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Post-Master's Certificate

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner


Help Fill the Critical Need for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

There is a great and growing need for mental health care providers across the country. Are you ready to advance your nursing career and specialize in behavioral and mental health care? 

WGU’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s Certificate (PMC PMHNP) is a cutting-edge graduate program for nurses who have a master’s degree and wish to become advanced practice registered nurses focused on providing psychiatric mental health care.  

The program is a blended offering with the majority of the coursework delivered online, plus direct patient care clinical practice experiences occurring in your local community.

You’ll be prepared to sit for the ANCC Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification Exam and to gain state licensure. You’ll also be ready to successfully transition to delivering behavioral and mental health care to individuals across the lifespan and care settings.

NOTE: Due to the clinical requirements of this program, the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner post-master’s certificate is currently NOT available to students who have a permanent residence in the following states: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Students must have a permanent and active license from a state that is not listed above, must complete the internships in that state, and intend to obtain initial APRN licensure in that state. See more state-specific information related to nursing licensure. Compact licenses must be endorsed by your state of residence. More about compact licenses. You can also compare post-master's certifications to MSN programs.

This program can be finished within  

1.5 Years

This is dependent on transfer credit and how quickly you move through core coursework. Please note the clinical components of this program are set. 

Tuition per six-month term is


This includes tuition and all associated program fee costs. Tuition and fees charged per 6-month term—rather than pay per credit—helps students control the ultimate cost of their degree.  

This is a highly competitive program.

Currently, WGU's Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post-Master's Certificate program is accepting applications from a limited number of students. The required PMHNP Skills Workshop and Clinical Internship in this degree make it a highly practical and demanding program of study.

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Post-Master's Certificate
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Courses

Program consists of 11 courses

If you have already taken any of the three Nurse Practitioner Core courses or their equivalent, you will have the option to transfer those credits, lowering the total number of classes you need to take and decreasing the time to earn your post-master’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certificate.

The WGU PMC PMHNP curriculum is evidence-based, designed to help you become a compassionate, effective, and dedicated psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Credentialing from the ANCC helps ensure that the program is rigorous and will prepare students for real-world situations as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

The PMC is a hybrid program, with the majority of the coursework delivered online and hands-on clinical practice experiences in your local community. This program focuses on the courses you need to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; you will not repeat coursework from your MSN program. All courses are mapped to the industry skills and accreditation standards needed for you to be successful.

Nurse Practitioner Core
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Specialty

11 Courses

Program consists of 11 courses

If you have already taken any of the three Nurse Practitioner Core courses or their equivalent, you will have the option to transfer those credits, lowering the total number of classes you need to take and decreasing the time to earn your post-master’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certificate.

Field Experiences

Special requirements for this program

While most of your coursework will be completed online, your nurse practitioner program includes some requirements—including clinical internships—that must be completed in a facility near you, and the university will work with you through the approval process. 

Skills For Your Résumé

As part of this program, you will develop a range of valuable skills that employers are looking for. 

  • Leadership and Navigation: Successfully ensured accountability for the implementation of project plans and initiatives, leading to timely and successful project completion.:  Problem Solving:  Expertly recommended multiple solutions for a variety of problems, showcasing problem-solving skills to address challenges.
  • Acute Care: Proficiently applied knowledge of patients' pathophysiology when analyzing lab data, test results, physical assessment data, telemetry, invasive monitoring, and vital signs, facilitating accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plans.:  Research:  Developed evidence-based processes based on research findings to improve access and quality of care.
  • Financial Management: Successfully recommended financial actions that aligned with organizational objectives, contributing to improved financial stability and growth.:  Risk Management:  Skillfully recommended risk management strategies that minimized potential risks within the organization, safeguarding assets and reputation.
  • Instructing: Conducted thorough assessments of learners to gauge comprehension of provided instruction, ensuring effective teaching and learning outcomes.:  Leadership:  Inspired collaboration among healthcare professionals in pursuit of the highest quality patient care, fostering a culture of teamwork and shared commitment to excellence.
  • Health Informatics: Successfully managed clinical data in a digital format, enhancing the quality and safety of patient care by ensuring accurate and accessible health records.:  Health Information Technology:  Applied technology and information management tools effectively to support safe processes of care, enhancing patient safety and optimizing healthcare delivery.
  • Data Analysis: Proficiently presented analytical and statistical information to decision-makers and stakeholders, enabling data-driven decision-making and fostering informed strategies.:  Analytical Techniques:  Developed effective solutions based on comprehensive data analysis results.

