  • Curriculum comprised of 79 credit-hours
2.
Idaho State University

Pocatello, ID

Overview:

Idaho State University offers an online DNP program with a specialty in Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Students gain expertise in making psychiatric mental health assessments across the larger, patient wellness spectrum. Treating rural patient populations is a key part of the program focus.

Highlights:

  • Only open to experienced, Family or Mental Health Nurse Practitioners
  • On-campus clinical intensives are necessary to graduate
  • Graduates can sit for certification exams
3.
New Mexico State University

Las Cruces, NM

Overview:

The online DNP - PMHNP from New Mexico State University prepares students to treat primary and mental health care in patients of all ages. The integration-focused program advances the specialty's core areas, including assessment, diagnosing, psychotherapy, and pharmacology.

Highlights:

  • Graduates are readied to test for certification
  • The DNP is only offered in a full-time capacity
  • Clinical practicum experiences may be completed at the student's home location

Why Get a DNP Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Degree?

Earning a DNP can be time consuming and intense, but DNPs generally agree that it’s well worth the hard work. When you earn your psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner DNP, you’ll have many options on how to move forward in your career. Many nurses with their DNP in this specialty open private mental health practices. If you’d prefer to work as a part of a larger organization, you’ll have many options to work in private or public healthcare practices, rehabilitation centers, psychiatric facilities, state-run facilities, universities, research facilities, and more.

Check out some of the other pros and cons of earning a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner DNP degree.

Pros

  • Focus on healthcare administration and policy
  • Highest degree in nursing
  • Opens up opportunities for education and research positions

Cons

  • Can be expensive, especially if your job does not offer tuition assistance
  • Takes longer to complete than other degree options
  • An intensive thesis or capstone project may be necessary in order to graduate – these can be time-consuming and challenging

How to Choose an Online DNP Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Program

Most online psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner DNP programs take four to five years to complete for full-time students. Many schools offer the option to attend part-time, but may require that you finish your coursework within a certain timeframe. Credits required for graduation may range from 50-75 in total, and will vary based on your prior education.

While there are some psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner programs that are available completely online, others are offered in a hybrid format. A hybrid format allows students to get the best of both worlds – the flexibility of an online education with the face to face interaction of a traditional classroom. If you’re interested in a hybrid program, you’re likely to find many that offer classes on nights and weekends, making it easier for working professionals to attend.

DNP PMHNP Curriculum

A DNP curriculum is intense, and covers many aspects of psychiatric healthcare, from leadership to providing direct patient care. Throughout the course of your psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner DNP program, some of the courses you’re likely to take include:

  • Psychiatric diagnosis and management of children
  • Psychiatric diagnosis and management of adults and geriatric patients
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Organizational systems and leadership in healthcare
  • Healthcare law, policy, and analysis
  • Advanced pharmacology

While exact practicum requirements differ from program to program, it’s likely that you’ll need over 1,000 hours of clinical work. While this can seem daunting, it’s key to remember that this work occurs over a period of several years, and can often be completed while you’re on the clock at your current job. Not all of the hours are required to be spent in direct patient care, and you may be able to break up your clinical hours in several different work environments. You may also want to talk with your supervisor about whether you can spend some of your hours at work completing clinical hours in an area of interest for you within the psychiatric-mental health specialty. This can be helpful in allowing you to do research and develop ideas for class assignments.

List of Online DNP Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs

To find an online or hybrid DNP-level PMHNP degree program near you, check out the listings below.

Select Your State:

Arizona

University of Arizona
  • Psychiatric Mental Healt Nurse Practitioner
Tucson, AZ

Arkansas

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Little Rock, AR

California

Brandman University
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice, Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Irvine, CA
Loma Linda University
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Concentration
Loma Linda, CA

Delaware

University of Delaware
  • DNP Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Newark, DE

Florida

Florida State University
  • DNP - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Tallahassee, FL

Georgia

Augusta University
  • DNP- Psychiatric Mental Health NP
Augusta, GA

Hawaii

Hawai‘i Pacific University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Honolulu, HI

Idaho

Idaho State University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
Pocatello, ID

Illinois

Bradley University
  • DNP-PMHNP TRACK
Peoria, IL
Rush University
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (DNP)
Chicago, IL
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Chicago, IL
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Acute Care Program Hybrid
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Rockford, IL

Iowa

Clarke University
  • MSN to DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Dubuque, IA
University of Iowa
  • Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Iowa City, IA

Kansas

University of Kansas
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner BSN to DNP
Lawrence, KS
Washburn University
  • Bsn To Dnp-Psychiatric Mental Health Track (PMHNP)
Topeka, KS

Kentucky

University of Kentucky College of Nursing
  • BSN-DNP: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Track Hybrid
Lexington, KY

Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • BSN TO DNP: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
Amherst, MA

Michigan

Wayne State University
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Acute Care (PNP-AC)
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse practitioner (P-MHNP)
Detroit, MI

Mississippi

University Of Mississippi Medical Center
  • BSN-DNP: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner tracks Hybrid
Jackson, MS

Missouri

Maryville University
  • BSN to DNP: PMHNP (Psychiatric Mental Health)
  • DNP-NP: PMHNP (Psychiatric Mental Health)
St. Louis, MO
Mizzou Online- University of Missouri
  • Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (DNP)
Columbia, MO
University of Missouri - St. Louis
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
St. Louis, MO

Montana

Montana State University
  • Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric/Mental Health
Bozeman, MT

Nebraska

Creighton University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Omaha, NE

New Mexico

New Mexico State University
  • BSN to DNP - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Las Cruces, NM

New York

Hunter College
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Hybrid
NY, NY
University at Buffalo
  • Post-BS to DNP: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Hybrid
  • Post-MS to DNP: Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Buffalo, NY

Ohio

Otterbein University
  • Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Associate’s Degree in Nursing to DNP, MSN included Hybrid
  • Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, BSN-to-DNP, MSN included Hybrid
Westerville, OH
The Ohio State University
  • BSN to DNP: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Columbus, OH
The University of Toledo
  • BSN-DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Toledo, OH

Pennsylvania

Robert Morris University
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: Psychiatric-Mental Health N.P. Online Campus
Moon Township, PA
University of Pittsburgh
  • MSN to DNP: Psychiatric Mental Health Hybrid
Pittsburgh, PA

South Carolina

Anderson University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Anderson, SC

Tennessee

East Tennessee State University
  • BSN to DNP: Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Johnson City, TN
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Memphis
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Memphis, TN
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • BSN to DNP - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Knoxville, TN

Texas

Texas Tech University
  • BSN to DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Lubbock, TX

Washington

Gonzaga University
  • Post Baccalaureate DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Spokane, WA
University of Washington
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Seattle, WA
Washington State University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Pullman, WA

Are we missing your school's nurse practitioner program or need to update any of the information listed? Please contact us.