Being a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Roles and Responsibilities

The main responsibility of psychiatric nurses involves assessing patients having mental disorders or substance abuse problems to provide therapeutic care suited for the patients. The main role of mental health nurse practitioners is diagnosing the mental disorder of the patient. Also, they are also given the license to recommend medicines and provide patient care. They can join community health centers, hospitals, and primary care facilities. Other options for mental health nurses may be working in social organizations and opening a private counseling center.


It is in fact a challenging medical job as it involves evaluating people with mental health disorders, understanding their problems, and providing treatment appropriate for the patients.


Having a four years degree in psychiatric nursing is a must to get through reputable hospital jobs. After that, one must join advanced nursing education program. If you want, you may also have a master’s or doctoral degree as to have the option of working as a consultant, educator, or psychotherapist. Another option will be is joining short-term psychiatric nurse certification courses. But the career opportunity for bachelor degree holders is of course more than those who have completed only with certification. However, either way, the candidate has to get an exam (NCLEX-RN) for registration to become a registered nurse practitioner.


The salary of a psychiatric nurse/mental health practitioner may range from USD 73,072 to USD 96,722 annually. Like in other profession, this salary package may vary based on certain factors, including the geographical location, level of education, years of experience, and the respective hiring industry.

Similar to other hospital jobs, comparatively to other profession, it is not so difficult to get psychiatric nurse practitioner jobs. It is helpful to note that most health care centers and psychiatric hospitals prefer candidates with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and prior clinical experience. Along with this is the higher compensation package and salary than fresh nurses who have just passed out from basic nursing programs.

Accordingly, analysis on mental health nurse practitioner salary reveals that basic-level PMHNs earn about USD 40,000 annually, while an advanced practice registered nurse’s (APRNS) salary is approximately USD 60,000 per year.

On the other hand, those who chose to work as faculty members in nursing colleges earn about USD 65,000 or more annually. On an average, a professional in this field having at least five years of experience gets up to USD 95,000 annually. And based on the qualification level, the annual pay package of a psychiatric nurse practitioner may reach up to a whooping USD 110,000.

With the ever raising growth in health care industry come the job openings for qualified nurses also increasing. Fact is, as per career outlook, the demand for mental health/psychiatric nurses is quite strong for the next coming years.