HomeNursing ProgramsRN to MSN Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (RN to Psych NP Programs)

RN to MSN Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (RN to Psych NP Programs)


The RN to MSN psychiatric nurse practitioner program offers a unique opportunity for nurses to become certified in mental health care. The program provides training in mental health care and provides a path to career success in this field. The program is designed for nurses working in the Psychiatric setup.

The RN to MSN PMHNP program is designed to provide nurses with the skills required to provide quality mental health care. The program is divided into two parts: the first part provides training in mental health care, and the second part provides experience working with patients with mental illness.

What is RN to MSN Psychiatric Nurse Practioner Program?

RNs to MSN Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Program offer an intimate understanding of the mental health diagnosis and treatment, providing a unique perspective for care. The program provides training in critical care and mental health nursing, as well as in managing patient’s safety and well-being. This post explains the best RN to MSN PMHNP Online and Campus based programs that nurse practitioners can consider, Admission requirements, Cost, Job prospects of PMHNP, and also provides the list of RN to MSN psych NP courses.

Best Online RN MSN PMHNP Programs for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

Are you a registered nurse interested in the care of psychiatric patients? If you desire to be a part of promoting mental health and wellness with a broader scope of practice, then RN Psych NP programs online can help you achieve your goal of becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

RN to Psych NP Programs Online

Several Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners programs are available for nurses looking for online RN to Psych NP programs that can be completed without leaving their current job. RN to Psych NP online courses are ideal for Nurse practitioners with irregular shifts and family responsibilities who do not want to leave thier current job for various reasons.

RN to MSN Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

What is RN to the MSN-PMHNP program?

A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is a registered nurse with advanced knowledge and specific training to treat patients with psychiatric disorders. The main goal of RN to MSN-PHMNP programs is to train associate-degree nurse practitioners to offer top-quality care for patients suffering from psychiatric disorders or psychosocial problems in various healthcare environments. Students of the most prestigious RN to MSN-PMHNP online programs will be preperly trained to conduct psychiatric examinations to identify mental health risk factors, determine mental health and diseases, and advise appropriate treatment plans for their patients.

Reasons to join the RN to MSN Psych NP Program.

The RN to MSN Psych NP  Program is one of the best options for nurse practitioners looking for career advancement and a better salary.  Psychiatric nurse practitioners are vital in treating patients suffering from various psychological issues.  A career shift from an RN MSN to PMHNP is crucial in the nursing career in all aspects, including the financial benefits.  There are many good reasons to go after an advanced degree to become a Psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Listed below are some reasons to join one of the best RN to MSN-PMHNP online programs to become a Psychiatric nurse practitioner.

1.Bright Job Opportunities:
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the number of 13,000 PMHNPs practicing now is only 13500, much less than the number of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners required. The number of psychiatric patients is increasing every year, and the demand for mental health psychiatric nurse practitioners is also increasing, creating more job opportunities for PMHNPs.

2. Better Salary Package
Mental health nurses specializing in psychiatric care get a better salary than registered nurses without specialization. The shortage of Psychiatric nurses is another factor for the increased salary package for nurses in this field. The salary range of a psychiatric nurse practitioner is about $113,487 per year.

3. Scheduled Working Hours
Many nurses experience the frustration of working long hours and shifts that make their life miserable. A career change from RN to MSN PMHNP could open the possibility of working with a regular schedule in places like an in-person medical clinic for mental illness or counseling centre that will help reduce job stress and better family life.

4. Able to impact the wellness of people
More than ever, people have started to recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy mental state and how mental or emotional imbalance can affect overall well-being. A psychiatric nurse practitioner can play an active role in ensuring the patients’ physical and psychological health and impacting their wellness.

Duration of Online RN to PSYCH NP Programs

rn to msn psych np online

The RN to MSN-PMHNP course at Vanderbilt University can be completed in 1-year full-time or two years as a part-time student. Vanderbilt University’s RN to MSN-PMHNP Program is one of the shortest RN to MSN PMHNP programs available for students who want to become psychiatric nurse practitioners within a year.

