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Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Online

RN to MSN, MSN, and Post-Master’s PMHNPs work directly with at-risk individuals, helping their communities by assessing, diagnosing, and treating the mental health needs of patients.1

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Online Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Highlights

<p>Hands-on training during two on-site intensive weekends, practice making assessments and recommendations</p>

Hands-on training during two on-site intensive weekends, practice making assessments and recommendations

<p>Training in telehealth, special populations, and new trends in psychiatry</p>

Training in telehealth, special populations, and new trends in psychiatry

<p>Multiple starts throughout the year with flexible online classes including mobile-accessible learning</p>

Multiple starts throughout the year with flexible online classes including mobile-accessible learning

<p>Comprehensive Career Services support after graduation</p>

Comprehensive Career Services support after graduation

Why PMHNP?

Now is an optimal time to make a difference. If you are interested in psychiatric nursing, the opportunity to make an impact in mental health can be both challenging and rewarding.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), tens of millions2 of people are actively seeking psychiatric care for mental and substance-abuse disorders. PMHNPs are poised to help make a difference. If you are passionate about fighting mental health stigmas and improving access to care, our online PMHNP program track options might be right for you. 

 

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Online PMHNPs Tracks

A WCU psychiatric nursing education helps prepare you to provide mental health care with confidence and compassion. WCU offers multiple degree programs with specialized PMHNP tracks.

Additional Information About the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track

With our online PMHNP tracks, you will:

  • Learn to work with both adults and children with our lifespan approach
  • Engage with faculty members who are experienced nursing professionals, active in relevant clinical practice, and nationally board-certified
  • Get support from our clinical relations coordinators
  • Be matched with a PMHNP faculty mentor
  • Be eligible to sit for the national board certification upon completing the program
  • Receive 24-hour access to library and courses
  • Receive help obtaining your transcripts from your associate degree or diploma if needed. Talk to your admissions advisor, WCU might be able to request your transcripts on your behalf.
  • Receive a decision for acceptance no later than 5 days after you have provided all necessary application materials and the documentation is submitted

PMHNP Curriculum

Our curriculum is aligned with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF).

Preview your course of study by degree

RN-MSN PMHNP    

MSN PMHNP   

Post Master’s PMHNP

Academic Calendar

Find out when upcoming terms begin
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How Much Does The Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track Cost?

We know school is a substantial commitment. At WCU, we want to equip you with all the information you need to make the right decision for your future.

Our goal is to give you a clear understanding of Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track tuition costs so you can be well-informed as you navigate the application and enrollment process. To assist you in your decision, we provide a breakdown below of the Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track costs at West Coast University.

We offer several Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track financial aid options – including scholarships, grants, and loan access – to help support you through your studies. We also offer reduced tuition rates for military personnel and their spouses.

For more information about your financial support options, visit our financial aid page.

RN to Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track

Accelerated*

Degree Type Master of Science
Total Program Credits 1581
Program Length (full time) 8 trimesters
Non-Military Rate Military Rate2
RN to MSN Core (per credit x 36 credits) $615 $523
APRN Core (per credit x 32 credits) $785 $667
Total Tuition Cost $47,260 $40,172
STRF3 $132.50 $115
Technology Fee4 $4,000 $4,000
Estimate for Supplies & Licensure Preparation Fees5 $1,620 $1,620
Estimate Total Program Costs (Texas) $52,880 $45,792
Estimated Total Program Costs (California) $53,012.50 $45,907


Working Professional*

Degree Type Master of Science
Total Program Credits 1581
Program Length (full time) 11 trimesters
Non-Military Rate Military Rate2
RN to MSN Core (per credit x 36 credits) $615 $523
APRN Core (per credit x 32 credits) $785 $667
Total Tuition Cost $47,260 $40,172
STRF3 $135 $117.50
Technology Fee4 $5,500 $5,500
Estimate for Supplies & Licensure Preparation Fees5 $1,620 $1,620
Estimated Total Program Costs (Texas) $54,380 $47,292
Estimated Total Program Costs (California) $54,515 $47,49.50

* Upon enrollment, students select Accelerated or Working Professional, which will determine the pace at which students complete their degree. In most cases, students that select Accelerated will attempt two courses per term, and students that select Working Professional will attempt one course a term.

1 Includes 42 credits for unobstructed RN License, assumes 48 transfer credits for non-nursing courses, and the remaining 51 credits are required to be taken at WCU.

