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Mental Health Nursing Certification and Certificate Program Overviews

Graduate certificate programs in psychiatric mental health nursing are designed to provide practicing nurses with an advanced understanding of mental health conditions and psychiatric care. Many universities offering these programs provide students with the opportunity to develop individualized plans of study to incorporate their prior education and training.

Essential Information

Students who complete a mental health nursing certification program should be prepared to sit for an adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. In addition to classroom courses, students enrolled in a graduate certificate in mental health nursing must also complete clinical rotations at a mental health facility.

  • Program Levels in Mental Health Nursing Certification and Certificate Programs: Graduate certificates in the field of mental health nursing.
  • Prerequisites: Applicants must submit transcripts from completed bachelor's and graduate degree programs, as well as a resume and letters of recommendation.
  • Program Specializations: Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health as well as Family Psychiatric and Mental Health.
  • Other Requirmets: Most candidates must also submit to a background check before gaining acceptance.

Mental Health Nursing Certification and Certificate Programs

Aside from the required clinical experience, much of the coursework included within a graduate certificate program for aspiring mental health nurses covers theories and practices in mental health treatment.

In addition to completing classroom courses relating to mental health, students enrolled in a graduate certificate in mental health nursing must also complete clinical rotations at a mental health facility.

Some examples of specific courses include:

  • Management of patients with mental illness
  • Psychiatric conditions and psychiatric diagnostic reasoning
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Theories of psychiatric mental health nursing
  • Special populations and mental illness care
  • Individual and group therapies

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that of the more than 2.7 million nurses working in 2012, about 34,670 worked in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals, and 92,350 worked in outpatient care centers (www.bls.gov). According to PayScale.com, psychiatric nurse practitioners earned a median annual salary of $89,705 in May 2015

Certification

The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers certification for Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PHMNP-BC) as well as Family Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioners. In order to earn the certification, individuals must hold a current RN license as well as either a master's degree or post-master's certificate program in the field. They must also complete a minimum of 500 hours of clinical experience and pass a national competency examination.

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