PMHNP / Psych NP Jobs – Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Career Guide 2023

What is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner / Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP)?

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners also known as Psychiatric NPs/Psych NPs or Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP), are registered nurses with advanced education and training in diagnosing and treating individuals with mental health conditions. They also help people dealing with difficult life circumstances, grief, and family issues. A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner will address physical and mental health concerns, and offer treatment options based on in-depth physical and mental assessments. Interventions can include individual or group counseling, psychotherapy, and the prescribing of medication.

Psychiatric NPs often work closely with other health professionals, creating an interdisciplinary treatment plan to ensure patients receive the many benefits of holistic treatment. Psychiatric NPs can meet with patients individually or in a group setting. Depending on their area of expertise, these practitioners may work in private practice, behavioral health clinics, residential treatment centers, or alongside general practitioners working with adults or children. Psychiatric NPs also work in public health and correctional facilities.

Depending on a Psychiatric NP’s chosen specialty, he or she may work with children, teens, geriatric patients, or other populations. Some specialize in specific psychiatric diagnoses or substance-abuse problems, while others offer family counseling services.

What is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner responsible for?

As mental health specialists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners are responsible for treating patients while spreading awareness about mental health issues and promoting overall wellness. They educate individuals, families, and communities in an effort to advocate for those affected by mental illness, and to destigmatize mental health conditions.

According to the AANP’s annual survey of nurse practitioners, the average NP sees 15 patients a day. Here is a video of a day in the life of a psychiatric nurse practitioner if you are interested in learning more about the day to day work on a PMHNP.

Where does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner work?

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners can choose to work with adults, adolescents, or children in a variety of settings based on his/her specialty. Many Psychiatric Nurse work in private practice or behavioral health clinics. Other settings include residential treatment centers or general practitioners’ offices. Working alongside other health professionals often means creating an interdisciplinary treatment plan to address patients’ overall health and wellness.

What’s the difference between a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and a Psychiatrist?

Both are highly-respected, high-pressure and rewarding careers with high earning potential but there are some key differences:

  1. Education and Training: Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have completed medical school and then pursued a residency in psychiatry. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, on the other hand, are registered nurses who have obtained a Master’s or Doctoral degree in psychiatric-mental health nursing.
  2. Prescriptive Authority: Both Psych NPs and Psychiatrists can prescribe medications to their patients, but the extent of their prescriptive authority varies. Psychiatrists have a wider range of prescribing authority, as they are medical doctors and can prescribe all medications. PNPs have a more limited prescribing authority and are typically only able to prescribe certain medications based on state laws and regulations.
  3. Scope of Practice: Psychiatrists and Psych NPs have different scopes of practice. Psychiatrists are able to diagnose and treat mental illnesses, as well as provide therapy and medication management. Psychiatric nurse practitioners can also diagnose and treat mental illnesses, but their focus is typically more on medication management and less on therapy.
  4. Billing: Psychiatrists are typically reimbursed at a higher rate by insurance companies than psychiatric nurse practitioners. This is due in part to their higher level of education and training.
  5. Collaboration with Other Healthcare Professionals: Both work collaboratively with other healthcare professionals, such as social workers and psychologists, to provide comprehensive care to their patients. However, Psychiatrists may also work closely with medical doctors and other specialists to address the physical and mental health needs of their patients.

Can a PMHNP work remotely?

Yes, there are many opportunities for a PMHNP looking to work remotely. Here are some of our latest remote opportunities.

The pandemic accelerated remote working and in particular telehealth by a decade and this has brought about a lot of opportunities for healthcare workers looking to enjoy the flexibility of working remotely and mental health is no exception.

The lack of commute facilitates a better work-life balance and huge cost savings however the role of a PMHNP is a challenging and often stressful one; the loneliness of working remotely can add to this. Additionally there may be fewer support and developmental opportunities vs working in a setting but this may change as more providers get better with supporting and training their remote workforce.

How to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

For those interested in becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner there are a number of steps you must complete before you can practice.

Education Requirements

Degree

In terms of formal education, you will need to complete an undergraduate degree from an accredited university or college. Most psych NPs pursue a Bachelor of Science (BSN) in Nursing, though some pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. These two courses of study are incredibly different, but both offer a path to becoming a certified psych NP.

If you pursue a BSN in Nursing, you will take anatomy, physiology, and psychology classes. You will learn how to assess patients and how to interpret lab results. You will also need to become an RN so that you are eligible to pursue the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program.

If you decide to pursue psychology, you will take courses in abnormal psychology, psychiatry, psychopharmacology, and research methods. You will also need to gain clinical experience by volunteering or working in a mental health setting.

Following completion of your nursing degree you will be eligible to take the registered nurse examination – NCLEX-RN. The exam is standardized across all states but the process and paperwork can vary. Learn more with this helpful guide from Nursing Licensure.

