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

Last Updated/Verified: Jul 1, 2021

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.

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.


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


  • 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:


University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ


University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, AR


Brandman University
Irvine, CA
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA


University of Delaware
Newark, DE


Augusta University
Augusta, GA


Idaho State University
Pocatello, ID


Rush University
Chicago, IL
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
Chicago, IL
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
Rockford, IL


Clarke University
Dubuque, IA
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA


University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS
Washburn University
Topeka, KS


University of Kentucky College of Nursing
Lexington, KY


University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA


Wayne State University
Detroit, MI


University Of Mississippi Medical Center
Jackson, MS


Maryville University
St. Louis, MO
Mizzou Online- University of Missouri
Columbia, MO
University of Missouri - St. Louis
St. Louis, MO


Montana State University
Bozeman, MT


Creighton University
Omaha, NE

New Mexico

New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM

New York

Hunter College
University at Buffalo
Buffalo, NY


Otterbein University
Westerville, OH
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH
The University of Toledo
Toledo, OH


Robert Morris University
Moon Township, PA
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA

South Carolina

Anderson University
Anderson, SC


East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, TN
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Memphis
Memphis, TN
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville, TN


Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX


Gonzaga University
Spokane, WA
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
Washington State University
Pullman, WA