Nurses with a passion for mental health who want to take their careers to a higher level can opt to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. With both Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) pathways, students have a wealth of educational program options for the specialty. With just a few years of schooling, a rewarding psychiatric nurse practitioner career can be achieved.

Choosing a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program

Students who want to choose a great psychiatric nurse practitioner program should keep the following in mind when researching schools:

Accreditation

It's important to pick a psychiatric nurse practitioner program that's accredited by a nationally recognized organization, such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and/or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Programs may also hold various local and regional accreditations as well. Accreditations demonstrate that the program is held to rigorous standards.

Program Cost

Psychiatric nurse practitioner program tuition is typically listed per credit hour. Both MSN and DNP level programs can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000 or more per credit, depending on the school, state, and degree level chosen. DNP programs are generally more expensive, as they require more credits than MSN programs. Tuition costs usually do not include extra expenses, such as books, program fees, and other mandatory fees.

Program Length

A typical MSN level psychiatric nurse practitioner program requires roughly 50 credits for completion. Part-time and full-time study options are readily available, so students can finish in anywhere from 8 to 11 semesters. Doctoral programs require closer to 75 total credits, and can take 3-5 years to complete, depending on whether a student attends full or part-time. Both program options require a minimum number of clinical hours as well.

Internship/Externship Opportunities

With clinical hours being a requirement of psychiatric nurse practitioner programs, many schools have special relationships with nearby hospitals and medical facilities to facilitate this. Students can inquire about what internship opportunities are available and where, and may even be able to choose their own preceptor sites.

Online/Campus Options

In this age of technology, many schools are now offering online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs in addition to traditional, campus-based programs. Some schools even offer a "hybrid" program, allowing students to take many courses online but also offering classroom-based lectures and labs.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Degree Levels Offered

Two advanced nursing options are available for those interested in becoming psychiatric nurse practitioners. A master's level program, which gives students the high-level education needed to enter this advanced field, and the doctoral program for those who want an even more elevated educational experience.

MSN Programs

The master's level psychiatric nurse practitioner program prepares nurses to perform mental health assessments and interventions on children, teens, and adults. The curriculum consists of both advanced general nursing courses and specialized psychiatric nursing courses. Classes taken may include Integrated Behavioral Health Care and Common Psychiatric Presentations, Diagnoses and Management of Adults for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Advanced Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The University of Colorado, for example, offers both full-time and accelerated MSN Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs.

DNP Programs

Doctoral psychiatric nurse practitioner programs take a more complex approach to the curriculum, preparing nurses to utilize a full scope of therapies and emphasizing leadership. Courses taken may include Theory of Psychopharmacology from a Neurological Basis, Therapeutic Modalities, and Organizational Systems and Leadership. Washington State University, as an example, offers a DNP level Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program.

Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Prospective psychiatric nurse practitioner students are often incredibly busy with work, family, and other obligations. This has prompted many schools to offer online programs to accommodate these students. Keep in mind, however, that some online programs may still require a few trips to campus for various orientations, and clinical hours will still need to be completed in person.

Advantages of an Online Program

Online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs offer the most convenience and flexibility. Students enrolled in these programs are able to take courses from the comfort of their own home, at times that suit their schedules. This is particularly ideal for those who don't have a university within feasible commuting distance. Speaking of commuting, online programs also eliminate the expenses associated with transportation, including gas, parking fees, and more.

Program Accreditation

Those apprehensive about opting for an online psychiatric nurse practitioner program should look for schools that offer fully accredited programs. Like campus-based programs, CCNE and ACEN are two reputable accreditations to search for. Many large universities offer an online or hybrid version of their programs.

Costs and Length

Credit requirements are the same for online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs as they are for campus-based versions. Total length can be more variable for online programs, though, as they tend to offer more flexibility when it comes to program entrance and course completion. Tuition also falls in a similar range, from $500 per credit and up, though students tend to have a lot more options when it comes to online programs. As an example, Drexel University offers an online MSN Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program which charges approximately $940 per credit.

What Are the Admissions and Certification Requirements?

Admissions requirements for most psychiatric nurse practitioner programs include:

  • BSN or higher from an accredited university
  • Active, unencumbered RN license
  • Resume or CV
  • 1 or more years of clinical experience may be required
  • Official transcripts from all schools attended
  • Reference letters

Certification as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) can be obtained through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must hold a current, U.S. RN license
  • Graduate of an accredited psychiatric nurse practitioner program (MSN or DNP)
  • Must have completed clinical training in at least two psychotherapeutic treatment modalities

List of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Psychiatric nurse practitioner programs are available across the country, see the following campus, hybrid, and online nurse practitioner programs by state.

