2022 Best Post-Master’s Certificate in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Online [Graduate Certificate]

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Earning a post master’s certificate in psychiatric nurse practitioner online can help you expand upon your nursing career. This program is designed for licensed registered nurses who want to enter the mental health field.

Best Post-Master’s Certificate in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Online

A post-graduate certificate in psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is a strategic route to consider if you already have your masters in nursing.

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Read on to learn more about psychiatric nurse practitioners and what post master’s psych NP certificate programs can entail.

Post Master’s Certificate in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Online Programs

Nurses getting post master PMHNP certificate online

A postgraduate certificate offers you an opportunity to further your education without having to complete another masters or doctoral degree.

A post masters PMHNP certificate program is designed for registered nurses who want to specialize in psychiatric-mental health and already have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) are specialized NPs who focus on mental health.

Some of the daily responsibilities of a PMHNP could include:

  • Providing psychotherapy
  • Assessing the mental health of patients across the lifespan
  • Providing mental health disorder diagnoses to patients
  • Prescribing medication to patients and monitoring its effects

Daily tasks can vary depending on where you may be working. PMHNPs can work in a variety of mental health settings, such as hospitals, community clinics, psychiatric facilities, and correctional facilities.

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Common subjects that are studied in a post master’s PMHNP certificate program include:

  • Advanced mental health assessment and pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology and psychopathology
  • Psychotherapy techniques across the lifespan
  • Leadership and ethics in healthcare

A psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner may work with individuals of all ages as well as groups and families. If you have a desire to work with patients in mental health, an online post master’s PMHNP certificate program could offer the specialized training that’s necessary for board certification.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Careers & Salaries

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Careers & Salaries

Most registered nurses who earn a PMHNP post master’s certificate online go on to become mental health nurse practitioners.

Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners can work in a variety of settings. They may enter practice psychotherapy and prescribe medications based on diagnoses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries for nurse practitioners and some related positions.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Nurse Practitioners $120,680
Medical and Health Services Managers $101,340
Technical Writers $78,060
Registered Nurses $77,600
Postsecondary Nursing Instructors and Teachers $77,440
Social and Community Service Managers $74,000
Forensic Science Technicians $61,930
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors $48,520
Psychiatric Technicians $36,570
Psychiatric Aides $30,260

Individuals may also use a psych NP certificate program to gain knowledge about psychiatric subjects, such as mental health assessment and diagnosis. This could be applied to other careers in mental healthcare, such as counseling.

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Potential salaries are often dependent upon your location, your employer, your experience in mental health, and your level of education.

Post-Master’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate Online Curriculum

Students attending post masters PMHNP certificate program

Postgraduate PMHNP certificate courses can vary depending on the college or university, but here are some examples of courses you may come across:

  • Advanced Health Assessment: This course examines various assessments, including physical and psychosocial, to assess the mental health of individuals at all ages.
  • Advanced Pathophysiology: You’ll learn about scientific pathophysiological concepts to help examine the need for various types of evidence to support a diagnosis.
  • Advanced Pharmacology: You can build upon your knowledge on pharmacology with this course, which examines various substances and its administration.
  • Evidence-Based Practice: This course explores concepts of evidence-based practices and strategies of how it can be used to improve patient outcomes.
  • Psychopharmacologic Approaches to Treatment of Psychotherapy: This course is designed to help you learn more about the different approaches for considering the effects of certain substances for major behavioral health disorders.
  • Care Coordination and Role of the Advanced Practice Nurse: This course covers the professional roles and responsibilities of an advanced practice RN in a multidisciplinary practice.
  • Psychopathology and Diagnostic Reading: This course teaches you how to use psychopathology and diagnostic reasoning to develop diagnoses for patients with mental health or substance abuse disorders.
  • Psychotherapy with Multiple Modalities: You’ll examine various psychotherapy techniques to be used with families, groups, or individuals of all ages.
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Care Across the Lifespan: This course combines knowledge of diagnostic reasoning, treatment planning, and psychiatry for individuals of all ages to help students prepare for practice.
  • PMHNP Care Across the Lifespan Practicum: This practicum is designed for students to apply the knowledge they accrued in their program in a mental healthcare setting.