2 Rate provided to Active Duty, Active Duty Spouse, Reserve, Reserve Spouse, Veterans, Veteran Spouse, Department of Defense employees, dependents utilizing parent's veteran's education benefits, and Veterans Affairs employees.

3 Effective April 1, 2022, the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) assessment rate will be two hundred and fifty cents ($2.50) per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of institutional charges.

The State of California established the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) to relieve or mitigate economic loss suffered by a student in an educational program at a qualifying institution, who is or was a California resident while enrolled, or was enrolled in a residency program, if the student enrolled in the institution, prepaid tuition, and suffered an economic loss. Unless relieved of the obligation to do so, you must pay the state-imposed assessment for the STRF, or it must be paid on your behalf, if you are a student in an educational program, who is a California resident, or are enrolled in a residency program, and prepay all or part of your tuition.

You are not eligible for protection from the STRF and you are not required to pay the STRF assessment, if you are not a California resident, or are not enrolled in a residency program.

It is important that you keep copies of your enrollment agreement, financial aid documents, receipts, or any other information that documents the amount paid to the school. Questions regarding the STRF may be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, 1747 N. Market Blvd. Ste 225 Sacramento, CA 95834, (916) 431-6959 or (888) 370-7589.

To be eligible for STRF, you must be a California resident or enrolled in a residency program, prepaid tuition, paid or deemed to have paid the STRF assessment, and suffered an economic loss as a result of any of the following:

  1. The institution, a location of the institution, or an educational program offered by the institution was closed or discontinued, and you did not choose to participate in a teach-out plan approved by the Bureau or did not complete a chosen teach-out plan approved by the Bureau.
  2. You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution within the 120-day period before the closure of the institution or location of the institution or were enrolled in an educational program within the 120-day period before the program was discontinued.
  3. You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution more than 120 days before the closure of the institution or location of the institution, in an educational program offered by the institution as to which the Bureau determined there was a significant decline in the quality or value of the program more than 120 days before closure.
  4. The institution has been ordered to pay a refund by the Bureau but has failed to do so.
  5. The institution has failed to pay or reimburse loan proceeds under a federal student loan program as required by law or has failed to pay or reimburse proceeds received by the institution in excess of tuition and other costs.
  6. You have been awarded restitution, a refund, or other monetary award by an arbitrator or court, based on a violation of this chapter by an institution or representative of an institution, but have been unable to collect the award from the institution.
  7. You sought legal counsel that resulted in the cancellation of one or more of your student loans and have an invoice for services rendered and evidence of the cancellation of the student loan or loans.

To qualify for STRF reimbursement, the application must be received within four (4) years from the date of the action or event that made the student eligible for recovery from STRF.

A student whose loan is revived by a loan holder or debt collector after a period of noncollection may, at any time, file a written application for recovery from STRF for the debt that would have otherwise been eligible for recovery. If it has been more than four (4) years since the action or event that made the student eligible, the student must have filed a written application for recovery within the original four (4) year period, unless the period has been extended by another act of law.

However, no claim can be paid to any student without a social security number or a taxpayer identification number.

4 Technology Fee includes student technical support, Office 365, blended and online course delivery/learning management system, mobile app, student portal technology and access, and required electronic course materials/software.

5 Supplies and licensure prep fees include a WCU identification card, background check, standardized patients, supplies, equipment for onsite intensives, and APRN predictor exams for APRN students. Supplies become student purchases once issued to students. Students who drop or have been dismissed after supplies have been issued will assume ownership for these items and will not be eligible for refunds. For details on all the supplies please contact the Bursar Office.

Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track

Accelerated*

Degree Type Master of Science
Total Program Credits 53
Program Length (full time) 5 trimesters
Non-Military Rate Military Rate1
MSN Core (per credit x 18 credits) $635 $540
APRN Core (per credit cost x 35 credits) $785 $667
Total Tuition Cost $38,905 $33,065
STRF2 $107.50 $92.50
Technology Fee3 $2,500 $2,500
Estimate for Supplies & Licensure Preparation Fees4 $1,620 $1,620
Estimated Total Program Costs (Texas) $43,025 $37,185
Estimated Total Program Costs (California) $43,132.50 $37,277.50