“Our partnership with WGU enables our employees to advance their education affordably without interrupting their careers.”

—John Steele, Senior Vice President of Human Resources
HCA Healthcare

Why WGU?

You Aren't On Your Own

WGU has Program Mentors who work with you from the day you start, all the way through graduation. They help you chart your courses, answer your questions, and ensure you can go through your program. You're not alone when you choose an online degree at WGU.

Flexibility You Need

Students choose WGU for their online degree program because of its flexibility. Whether you already have a full-time job, have responsibilities as a parent, or just have a busy schedule, WGU can work for you.

Strong Alumni Network

When you enroll in an online certificate program at WGU, you join an impressive network of healthcare professionals.

Accredited, Respected,

One important measure of a degree’s value is the reputation of the university where it was earned. When employers, industry leaders, and academic experts hold your alma mater in high esteem, you reap the benefits of that respect. WGU is a pioneer in reinventing higher education for the 21st century, and our quality has been recognized. 


The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master's degree program in nursing, and post-graduate APRN certificate program at WGU are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (


An Affordable Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate

By charging per term rather than per credit—and empowering students to accelerate through material they know well or learn quickly—WGU helps students control the ultimate cost of their degrees. 

Note: The Post-Master's Certificate PMHNP program may be completed in as little as 1.5 years.

Tuition Calculator
Pay less by completing your program faster

A Post-Master's Certificate Is Within Reach

There is help available to make paying for school possible for you:

The average student loan debt of WGU graduates in 2022 (among those who borrowed) was less than half* the national average.

Most WGU students qualify for financial aid, and WGU is approved for federal financial aid and U.S. veterans benefits. 

Many scholarship opportunities are available. Find out what you might be eligible for.

*WGU undergraduate students have approximately half the debt at graduation compared to the national average, according to the Institute for College Access and Success (2022).


An Online PMHNP Certificate Program Built for a Nurse’s Schedule

WGU offers unparalleled flexibility to work with your busy schedule. Online coursework and tests are available anytime, anywhere. Our commitment to flexible education means that you move through your courses as quickly as you demonstrate mastery of the material. Your prior experience and education can help you complete your courses more quickly.

WGU is built to help students succeed. See how our education model makes a difference in your life as you take on furthering your education. 

"WGU has a wonderful learning platform where you can learn and succeed at your own pace, and they have mentors and course instructors to guide you along the way..”

—Breann Dickey
M.S. Nursing


A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Certificate Prepares You to Treat Mental Health Conditions

Nurse practitioners are in high demand. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, nearly 120 million Americans live in areas where there are mental health care provider shortages.

Working as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is a rewarding career focused on helping others. Through our PMHNP program, you'll be prepared to take your extensive nursing experience and transform it into patient care as a psychiatric health care provider. You’ll work with patients experiencing mental illness, substance abuse, and other mental health challenges. You’ll give care by:

  • Conducting mental health assessments
  • Providing diagnoses
  • Visiting with patients
  • Documenting patient history
  • Prescribing medication or psychotherapy

Graduates of this program will be qualified to practice in a wide variety of care settings as psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

Return on Your Investment

On average, WGU graduates see an increase in income post-graduation

Average income increase from all degrees in annual salary vs. pre-enrollment salary. Source: 2023 Harris Poll Survey of 1,655 WGU graduates.

Survey was sent to a representative sample of WGU graduates from all colleges. Respondents received at least one WGU degree since 2017.