Some courses that are a part of the PMHNP program may have prerequisites. Other courses may be optional to supplement your interests.

How to Choose a Post Masters Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate Online Program

Woman taking post masters PMHNP certificate program online

Here are a few factors you may want to consider when you’re researching post master’s psychiatric nurse practitioner online certificate programs:

  • Program flexibility. If you’re working as a registered nurse, you might benefit from a PMHNP program that offers more flexible class times. You can search for programs that offer more asynchronous courses and don’t require frequent on-campus visits.
  • Accreditation. You may want to take note of whether a prospective PMHNP certificate program or school is accredited. This is important for ensuring that the program you select is meeting educational standards.
  • Admission requirements. Admission requirements for post master’s psychiatric nurse practitioner programs vary between colleges and universities. Some may have less strict requirements, while others may require additional criteria.
  • Experience. It could be beneficial to find a program that offers ample opportunities to gain experience. If you’re new to the mental health field, it could be helpful to find programs that offer internships or externships.

In general, the program that’s right for you will depend on your learning preferences as well as career goals.

Admissions Requirements

Man prepares requirements for post masters PMHNP certificate

Admission requirements for post master’s psych NP certificate programs can vary by school, but common admission requirements include:

  • Active RN license
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from an accredited institution
  • Minimum GPA (typically 3.0 or higher)
  • Statement of purpose

Many PMHNP certificate programs are designed for individuals who have already earned an MSN. Most programs also require applicants to have an active and unrestricted RN license with experience in mental healthcare.

Post Masters PMHNP Certificate Programs Online Accreditation

University offering post masters PMHNP certificate program

Accreditation is very important in the healthcare industry. Regionally accredited colleges and universities are considered to be credible, as they meet or exceed national education standards.

Third-party accrediting organizations determine whether schools are meeting quality education practices based on various standards. The US Department of Education offers information on regionally accredited schools as well as recognized accrediting agencies.

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Nursing programs can also seek programmatic accreditation. Two main accrediting agencies for nursing programs include the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

School accreditation is important for establishing credibility. Licensure and certification boards also require candidates to complete PMHNP training through an accredited institution.

PMHNP Licensure and Certifications

Discussing PMHNP certificate licensure requirements

Earning a PMHNP certificate does not equal licensure. A PMHNP certificate shows that you have studied psychiatric nurse practitioner coursework, which could qualify you to take the board certification exam for psych NPs.

Here are some common requirements to become a certified psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner:

  • Hold a valid and unencumbered RN license
  • Have a Master of Science in Nursing
  • Complete accredited PMHNP coursework
  • Submit and pass state and federal criminal background checks
  • Pass board certification exam for PMHNPs

After obtaining PMHNP certification, you can apply for nurse practitioner licensure to have the right to practice in your state or select states. Licensure requirements can vary by state, but most require national certification.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Financial Aid for post masters PMHNP certificate

Financial aid and scholarship opportunities may be offered specifically for PMHNP students. For starters, employers in the psychiatric-mental health field may offer tuition assistance for individuals seeking to further their education.

You can also check whether you’re eligible to apply for grants within the healthcare field through private or nonprofit organizations. In addition, aid can come from the federal government as well as from your state. You can also seek financial aid from the government through the US Department of Education.

To determine your eligibility for need-based financial assistance, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

What Is a Post Masters Certificate in PMHNP?

Psychiatric Nurse discussing with the doctor and fellow nurses

A post masters certificate in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is tailored to nurse practitioners or registered nurses who have an MSN. This NP post-graduate certificate specializes on the mental healthcare field.

Most PMHNP post-masters certificate programs help you qualify for psych nurse certification. This type of certificate program is beneficial because it allows you to further your education and training in the field without having to earn another graduate degree.

Common responsibilities of a psych NP include providing psychotherapy to patients, conducting diagnostic mental health assessments, and prescribing medication for mental health disorders.

What Can You Do with a Post Master’s PMHNP Certificate?

