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Walden graduates more nurses with advanced degrees than any other university.¹

Do you want to care and advocate for patients with mental health challenges? Walden’s Post-Master’s Graduate Certificate in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program offers a path to your dream career. Take only the courses you need to become academically prepared to become an NP—or to add a new specialty to your existing nurse practitioner license.

A post-master’s PMHNP certificate program academically prepares registered nurses to promote mental health through assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of behavioral problems, mental disorders, and comorbid conditions. Walden’s streamlined program allows you to earn your NP post-master’s certificate in just 43 quarter credits or less.*

Upon graduation from our online post-master’s PMHNP certificate program, you’ll be educationally prepared to sit for the national certification exam for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

Develop Specialized Skills

Deepen your clinical expertise with coursework that covers advanced pathophysiology, pharmacology, and health assessment.

Gain a Holistic Perspective

Develop a holistic approach to managing your patients, including engaging groups, families, and the community in their care.

Learn From Active NPs

Practicing PMHNPs developed our program to prepare you to deliver effective mental health care in a variety of settings.

Be Immersed in Your Learning

Cutting-edge online learning technologies, interactive simulations, and realistic case studies bring course topics to life.

Take Advantage of Transfer-of-Credit Opportunities

Do you already have your MSN—or are you already an NP? You may be eligible to transfer credit from your previous coursework to reduce the number of courses you will need to complete the post-master’s PMHNP certificate program. Contact an Enrollment Specialist to learn more.

Program Savings

Speak with an Enrollment Specialist to learn about our current tuition savings.

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Curriculum

Minimum Degree Requirements

  • 43 quarter credits
  • Core courses (3 cr.)
  • Specialization courses (40 cr. includes the required 640 practicum hours*)


Start dates are offered each quarter so you can begin your program when it is convenient for you. Enrollment in this post-master's nurse practitioner certificate program is currently open to new students in most states.

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-398-6223.


Courses

Course Code Title Credits

Core Courses

NURS 6002/6003
Transition to Graduate Study for Nursing

In this course students are introduced to Walden University and online learning. Students explore strategies for the successful participation in an online curriculum. Students also will receive a foundation for academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. Course assignments introduce students to resources that support success, development of graduate-level writing skills and use of APA Style, academic integrity, and the creation of a professional development plan based on each student’s chosen specialization.

3 cr.

Specialization Courses

NURS 6501
Advanced Pathophysiology

Advanced practice nurses must be equipped with an in-depth understanding of pathophysiological disease processes across the lifespan. In this course, students focus on understanding the bio-physiological processes, the deviations from these processes, and an in-depth examination of the scientific concepts related to the biology of disease processes. Advanced practice nursing students build on their knowledge of normal organ systems functioning to help organ systems return to optimal homeostasis. Through knowledge of pathophysiological disease processes, students synthesize the information needed to develop appropriate treatment plans for patients across the life span. Students explore a variety of topics regarding organ system diseases.

Prerequisites

MSN NP Specializations: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care

  • NURS 5050 or NURS 6050
  • NURS 5051 or NURS 6051
  • NURS 5052 or NURS 6052
  • NURS 6053

Post-Master's Certificates in Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

  • NURS 6002N or NURS 6003N

(5 cr.)
NURS 6521
Advanced Pharmacology

A solid foundation in the concepts and principles of drug therapy across the lifespan is essential to the work of advanced practice nurses. This course applies the advanced principles of pharmacology, including pharmacogenomics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics, by analysis of common drug classes prescribed by advanced practice nurses across the life span. Factors influencing successful therapy, such as effectiveness, safety, acceptability, cost, genetic/environmental influences, complementary regimens, and patient behaviors are considered. Through this course, students prepare to examine complex decisions in the management and treatment of selected acute and chronic diseases across the life span through pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic agents. Advanced practice nursing students will have a more in-depth understanding of drug legislation and regulation for prescribing drugs.