Projections indicate that employment of nurse practitioners will grow 40% by 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.

—U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

WGU's Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post-Master's Certificate Leads to Rewarding Careers

When you become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, you can work in a variety of settings helping individuals and families. This program can prepare you to sit on organizational boards or serve as a PMHNP in settings including:

  • Private mental health practices
  • Behavioral health and recovery facilities
  • Community clinics
  • Substance abuse and rehabilitation centers
  • Prisons and correctional facilities

WGU Grads Hold Positions With Top Employers

Hospitals and clinics around the country know the benefit of a degree from WGU, so your healthcare degree is valuable.


Admissions Requirements Unique to our Post-Master's Certificate, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program

To be considered for this program, you must:

  • Possess an M.S. in Nursing or Terminal Nursing Degree (e.g., DNP, PhD) from an accredited institution or state board of nursing-approved program.
  • Possess a current, active, unencumbered registered nurse (RN) license from AND a permanent residence in an approved state. Students must complete the internships in their state of residence/license and intend to obtain initial APRN licensure in that state. Compact licenses must be endorsed by your state of residence. (The PMHNP is currently not available for students in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.)
  • Submit a criminal background check through American Databank. Additional fees may apply.
  • Submit a professional resume or CV outlining your academic, professional, and service history.  
  • Submit an application essay. You must submit a 3- to 4-page student statement detailing your experience in nursing and explaining why you want to become a PMHNP. This document helps us understand your unique situation and personal goals.
  • Provide three letters of recommendation from: 

1. A supervisor or manager who directly supervised you in a clinical setting.
2. A professor, faculty member, or academic advisor who can provide meaningful input regarding your academic record.
3. A Board Certified practicing healthcare provider (APRN, NP, PA, MD, DO) who has served as a mentor or whom you have shadowed, preferably in the specialty to which you are applying. Note: A registered nurse cannot serve as the practicing provider for this recommendation source.

  • Have one year of clinical experience and be actively working as an RN at the time of application. *This requirement is strongly preferred, as these will be competitive factors in the admission decision-making process.

Transfer Credits

Get Your Enrollment Checklist

Download your step-by-step guide to enrollment.

Get Your Questions Answered

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Safety Notice

WGU and the Leavitt School of Health are committed to the health, safety, and well-being of all patients, community members, and key stakeholders that interact with WGU students at various clinical/host sites. Interactions might include direct patient interaction, observation experiences, laboratory experiences, project development, or conducting research.  Standard compliance verification for students in applicable LSH programs is required to protect the public, meet LSH program expectations, reasonably assure compliance with state regulatory board requirements, meet WGU’s contractual and legal obligations with clinical partners, and support WGU’s mission to prepare students who will be qualified to enter their desired field. Compliance items may include, but are not limited to, background checks, immunizations, and drug screens as needed.

Due to the clinical requirements of this degree program, the PMHNP is currently NOT open to students who have a permanent residence in the following states: Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin.

More About the Mental Health Practitioner Program

PMHNPs assess, diagnose, and treat the mental health needs of patients. Many PMHNPs provide therapy and prescribe medications for patients. Many therapists are not able to prescribe medications.

The ANCC Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) board certification exam is a competency-based test that provides an assessment of the entry-level clinical knowledge and skills of the PMHNP. Once you complete eligibility requirements to sit for the exam and successfully pass, you are awarded the credential Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified (PMHNP-BC).

WGU is approved to offer federal student aid. You will need to apply using the FAFSA, which is used to determine your eligibility for aid. WGU’s FAFSA school code is 033394.

Scholarships are available for new WGU students and returning graduates. This video shows more about scholarship opportunities and how they can help you pay for school. Get information on:

  • How to apply
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Examples of scholarships
  • What happens after you apply
  • FAQs
  • Other financial aid options

WGU's tuition is a flat rate that is charged every six months. You can take as many courses as you are able in that six-month term—with no extra cost. You simply pay for the term and do as much work as you can or want to during that time. This means that finishing faster helps you save money—a major benefit you won't find at most other schools.