Working Professional*

Degree Type Master of Science
Total Program Credits 53
Program Length (full time) 9 trimesters
Non-Military Rate Military Rate1
MSN Core (per credit x 18 credits) $635 $540
APRN Core(per credit cost x 35 credits) $785 $667
Total Tuition Cost $38,905 $33,065
STRF2 $112.50 $97.50
Technology Fee3 $4,500 $4,500
Estimate for Supplies & Licensure Preparation Fees4 $1,620 $1,620
Estimated Total Program Costs (Texas) $45,025 $39,185
Estimated Total Program Costs (California) $45,137.50 $39,282.50

1 Rate provided to Active Duty, Active Duty Spouse, Reserve, Reserve Spouse, Veterans, Veteran Spouse, Department of Defense employees, dependents utilizing parent's veteran's education benefits, and Veterans Affairs employees.

2 Effective April 1, 2022, the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) assessment rate will be two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of institutional charges.

The State of California established the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) to relieve or mitigate economic loss suffered by a student in an educational program at a qualifying institution, who is or was a California resident while enrolled, or was enrolled in a residency program, if the student enrolled in the institution, prepaid tuition, and suffered an economic loss. Unless relieved of the obligation to do so, you must pay the state-imposed assessment for the STRF, or it must be paid on your behalf, if you are a student in an educational program, who is a California resident, or are enrolled in a residency program, and prepay all or part of your tuition.

You are not eligible for protection from the STRF and you are not required to pay the STRF assessment, if you are not a California resident, or are not enrolled in a residency program.

It is important that you keep copies of your enrollment agreement, financial aid documents, receipts, or any other information that documents the amount paid to the school. Questions regarding the STRF may be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, 1747 N. Market Blvd. Ste 225 Sacramento, CA 95834, (916) 431-6959 or (888) 370-7589.

To be eligible for STRF, you must be a California resident or enrolled in a residency program, prepaid tuition, paid or deemed to have paid the STRF assessment, and suffered an economic loss as a result of any of the following:

  1. The institution, a location of the institution, or an educational program offered by the institution was closed or discontinued, and you did not choose to participate in a teach-out plan approved by the Bureau or did not complete a chosen teach-out plan approved by the Bureau.
  2. You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution within the 120-day period before the closure of the institution or location of the institution or were enrolled in an educational program within the 120-day period before the program was discontinued.
  3. You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution more than 120 days before the closure of the institution or location of the institution, in an educational program offered by the institution as to which the Bureau determined there was a significant decline in the quality or value of the program more than 120 days before closure.
  4. The institution has been ordered to pay a refund by the Bureau but has failed to do so.
  5. The institution has failed to pay or reimburse loan proceeds under a federal student loan program as required by law or has failed to pay or reimburse proceeds received by the institution in excess of tuition and other costs.
  6. You have been awarded restitution, a refund, or other monetary award by an arbitrator or court, based on a violation of this chapter by an institution or representative of an institution, but have been unable to collect the award from the institution.
  7. You sought legal counsel that resulted in the cancellation of one or more of your student loans and have an invoice for services rendered and evidence of the cancellation of the student loan or loans.

To qualify for STRF reimbursement, the application must be received within four (4) years from the date of the action or event that made the student eligible for recovery from STRF.

A student whose loan is revived by a loan holder or debt collector after a period of noncollection may, at any time, file a written application for recovery from STRF for the debt that would have otherwise been eligible for recovery. If it has been more than four (4) years since the action or event that made the student eligible, the student must have filed a written application for recovery within the original four (4) year period, unless the period has been extended by another act of law.

However, no claim can be paid to any student without a social security number or a taxpayer identification number.

3 Technology Fee includes student technical support, Office 365, blended and online course delivery/learning management system, mobile app, student portal technology and access, and required electronic course materials/software.

4 Supplies and licensure prep fees include a WCU identification card, background check, standardized patients, supplies, equipment for onsite intensives, and APRN predictor exams for APRN students. Supplies become student purchases once issued to students. Students who drop or have been dismissed after supplies have been issued will assume ownership for these items and will not be eligible for refunds. For details on all the supplies please contact the Bursar Office.