1.Georgia State University

Georgia State University offers suitable programs for students looking for online RN to MSN-PMHNP courses. Part-time students can complete the program in 3 to 4 years, and full-time students generally complete the course in 2 to 3 years.

2. East Tennessee State University
Students can complete the Online RN to PSYCH NP Programs offered by the East Tennessee State University in 5 full semesters and 48 credit hours.

3. Spring Arbor University
Spring Arbor University’s RN to MSN-PMHNP Program online takes four years to complete with 82 credits and 570 clinical hours.

Details of some of the best ADN-RN to MSNPMHNP programs 

1.Cost of MSN to RN-PMHNP Program at Wilkes University
The RN to MSN-PMHNP degree program at Wilkes University requires students to complete 27 credit hours, each costing $728, which means the program will cost about $19,656.

2.Cost of MSN to RN-PMHNP Program at University of Alabama
The University of Alabama Birminghamprogram comprises thirty credit hours, costing $505 for each credit hour and $15,150 total.

3.Cost of MSN to RN-PMHNP Program at University of Rochester
The University of Rochester program costs $1,610 for each credit hour, which costs $86,940. Additional expenses include testing costs, background checks, Uniform costs, transportation, drug testing, etc.

4. Cost of MSN PMHNP Program & Online MSN to RN-PMHNP Courses
The Cost of the Online MSN to RN-PMHNP Courses  and online RN to MSN-PMHNP courses varies according to the institution, the applicant’s education, and the program’s duration. The average cost of the Online MSN to RN-PMHNP is in the range of $15,000 to $95,000.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Curriculum

The curriculum of psychiatric nurse practitioner programs integrates the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of mental health holistically. Students will be taught how to plan patient care, support the health of people with mental illness and offer psychotherapy, crisis intervention, and consultation. The curriculum usually includes comprehensive information on psychiatric nursing, pharmacotherapeutics and neuroscience mental health models. Students will learn to independently analyze and track co-morbidities and illnesses unrelated to mental illness and interact with psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and other professionals in this field.

Clinical Training

The state nursing boards oversee the number of clinical hours students must complete during their studies to qualify for the eligibility requirements for licensure or certification. The clinical training requirement is not uniform; some schools may need more hours than others. Online RN-to- MSN-PMHNP programs generally require that students finish a minimum of 500 hours of graduate-level clinical practicum supervision related to psychiatric treatment.

Important Note:  Students enrolled in the online RN to MSN-PMHNP courses sometimes face difficulties arranging the clinical hours required to complete the program. So please enquire about the assistance provided by the nursing school for clinical training before taking admission. Clinical requirements of the some of the nursing schools are given below in the chart.

Best Accredited Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner Online (PMHNP) Programs

Given below are some of the best accredited PMHNP Online Programs. The chart includes the duration of the Program and the requirement for clinical hours. While most of the below programs are provided online, some courses require students to visit the campus. For more details, visit the website of the universities.

Name of University Duration Clinical hours Type of  Program
Drexel University 3  Yrs 640 hours Full-time / part-time
Eastern Kentucky University 2  Yrs 750 hours Full-time
East Tennessee State University 2–3 Yrs 540 hours Full-time / part-time
Frontier Nursing University 2- 2.5 Yrs 675 hours Full-time / part-time
Georgia State University 2–4 Yrs 500 hours Full-time /part-time
Gonzaga University 9 semesters 660 hours Full-time / part-time
Indiana University at Purdue 2-3 Yrs 525 hours Full-time o/part-time
Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing 6 semesters 600 hours*Must be completed in Louisiana Full-time / part-time
Midwestern State University 2 years 576 hours Full-time /part-time
Monmouth University N/A 700 hours Full-time /part-time
Northern Kentucky University 22 months 500 hours Full-time
Pace University 2.5 Yrs 550 hours Part-time
University of New Mexico  2 Yrs 650 hours Full-time
University of North Dakota 8 semesters 600 hours Full-time
University of South Alabama 4-5 Yrs 600 hours Full-time /part-time
University of South Carolina 8 semesters 672 hours Full-time / part-time
University of Southern Indiana 2-3 Yrs 655 hours Full-time /part-time
Vanderbilt University 1 Yr N/A Full-time


