Skip to main content

Become a Psychiatric Mental Health NP
Help Patients Find Their Voice

Walk a fulfilling career path in holistic care

Whole health begins with mental health. Too often the stigma of mental illness puts up barriers to improved patient outcomes. Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with some level of mental illness, from mild conditions to severe disorders.

As a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, you can make a significant impact in the lives of patients suffering with mental disorders, and promote mental health awareness and education to help the healthcare industry deliver better care across the lifespan.

Graduate with a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) concentration from Herzing University and you’ll be qualified for the Board Certified PMHNP (PMHNP-BC) exam from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

  • Learn online in Herzing’s Everywhere Classroom: at your pace, on your schedule
  • Full-time and part-time options for enrollment
  • Both online classes and hands-on clinical training, with dedicated study in telehealth and remote patient care services
  • Every experience counts: discover your professional emphasis in clinicals dedicated to populations across the lifespan, including experience in pediatric care, adult care and geriatric care
  • Additional postgraduate MSN pathways to focus your continued education

This program is designed for Registered Nurses (RNs) who currently hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Our RN to MSN-PMHNP program is built for current ADN nurses looking to take a big step towards earning their MSN.

As your lifelong partner in learning, we exist to help you walk the career pathway of your choosing. We are here to help you take the next step into a rewarding career as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

Classes Start January 10th

Learn More Today


Every experience counts.

Herzing University integrates an “Every Experience Counts” experiential learning approach in the 540-hour clinical component of our PMHNP program. We believe the best preparation for an advanced practice role is real, prescriptive learning through every day experience.

Earn clinical credit hours for unique nursing experiences—either direct patient care in your community or telemedicine/virtual care. Examples of potentially eligible activities include:

  • Grief counseling for patients and families in hospice
  • Assistance with group therapy in a mental health institution
  • Providing mental health education to inmates in a correctional facility
  • Interviewing patients in a crisis stabilization unit
  • Assessment of psychiatric patients in the emergency room

If you discover an opportunity to further develop your skills as a PMHNP you may apply for credit towards your total clinical hours.

Build your career foundation from a variety of instructive and rewarding nursing experiences. Our program makes it possible.

MSN Placement Pledge Badge

Your clinical placement is our pledge.

We understand securing clinical placement as part of a PMHNP program is one of the biggest concerns students face. At Herzing, we offer guidance and support through our step-by-step Clinical Guidance Process to ensure you can get the clinical practice experiences you need.

As a Herzing student, we’ll encourage you to find your own preceptor and clinical sites as there are many benefits to doing so. However, we provide extensive support should you find difficulty along the way. With Herzing, you are never on your own.

Because of our strong relationships with healthcare providers across the U.S. and our comprehensive Clinical Guidance Process, we are confident in our ability to help you find clinical placement. So much so that if you are unable to find a clinical site on your own, we pledge to step in and help you secure clinical placement.*

* Subject to terms and conditions outlined in the enrollment agreement.


Psychiatric Mental Health NP program classes & curriculum details

Herzing’s online graduate degree program provides students with the knowledge, skills and expertise to apply for certification as a PMHNP. The curriculum includes core MSN courses, specialty concentration courses and hands-on clinical courses.

The ability to connect with patients virtually to provide remote care is becoming increasingly important. Herzing’s curriculum provides instruction in the principles of telehealth, including the use of appropriate technology, provisions for coding and reimbursement, and the legal and ethical implications of remote patient encounters.

All classes are delivered online with 540 total hours of clinical experience, featuring a 180-hour immersion experience to help you prepare for your first job as a PMHNP.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Concentration in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)2448

i. Average number of months for students to complete program

Required Core Courses

All courses, 15.00 semester credit hours, are required.

Required Direct Care Core Courses

All courses, 9.00 semester credit hours, are required.

Required Courses in PMHNP Concentration

All courses, 24.00 semester credit hours, are required.


PMHNP program enrollment requirements

Enrollment prerequisites for the Herzing University MSN – Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program include:

  • You must live in a state where Herzing University is authorized to offer the MSN-PMHNP program
  • Hold a current, active and unrestricted license as a registered nurse (RN) in the same state in which you live (Note: Holding a multi-state, compact state license and being a resident in a compact license state will be deemed to have met this requirement)
  • Hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited university or college with an overall minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

Advance your career into a rewarding NP specialty

Begin walking a new fulfilling career path and join a true profession of the heart. As a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, your job will be to help patients with mental illness become whole again.

PMHNPs have the expertise to diagnose and treat common psychological illnesses and disorders within their scope of practice, including anxiety, depression, insomnia and dementia.

  • Focus on mental health, including hands-on physical care
  • Perform psychological consulting (psychotherapy)
  • Prescribe medication and monitor its effects
  • Educate patients or clients on a variety of coping skills
  • Work in private practice, hospitals, community clinics, and more
  • Approach patient care like a detective, using all information at your disposal to solve complex psychological issues

Job outlook

Multiple sources suggest the demand for PMHNPs will be on the rise in the near future.

Now is an excellent time to begin working towards joining a specialty poised for growth.

How can I advance my career? The hallmark of an excellent healthcare provider is their continuing education. After earning your master’s degree you may consider earning further postgraduate credentials. We also offer many post master's certificate options for nurses seeking additional education for their next career move, including concentrations in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP)Nursing Education, Nursing Leadership and Administration, and Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP).