Prerequisites

MSN NP Specializations: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care

  • NURS 5050 or NURS 6050
  • NURS 5051 or NURS 6051
  • NURS 5052 or NURS 6052
  • NURS 6053

Post-Master's Certificates in Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

  • NURS 6002N or NURS 6003N

(5 cr.)
NURS 6512
Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning

The physical and emotional well-being of patients and families can be complex and multifaceted. Advanced practice nurses need to have the knowledge and ability to provide safe, competent, and comprehensive physical health assessments. Students in this course focus on concepts and skills to assess patients across the lifespan. They learn to use diagnostic reasoning, advanced communication, and physical assessment skills to identify changes in health patterns. Students also will explore preventative health through risk evaluation of healthy individuals as a central theme of clinical practice in addition to the assessment of patients with acute and chronic health problems. The advanced skills of suturing, reading 12 Lead EKGs, and interpreting X-rays will be covered. Course assignments emphasize risk assessment, diagnostic reasoning, and evidence-based assessment across the lifespan.

Prerequisites

MSN NP Specializations: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care

  • NURS 5050 or NURS 6050
  • NURS 5051 or NURS 6051
  • NURS 5052 or NURS 6052
  • NURS 6053

Post-Master's Certificates in Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

  • NURS 6002N or NURS 6003N

(5 cr.)
NURS 6630
Psychopharmacologic Approaches to Treatment of Psychopathology

At times, psychotherapy is not enough to alleviate the emotional difficulties that some patients face. To that end, psychopharmacologic approaches are needed. Psychiatric nurse practitioners (PNPs) must have a strong basis in psychopharmacology, extending from a prior education in pharmacology, to make appropriate medication choices for their patients. Learners in this course consider psychopharmacologic approaches to major behavioral health disorders including but not limited to major depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, as well as psychotic disorders. Learners explore key considerations associated with medication selection, monitoring efficacy, and long-term management.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 6501N
  • NURS 6521N
  • NURS 6512N

(5 cr.)
NRNP 6635
Psychopathology and Diagnostic Reasoning

Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) need to have the knowledge and skills to provide comprehensive mental health evaluations in a safe and competent manner. In this course, students can learn how to use knowledge of psychopathology and diagnostic reasoning for health promotion and psychiatric assessment, and to develop differential diagnosis for patients with psychiatric and substance use disorders across the life span.

(3 cr.)
PRAC 6635
Psychopathology and Diagnostic Reasoning Practicum

Advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nurses need to have the knowledge and ability to provide safe, competent, and comprehensive mental health assessments to patients in mental health settings across the lifespan. Students in this course apply assessment skills to include psychiatric interviewing, history taking, and examination to gather patient data to inform diagnosis. They also apply knowledge of psychopathology and diagnostic reasoning in clinical settings for health promotion and psychiatric assessment, and to develop differential diagnosis for patients with psychiatric and substance use disorders across the lifespan. Students synthesize their knowledge from previous coursework and professional experiences to develop advanced communication and documentation skills.

Note: Students with catalog years before Spring 2018 must complete a minimum of 144 practicum hours. Students with catalog years beginning Spring 2018 must complete a minimum of 160 practicum hours. A minimum of 80 patients are required. Required hours cannot be completed sooner than 8 weeks.

(2 cr.)
NRNP 6645
Psychotherapy With Multiple Modalities

Psychotherapy involves giving more than good advice. For the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) to be effective, deliberate approaches to therapy must be consistent with evidence-based practices. Learners in this course examine a variety of therapeutic techniques that can be used during psychotherapy sessions with individuals, families, and groups across the lifespan. Emphasis is placed on evidence-based applications of various therapeutic approaches for a wide range of psychiatric issues.

(3 cr.)
PRAC 6645
Psychotherapy With Multiple Modalities Practicum

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner students in this course synthesize their knowledge from previous clinical courses and professional experiences related to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of various mental health conditions for patients across the lifespan. Students gain clinical experience applying psychotherapy techniques in a mental healthcare setting.