The course requirements in RN to MSN-PMHNP programs can differ from one school to the next, but universities and colleges are closely aligned in developing course curriculums for their programs. Students enrolled in the most prestigious programs online RN to MSN-PMHNP programs typically have to take a foundational course like:

  • Biostatistics
  • Clinical Management
  • Advanced Pharmacology
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Ethics
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs Curriculum

The curriculum of psychiatric nurse practitioner programs integrates the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of mental health holistically. Students will be taught how to plan patient care, support the health of people with mental illness and offer psychotherapy, crisis intervention, and consultation. The curriculum usually includes comprehensive information on psychiatric nursing, pharmacotherapeutics and neuroscience mental health models. Students will learn to independently analyze and track co-morbidities and illnesses unrelated to mental illness and interact with psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and other professionals in this field.

Admission Requirements

Nursing schools can decide the admission requirements that applicants must satisfy to be admitted into their courses. While there may be some changes in the admission requirements of the schools, the general admission requirements are common across all schools. General requirements for online programs for RN-to-MSN-PMHNP typically consist of the following:

  • Have an associate-level nursing diploma with a valid nursing license
  • Reference Letter
  • Official Transcripts
  • CV
  • Letter of Intent
Admission Requirements of Lewis University

The MSN PMHNP program of Lewis University offers new classes every eight weeks, making it easy for students selected for the program to begin their classes immediately. The admission requirements for its RN to MSN PMHNP course are below.

  • Have passed undergraduate courses in nursing and statistics research.
  • Detailed information about your experience
  • Motivation Letter
  • One year of psychiatric experience.
Admission Requirements of East Tennessee State University
  • 0 out of 4.0 grade in the undergraduate course
  • An accredited BSN from a nationally-accredited nursing program OR Associate nursing degree and a degree in any subject other than nursing.
Admission Requirements of Spring Arbor University Requirements for RN to MSN-PMHNP Online
  • Accredited BSN degree
  • 3.0 GPA in most recent 60 credits
  • A Valid Nursing License
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal Statement
Major Challenges of the RN to MSN-PMHNP Program & Solutions

Psychiatric Nurse practitioner programs train nurses to provide the highest quality of care to patients with various emotional or mental health problems. While there are many advantages to studying a higher-level course like, MSN-PMHNP, it is important to note that students will encounter some issues, even with the top programs like RN to MSN-PMHNP online courses. Listed below are some major changes that students of RN to MSN-PMHNP program face and strategies to overcome those challenges.

Challenge 1: Balancing Study and Other Responsibilities

Although Psychiatric nurse practitioner online programs offer a practical alternative for nurses seeking higher education in a psychiatric area, some difficulties accompany these programs. Students who enrol in online courses can take advantage of the flexibility of choosing the time and place they study. This can make having time with their families or working a job possible. But, they are still accountable for keeping up with the requirements of the programs they have joined. As the program advances, the courses become more complex and the hours of clinical practicum increase.

How to solve this issue?
It is better to discuss with your family and employers the time you need to attend the classes and manage your family responsibilities. Seek thier cooperation and plan things accordingly. Discuss with your employer the potential work schedule changes without compromising your obligations at school. Make a plan and stick to it. If you do that, everyone will know your expectations and what to anticipate from you until you complete your program.

Challenge 2: Unprepared for the clinical rotations
It is not unusual for students enrolled in the online RN to MSN-PMHNP courses to be responsible for selecting the clinical sites and preceptors to prepare for the program’s practicum. Suppose you’re working with limited experience or aren’t familiar with the facilities that offer mental health services. In that case, you could be confused about what to consider in preparation for the clinicals.

