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

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. You can either attend classes or complete one of the online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs.


What are Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs (No GRE)?

PNPs are nurses who have fulfilled the requirements to practice as RNs (registered nurses) and would like to specialize in mental health care. To become a PNP, RNs must pursue an additional degree. In order to earn that degree, they take knowledge-based classes but also study more clinical, hands-on subjects including the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric conditions and illnesses. Courses are typically broken up into age groups, so PNPs can be expected to study the mental healthcare of children, adults, and aging adults as separate units. Students must also take part in some psychopharmacological and psychotherapy education. 

PNP students are expected to study biostatistics, epidemiology, public health policy, nursing ethics, and nursing research skills. As this is a master’s level course, participants can expect a strong theoretical component as well as practical skills learning and gaining clinical experience.

When they have completed their degree, PNPs have the clinical knowledge and skills to care for patients in need of psychiatric care. In some states, this means they can provide this care on their own, without needing to be supervised by an MD. This is not the case uniformly across the country, so what a person with a master’s in psychiatric care practitioner (no gre) will be able to do unsupervised will depend on where they end up practicing. However, with or without supervision, PNPs in all states 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, or 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 potential 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 in psychiatric nursing 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. A hybrid program will combine online courses with some classroom or clinical attendance. The flexibility makes online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs an excellent choice for professionals who want to earn a higher degree while they work or care for family members.

How Much Do Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs Cost?

Tuition for an online master’s in psychiatric nursing 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, the 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 an online psychiatric nurse practitioner program (no gre) 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 (typically at least two), 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. Students should also be aware that if they choose to go down the part-time route, they will still need to complete the clinical requirement, which is spread throughout the program. This involves many hours of training under the supervision of an approved physician. 

What Does A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Do?

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the role of a psychiatric nurse practitioner ‘is to assess, diagnose and treat the mental health needs of patients.’ As such, the answer to the question ‘what does a psychiatric nurse practitioner do?’ is almost everything a licensed mental health professional does. Psychiatric nurse practitioners are trained in diagnosing mental health conditions, prescribing and reviewing medication plans, administering counseling and psychotherapy, and coordinating other aspects of the patient’s care. 

However, how much autonomy a psychiatric nurse practitioner has depends on the state. In 22 states and in Washington D.C., psychiatric nurse practitioners have full autonomy, which gives them the ability to deliver mental health care without further supervision. However,  in other states, PNPs have what’s known as limited or restricted practice, which means their work has to be overseen by a registered physician. 

PNPs generally work across the lifespan, meaning that their patients are not restricted by age group. The same PNP may see children, adults, and seniors as part of their daily workload. However, some psychiatric nurse practitioners may choose to focus on a specific age group. On average, a psychiatric nurse practitioner can expect to see up to 15 patients per day.

Many PNPs find their work very rewarding because they get a lot of hands-on experience with a variety of mental health conditions. They also are able to approach mental health care holistically, considering the physical and psychological health of a patient and employing both pharmacological and psychotherapeutic approaches in treating mental health problems. 

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 could earn a high salary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nurse practitioners earn an average annual salary exceeding $125,000. 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 in many states 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 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 Master’s in Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs (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 that the growth rate of nurse practitioner jobs for 2022-32 will be 38%, much higher than the national average of 3%. 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 an online Master’s in 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

Where Do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Work? 

The vast majority of psychiatric nurse practitioners work in three types of settings: behavioral and addiction treatment clinics, in psychiatric/mental health facilities, and, where they are able to work without supervision, in private practice. However, these are not the only options for PNPs. Many work in assisted living facilities, correctional facilities, domestic violence shelters, schools and universities, and in substance abuse facilities and rehabilitation centers. Each of these paves the way to a more specialized career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner and is particularly suited to PNPs with a special interest in a particular group or condition.  In some states, PNPs are able to become psychiatric primary care providers.

For PNPs who want a change of direction, there is the option to go down the educational route and become a lecturer in psychiatric nursing. Educators in the fieldwork in college and community college settings, and can work from home if they teach online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs.  

You could also become a researcher. There are many areas of current research into psychiatric disorders and mental health. You could study the effects of harmful chemicals on the human brain, for example, or the links between other lifestyle factors and mental health. 

