Career Outlook: Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

2 min readFeb 18, 2023


Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

One of the most rewarding aspects of nursing is assisting vulnerable patients through challenging times. Nurses specializing in mental health direct the fundamental impulse of caretaking to patients suffering from emotional and behavioral disorders. This specialized care requires a thorough understanding of psychological principles, the ability to demonstrate empathy and compassion, and the desire to help individuals in need.

It is estimated that one in five adults in the United States suffers from some form of mental illness, which explains the high demand for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs).

As PMHNPs, nurses have an incredible opportunity to use their expertise to make a real difference in their patients’ lives and to help them on their road to recovery. In this article, we will discuss the overall career outlook of a mental health nurse practitioner, as well as the key responsibilities, challenges, and rewards associated with the profession.

How to Become a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

To become a mental health nurse practitioner, you must complete the following steps:

  • Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and become a registered nurse (RN) by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).
  • Gain experience working as an RN in a mental health setting, such as a hospital, clinic, or community mental health center.
  • Enroll in a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program with a specialization in mental health nursing. You can choose to pursue your MSN mental health degree online. This is a suitable choice for those who may not have the time to attend classes in person due to work or other commitments. The online format allows for more flexibility and convenience, as well as the opportunity to gain the same high-quality education that you would receive in a traditional on-campus program.
  • Complete the required clinical hours and coursework for the MSN program, which will include psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, and the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders.
  • Pass the certification exam for nurse practitioners offered by the ANCC (American Nurses Credentialing Center) or AANP (American Association of Nurse Practitioners) to become a board-certified MHNP.
  • Finally, apply for state licensure and keep it current by meeting continuing education requirements.

Originally published at on Jan 30th, 2023.




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