Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Programs – Selecting the Best Program
If you’re a nurse who loves helping people with their mental health, becoming a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) can be a step toward advancing your career. There are several different options for getting your credentials to work as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, and many nursing professionals choose to get their Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to move their careers forward. In order to successfully apply to a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner MSN program, you’ll need to have your BSN. Some programs even allow you to earn your BSN and MSN at the same time. If you do not yet have your BSN, you may be interested in pursuing this avenue to your graduate degree. In any case, you’ll need an unencumbered, current RN license, as well as at least a year of experience working as a nurse in the mental health field.
Compare the 2023 Top Ranked Online PMHNP MSN Programs
As the need for advanced psychiatric-mental health NPs increases, more nurses are considering an MSN-level degree. Finding a good PMHNP program at the MSN level should be at the top of every prospective student's list. As online education becomes even more ubiquitous, nurses have a range of programs at their fingertips. To help you find a great educational program, we have sorted and ranked the best online PMHNP MSN programs in the country. Find a great program below, and see how we developed our rankings on our Methodology page.
Located in Nashua, New Hampshire, Rivier University offers an online MSN: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, as well as a post-graduate certificate in the specialty. Students learn advanced skills through clinicals and theory lecture to help them succeed in the psychiatric care field.
- Multiple entry paths: MSN, MSN bridge, RN to MS, etc.
- Several start dates throughout the year.
- Private school.
Georgia College is home to several Pyschiatric Nurse Practitioner pathways, including an online post-master's certificate as well as a traditional online MSN degree. Both programs train nurses to provide critical mental healthcare to patients in Georgia and throughout the U.S.
- Fully online.
- Clinical rotations must be completed in GA.
- 39 total credit hours.
As the nation begins to recognize those with mental health challenges, nurses can do more to help these patients when they earn their MSN-Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from the University of St. Francis in Illinois. The mostly online program is designed to accommodate working nurses.
- 47 to 56 credit hours are needed to graduate.
- May not be available in every U.S. state.
- A catholic university with competitively priced tuition.
Johnson City, TN
East Tennessee State University offers an MSN-Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program that is delivered online. The advanced program trains graduates via theory and clinicals to diagnose and treat mental health conditions across the patient lifespan.
- The program focuses on rural health care delivery.
- Online courses include simulations.
- Educational requirements for licensure vary per state.
Sioux City, IA
Briar Cliff University has in its catalog an MSN-Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program that focuses on clinicals and skill application rather than red tape. No thesis projects are required for this fast-paced, primarily online program; however, some in-person intensives are necessary.
- Grads can sit for the ANCC certification exam.
- A Franciscan university in Sioux City, Iowa.
- Founded as a women’s college.
Why Get an MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Degree?
Earning your psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner MSN degree can be a smart career move depending on your long-term career goals. If you’ve finished your BSN, this can be the perfect next step for advancing your career. As the stigma associated with mental health continues to dissipate, there are many openings for healthcare professionals in the mental health field. As a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner with an MSN degree, you’ll have many career options. You’ll find gainful employment in areas such as:
- Public healthcare
- Rehabilitation centers
- Addiction services
- Psychiatric hospitals
- Private mental health care practice
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of earning an MSN instead of a post-master’s certificate or a DNP.
- Can be a fast option to becoming a nurse practitioner
- Emphasizes hands-on patient care’
- MSN-level PMHNP programs are common, with many online options available
- For nurses who are interested in eventually earning their DNP, it can make financial sense to skip over an MSN and enroll directly in a DNP program
- Lack of emphasis on healthcare administration and leadership
- Those who already have an MSN may wish to pursue the cheaper, faster PMHNP post-master’s certificate
How to Choose an Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Program
There are several factors to consider as you search for the right online psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner MSN program for you. Most online psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner MSN programs take one to three years. Some accelerated programs format courses over three consecutive semesters including the summer, providing a tough yet fast experience to get through the program. While programs vary, most require between 40 – 65 credits for completion of the program. Many programs accept transfer credits from other graduate work.
As you research online psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner MSN programs, you’ll need to decide whether you want a fully online or a hybrid program. If you choose a fully online program, you may be able to completely choose when you do your work. You may also be required to be online at certain times to participate in class discussions. If you’re planning on working while you earn your MSN, be sure to talk with your program advisor about whether there are times that you’ll be required to be online, and talk to your supervisor and any changes in your work schedule your coursework will require. Fully online programs can be ideal for flexibility, but a hybrid program has benefits as well. Face-to-face time with other students and faculty members can be a valuable part of the traditional classroom experience, and a hybrid experience can provide the flexibility you need with the interaction you desire.
MSN PMHNP Curriculum
Over the course of your MSN program, you’ll take classes both in advanced nursing and within the mental health specialty. Courses in your MSN program may include:
- Advanced pathophysiology
- Neuroscience for mental health practitioners
- Population-based mental health care across the lifespan
- Psychotherapy with individuals, groups, and families
- Advanced pharmacology
Clinical requirements can vary from program to program. Students can expect to spend approximately 600 hours completing clinical requirements. Typically, it’s required that these hours are spent practicing direct patient care. It’s likely that you’ll be able to fulfill your clinical hours’ requirement while at your job, provided you work in a facility that treats psychiatric patients. If you’re not currently working in mental health, you may want to consider a transfer or search for new opportunities that will allow you to get the experience you need as you work toward earning your MSN.
List of Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Programs
Online and hybrid PMHNP programs at the MSN level are available at schools across the country. Check out the listings below to see program options near you.
Select Your State:
The University of Alabama
University of Alabama at Birmingham
University of South Alabama
University of Alaska Anchorage
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Little Rock, AR
Azusa Pacific University
Colorado State University Pueblo
University of Colorado
Nova Southeastern University - Miramar
Georgia State University
Hawai‘i Pacific University
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
University of St. Francis
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
Indiana Wesleyan University
University of Southern Indiana
Briar Clliff University
Sioux City, IA
Eastern Kentucky University
Frontier Nursing University
Northern Kentucky University
Highland Heights, KY
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, KY
McNeese State University
Lake Charles, LA
Nicholls State University
Southeastern Louisiana University
Massachusetts College Of Pharmacy And Health Sciences
Wayne State University
The University of Southern Mississippi
University Of Mississippi Medical Center
St. Louis, MO
University Of Missouri Kansas City
Kansas City, MO
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
West Long Branch, NJ
The University of New Mexico
Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, NY
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND
Kent State University
The Ohio State University
The University of Toledo
La Salle University
University of South Carolina
East Tennessee State University
Johnson City, TN
Midwestern State University
Wichita Falls, TX
Texas State University
Round Rock, TX
University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Are we missing your school's nurse practitioner program or need to update any of the information listed? Please contact us.