Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners: Online Master's Degree Programs

Coursework and clinical rotations for an online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with a psychiatric-mental health specialization can teach you how to diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders in children and adults. Keep reading to learn about admissions and program requirements for an MSN, and get information on the professional certification available to nurse practitioners in this field. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are Online Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Master's Degree Programs Like?

Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner online master's degree programs offer a way for you to continue to work and gain experience while earning your education. You'll take the same courses that you would in on-campus program, but you'll need a computer with Internet access and an e-mail account. Your courses might be delivered through online lectures, streaming videos, e-mail or a Web-based course management system.

Online Availability Online programs are available
Common Courses Physical assessment and diagnosis, biostatistics, family mental healthcare, psychopharmacology, clinical intervention
Prerequisites Bachelor's degree in nursing; RN licensure; one year of work experience could also be required; letter(s) of recommendation and personal statement; work resume
Career Information Graduates are prepared for national certification exams and state licensure

What Will I Study?

Your curriculum in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner specialization likely will include online courses, as well as clinical rotations at an approved medical facility. You also might be required to complete a thesis or capstone project. Topics you might study include:

  • Biostatistics as applied to nursing
  • Biochemical processes, genetics and cellular dysfunction
  • Fundamentals of family mental health care
  • Psychopharmacology and psychiatric disorders
  • Physical assessment and diagnosis of adult and pediatric patients
  • Management of psychiatric problems among the elderly, women and minorities
  • Clinical interventions in common primary care psychiatric problems

What Are the Prerequisites?

To participate in an online master's degree program for aspiring psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners, you must be a licensed registered nurse (RN) with a baccalaureate degree in nursing. You also may be required to have at least one year of clinical experience. Other requirements might include completion of specific undergraduate courses, professional letters of reference, a resume, a letter of intent and a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) score of 580 or higher.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

After you've earned your degree, you'll be eligible to sit for the Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) certification examination through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Some states utilize this certification as a requirement for advanced practice nursing licensure. You'll need to participate in continuing education to maintain your PMHNP certification, which must be renewed every five years.

You'll find many career opportunities as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner, including employment in emergency care, critical care, counseling, family therapy and education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for nurse practitioners was projected to increase by 35% from 2014-2024. The BLS also noted that median annual wages for these nurses were $95,350 as of May 2014.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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