Post-Master's Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Degree Type Certificate
Total Program Credits 32
Program Length(full time) 5 trimesters
Non-Military Rate Military Rate2
APRN Core (per credit x 32 credits) $785 $667
Total Tuition Cost $25,120 $21,344
STRF2 $72.50 $62.50
Technology Fee3 $2,500 $2,500
Estimate for Supplies & Licensure Preparation Fees4 $1,620 $1,620
Estimated Total Program Costs (Texas) $29,240 $25,464
Estimated Total Program Costs (California) $29,312.50 $25,526.50

1 Rate provided to Active Duty, Active Duty Spouse, Reserve, Reserve Spouse, Veterans, Veteran Spouse, Department of Defense employees, dependents utilizing parent's veteran's education benefits, and Veterans Affairs employees.

2 Effective April 1, 2022, the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) assessment rate will be two dollars and fifty cents ($2.50) per one thousand dollars ($1,000) of institutional charges.

The State of California established the Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) to relieve or mitigate economic loss suffered by a student in an educational program at a qualifying institution, who is or was a California resident while enrolled, or was enrolled in a residency program, if the student enrolled in the institution, prepaid tuition, and suffered an economic loss. Unless relieved of the obligation to do so, you must pay the state-imposed assessment for the STRF, or it must be paid on your behalf, if you are a student in an educational program, who is a California resident, or are enrolled in a residency program, and prepay all or part of your tuition.

You are not eligible for protection from the STRF and you are not required to pay the STRF assessment, if you are not a California resident, or are not enrolled in a residency program.

It is important that you keep copies of your enrollment agreement, financial aid documents, receipts, or any other information that documents the amount paid to the school. Questions regarding the STRF may be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, 1747 N. Market Blvd. Ste 225 Sacramento, CA 95834, (916) 431-6959 or (888) 370-7589.

To be eligible for STRF, you must be a California resident or enrolled in a residency program, prepaid tuition, paid or deemed to have paid the STRF assessment, and suffered an economic loss as a result of any of the following:

  1. The institution, a location of the institution, or an educational program offered by the institution was closed or discontinued, and you did not choose to participate in a teach-out plan approved by the Bureau or did not complete a chosen teach-out plan approved by the Bureau.
  2. You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution within the 120-day period before the closure of the institution or location of the institution or were enrolled in an educational program within the 120-day period before the program was discontinued.
  3. You were enrolled at an institution or a location of the institution more than 120 days before the closure of the institution or location of the institution, in an educational program offered by the institution as to which the Bureau determined there was a significant decline in the quality or value of the program more than 120 days before closure.
  4. The institution has been ordered to pay a refund by the Bureau but has failed to do so.
  5. The institution has failed to pay or reimburse loan proceeds under a federal student loan program as required by law or has failed to pay or reimburse proceeds received by the institution in excess of tuition and other costs.
  6. You have been awarded restitution, a refund, or other monetary award by an arbitrator or court, based on a violation of this chapter by an institution or representative of an institution, but have been unable to collect the award from the institution.
  7. You sought legal counsel that resulted in the cancellation of one or more of your student loans and have an invoice for services rendered and evidence of the cancellation of the student loan or loans.

To qualify for STRF reimbursement, the application must be received within four (4) years from the date of the action or event that made the student eligible for recovery from STRF.

A student whose loan is revived by a loan holder or debt collector after a period of non-collection may, at any time, file a written application for recovery from STRF for the debt that would have otherwise been eligible for recovery. If it has been more than four (4) years since the action or event that made the student eligible, the student must have filed a written application for recovery within the original four (4) year period, unless the period has been extended by another act of law.

However, no claim can be paid to any student without a social security number or a taxpayer identification number.

3 Technology Fee includes student technical support, Office 365, blended and online course delivery/learning management system, mobile app, student portal technology and access, and required electronic course materials/software.

4 Supplies and licensure prep fees include a WCU identification card, background check, standardized patients, supplies, equipment for onsite intensives, and APRN predictor exams for APRN students. Supplies become student purchases once issued to students. Students who drop or have been dismissed after supplies have been issued will assume ownership for these items and will not be eligible for refunds. For details on all the supplies please contact the Bursar Office.

Support for Students Beyond Graduation

West Coast University supports its students beyond the last day of class. We are committed to helping our graduates throughout their careers.

Our Career Services department provides ongoing assistance with professional and career development through workshops and guidance for our online PMHNP students and graduates.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment.

