Online DNP Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Programs – What’s the Best Program for You?
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
To find an online or hybrid DNP-level PMHNP degree program near you, check out the listings below.
Select Your State:
University of Arizona
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, AR
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA
University of Delaware
Florida State University
Hawai‘i Pacific University
Idaho State University
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA
University of Kansas
University of Kentucky College of Nursing
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Wayne State University
University of Minnesota
Twin Cities, MN
University Of Mississippi Medical Center
St. Louis, MO
Mizzou Online- University of Missouri
University of Missouri - St. Louis
St. Louis, MO
Montana State University
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM
University at Buffalo
The Ohio State University
The University of Toledo
Robert Morris University
Moon Township, PA
University of Pittsburgh
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, TN
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Memphis
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Texas Tech University
University of Washington
Washington State University
Are we missing your school's nurse practitioner program or need to update any of the information listed? Please contact us.