How Much Do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Make?

psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner

There is a growing need for mental health providers across the United States. According to data from the National Institute for Mental Health, 22.8% of adults were living with a mental illness in 2021, but less than half of them received treatment. This disparity continues to grow each year. If you want to advance your nursing career in mental health care, consider becoming a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. PMHNPs provide much-needed mental health services to patients of all ages.

Jump to Psych NP Salary by State

What does a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Do?

PMHNPs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who specialize in mental health care. As an NP in this field, you will evaluate patients, diagnosing and treating mental health and substance abuse disorders in a variety of populations. PMHNPs are educated to address hundreds of diagnosable disorders and conditions in the DSM-5, from generalized anxiety and ADHD to depression and personality disorders.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners practice in a wide variety of settings, depending on experience level and specialty. PMHNPs work in:

  • Hospitals
  • Primary care clinics
  • Veterans services mental health programs
  • Inpatient psychiatric facilities
  • Substance abuse treatment facilities
  • Private practice
  • Correctional facilities
  • Public health roles

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, PMHNPs see an average of 15 patients each day. During your shift, you may be responsible for:

  • Guiding patients through evaluations and assessments
  • Presenting patients with diagnoses
  • Prescribing medications as needed
  • Creating a treatment plan based on your findings
  • Collaborating with other physicians and mental health care providers

You may be wondering, “What is it like to be a PMHNP?” In some ways, the answer depends on where you reside. Your state’s board of nursing will determine the scope of your practice. PMHNPs can practice independently in 28 states, while others require that all NPs must work under the supervision of a physician.

Regardless of where you practice, you will face numerous challenges as a PMHNP. You may work with patients who are uncooperative or feel emotionally overwhelmed by your caseload. However, this is a rewarding career that empowers you to serve your community. The current shortage in mental health practitioners has created long waiting times for many patients, so as you step into this career, you are providing valuable care to those who likely have been waiting for it. As you diagnose and treat mental health disorders, you can create a significant positive impact in the lives of your patients and their families.

Average Psychiatric NP Salary by State

If you’ve considered advancing your nursing career as a PMHNP, you’ve probably asked, “How much do psychiatric nurse practitioners make?” PMHNP salary varies by state. Take a look at the average annual salary for NPs by state as of May 2022.

Psychiatric NP Salary by State (May 2022)

















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Advance your nursing career with RU's Online PMHNP Program

Highest and Lowest Paying States for PMHNPs

According to BLS data, California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Oregon offer the highest median annual salary to PMHNPs, while South Carolina, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee provide the lowest median annual pay.

In the top-paying states, you’ll find more urban areas with larger populations, which typically correlates to a higher demand for mental health professionals. Residents of urban areas and densely populated states also often face higher costs of living, so PMHNP salaries have been adjusted to allow nurse practitioners to more easily afford living and working in these locations.

On the other hand, states that are more rural and less populated may not experience the same demand for PMHNPs, which equates to lower pay. These states also offer lower costs of living, so nurse practitioners who reside and work here may find that a lower annual salary goes further than it might in a large city.

Factors That Influence PMHNP Salary

Experience may be the most influential factor in PMHNP salary. This is great news if you’re ready to pursue a career in this field, since working as an NP in mental health care year after year can offer you higher annual pay.

Workplace setting and location also affect annual salary rates. While many major urban areas offer higher pay, they also have higher costs of living, so it’s best to practice in a city and state that fits your needs. Additionally, hospitals and outpatient mental health care settings offer higher annual pay than physicians’ offices or educational service settings.

Career Outlook for PMHNPs by State

If you want to use your APRN credentials to serve as a psychiatric NP, you are making a promising choice for career advancement. Nurse practitioner job openings are projected to grow at a rate of 38% by 2032, which is much faster than the national average.

The psychiatric nurse practitioner job outlook depends on several factors, including location. According to the US Department of Labor, these states have the highest projected employment for NPs in the years to come.

  • California tops the list with an estimated 2,120 job openings annually.
  • In New York, 2,060 new jobs are expected for NPs each year.
  • Texas is estimated to fill 2,010 new NP jobs annually.
  • In Florida, you’ll find an estimated 1,910 job openings annually.
  • Georgia is projected to offer 1,250 new NP jobs each year.

Hawaii, Wyoming, and Alaska offer the fewest new jobs annually by the numbers. However, the percentage of growth for PMHNPs in these states mimics California and New York, hovering around 55%. These less populated states may not have as many job openings because there is a smaller population to serve. Regardless of where you live, there is a need for more psychiatric NPs who are qualified and ready to serve their communities.

How to Become a PMHNP at Rockhurst University

If you want to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, you’ll first need to earn your undergraduate BSN degree from a CCNE-accredited program. After graduation, you’ll need to obtain your nursing license by passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

As you gain experience in the field as a registered nurse, you may find that you want to advance your career by earning a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). In your time as a nurse, you might discover a specific population you would like to serve in the future.

If you want to pursue working as an NP in mental health care, you may consider applying for the Online Master of Science in Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN-PMHNP) program at Rockhurst University. At The Saint Luke's™ College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Rockhurst University, you will receive the quality education and training you need to thrive as a leader in the mental health care setting of your choice.

Rockhurst University’s innovative online MSN-PMHNP program offers 100% online coursework, allowing you to select full-time (6 semesters) or part-time (8 semesters) study. If you want to balance your educational journey with your current professional role, our program is designed to let you continue in your career while earning your degree with coursework and clinicals. With affordable tuition, flexible coursework, and full clinical placement services, Rockhurst University can prepare you for your ANCC PMHNP-BC Certification — and for a lifetime of serving your community through quality mental health care.

For those who hold an MSN in another specialty, we offer an online Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s Certificate option. This certificate can be completed in as few as 4 semesters and equips you for ANCC PMHNP-BC Certification. Unlock new career paths and contribute to enhancing patient outcomes in psychiatric mental health nursing.

Talk to an adviser today to begin your journey to becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner with Rockhurst’s online MSN-PMHNP program or online PMHNP Post-Master's Certificate program.

About Rockhurst University's Online Programs

In the heart of Kansas City since 1910, Rockhurst University is dedicated to learning, leadership and service in the Jesuit tradition, and today is the #1 Regional University in Kansas City (2021 U.S. News and World Report).

Rockhurst University’s online programs are delivered by the highly reputable Saint Luke’s ™ College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the School of Education. As an educational leader serving exceptional students in the field of health care and education, we are committed to preparing the workforce of tomorrow with our unique programs designed to prepare graduates to meet the needs of diverse populations and work in various organizations.

To learn more about our highly competitive online programs, please visit, or read more here: