Online Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs in 2021

When considering becoming a psychiatric–mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP), an online PMHNP program may be an ideal fit for you.  There are a wide variety of PMHNP programs to pursue once you’ve become a registered nurse. 

Your options may include an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). Choosing to complete your degree online may allow for self-paced study. As you search for the best online nurse practitioner program for you, consider your personal preferences, current degree level, life circumstances and long-term career goals.

Accredited Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner Online (PMHNP) Programs 

While the following programs are online at the MSN level, some require on-campus visits. Be sure to check with your preferred university for more information.

University Location Length Clinical hours Enrollment Options
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA 3 years 640 hours Full-time or part-time 
Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 2 years 750 hours Full-time 
East Tennessee State University Johnson City, TN 2–3 years 540 hours Full-time or part-time 
Frontier Nursing University Hyden, KY 24–30 months 675 hours Full-time or part-time 
Georgia State University Atlanta, GA 2–4 years 500 hours Full-time or part-time 
Gonzaga University Spokane, WA 9 semesters 660 hours Full-time or part-time 
Indiana University at Purdue Indianapolis, IN 2-3 years 525 hours*Must be completed in Indiana Full-time or part-time 
Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing Louisiana 6 semesters 600 hours*Must be completed in Louisiana Full-time or part-time 
LaSalle University Philadelphia, PA N/A 704 hours Full-time or part-time 
Lewis University Romeoville, IL N/A 540 hours N/A
Maryville University St. Louis, MO As few 32 months N/A Full-time or part-time 
Midwestern State University Wichita Falls, TX 2 years 576 hours Full-time or part-time 
Monmouth University West Long Branch, NJ N/A 700 hours Full-time or part-time 
Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY As few as 22 months 500 hours Full-time 
Pace University New York, NY 2.5 years 550 hours Part-time enrollment
Saint Francis Medical Center Peoria, IL 4 years 640 hours Part-time enrollment
Saint Louis University St. Louis, MO 3 years 600 hours Full-time or part-time 
Texas State University Round Rock, TX Up to 4 years 540 hours Full-time or part-time 
Union University Jackson, TN 2 years 560 hours Full-time 
University of Mississippi Jackson, MS 2 years 630 hours Full-time 
University of Missouri – Columbia Columbia, MO N/A 720 hours Full-time or part-time 
University of Missouri – Kansas City Kansas City, MO 3 years 660 hours Full-time or part-time 
University of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 2 years 650 hours Full-time 
University of North Dakota Grand Forks, ND 8 semesters 600 hours Full-time 
University of South Alabama Mobile, AL Up to 5 years 600 hours Full-time or part-time 
University of South Carolina Columbia, SC 8 semesters 672 hours Full-time or part-time 
University of Southern Indiana Evansville, IN 2-3 years 655 hours Full-time or part-time 
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 1 years N/A Full-time 
Wilkes University Wilkes-Barre, PA 2+ years 500 hours Full-time 

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

Sponsored

Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study

Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

Earn an M.S. in Nursing online at the Wegmans School of Nursing

  • The Wegmans School of Nursing is ranked among the top 100 nursing schools nationally, and is No. 6 in New York state1
  • Part-time and accelerated tracks available
  • Four program options: PCFNP, PMHNP, AGACNP, AGPCNP

Earn your MSN online from USC’s Top-Ranked School of Social Work.

  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

1 U.S. News & World Report, 2022 Best Nursing Schools: Master’s. Ranked in 2021.

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Choosing a School Online for Your PMHNP Program

When thinking about applying for a school or program online, there are some factors you may wish to consider such as accreditation, your own goals, availability and flexibility, admissions requirements, curriculum and clinical hour experience. Some programs that are online may mirror their on-campus counterparts, so many of these factors may remain the same.

Accreditation for PMHNP Programs

Accreditation for nursing programs in the United States falls to the recognition of Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). This organization accredits bachelor and graduate nursing programs across the country. For psychiatric–mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) programs, this is no different. PMHNP programs online may be offered as a master’s or doctoral degree and be offered by a nursing school. Be sure to check with your preferred university for more on accreditation.

Goals

Why do you want to pursue an online PMHNP program? Maybe you are a registered nurse, looking to use your spare time to pursue a new career between shifts. Depending on your ultimate career goal, an online PMHNP may be flexible enough for you to pursue and become a nurse practitioner. You may also consider, if available, an accelerated nursing program or dual nursing programs. These may not be online but may help you achieve your PMHNP career goals.

Schedule 

Online programs, including PMHNP degrees and post-master’s certificates, may incorporate asynchronous and synchronous learnings, or non-live and live classes. Some programs also offer full-time or part-time enrollment options. Consider your availability to dedicate to school when considering an online PMHNP program.

Program Length

The time to complete a PMHNP online program depends on your type of enrollment and type of program. A full-time enrollment may allow you to complete your degree sooner than part time. Regardless, programs may have a limit on how long it can take for you to complete the program — sometimes at about five years. 

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for certificates rather than degree programs will vary. MSN programs may require a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, and a current, unencumbered RN license. Requirements for Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs may either require a BSN or Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). PMHNP programs may also require some general nursing or psychiatric nursing experience. Be sure to check with your preferred PMHNP program for more specific information.