Apply to a PMHNP program

There are two bodies that regulate PMHNP programs; the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Learn more about psychiatric nurse practitioner programs.

Complete clinical hours

You will need to complete a minimum of 540 precepted clinical hours supervised by a physician, counselor or psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

Certification and Licensing

Upon completion of your studies and your supervised clinical hours, you will need to take and pass the ANCC administered examination. The exam consists of 150 questions across 5 categories; psychotherapy and related theories, ethical and legal principles, scientific foundations, diagnosis and treatment and advanced practice skills. Here are some sample exam questions, a good test prep site and a library of useful resources.

Depending on your state, you may also need to pass other tests and examinations, such as the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP).

These tests and examinations are designed to ensure you comprehensively understand how to diagnose, treat, and manage mental illnesses safely and effectively. The tests are incredibly challenging, and you must study for many hours to pass them.

Continuing Education Requirements

Once certified, you must maintain your certification by completing continuing education credits each year. You can earn credits by attending conferences, courses, and workshops on mental health. You should also find a mentor that can provide guidance and support.

These continuing education requirements help you stay up-to-date on the latest treatments, research, and practices in psych NP. It also allows you to develop your skills and stay on top of any changes or developments in the field. It also allows you to provide the best possible care for your patients.

Psych NP salary – How much money does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner earn?

Like with many healthcare professions, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners salaries vary greatly depending on geographical location and demand, as well as level of education, training, and experience. Income also differs based on the Psychiatric Nurse’s specialty and work setting.

Experienced psychiatric nurse practitioners get paid an average of $139,976 per year.

See our psychiatric nurse salary guide for more detailed insights

Is PMHNP a good career?

Being a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is a demanding but ultimately very rewarding career.

There is certainly strong demand so you can be assured of a “job for life”. The BLS is projecting a 17% increase between 2019 to 2029 in jobs for nurse practitioners specializing in psychiatric care.

The pay is excellent, as noted above, with an average salary of nearly $140,000. That being said it is a career which requires considerable initial training and experience and a significant commitment to ongoing education.

As you might expect, the role requires strong communication and interpersonal skills. You’ll be helping patients with often very challenging conditions which will require a great deal of compassion. Additionally you may be working alongside other care professionals to support a patient so the ability to work as a team is also important.

Finally, due to the variety of opportunities available and the high demand for qualified psychiatric nurse practitioners, you will often have the luxury of choice when it comes to selecting an employer which suits your lifestyle. For example, you may earn more in a hospital setting or as a traveling mental health nurse but the trade off will be often longer and irregular hours.

What other career options are available to a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

In addition to practicing in treatment centers and doctor’s offices, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners can work in public health or correctional facilities. Family counseling, substance abuse programs, and consulting for large corporations are also options. Some Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Jobs are researchers, always eager to learn about breakthroughs in mental health diagnoses and treatment, and share their knowledge with colleagues and the general public.

See also; Psychiatrist Career Guide

Latest PMHNP / Psych NP Jobs – Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Career Guide 2024 Listings

