Choose your path to go from RN to PMHNP
Earn your BSN on the way from RN to PMHNP and graduate with your MSN degree.
- Curriculum built to help you earn a BSN and MSN faster
- How long? 32 months on average
- Earn a bachelor’s degree first (may be required by some employers)
- Continue immediately to the next step on your journey by entering the MSN program
Go directly from ADN to PMHNP in the Herzing University Accelerated RN to MSN program.
- Curriculum built to accelerate your MSN-PMHNP completion
- How long? As few as 2 years (24 months)
- Ideal for ADN nurses looking for the fastest path towards becoming a PMHNP
Every experience counts.
Herzing University integrates an “Every Experience Counts” experiential learning approach in the 585-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.
RN to Psychiatric-Mental Health NP classes & curriculum details
Herzing’s online RN to MSN-PMHNP program provides students with the skills and expertise to apply for certification. The curriculum includes core MSN courses, concentration courses and hands-on clinicals.
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 585 total hours of clinical experience, featuring a 180-hour immersion experience to help you succeed right from the start as a PMHNP.
|Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Concentration in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner - Accelerated RN-MSN (MSNPMHNPA)||24||64|
i. Average number of months for students to complete program
RN to BSN to MSN-PMHNP Track
This track combines our online RN to BSN and MSN-PMHNP degree programs. You can view their respective curriculums with all course information here:
Required Bridge Courses
All courses, 16.00 semester credit hours, are required.
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.
RN to PMHNP program enrollment requirements
Enrollment prerequisites for the Herzing University RN to MSN – Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program include:
- You must live in a state where Herzing University is authorized to offer the RN to MSN-PMHNP program
- Hold a current, active and unrestricted license as a registered nurse (RN) in the same state in which they practice
- Hold an associate degree in nursing (ADN/ASN/AASN) from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university
- Participate in an interview to identify your goals and determine if the program is right for you
Advance your career into a rewarding NP specialty
Bridging from RN-ADN to Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner represents a significant career move.
Build a strong educational and experiential foundation in holistic care, qualified to diagnose and treat common mental illnesses within their scope of practice, including anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse disorders and more.
- Focus on mental health, including 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
How can I advance my career? You can continue to learn and build skills to pursue further career opportunities. After earning your MSN you may consider earning postgraduate credentials. Herzing University offers post-master’s FNP and Nursing Education programs for nurses seeking additional education for their next career move.
Multiple sources suggest the demand for PMHNPs is expected to grow.
- The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis estimates the demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners will grow 18% from 2016-2030.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of all nurse practitioners to increase 52 percent from 2020-2030, much faster than the average across all U.S. occupations.
Begin earning the education you need to join a rewarding occupation poised for growth.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Learn more about how much psych NPs can make, including a state-by-state breakdown and estimates across several unique healthcare facilities.
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.
Learn more about the biggest differences between FNP vs. PMHNP.
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.
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.
We offer multiple options for current nurses of all types, including pathways for ASN/ADN, BSN, and MSN degree holders.
View our available online Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs.
With Herzing University you are never alone. It’s our goal to provide all students an affordable, career-driven education. Financial aid options include:
- Loan options – Federal & private
- Scholarships & grants
- VA / military benefits
- Other sources of financial aid
You can find an estimate for tuition and expenses by using the Herzing University tuition wizard.
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.
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.*
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).
RN to MSN - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Degree Programs
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Accreditation & Disclosures
1. The baccalaureate degree program in nursing and master's degree program in nursing at Herzing University - Madison are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org). 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 (hlcommission.org), an institutional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
* 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.