Curriculum 

PMHNP programs often share similar course requirements based on accreditation standards and/or preparation for national certification, as outlined in the CCNE Standards for Accreditation. These courses may include advanced pathophysiology, advanced pharmacology, practicum and internship clinical hour experience, evidence-based practice, health assessment and theoretical foundations. With this coursework, PMHNP students may improve their previous skills in pharmacology for applications to mental health and psychiatric patients as well as developing an evidence-based practice approach to care. 

Clinical Hour Requirements

If you’re wondering how you will complete your clinical hours as an online student, universities may offer online student support to place students in residencies within their local or home area. CCNE-accredited programs will have a clinical hours requirement that is often a part of your nursing licensure once you complete your program. As such, your PMHNP online program will likely include clinical hour requirements, typically after initial coursework is completed.

Potential PMHNP Salary and Jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports an average salary of $109,820 for a nurse practitioner. However, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioner (AANP) article on a career as a PMHNP, full-time PMHNPs reported a mean total annual income of more than $131,000.

Psychiatric–mental health nurse practitioners may be employed in a psychiatric mental health facility and treat depression, anxiety, insomnia and dementia, according to the AANP article above. Learn more about nursing salary by career, states and the highest-paying states for each career.

PMHNP Certifications and Licenses 

In order to practice in your state as a psychiatric–mental health nurse practitioner, it’s important to meet all requirements in that state. Each state is likely to vary in requirements, so be sure to check with your state board of nursing first. Apart from post-master’s certification options from universities, there are a couple of other nursing certifications available in psychiatric–mental health nursing:

Additional Nursing Programs

There are several types of PMHNP programs to consider. Depending on where you are in your career path to become a psychiatric–mental health nurse practitioner or even continue growth within your career, there may be an on campus or online nursing program for you.

  • RN to MSN PMHNP Programs: RN to MSN programs offer bridge curricula for students who hold an unencumbered RN license in their state. RNs with an associate degree or education from an approved nursing program may earn their MSN and pursue advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) careers, such as psychiatric–mental health nurse practitioner.
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Programs: MSN programs are the bare minimum requirement to pursue an APRN career. As such, becoming a PMHNP is likely to require earning a master’s degree in nursing from an on-campus and MSN program online. Some programs in the table above reflect MSN level options and PMHNP degrees.
  • Post-Master’s PMHNP Certificate: If you’ve earned your master’s degree in nursing already, you may consider a post-master’s or graduate PMHNP certificate. The time to complete, clinical hours and credits may be less than earning another MSN degree. However, requirements for admission to the certificate pathway may require an RN license and MSN degree. Be sure to check with your preferred program for more information.
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) PMHNP Programs: Along with MSN programs, earning a degree from a DNP program may also help prepare you to become a PMHNP. Credit hours and clinical hours are more than MSN programs in DNP programs and may require more time to complete your degree. There are options for undergraduates to pursue this degree without having a MSN. If you already have your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, you may consider a BSN to DNP program.

Sponsored Online Nursing Programs

Sponsored

Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.

  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study

Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.

  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 23 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice

Earn an M.S. in Nursing online at the Wegmans School of Nursing

  • The Wegmans School of Nursing is ranked among the top 100 nursing schools nationally, and is No. 6 in New York state1
  • Part-time and accelerated tracks available
  • Four program options: PCFNP, PMHNP, AGACNP, AGPCNP

Earn your MSN online from USC’s Top-Ranked School of Social Work.

  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

1 U.S. News & World Report, 2022 Best Nursing Schools: Master’s. Ranked in 2021.

Sponsored

Scholarship Options for PMHNP Students 

There are many financial aid options for all levels of nursing students. Be sure to check with your preferred university for scholarship and grant opportunities as well as fellowships. Your state board of nursing or state’s nursing association may also offer opportunities for nursing financial aid.

FAQs

How do online psychiatric–mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) programs work?

Online PMHNP programs may be offered with synchronous and asynchronous coursework. Even though a program is online, there may be on-campus requirements. For accredited programs, there may be clinical hour requirements that you will complete at a facility or location near you.

How is course content delivered in an online PMHNP program?

Course content in online PMHNP programs may be delivered in a live and/or offline format. Live classes will require students to log in at a specific time and meet face-to-face, virtually, with their classmates and instructors. Offline formats may require completion of projects on your time upon a deadline to submit date.

Should I enroll into an online PMHNP program?

If you are seeking to become a psychiatric–mental health nurse practitioner, an online PMHNP program may help you reach your goals. Ultimately, whatever your goals are depends on whether a PMHNP program is right for you.

Will an online PMHNP program help me get a job?

While there is no guarantee that an online PMHNP program will help you get a job, accredited programs may help prepare you for state licensure and national certification. License and certification may be required for practice in your state. Be sure to check with your state’s board of nursing for more information.

Can I complete an online PMHNP program without a nursing degree?

You may not be able to complete an online PMHNP program without a nursing degree. Admission requirements may require an RN license, and in order to pursue that license, you must have completed at least an approved nursing program. Be sure to check with your preferred university and state’s board of nursing for more information.

What is the difference between PMHNP with an MSN vs. DNP ?

From a clinical hour experience perspective, MSN students in a PMHNP program may complete less clinical hours than DNP candidates. The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) has made a commitment to move all entry level nurse practitioner degrees to DNPs by 2025. This may mean that PMHNP programs may be offered only at the DNP level.

Information on this page was last retrieved in October 2020.