People who want to pursue a career in nursing have several options for the type of work they can do and the level of education they need to complete. If you want to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner (PNP), one way to reach your academic goals is to complete an online master’s program with no GRE required. That means you can skip the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) that many universities require for admission, and you can also attend classes and study online.


What is an Online Master’s in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner No GRE Required?

PNPs are nurses who have fulfilled requirements to practice as RNs (registered nurses) and would like to specialize. To become a PNP, RNs must pursue an additional degree, and in order to earn the degree, they take not only knowledge-based classes but also study more clinical, hands-on subjects including the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric conditions and illnesses. They must also undergo some psychopharmacological education.

When they have completed their degree, PNPs have the clinical knowledge and skills to care for patients in need of psychiatric care, and they can provide this care on their own, without needing to be supervised by an MD. They can make diagnoses and prescribe medicine, and they can also provide psychotherapy along with pharmacological interventions.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners with master’s degrees work in medical office settings, schools and universities, nursing homes, prisons, hospitals, and in many other settings, and they care for patients with a variety of mental illnesses. Others specialize in a particular field of psychiatry like addiction medicine, gerontology, military psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry. Many other specialties exist, and since the field is growing, it’s likely that more will develop.

PNPs who do not want to work in a typical office setting may choose to teach other PNPs to become nurse practitioners. Alternatively, they may pursue jobs in forensic psychiatry where they work within the justice system to provide expert knowledge to judges or juries in cases. Forensic PNPs may testify about someone’s competency to stand trial, a person’s ability to parent adequately, or report on the state of an incarcerated individual’s mental well-being.

To become a PNP, whether you want to work with patients in a clinical setting or in a field like forensics, you can complete your online graduate education from the comfort of your own home by choosing an online master’s program. If you choose a program that does not require a GRE for admission, you don’t have to take a standardized test to apply for the program. Instead, you’ll submit essays, transcripts, recommendations, and other requirements, depending on the university.

Some master’s programs for psychiatric nurse practitioners are completely remote, while others are hybrid programs with some courses completely online and others requiring classroom or clinical attendance. The flexibility makes online programs an excellent choice for professionals who want to earn a higher degree while they work or care for family members.

How Much Does an Online Master’s in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner No GRE Required Degree Cost? 

Tuition for an online master’s for PNPs can vary widely. Fees are usually calculated per credit hour, and the number of credits required determines the fee. While the cost of each individual program is different, you can find master’s degree programs that cost as little as $27,000 and as much as $67,000 and up. The price of a program depends on things like the reputation of the school, the number of credits required, specialization offered, and books or other supplies. Many programs that award master’s degrees to psychiatric nurse practitioners require students to complete 48 total credits in order to graduate.

The cost of a master’s program may also depend on the length or speed of the program. Students who choose to pursue their master’s full-time can expect to be in school over several years, and the many courses they must complete can mean a high tuition cost.

Some schools, however, offer accelerated programs. These programs help people complete their education and start working faster, and they can mean fewer classes, especially if students meet requirements in other ways, such as clinical experience. That can mean lower tuition. On the other hand, an accelerated program can simply mean taking more courses than usual during each semester, and it can also mean summer or winter break classes but no difference in cost.

Average Salary for an Online Master’s in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner No GRE Required

If you decide to work in mental health as a PNP, you can expect to earn a high salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychiatric nurse practitioners earn around $123,550 annually Your salary will depend on where you work, what specialty within psychiatry you focus on, and who employs you (or whether you are self-employed).

Since a psychiatric nurse practitioner can legally prescribe medication, many patients seeking psychiatric care prefer their needs to be managed by a clinician rather than a doctor. Treatment can be less expensive, plus a PNP can also offer psychotherapy along with medication. Many psychiatric nurse practitioners gravitate toward their field because they get a lot of hands-on, real clinical experience working with patients.

One perk of being a PNP today is that you can practice and work with patients within your own private practice; you don’t need to be supervised by a doctor. Psychiatric nurse practitioners who work on their own may end up earning more than counterparts who work under physicians.

Psychiatric nurse practitioner degrees allow you to work with people to help them manage their mental healthcare. If you have a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing, there are many positions you can hold and facilities in which you can work including private practices, mental health hospitals, mental health units within general hospitals, inpatient clinics, outpatient clinics, rehabilitation facilities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and even in a home healthcare setting.

What Is the Job Outlook for Online Master’s in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner No GRE Required Holders?

