Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Programs – Selecting the Best Program

Last Updated/Verified: Dec 13, 2021

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 2021 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.

1.
Texas State University

Round Rock, TX

Overview:

Texas State University in Round Rock offers an online MSN-Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree that readies and trains RNs to advance in this ever-changing field. Teaching students how to provide evidence-based care to serve patients' mental and behavioral needs is a key component of the curriculum.

Highlights:

  • Graduates are set to apply for APRN licensure and related exams
  • On-site clinicals and experiences are required
  • Only open to RNs licensed in the state of Texas
2.
University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND

Overview:

The online MSN-Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program from the University of North Dakota equips students for professional advancement in this specialty. To better address patients' mental health needs, this program prepares advanced nurses to make psychiatric diagnoses and conduct mental health assessments.

Highlights:

  • Grads are eligible to sit for suitable national exams
  • Three start dates each year for the eight-semester program
  • A "best value" university founded 130+ years ago
3.
East Tennessee State University

Johnson City, TN

Overview:

East Tennessee State University offers an MSN-Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program that is delivered online. The advanced program trains graduates via theory and clinical experiences to diagnose and treat mental health conditions across the patient lifespan.

Highlights:

  • The program focuses on rural health care delivery
  • Online courses include simulations
  • Educational requirements for licensure vary per state

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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:

Alabama

The University of Alabama
  • Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Tuscaloosa, AL
University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Practitioner
Birmingham, AL
University of South Alabama
  • Psychiatric (Family) Nurse Practitioner
Mobile, AL

Alaska

University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Option
Anchorage, AK

Arkansas

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

California

Azusa Pacific University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)
Azusa, CA

Colorado

Colorado State University Pueblo
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Degree Plan Hybrid
Pueblo, CO
University of Colorado
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Aurora, CO

Florida

Nova Southeastern University - Miramar
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Miramar, FL

Georgia

Georgia College
  • Family Nurse Practitioner with a Concentration in Psychiatric Mental Health (PMHNP)
Milledgeville, GA
Georgia State University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Atlanta, GA

Hawaii

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

Illinois

Bradley University
  • DNP-PMHNP TRACK
Peoria, IL
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Rockford, IL
University of St. Francis
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • RN BS to MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Joliet, IL

Indiana

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Lifespan
Indianapolis, IN
Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Primary Care - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Marion, IN
University of Southern Indiana
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMH)
Evansville, IN

Iowa

Allen College
  • Psych/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner FPMHNP
Waterloo, IA
Briar Clliff University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Sioux City, IA

Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health
Richmond, KY
Frontier Nursing University
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health NP
Hyden, KY
Northern Kentucky University
  • MSN - Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Highland Heights, KY
Western Kentucky University
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Bowling Green, KY

Louisiana

McNeese State University
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Lake Charles, LA
Nicholls State University
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Thibodaux, LA
Southeastern Louisiana University
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Hammond, LA

Massachusetts

Massachusetts College Of Pharmacy And Health Sciences
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN)
Boston, MA
Regis University
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Weston, MA

Michigan

Wayne State University
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (P-MHNP)
Detroit, MI

Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi
  • Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Hybrid
Hattiesburg, MS
University Of Mississippi Medical Center
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Jackson, MS

Missouri

Maryville University
  • PMHNP (Psychiatric Mental Health)
St. Louis, MO
University Of Missouri Kansas City
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Hybrid
Kansas City, MO

Nevada

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Las Vegas, NV

New Hampshire

Rivier University
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Online)
Nashua, NH

New Jersey

Monmouth University
  • Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
West Long Branch, NJ

New Mexico

The University of New Mexico
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Albuquerque, NM

New York

Hunter College
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MS) Hybrid
NY, NY
Stony Brook University
  • MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Stony Brook, NY

North Carolina

Duke University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health NP Hybrid
Durham, NC

North Dakota

University of North Dakota
  • Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Grand Forks, ND

Ohio

Kent State University
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Kent, OH
Ohio University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Athe, OH
The Ohio State University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Columbus, OH
The University of Toledo
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Toledo, OH

Pennsylvania

Drexel University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Philadelphia, PA
Duquesne University
  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Pittsburgh, PA
La Salle University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Philadelphia, PA

South Carolina

Anderson University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Anderson, SC
University of South Carolina
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Columbia, SC

Tennessee

East Tennessee State University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Johnson City, TN

Texas

Midwestern State University
  • Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Wichita Falls, TX
Texas State University
  • Master of Science in Nursing-Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN-PMHNP)
Round Rock, TX
University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston
  • Psych/Mental Health Hybrid
Houston, TX

Washington

Gonzaga University
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Second Masters Degree in Nursing: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Spokane, WA

West Virginia

West Virginia Wesleyan College
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Hybrid
Buckhannon, WV

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