Frequently Asked Questions

While registered nurses with an ADN or BSN may pursue roles related to mental health and gain professional experience there, working as a nurse practitioner represents the next level of clinical knowledge and education.

To become a board certified psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, you will need to earn at least a master’s degree from an accredited PMHNP program. View all of eligibility requirements from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

There is a significant difference between being a medical/surgical nurse and a psychiatric nurse. General nursing in a medical or surgical role is based primarily on physical illness, while psychiatric nursing is based on mental illness. As a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, your role will be much more verbal than hands-on.

Daily tasks include new patient evaluations and follow-up appointments, reviewing patient charts and lab results, monitoring and documenting medication, adjusting patient care strategies, responding promptly to patient questions and concerns, and working with additional healthcare staff to deliver the best possible psychiatric care.

Are you ready to take the next step in your nursing career?

Becoming a PMHNP begins with your education. As your lifelong partner in learning, we are here to help you every step of the way. Earn your MSN with Herzing University and your career advancement IS possible.


The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis estimates the demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners will rise 18% from 2016-2030.

In regard to all nurse practitioners, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 52% increase in employment from 2020-2030, much faster than the average across all U.S. occupations.*

With Herzing University you are never alone. It’s our goal to provide all students an affordable, career-driven education. Financial aid options include:

You can find an estimate for tuition and expenses by using the Herzing University tuition wizard.

Both of those common types of nurse practitioner specialties are highly rewarding and represent a big step forward for a registered nurse looking to advance their career.

  • Choose Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) if…you want to be a true psychiatric/mental health specialist, and enjoy giving a voice to patients who are too often misunderstood. An excellent pathway for nurses who have gained practical experience behavioral health or worked in a community mental health facility and want to continue in the psychiatric field.
  • Choose Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) if…you want to specialize in the broader field of family practice across the lifespan and prefer a hands-on approach to patient care. You may pursue many different specialties in neonatal (NICU), pediatric or geriatric care. As an FNP you’ll have a strong educational foundation to pursue your unique career path in family practice. Learn more about the Herzing University MSN – Family Nurse Practitioner program.

According to 2020 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners earn an average salary of $114,510 per year ($55.05 per hour).*

NPs specializing in psychiatry/mental health may increase their earning potential by becoming board certified, gaining valuable experience and continuing their education.

There is a difference between being licensed and certified. Becoming a certified PMHNP shows employers you are capable of patient care in a psychiatric setting. Licensure determines if you are legally allowed to practice in your state of residence. Employers may require board certification before hiring a PMHNP even if practicing without certification is legally permissible.

Each state has their own requirements for licensure. You will need to find the requirements from your state’s board of nursing.

We strongly recommend getting certified after graduating with your master’s degree. You’ll be in the best position to find a great job and follow your career path in nursing.

A PMHNP is a type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) who holds expertise in behavioral health and wellness. Their role is to assess, diagnose and treat patients exhibiting psychiatric or addictive disorders. A PMHNP’s job description and scope of practice can include:

  • Provide psychological counseling (psychotherapy)
  • Prescribe medication and monitor its effects
  • Collaborate with additional health professionals: doctors/physicians, nurses, administrators and other healthcare staff
  • Conduct research to improve the delivery of mental healthcare
  • Educate and consult nurses and other mental health professionals
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests

Whole health begins with mental health—including all ages and demographics across the lifespan. As a nurse practitioner within the mental health specialty, you will have the opportunity to continue your education and focus your experience in many different types of care, including pediatric, geriatric/adult, women’s health, public health and much more.

Where do they work? PMHNPs may work in many different healthcare environments, including hospitals, private practices, mental health centers, primary care offices or governmental institutions.

The role of a PMHNP can overlap with psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other healthcare professionals who routinely perform psychotherapy. However, the total scope of practice for each role is different and varies by state requirements.

Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners hold a master’s degree or doctorate in nursing, while a psychiatrist is a physician who went to medical school and completed a residency program specializing in psychiatry.

PMNHPs can do many things a psychiatrist does, including psychotherapy, prescribing medications, developing and managing treatment plans and educating patients and their families.

Psychiatrists are typically able to treat more complex types of disorders, but PMNHPs may treat many common disorders like anxiety, depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Schizophrenia, substance abuse/addiction, and much more.


Program Finder

MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs

Showing 1 program for the Online campus

On Campus| Online

To learn more about this program, click the Request Info button to the right.

Request Information

Ready to get started?

Contact us to request more information


Accreditation & Disclosures

1. The master's degree program in nursing at Herzing University - Madison is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( Herzing University is approved to offer programs in an online learning modality through association with the main campus in Madison, Wisconsin.

Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (, an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

View Herzing University Accreditation and Approvals

* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2020. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

Request Information
Ready to get started?

Contact us to request more information

Opt-In to Receive SMS Messages

By selecting this button you agree to receive updates and alerts from Herzing University. Text HELP to 42459 for help, Text STOP to 42459 to end. Msg & Data Rates May Apply. By opting in, I authorize Herzing University to deliver SMS messages and I understand that I am not required to opt in as a condition of enrollment. By leaving this box unchecked you will not be opted in for SMS messages. Click to read Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.