Select Your State:

Alabama

SchoolContact Information
The University of Alabama
50 University Boulevard East
Tuscaloosa, AL 35401
(205) 348-6639
University of Alabama at Birmingham
1701 University Boulevard
Birmingham, AL 35294
(205) 934-5428
University of South Alabama
5721 USA Dr N
Mobile, AL 36688
(251) 445-9400

Alaska

SchoolContact Information
University of Alaska Anchorage
3211 Providence Drive
Anchorage, AK 99508
(907) 786-4406

Arizona

SchoolContact Information
University of Arizona
1305 N. Martin | PO Box 210203
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 626-6154

Arkansas

SchoolContact Information
University of Arkensas for Medical Sciences
4301 West Markham Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
(501) 686-7000

California

SchoolContact Information
Azusa Pacific University
MSN Programs
901 E. Alosta Ave., PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702
(626) 969-3434
Brandman University
16355 Laguna Canyon Road
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 341-9800
Cal State LA
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(323) 343-3000
California State University Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90840
(562) 985-4111
California State University San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd
San Marcos, CA 92096
(760) 750-4000
Fresno State University
2345 E. San Ramon
Fresno, CA 93740
(559) 278-2041
Loma Linda University
11262 Campus St.
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-4923
National University
9388 Lightwave Ave
San Diego, CA 92123
(800) 628-8648
University of California San Francisco
UCSF Box 0602
San Francisco, CA 94143
(415) 476-1435
University of San Diego
5998 Alcal? Park
San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-4600

Colorado

SchoolContact Information
Colorado State University Pueblo
2200 Bonforte Blvd
Pueblo, CO 81001
(719) 549-2462
Colorado University
12950 E. Montview Boulevard
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-2152

Connecticut

SchoolContact Information
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 254-4000
University of Saint Josephs Conneticut
1678 Asylum Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117
(186) 023-2457 x1
Yale University
400 West Campus Drive
Orange, CT 06477
(203) 785-2389

Delaware

SchoolContact Information
University of Delaware
25 North College
Newark, DE 19716
(302) 831-1253

Florida

SchoolContact Information
Florida Atlantic University
Graduate Certificate Programs
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431
(561) 297-6261
Florida International University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-7748
Florida State University
600 W. College Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32306
(850) 644-5621
University of Miami
P.O. Box 248153
Coral Gables, FL 33124
(305) 284-3666

Georgia

SchoolContact Information
Augusta University
1120 15th Street
Augusta, GA 30912
(706) 721-9767
Georgia College
231 W. Hancock St.
Milledgeville,, GA 31061
(800) 342-0471
Georgia Southern University
1332 Southern Drive
Statesboro, GA 30458
(912) 478-4636
Georgia State University
33 Gilmer St SE
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 413-2000

Idaho

SchoolContact Information
Idaho State University
921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, ID 83209
(208) 282-2102

Illinois

SchoolContact Information
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-7100
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)
845 South Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 996-7800
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
1601 Parkview Ave
Rockford, IL 61107
(815) 395-0600
University of Saint Francis
500 Wilcox St
Joliet, IL 60435
(800) 735-7500

Indiana

SchoolContact Information
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
600 Barnhill Drive, NU 122
Indianapolis, IN 46202
(317) 274-2806
Indiana Wesleyan University
4201 S. Washington St.
Marion, IN 46953
(866) 468-6498
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712
(812) 464-8600

Iowa

SchoolContact Information
Allen College
1990 Heath St
Waterloo, IA 50703
(319) 226-2000
University of Iowa
DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs
50 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242
(319) 335-7018

Kansas

SchoolContact Information
University of Kansas
1246 West Campus Road Room 153A
Lawrence, KS 66045
(785) 864-6414
Washburn University
1700 SW College Ave
Topeka, KS 66621
(785) 670-1010

Kentucky

SchoolContact Information
Eastern Kentucky University
521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475
(859) 622-1000
Frontier Nursing University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
195 School Street
Hyden, KY 41749
(606) 672-2312
University of Kentucky College of Nursing
DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs
315 College of Nursing Building 751 Rose Street
Lexington, KY 40536
(859) 323-5108
University Of Louisville
DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate Programs
555 South Floyd Street Suite 3019
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 852-5825
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd
Bowling Green, KY 42101
(270) 745-0111

Louisiana

SchoolContact Information
Louisiana State Univeristy New Orleans
1900 Gravier Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 568-4200
McNeese State University
4205 Ryan Street
Lake Charles, LA 70609
(337) 475-5000
Nicholls State University
906 East 1st St.
Thibodaux, LA 70301
(187) 764-2465 x7
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
175 Sam Sibley Dr
Natchitoches, LA 71497
(318) 357-6011
Southeastern Louisiana University
500 W University Ave
Hammond, LA 70402
(985) 549-5637

Maine

SchoolContact Information
University of Southern Maine
PO Box 9300
Portland, ME 04104
(180) 080-0487 x6

Maryland

SchoolContact Information
University of Maryland
655 W. Lombard St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 706-6109

Massachusetts

SchoolContact Information
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-4250
Massachusetts College Of Pharmacy And Health Sciences
179 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 879-5964
MGH Institute Of Health Professions
36 1st Avenue
Boston, MA 02129
(617) 726-2947
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2000
Regis University
235 Wellesley Street
Weston, MA 02493
(781) 768-7000
University of Massachusetts Amherst
651 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01003
(413) 545-2703
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
Dartmouth, MA 02747
(508) 999-9202

Michigan

SchoolContact Information
University of Michigan- Flint
303 E. Kearsley Street
Flint, MI 48502
(810) 762-3300
Wayne State University
5557 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-4082

Minnesota

SchoolContact Information
The College of St. Scholastica
1200 Kenwood Avenue
Duluth, MN 55811
(800) 447-5444
University of Minnesota
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 624-9600
Wiona State University Rochester
Graduate Certificate Programs
859 30th Ave SE
Rochester, MN 55904
(507) 285-7100

Mississippi

SchoolContact Information
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
(601) 266-1000
University Of Mississippi Medical Center
2500 North State Street
Jackson, MS 39216
(601) 984-1000

Missouri

SchoolContact Information
Maryville University
650 Maryville University Drive
St. Louis, MO 63141
(314) 529-9300
Mizzou Online- University of Missouri
136 Clark Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-2491
University of Missouri - St. Louis
1 University Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63121
(314) 516-5000
University of Missouri Health
S235 School of Nursing
Columbia, MO 65211
(573) 882-0277
University Of Missouri Kansas City
5100 Rockhill Rd
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 235-1000

Montana

SchoolContact Information
Montana State University
P.O. Box 173560
Bozeman, MT 59717
(406) 994-3783

Nebraska

SchoolContact Information
Creighton University
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
(402) 280-2700
University of Nebraska Medical Center
42nd and Emile
Omaha, NE 68198
(402) 559-4000

Nevada

SchoolContact Information
University of Nevada, Reno
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89557
(775) 784-1110

New Hampshire

SchoolContact Information
Rivier University
420 South Main Street
Nashua, NH 03060
(603) 888-1311
The University of New Hampshire
Hewitt Hall, 4 Library Way
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-1177

New Jersey

SchoolContact Information
Fairleigh Dickinson University
1000 River Rd
Teaneck, NJ 07666
(201) 692-2000
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Avenue
West Long Branch, NJ 07764
(732) 571-3400
Rutgers School of Nursing
180 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 972-4307

New Mexico

SchoolContact Information
New Mexico State University
P. O. Box 30001, MSC 3185
Las Cruces, NM 88003
(575) 646-3812

New York

SchoolContact Information
Adelphi University
Graduate Certificate Programs
One South Ave, P.O. Box 701
Garden City, NY 11530
(800) 233-5744
Binghamton University
Graduate Certificate Programs
4400 Vestal Parkway East
Binghamton, NY 13902
(607) 777-2000
Columbia University
617 W 168th St
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305-5756
D'Youville College
320 Porter Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14201
(716) 829-8000
Hunter College
695 Park Ave
NY, NY 10065
(212) 772-4000
NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
433 First Avenue
New York, NY 10010
(212) 998-5300
St. John Fisher College
3690 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618
(585) 385-8000
Stony Brook School of Nursing
DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
101 Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
(631) 689-8333
Stony Brook University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
100 Nicolls Rd
Stony Brook, NY 11794
(631) 632-6000
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
12 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
(716) 645-2000