Note: 160 practicum hours and a minimum of 80 patient encounters are required for this course. Practicum experiences must include interactions with all three modalities: individuals, groups, and families.

(2 cr.)
NRNP 6665
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Care Across the Lifespan I

Working from a lifespan approach, this course brings together diagnosis and treatment planning in psychiatry. Topics include psychiatric assessment, application of diagnostic criteria, diagnostic formulation, differential diagnosis, psychopharmacology, and appropriate labs and diagnostics. The learner will select a combination of psychotherapeutic modalities coupled with psychopharmacologic approaches to treat common psychiatric mental health conditions across the lifespan. Legal and ethical considerations for working with clients across the lifespan will be addressed. Students build confidence as they continue to transition from the role of registered nurse to that of advanced practice nurse.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 6501
  • NURS 6512
  • NURS 6521
  • NURS 6630
  • NRNP 6635
  • NRNP 6645

(3 cr.)
PRAC 6665
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Care Across the Lifespan I Practicum

This is the third of four practicum courses in the advanced practice psychiatric-mental health curriculum. Students will apply their knowledge of psychopathology, psychopharmacology, and psychiatric assessment to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of mental health disorders in children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. The focus of this course is on advanced nursing practice in mental health settings.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 6501
  • NURS 6512
  • NURS 6521
  • NURS 6630
  • PRAC 6635
  • PRAC 6645

Note: Students with catalog years before Spring 2018 must complete a minimum of 144 practicum hours; those with catalog years beginning Spring 2018 must complete a minimum of 160 practicum hours. A minimum of 80 patient encounters (40 children/adolescents and 40 adults/older adults) is required.

(2 cr.)
NRNP 6675
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Care Across the Lifespan II

Continuing from the lifespan approach, students in this final course for the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) focus on clinical competence in mental health settings by building on content and skills from previous courses. Selection of assessment approaches for patients across the lifespan, as well as differential diagnosis, application of diagnostic criteria, appropriate diagnostic testing, and diagnostic case formulation will be undertaken. The learner will use both psychotherapeutic approaches coupled with psychopharmacologic approaches to treat common psychiatric mental health conditions. Classroom activities and case studies enable students to explore the salient nurse practitioner practice issues involved in the delivery of safe, competent, high-quality, and cost-effective care of patients in a dynamic healthcare system. The application of knowledge in the management of clients and collaboration among the advanced practice nurse and the patient, family, and interprofessional healthcare team are emphasized. This course is designed for nurse practitioner (NP) students to synthesize their knowledge and clinical skills to provide care to patients with complex health conditions.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 6501
  • NURS 6512
  • NURS 6521
  • NURS 6630
  • NRNP 6645
  • NRNP 6665

(3 cr.)
PRAC 6675
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Care Across the Lifespan II Practicum

This is the final of four practicum courses in the advanced practice psychiatric-mental health curriculum. Students will apply their knowledge of psychopathology, psychopharmacology, and psychiatric assessment to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of mental health disorders in children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. The focus of this course is on advanced nursing practice in mental health settings.

Prerequisites

  • NURS 6501
  • NURS 6512
  • NURS 6521
  • NURS 6630
  • PRAC 6645
  • PRAC 6665

Note: Students with catalog years before Spring 2018 must complete a minimum of 144 practicum hours; those with catalog years beginning Spring 2018 must complete a minimum of 160 practicum hours. A minimum of 80 patient encounters (40 children/adolescents and 40 adults/older adults) is required.

(2 cr.)
VIEW ALL COURSES Less Courses

*Students who have already completed a nurse practitioner program may be eligible for transfer of credit for this course.

**Walden MSN alumni are eligible for transfer of credit for this course.

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 43 quarter credit hours $715 per quarter hour $30,745
Technology Fee Per quarter $160 $1,120

Clinical Course Fee

Per courses below

(PRAC 6635, PRAC 6645, PRAC 6660, PRAC 6670)

 $150 $600
       $32,465*

*Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships, or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 15 transfer credits for non-alumni. Walden MSN alumni may be eligible to transfer more credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-768-0109.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,500 to $2,000. Students may also incur additional costs related to practicum, including but not limited to costs of travel to their practicum site, practicum onboarding fees, per quarter practicum fees, and liability insurance costs.