PositionCompanyLocationPosted
Nurse Practitioner – Psychiatry OpportunitySt. Peter’s Health Partners – Samaritan Hospital Troy, New York US04/04/2024
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSSt. Peter’s Health Partners is seeking a full-time Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with experience or interest in Adult Mental Health to join a highly regarded and long-standing Behavioral Health program at Samaritan Hospital located in Troy, New York.Samaritan Hospital offers a comprehensive program in behavioral health that includes inpatient … More
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (Outpatient) OpportunitySt. Peter’s Health Partners – Ellis Hospital Schenectady, New York US04/04/2024
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSSt. Peter’s Health Partners is seeking a full-time outpatient Adult Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner on behalf of Ellis Hospital located in Schenectady, New York.Ellis Medicine’s Outpatient clinic has been helping people overcome mental illness for more than 50 years and offers specialized services for adults, children, and adolescents.Position … More
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner OpportunityTrinity Health Of New England – Trinity Health Of New England Medical Group – Johnson Memorial Hospital Stafford Springs, Connecticut US04/04/2024
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSTrinity Health Of New England Medical Group is seeking a certified and licensed Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) to join our established inpatient psychiatric care team at Johnson Memorial Hospital located in Stafford Springs, Connecticut.This is an inpatient … More
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner OpportunitySt. Joseph’s Health Greater Syracuse area, New York US04/04/2024
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSSt. Joseph’s Health has an excellent full-time employment opportunity for a licensed and certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner to join our Behavioral Health team located in Syracuse, New York.The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner provides direct care functions including, but not limited to history and physical exams, daily … More
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner – Children’s Outpatient OpportunitySt. Joseph’s Health Greater Syracuse area, New York US04/04/2024
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSSt. Joseph’s Health has an excellent full-time employment opportunity for a licensed and certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner to join our Children’s Outpatient team located in Syracuse, New York.The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner provides direct care functions including, but not limited to history and physical exams, daily … More
Physician Assistant/Nurse PractitionerLe Moyne College Syracuse, New York US03/27/2024
About LeMoyne College: Le Moyne College, located in Syracuse, N.Y., is an independent college established by the Jesuits in 1946 to provide students with a values-based, comprehensive academic program designed to foster intellectual excellence and preparation for a life of leadership and service. Today, Le Moyne has evolved into a nationally acclaimed college of liberal arts and sciences that draws students from across the U.S. and abroad. Our Mission: … More
Medical Director of CPEPPhysician Affiliate Group of New York (PAGNY) Bronx, New York US03/26/2024
Overview Physician Affiliate Group of New York (PAGNY)is adding aMedical Director of CPEPtoNYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Medical Center.The Mission ofNYCHHCis to extend equally to all New Yorkers, regardless of the ability topay,comprehensive health services of the highest quality in an atmosphere of humane care, dignity, and respect. Their Values … More
Psychiatric Nurse PractitionerBay Area Hospital Coos Bay, Oregon US03/26/2024
Seeking a full-time Psychiatric nurse practitioner to join a growing psychiatry program for Bay Area Hospital serving the beautiful coastal communities of Coos Bay and North Bend. You will be joining a 13-bed acute care facility as part of a strong and well-established team consisting of a Family Medicine physician and community Psychiatrist. The position involves working in an inpatient setting where you can expect cases involving addiction, anxiety schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive … More
Position
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSSt. Peter’s Health Partners is seeking a full-time Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with experience or interest in Adult Mental Health to join a highly regarded and long-standing Behavioral Health program at Samaritan Hospital located in Troy, New York.Samaritan Hospital offers a comprehensive program in behavioral health that includes inpatient … More
Company
St. Peter’s Health Partners – Samaritan Hospital
Location
Troy, New York US
Posted
04/04/2024
Position
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSSt. Peter’s Health Partners is seeking a full-time outpatient Adult Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner on behalf of Ellis Hospital located in Schenectady, New York.Ellis Medicine’s Outpatient clinic has been helping people overcome mental illness for more than 50 years and offers specialized services for adults, children, and adolescents.Position … More
Company
St. Peter’s Health Partners – Ellis Hospital
Location
Schenectady, New York US
Posted
04/04/2024
Position
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSTrinity Health Of New England Medical Group is seeking a certified and licensed Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) to join our established inpatient psychiatric care team at Johnson Memorial Hospital located in Stafford Springs, Connecticut.This is an inpatient … More
Company
Trinity Health Of New England – Trinity Health Of New England Medical Group – Johnson Memorial Hospital
Location
Stafford Springs, Connecticut US
Posted
04/04/2024
Position
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSSt. Joseph’s Health has an excellent full-time employment opportunity for a licensed and certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner to join our Behavioral Health team located in Syracuse, New York.The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner provides direct care functions including, but not limited to history and physical exams, daily … More
Company
St. Joseph’s Health
Location
Greater Syracuse area, New York US
Posted
04/04/2024
Position
OPPORTUNITY HIGHLIGHTSSt. Joseph’s Health has an excellent full-time employment opportunity for a licensed and certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner to join our Children’s Outpatient team located in Syracuse, New York.The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner provides direct care functions including, but not limited to history and physical exams, daily … More
Company
St. Joseph’s Health
Location
Greater Syracuse area, New York US
Posted
04/04/2024
Position
About LeMoyne College: Le Moyne College, located in Syracuse, N.Y., is an independent college established by the Jesuits in 1946 to provide students with a values-based, comprehensive academic program designed to foster intellectual excellence and preparation for a life of leadership and service. Today, Le Moyne has evolved into a nationally acclaimed college of liberal arts and sciences that draws students from across the U.S. and abroad. Our Mission: … More
Company
Le Moyne College
Location
Syracuse, New York US
Posted
03/27/2024
Position
Overview Physician Affiliate Group of New York (PAGNY)is adding aMedical Director of CPEPtoNYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Medical Center.The Mission ofNYCHHCis to extend equally to all New Yorkers, regardless of the ability topay,comprehensive health services of the highest quality in an atmosphere of humane care, dignity, and respect. Their Values … More
Company
Physician Affiliate Group of New York (PAGNY)
Location
Bronx, New York US
Posted
03/26/2024
Position
Seeking a full-time Psychiatric nurse practitioner to join a growing psychiatry program for Bay Area Hospital serving the beautiful coastal communities of Coos Bay and North Bend. You will be joining a 13-bed acute care facility as part of a strong and well-established team consisting of a Family Medicine physician and community Psychiatrist. The position involves working in an inpatient setting where you can expect cases involving addiction, anxiety schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive … More
Company
Bay Area Hospital
Location
Coos Bay, Oregon US
Posted
03/26/2024