As a Psychological Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner there are a variety of placement specialties and opportunities. Depending on where your particular passion or specialty lies, you might place in any of the following1:

  • Mental Health Clinic
  • Correctional Facility
  • Psychiatric Facility (Inpatient or Outpatient)
  • Residential Substance Abuse
  • Community Mental Health
  • Domestic Violence Facility
  • Psycho-Pharma Clinic
  • Veterans Administrations Psychiatric Facility

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

FAQs
What is an MSN PMHNP?

A Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree is a specialized track that prepares graduates to provide psychiatric care for people of all ages. WCU's online MSN Psych NP online program combines specialized coursework with two on-site hands-on training weekends.

How long does it take to complete the programs?

Our accelerated program pace allows you to earn your degree faster, taking more classes per trimester. Our Working Professional pace lets you take fewer classes per trimester, providing flexibility when you need it.

  • MSN (Accelerated Pace) – 20 months
  • MSN (Working Professional Pace) – 36 months
  • RN to MSN (Accelerated Pace) – 32 months
  • RN to MSN (Working Professional Pace) – 44 months
  • Post-Master’s Certificate – 20 months
How does the program help prepare me for today’s psychiatric healthcare needs?

All of our nursing programs deliver a student-centric, evidence-based education that includes topics relevant to an evolving healthcare environment. As a PMHNP student, you will receive in-depth learning around psychiatric conditions, treatment, therapy management, and other modalities. Our curricula also address telehealth, special populations, and upcoming trends in psychiatry.

What’s an “Onsite Intensive” (OSI)?

Our Onsite Intensives (OSIs) are designed to give you a more comprehensive and hand-on look at how to write patient notes, deal with medical conditions involving psychiatric implications, and a panoply of in-person healthcare skills. This combination of skill-building, residency, and didactic work will help prepare you to join the fight to end mental health stigma and provide much-needed treatment to so many underserved and stigmatized patients.

What can I expect from clinical placements?

Our programs require students complete clinical hours for their degrees. For the MSN and Post-Master’s certificate programs, students must complete 500 clinical hours. RN to MSN students must complete 590 clinical hours.

When it comes to finding the right facility, WCU has a dedicated clinical team to help you find a placement for clinical training that aligns with your goals.

Because our program focuses on lifespan care, students who want to begin researching clinical sites can consider:

  • Offices of physicians
  • Hospitals (state, local, and private)
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Educational services
  • Offices of other health practitioners3
Will my previous coursework transfer into the programs?

We can evaluate your previous coursework for credit. The number of credits you are able to transfer depends on the specific program’s requirements. For example, for the RN to MSN program, you can transfer up to 90 credits.

Speak to your advisor to learn more about the transfer credit policy for your desired program.

Will I learn from experienced faculty?

Every faculty member that teaches in our programs is an experienced nursing professional, active in relevant clinical practice, and nationally board-certified. Additionally, WCU professors are accessible to students. Through the Remind app, faculty members are only a call or text away.

If you need career insight or advice, you will be paired with a PMHNP faculty advisor that can provide one-on-one guidance as needed.

Will I be eligible to sit for my certification exam?

Yes, after you complete the program, you will be eligible to sit for your certification exam. WCU offers two tools to help you prepare for the examination: Lecturio and BoardVitals. Both tools are mobile-friendly platforms that will help you review materials so you can approach the exam with confidence.

Can I get a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner masters degree online?

WCU's MSN Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program includes 100% online coursework. Some in-person practice experience is also necessary to complete your MSN PMHNP degree.

How long does it take to become a Psych NP?

WCU's online MSN Psych NP program is offered at two different paces. The Accelerated MSN program pace can be completed in as little as 20 months. The Working Professional Pace lets you earn your Psych NP degree in as few as 36 months.

Pluses
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1 American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). https://www.aanp.org/news-feed/are-you-considering-a-career-as-psychiatric-mental-health-nurse-practitioner

2 American Psychological Association (APA) https://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/survey Retrieved October 2021.

3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm

Students enrolled through the Orange County campus must complete their OSIs in California. Students enrolled through the Texas campus must complete them in Texas. Travel costs are not included in tuition and fees, and students are responsible for arranging transportation and lodging.

WCU distance education programs are delivered out of the Orange County and Texas campuses and may not be available to residents in all states.

Practice experience is required in order to graduate from the RN to BSN, RN to MSN, MSN, DNP degree and Post-Master's certificate programs.