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Nursing Careers: Psychiatric Nursing - It Could Be Just What You Are Looking For

by Greg Cryns


            If you’re a registered nurse who enjoys working in the field of psychiatry, you may want to get an advanced degree that allows you to specialize in this type of nursing.  You may be especially interested in online courses to help you get your psychiatric nursing certification. While there are a few programs in the 

country that offer online programs, many require you to participate in clinical rotations.  That means the programs aren’t 100% online.  But if you enjoy working in psychiatry, you may be willing to do the on-campus work.


            Drexel University offers an online program for a Master of Nursing in Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.  While this program is largely on online program, it does require students to attend orientations on campus and participate in clinical rotations.


            Canyon College in Idaho offers an online program for a psychiatric nursing certificate that is online.  This program is completed entirely online, but doesn’t lead to a degree.  Instead it helps you to earn a certificate showing that you’ve had special training in this field.


            Most psychiatric nursing programs require you to attend classes, but many programs allow you to take classes on the weekends or evenings allowing you to work full-time.  These programs offer coursework and practical opportunities to help you practice what you’re learning in a real-world setting.


            In order to be admitted to a psychiatric nursing program, you generally must already be a Registered Nurse and have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  Some programs offer a Master of Science with a focus in psychiatric nursing while others offer certificate programs for people who already have a graduate degree in nursing.


            Once you’ve completed your education, you’ll want to be certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in order to get your PMHN, or Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurse, certificate. 


            There is a wide range for mental health nurses when it comes to salary.  However, if you have a Master’s degree working in the field, you’ll make an average of $60,000 starting pay. 


            If you’re not sure if you’d like to go into this field, you may want to consider working part-time or even volunteering in psychiatric medicine.  This will give you an opportunity to decide if this challenging, but rewarding career is right for you.



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