North Carolina

SchoolContact Information
Duke University School of Nursing
MSN Programs
307 Trent Drive
Durham, NC 27710
(919) 684-3786
Northeastern University - Charlotte
101 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28246
(980) 224-8466
The University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
Carrington Hall
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
(919) 962-2211

North Dakota

SchoolContact Information
University of North Dakota
430 Oxford St Stop 9025
Grand Forks, ND 58202
(701) 777-4174

Ohio

SchoolContact Information
Case Western Reserve University
10900 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 368-2000
Kent State University
1375 University Esplanade
Kent, OH 44242
(330) 672-7930
The Ohio State University
1585 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-4041
The University of Akron
302 E Buchtel Ave
Akron, OH 44325
(330) 972-7111
The University of Toledo
2801 W. Bancroft
Toledo, OH 43606
(800) 586-5336
Ursuline College
2550 Lander Rd
Pepper Pike, OH 44124
(440) 449-4200
Wright State University
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton, OH 45431
(937) 775-3333

Oregon

SchoolContact Information
Oregon Health & Sciences University
3147 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd
Portland, OR 97239
(503) 494-8311

Pennsylvania

SchoolContact Information
Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions
1601 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 895-2000
Robert Morris University
6001 University Blvd
Moon Township, PA 15108
(800) 762-0097
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
418 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-8281
University of Pittsburgh
3500 Victoria Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
(412) 624-4586

South Carolina

SchoolContact Information
Anderson University
316 Boulevard
Anderson, SC 29621
(864) 231-2000
Medical University of South Carolina
171 Ashley Avenue
Charleston, SC 29425
(843) 792-8515
University of South Carolina
1601 Greene Street
Columbia, SC 29208
(803) 777-7412

South Dakota

SchoolContact Information
Mount Marty College
1105 West 8th Street
Yankton, SD 57078
(605) 668-1545

Tennessee

SchoolContact Information
East Tennessee State University
365 Stout Drive
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-4578
Lincoln Memorial University
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752
(423) 869-3611
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Memphis
910 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38163
(901) 448-5500
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
1200 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-4151
Union University
1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, TN 38305
(731) 661-6545

Texas

SchoolContact Information
Midwestern State University
3410 Taft Blvd
Wichita Falls, TX 76308
(940) 397-4000
Texas Tech University
3601 4th St.
Lubbock, TX 79430
(806) 743-2730
The University of Texas at Austin
110 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712
(512) 471-3434
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
1201 W University Dr
Edinburg, TX 78539
(888) 882-4026
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio - UT Health San Antonio
7703 Floyd Curl Dr
San Antonio, TX 78229
(210) 567-7000
University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston
MSN Programs
6901 Bertner
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 500-2000

Utah

SchoolContact Information
University of Utah
10 South 2000 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
(801) 581-3414

Vermont

SchoolContact Information
University of Vermont
Graduate Certificate Programs
The University of Vermont
Burlington, VT 05405
(802) 656-3131

Virginia

SchoolContact Information
Radford University
E Main St
Radford, VA 24141
(540) 831-5000
Shenandoah University
1460 University Dr
Winchester, VA 22601
(540) 665-4500
University of Virginia
DNP ProgramsGraduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
225 Jeanette Lancaster Way
Charlottesville, VA 22903-3388
(434) 924-0141
Virginia Commonwealth University
1100 East Leigh Street
Richmond, VA 23298
(804) 828-0724

Washington

SchoolContact Information
Gonzaga University
502 E Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 328-4220
Pacific Lutheran University
12180 Park Ave S
Tacoma, WA 98447
(253) 535-7411
Seattle University
901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 296-6000
University of Washington
1410 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-2100
Washington State University
1815 Wilson Rd
Pullman, WA 99164
(509) 335-3564
Washington State University Vancouver
14204 NE Salmon Creek Ave
Vancouver, WA 98686
(360) 546-9788
Western Governors University of Washington (WGU)
20435 72nd Ave S #301
Kent, WA 98032
(206) 673-8562

West Virginia

SchoolContact Information
West Virginia Wesleyan College
59 College Avenue
Buckhannon, WV 26201
(304) 473-8000

Wisconsin

SchoolContact Information
Alverno College
3400 S 43rd St
Milwaukee, WI 53234
(414) 382-6000
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Graduate Certificate Programs
702 West Johnson Street. Suite 1101
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 263-2400

Wyoming

SchoolContact Information
University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Ave
Laramie, WY 82071
(307) 766-1121