Solution: Try to find clinics and preceptors immediately after you join the program. It is always helpful to collect maximum information about the facilities provided for clinical training before admission.

Job Opportunities for PMHNPs

Excellent job opportunities await the graduates of RN MSN-PMHNP online programs. PMHNPs are usually employed in hospitals and inpatient psychiatric units. Psychiatric nurse practitioners are also in demand to work in outpatient psychiatric centers, Community mental health centers or correctional centers.

rn to msn pmhnp online

Psychiatric Health Nurse Practitioners can be employed in various set up like ,

  • Mental Health Centers
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Domestic Violence Shelters
  • Home Care Agencies
  • Psychiatric wellness centers
  • De addiction centers
  • Private Psychiatric Clinics
  • Psychopharmacology Clinic
  • Psychiatric Consultation Services
  • Educational Institutions etc..
Average Salary of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

As we mentioned earlier, students completed the RN and MSN-psychiatric nurse practitioner online programs typically see a growth in their earning capacity. According to payscale.com, the annual average earnings for a fresh Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is $106,815 and the  annual package of an experienced (10-19 Yrs) Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is $122,720. The income will vary depending on location, experience, type of health setup, etc. PMHNPs can earn more money in this field due to the increasing demand and shortage of qualified psychiatric nurse practitioners.

Annual Earnings of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Freshers (Upto 1 Year Experience $106,815
4 Years Experience $113,487
5-9 Years  Experience $119,040
10-19 Years Experience $122,720
20 Years and above $120,279

Source: payscale.com

Prospects of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners in the USA

According to the health workforce shortage data of https://data.hrsa.gov/  there is  a shortage of 7837 nurses in the mental health area  as only 1.8 per cent of over 300,000 Registered Nurse practitioners specialize in psychiatric health care, and this data clearly shows the demand for trained Psychiatric nurse practitioners. The increasing demand for psychiatric nurses shows the bright career prospects for nurses who have completed psychiatric nurse practitioner programs.
Source: data.hrsa.gov

RN to Psych NP Programs Online FAQ

1.Can I become a nurse-practice specialist having an MSN?To become a nurse practitioneryou’ll need, at the very least, the requirements of a BSN or MSN and pass certification examinations, Clinical research and seek licensure in the state in which you would like to practice in.

2.What is the duration of Herzing PMHNP program?
The duration of Herzing University’s PMHNP program is 24 months.

3. What’s the job profile of a psychiatric nurse practitioner?
The job of a PMHNP is to evaluate, diagnose and address the patient’s mental health issuesMany PMHNPs offer counseling sessions and prescribe medications to patients suffering from mental health disorders or drug abuse issues.

4. Is becoming an NP in psychiatry worth the effort?
According to BLS, Psychiatric Nurse practitioners have great demand, and a strong job growth forecast can make a career as a PMHNP an excellent option.

5. Which one earns more NP or PMHNP?
The potential earnings of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) are much higher than those of practitioners working in other specializations.

6. How to find out whether RN to MSN PMHNP program is suitable for me?
Suppose you have a knack for providing holistic health care to families, individuals, or communities suffering from joint, chronic or acute mental health issues. In that case, the RN to MSN PMHNP program may be your ideal choice. By joining this program, you will learn how to holistically diagnose and plan the treatment and medication for individuals, families and communities.

Final Words

Treating patients suffering from mental health or emotional problems can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for many. Suppose you are a registered nurse with a knack for caring for mentally challenged people or already working in the psychiatric department. In that case, online RN to MSN-PMHNP programs may be best for you for career enhancement, better salary package and mental satisfaction.

We hope this article about RN to MSN Psych NP Online and RN to Psych NP Online programs online have  provided an insight into the top online RN to MSN-PMHNP programs, admission requirements, cost of the program and duration of the cost etc. If you believe that the career of PMHNP could be your next step, begin now by reaching out to schools and submitting applications to programs.

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