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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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You must be a licensed registered nurse or have completed an associate degree of nursing to apply for the program.

You must be a licensed registered nurse and have completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree or a bachelor's degree in a closely related field to apply for this program.

You must be a licensed registered nurse and have completed a Master of Science in Nursing degree to apply for this program.

You must be a licensed registered nurse and have completed a Master of Science in Nursing degree or a master's degree in a healthcare related field.

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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

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Tuition & Financial Aid

Total program cost varies between the accelerated and working professional program paces. Either way, if tuition is an obstacle, WCU financial aid and/or scholarship options might be available to help you move forward. Adjusted tuition is also available to active and former military members. To see tuition breakdowns and estimated supply costs, Click here to learn more.

To apply for financial aid assistance or scholarships, we recommend applying alongside your admissions application in order for your consideration to be processed on your intended timeline. Learn More.

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
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.

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.

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.

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
Pluses
Have Questions?

Pursuing your degree is a big choice. Fill out our form and one of our admissions advisors will contact you to answer any question you may have!

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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.