Online Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program careers

Considering a career in mental health nursing? 

Brock Chisholm, psychiatrist and first director-general of the World Health Organization, once said, “Without mental health, there can be no true physical health.” Mental health nurses, including psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, help bridge the gap between physical and emotional care to promote whole health. 

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, sometimes known as psychiatric NPs or mental health NPs, screen, diagnose, and treat individuals facing mental health challenges across the lifespan.

Through education, mental health assessments, diagnosis, care, treatment, and prevention, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners provide valuable support to individuals, groups, and communities in need.

Mental health professional

At a glance


Projected employment growth of nurse practitioners from 2022-2032 

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022)


Median total income, including base salary, bonuses, and incentive payments, of full-time PMHNPs

(U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022)

No. 1

Nurse practitioner rank on annual list of most recruited provider type

(Merritt Hawkins, 2021)

No. 4

Psychiatric nurse practitioner program in the U.S.

(U.S. News & World Report, 2022)

“My goal is to help ensure vulnerable populations get the best psychiatric care possible based on evidence-based practice, while also providing resources that reduce stigma and access to care.” 

Kwaku Gyasi
Yale School of Nursing Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Candidate

150 million people in the U.S. lack access to mental health practitioners1. Become your community’s solution.

Apply Now

What do psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners do?   

The day-to-day role of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners varies based on work settings and state licensing, but the online PMHNP program trains students to: 

  • Screen for and diagnose mental health and substance use disorders in patients of all ages. 
  • Conduct mental health assessments to establish a patient’s individual needs. 
  • Coordinate and execute therapy interventions for patients in crisis. 
  • Educate patients, families, and communities on the importance of mental health. 
  • Create collaborative care plans between practitioners, social workers, psychologists, and other health care professionals. 
  • Prescribe medication for acute and chronic illnesses. 
  • Deliver psychotherapy. 

The weekly schedule of mental health nurse practitioners can vary but might include four, ten-hour shifts per week or five, eight-hour shifts Monday through Friday. PMHNPs working at a full-time pace typically see an average of fifteen patients per day2. Those who opt to work in private practices can expect even more flexible hours and scheduling.

Where do mental health nurse practitioners work? 

Nurses in the online PMHNP program graduate equipped to serve individuals and communities in a variety of environments. While many psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners work in traditional settings like community mental health clinics, in-patient psychiatric facilities, and community health centers, they also provide care in: 

Acute care hospitals

Assisted-living facilities 

Correctional facilities

Domestic violence shelters

Outpatient clinics  

Physician offices 

Private practices


Substance use disorder facilities

As with many roles in health care, the expanding role of technology and virtual care has also created opportunities for psychiatric mental health NPs in some states to work in telehealth settings.

Illustration of a head with puzzle pieces inside

How much demand is there for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners?

As health care evolves, the demand for mental health nurse practitioners climbs. Nurse practitioners are now the top-recruited provider in health care3, and NP employment is projected to grow 38 percent by 20324.

When it comes to mental health nursing, as many as 150 million people in the United States live in areas experiencing a mental health practitioner shortage. There is an acute need for nurse practitioners with a specialized background in psychiatric mental health nursing. 

1 American Association of Medical Colleges, 2022

2 American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2022

3 Merritt Hawkins, 2021

4 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2022