Most professionals who earn a post-masters PMHNP certificate go on to become psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners.

Psych NPs can work in a variety of mental healthcare settings. They might work in behavioral health clinics, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, or private practice. Psychiatric nurse practitioners often conduct psychotherapy, assess and diagnose mental health disorders, and perform behavioral and mental health patient care.

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Some professionals who earn a PMHNP certificate pursue related roles, such as a registered nurse, mental health or substance abuse counselor, or correctional treatment specialist.

How Much Does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for nurse practitioners is $120,680. A psychiatric nurse practitioner salary can vary depending on your location and your amount of experience in mental healthcare. Level of education can also affect an NP’s salary.

The type of mental healthcare facility you work in can have an impact on your potential salary as well. Most nurse practitioners make between $79,470 and $163,350 each year (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

How Long Does It Take to Get a Post Master’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate Online?

Woman completing post masters PMHNP certificate online

Post graduate PMHNP certificate programs can vary in length depending on the college or university. Some schools offer PMHNP certificate programs that take as little as 1 year to complete.

The time it takes to complete a PMHNP certificate program largely depends on how many credit hours are included and whether you intend to be a part-time or full-time student. Some programs include as many as 40 credit hours, while others have less than 20. Overall, most post master’s psychiatric NP certificate programs take 1 to 2 years to complete

What’s the Difference Between Masters Degree vs. Post Master’s Certificate in PMHNP Programs Online?

A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and a post-masters PMHNP certificate program can have some overlapping subject matter, but they have some distinct differences.

Master of Science in Nursing Post-Master’s Certificate in PMHNP
  • Graduate degree program
  • May offer a PMHNP concentration
  • Typically takes longer to complete
  • Common prerequisite for post-master nursing certificates
  • Specialized non-degree program
  • Contains graduate-level coursework
  • May take as little as 1 year to complete
  • Can be a specialized supplement to an MSN

If you didn’t concentrate in the psychiatric-mental health field when earning your MSN, a PMHNP certificate program can help you prepare for NP certification in mental health.

Is a Post Master’s Certificate in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Worth It?

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner reporting a case to the doctor

Yes, a post master’s certificate in psychiatric nurse practitioner is worth it for many students. Earning this certificate can help you work toward becoming a certified PMHNP.

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Employment for nurse practitioners is also seeing major growth. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 52% job growth for NPs over the next ten years. Professionals who earn a PMHNP certificate may also pursue related career paths in the mental health field. For example, they may work as mental health counselors or correctional treatment specialists.

Universities Offering Online Post-Masters Certificate in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program

Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.

Drexel University

Drexel University

Drexel University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Duquesne University

Duquesne University

Duquesne University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University

East Tennessee State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University

Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Florida State University

Florida State University

The Florida State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Georgia College

Georgia College

Georgia College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Herzing University

Herzing University

Herzing University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University

Johns Hopkins University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Liberty University

Liberty University

Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Maryville University

Maryville University

Maryville University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

NMSU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University

Northern Kentucky University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Ohio University

Ohio University

Ohio University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Regis College

Regis College

Regis College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Rivier University

Rivier University

Rivier is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Cincinnati

University of Cincinnati

UC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

University of Massachusetts - Amherst

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

University of Texas – Tyler

University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Walden University

Walden University

Walden is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Getting Your Post Master’s Certificate in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Online

Man getting post masters PMHNP certificate online

If you wish to work in the mental health field as a nurse practitioner, a post master’s certificate in psychiatric nurse practitioner can help prepare you for PMHNP certification.  

A postgraduate online PMHNP program is beneficial if you already have an MSN and do not want to pursue another graduate degree. Plus, post master’s online certificate programs tend to offer more flexibility than on-campus programs.

You can start exploring accredited schools today to compare available post master’s PMHNP certificate programs. The sooner you find the certificate program that’s right for you, the sooner you can begin your journey to becoming a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

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Amy Hayes
WRITTEN BY
Amy Hayes
Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University, with a minor in English. She previously worked as an educator before starting her career as a writer. Amy spends much of her time researching and writing, with the goal of sharing valuable information with readers.