Studies show there is currently a shortage of professionals within the field of psychiatry. So, when you earn an online master’s in psychiatric nurse practitioner, there’s a good chance you’re going to find work easily. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the field is growing much faster than other professional fields, and the number of working nurse practitioners will grow 45% by 2029. If the shortage continues, there will be no lack of jobs when it comes time to finding the right position for you, and you should be able to pick the workplace, employer, type of client, and professional setting that best suits your goals and desires.

More psychiatric providers are needed because, in part, mental healthcare is being destigmatized, and also, seeking care from a mental healthcare clinician is becoming more socially accepted, especially after the grief, trauma, and isolation associated with the recent pandemic. Psychiatric PNPs may also find employment easily because they can work for themselves. PNPs who start their own practices don’t need to wait to be hired by a physician to launch their professional path.

If you get your Master’s degree to be a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (No GRE Required), you may hold one of the following jobs:

  • Rehabilitation counselor/provider
  • Psychiatric education
  • Medication prescriber
  • Mental health testing and evaluation professional
  • Hospital psychiatric care provider
  • In-home psychiatric care provider
  • Military or veteran care
  • Mental healthcare in a school or university setting
  • Psychotherapist (with the ability to prescribe medication)
  • Forensic psychiatrist
  • Psychiatric consultant
  • Mental health policy advocate
  • Public health educator
  • Mental healthcare provider in correctional settings
  • Public health advocate
  • Researcher
  • Professor or teacher of nursing, science, or health-related subjects
  • Psychotherapy provider
  • Holistic/integrated mental and physical wellness counselor
  • And more

Courses in Online Master’s in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner No GRE Required Degree Programs 

If you decide to study online for a master’s in psychiatric nurse practitioner (no GRE required), you’ll have to earn your MSN (master’s in nursing) first. Then you can earn your master’s as a psychiatric nurse practitioner which prepares you for the clinical experience of seeing your own patients.

In the program, you’ll take courses that cover a wide variety of topics related to mental health, physical health, pharmacology, and psychology. Classes cover everything from mental illnesses to trauma and addiction. Here are some courses you can expect to take while earning your online master’s in psychiatric nurse practitioner:

  • Evidence-based practice in nursing
  • Health care policy
  • Disease prevention
  • Advanced pathophysiology
  • Theoretic foundations of nursing practice
  • Integrating research
  • Ethics of advanced nursing practice
  • Quality and patient safety in nursing practice
  • Organizations theory
  • Systems leadership
  • Principles of epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Biological basis of mental illness
  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Mental health disorders and diagnoses
  • Mental health therapies
  • Evidence for Practice
  • Health Politics and Issues
  • Neuro-psychopharmacology
  • Treatment of Older Adults
  • Clinical inquiries
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Health
  • Role development
  • Nursing research
  • Interprofessional Organizational Leadership
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychiatric care over a lifetime
  • Policy and advocacy for improving population health
  • And many, many more

Some master’s programs that allow students to earn their degree as a PNP are general programs, in which people study mental wellness, mental illness, and treatment broadly. However, many programs offer specialties or concentrations that students can choose within this field. When a student hones in on a concentration during their studies, it can help them narrow their career path and determine their focus once they get out of school. Here are some of the most popular concentrations that are offered by online PNP master’s programs:

  • Mental healthcare for rural populations
  • Pediatric mental healthcare
  • Women’s/gender-focused care
  • Adult/gerontological mental healthcare
  • Mental healthcare in corrections
  • Substance abuse and rehabilitation
  • Forensics
  • Adolescent Mental Health Nursing
  • Consulting/communication

FAQs on Online Master’s in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner No GRE Required

Summary Information

  • Program lengths depend on how many credits your program requires
  • You can earn your degree completely online or in a hybrid program
  • Currently employed nurses can earn their degrees via a part-time course of study
  • Costs of programs differ depending on the credits required and the reputation of the school
  • As an online student, some costs of the program will include your own computer and Internet connection
  • Accelerated programs can be intense but more affordable

  • The cost of the program can vary based on how many credits you need, if it is ALA certified, and what kinds of specialties it includes. 
  • Online students have additional costs besides tuition such as a reliable internet connection and computer equipment such as web cameras. 
  • Library science students may incur program-related costs for activities like field trips, transcriptions, and special projects. 

Scholarships for library science programs are listed at the ALA.

University NameProgram’s NameGRE Required?
Briar Cliff UniversityMaster of Science – NursingNot Required
Georgia College & State UniversityMaster of Science – NursingNot Required
Maryville UniversityFamily Nurse Practitioner ProgramNot Required
Northern Kentucky UniversityMaster of Science – NursingNot Required
Regis CollegeMaster of Science – NursingNot Required
University of North DakotaMaster of Science – Family Nurse PractitionerNot Required
University of South AlabamaMaster of Science – Family Nurse PractitionerNot Required
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