Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Job Description

Before you commit to a career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you obviously need to know what this job entails. There are a lot of variations to the psychiatric nurse practitioner job description based on employer needs, patient needs, and the general demands in the medical industry. With that in mind, there are some consistencies that you can use to determine the suitability of this career in your life. Here is a career profile for psychiatric nurse practitioners that you can use to assess this profession for your future.

The Work of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Every psychiatric NP has a slightly different set of job duties, and those may change from day to day. Mental health is not exactly a predictable sector of the medical industry, but there are some responsibilities that you will inherently come across at some point in your life. Those may include:

Job Duties

  • Administer medications
  • Assist psychiatrists
  • Counsel with mental health patients
  • Develop patient treatment plans
  • Diagnose patients with mental illnesses
  • File medical reports
  • Prescribe medications for treatment

Places of Employment for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

Some psychiatric nurse practitioners work on their own, and others find jobs in mental health facilities in their area. You will have to assess the job opportunities available to you to determine where you want to work. Here is a list of some common employers you may be able to apply with in this profession:


  • Psychiatric Service Facilities
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • General Hospitals
  • Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Health Clinics
  • Healthcare Facilities

Those employers work in many industries, so you may want to think about a specialty you want to work with. If you have experience in a concentrated area of psychiatrics, you may be a more desirable candidate for a job opening. Common industries for psychiatric NPs include:


  • Family Practice
  • Geriatrics
  • Acute Care
  • Case Management
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatry
  • Medicine
  • Surgery

Educational Requirements for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

If you like what you’ve read so far in this psychiatric nurse practitioner job description, you may want to learn what it takes to work in this field. This will require you to obtain a master’s degree in nursing or higher, depending on what you want to do with your career. There are several variations to this degree that you can pursue, so feel free to take a look at some of your options. They may include:


  • Doctorate in Nursing
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing specialty
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Psychiatry specialty
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Nurse Practitioner specialty
  • Master of Science in Nursing, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner specialty

Additionally, you may want to get a certification of some sort to verify your abilities as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. This is not necessarily a requirement, but it will give you a better chance of getting a job in the future. Popular certifications for this career include:


  • American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • Critical Care
  • Family Practice
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse-Board Certified:
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Pediatrics

Pay Rates for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

As a whole, psychiatric nurse practitioners make pretty good money. Their salaries are influenced by their career training and experience, but they can still make more than $60,000 a year right out of college. The charts below will give you a better idea of the pay that may be in store for you.

Salary by Experience

  • Less than 1 year of experience: $62,462 – $96,523 per year
  • 1-4 years of experience: $60,267 – $103,939 per year
  • 5-9 years of experience: $59,350 – $117,923 per year
  • 10-19 years of experience: $64,564 – $120,171 per year
  • 20 years of experience or more: $67,602 – $109,055 per year

Salary by Company Size

  • 1-9 staff members: $72,877 – $258,381 per year
  • 10-49 staff members: $63,738 – $108,194 per year
  • 50-199 staff members: $60,608 – $125,683 per year
  • 200-599 staff members: $69,447 – $117,446 per year
  • 600-1999 staff members: $59,598 – $110,788 per year
  • 2000-4999 staff members: $61,825 – $104,222 per year
  • 5000-19999 staff members: $45,958 – $117,446 per year

Assess the psychiatric nurse practitioner job description above and figure out if this is a good career for you. If it is, there are plenty of nursing schools out there to help you see your goals come to life.