Admissions Requirements

To be considered for this certificate program, you must have a current, active RN license, a Master of Science in Nursing or equivalent from an accredited school, and meet the general admission requirements. All applicants must submit a completed online application and transcripts. Depending on program specialization, additional requirements may apply. More information for international applicants.

Build Your Clinical Expertise

In this online post-master’s PMHNP certificate program, you’ll acquire the advanced-practice nursing skills and clinical judgment to make comprehensive mental health assessments on patients of all ages. Learn to provide holistic mental health services and lead mental health wellness efforts for individuals, groups, and families. Explore the use of research in creating, assessing, and refining health promotion materials that best resonate with the populations in your community.

This certificate’s content is consistent with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) standards for psychiatric-mental health nursing programs.

Walden field experience coordinators are available to assist you in meeting your practicum requirements and you can view this FAQ document for answers to some of the most common questions.

Program Directors/Faculty

  • Judi Kuric

    Judi Kuric

    Program Director

    Dr. Kuric has more than 35 years of experience in nursing and advanced-practice nursing and more than 25 years of experience in nursing education. She is board certified as an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner, family nurse practitioner, and emergency nurse practitioner.

  • Jennifer Stone

    Jennifer Stone

    Academic Coordinator

    Dr. Stone is a board-certified family nurse practitioner with more than 16 years of experience in clinical practice. She has presented at numerous conferences, including the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and South Florida Council of Advanced Practice Nurses.

  • Virginia Moore

    Ginny Moore

    Academic Coordinator

    Dr. Moore is the academic program coordinator of the MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. She is board certified as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) with over 26 years of clinical and administrative experience as a registered nurse.  She has been a faculty member for nursing education since 2015.  

Learning Outcomes

Upon completing this online post-master’s PMHNP certificate program, you will be academically prepared to:

  • Synthesize organizational/systems leadership for cost-effective specialist nursing practice that contributes to high-quality healthcare delivery, advancement of the nursing profession, and social change.
  • Critique evidence-based literature drawing from diverse theoretical perspectives and pertinent research to guide decision making that demonstrates best practices for specialist nursing practice in a global society.
  • Integratively assess, diagnose, plan, implement, and evaluate cost-effective healthcare strategies that reduce health disparities by patient/population advocacy for access to specialist nursing care.
  • Demonstrate ability to effectively communicate using audience-specific oral, written, and information technology for professional delivery of specialist nursing care.
  • Evaluate health needs of diverse populations for necessary teaching/coaching functions based on specialist nursing knowledge to restore/promote health and prevent illness/injury.
  • Exhibit ongoing commitment to professional development and value of nursing theories/ethical principles (altruism, autonomy, human dignity, integrity, social justice) in accordance with ethically responsible, legally accountable, specialist nursing practice.
  • Implement specialist nursing roles to promote quality improvement of patient-centered care in accordance with professional practice standards that transform health outcomes for diverse populations.

Career Outlook

Mental illness or substance abuse disorders affect 56 million Americans today. With suicide and depression at crisis levels, psychiatrically trained nurse practitioners can play a key role in improving the quality of mental health services and access to effective treatment.2

Nurse practitioners who work in mental health not only have a rewarding job, they’re also in demand. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for psychiatric NPs are expected to grow by 26.8% through 2029.3 The annual mean salary for a nurse practitioner working in mental health in May 2020 was $126,200.4 Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many factors, such as education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession.

With a post-master’s PMHNP online certificate, you’ll have the training to meet the need for high-quality mental health services and open new doors to your future.

A PMHNP certificate program can academically prepare you to work in settings such as:

  • Mental health clinics
  • Correctional facilities
  • Inpatient and outpatient psychiatric facilities
  • Residential substance abuse facilities
  • Private psychiatric practices
  • Community mental health centers

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