Typical Curriculum for Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner 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

10 Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs (no GRE) 

If you haven’t taken the GRE, there’s good news. There are several online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs out there that do not require a GRE. They are:

  1. Regis College (MA)
  2. Indiana Wesleyan University (IN)
  3. Maryville University of Saint Louis (MO)
  4. University of North Dakota (ND)
  5. Medical University of South Carolina (SC)
  6. University of South Carolina-Columbia (SC)
  7. Georgia College & State University (GA)
  8. Northern Kentucky University (KY)
  9. University of Arizona (AZ)
  10. Briar Cliff University (IA)

Different schools will have different admissions requirements, although all of them will require you to possess an active nursing license and be able to provide letters of recommendation, a resume, and a letter of intent as part of your application. Most online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs (no GRE) also have minimum grade point average requirements, and these vary from school to school. 

Most schools will require an undergraduate grade point average of 3 or higher, although Georgia College & State University will accept a 2.75 GPA for the last sixty undergraduate hours in a nursing major. All colleges also require you to have completed a minimum number of hours in clinical practice. Northern Kentucky University, for example, requires all applicants to have completed 1,000 hours in clinical pratice.  

Some schools will also require a pre-admission interview as part of the application process. All schools will require a minimum of 500 postgraduate clinical hours specifically in a psychiatric setting. Some schools have higher requirements for the clinical component. The Medical University of South Carolina requires its PNP master’s students to complete 1,170 clinical hours; Regis College requires 630 hours with a designated clinical mentor. 

Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs (No GRE): Summary

Online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs are open to most nursing professionals with an undergraduate degree. These programs open up a diverse range of career paths for those who want a career in mental health care. Psychiatric nurse practitioners work in a wide range of settings, from mental health centers to psychiatric facilities, prisons, and schools. In many states, they can also work as independent mental health providers in private practice. PNPs perform a number of mental health care duties, from assessment and diagnosis to pharmacology-based and therapy-based treatment. Their work is not limited to any one age or population group, though they can choose to specialize in specific group or condition. 

Most psychiatric nurse practitioners pursue either a psychiatry/psychology clinical focus area or a behavioral/addiction focus area. This choice then often determines their future work setting. 

A number of colleges offer online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs with no GRE required. They do have other requirements, however, which vary from school to school. Most online programs will require prior undergraduate-level education and clinical nursing experience. 

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

What jobs require a master’s in psychiatric nurse practitioner?

Psychiatric nurse practitioner degree holders can work in positions like hospital mental health care providers, private practice providers, mental health screeners/assessors, rehabilitation counselors, and in-home care providers. They can also work in the military, school settings, or in advocacy roles. Some nurse practitioners serve as consultants to help organizations build their mental healthcare practice. Also, PNPs in mental health can be forensic psychiatric providers, which means they work with the justice system to analyze evidence, serve as expert witnesses, or evaluate the state of an individual’s mental health or wellness.

Does an online master’s for a psychiatric nurse practitioner offer good job prospects?

Job prospects are excellent in this area. The field of psychiatric care is booming and you can expect to find many opportunities as the field expands in years to come. The field is also experiencing a shortage of practitioners, and if this continues, there will be a huge supply of jobs available to you when you are ready to work.

What are the different fields for psychiatric nurse practitioners?

As a PNP, you may end up specializing in adolescent or youth care, gerontological care, addiction, or rehabilitation care. You may also work in the military, as an educator, or as a consultant. Also, some psychiatric care providers work in mental healthcare policy, or they do advocacy work. Some psychiatric nurse practitioners choose to work in domestic violence shelters or in correctional facilities, two types of institutions that have high percentages of people with complex mental health needs. 

Choose a program that offers the concentration you are most interested in to start your journey down your chosen career path while you are still in school.

How long does it take to get an online master’s in psychiatric nurse practitioner no GRE required degree?

Earning your master’s degree as a PNP can take anywhere from eighteen months to two years or more. The program is longer if you are currently working and take part-time classes or if you’re looking for a more advanced degree. Many schools offer accelerated programs, which are good options for nurses who are ready to provide a higher level of care and want to earn their degree as quickly as possible.

What does an online master’s in psychiatric nurse practitioner no GRE required program curriculum typically include?

This degree includes clinical practice, courses that cover mental illnesses, and classes that cover different therapies as well as an in-depth study of psychopharmacology. Most programs also cover some biostatistics, as well as an introduction to policy and social issues relating to mental healthcare, to have a broader understanding of the landscape of psychiatry today. Finally, nearly all programs will teach nursing skills and provide clinical practice, and many of these nursing courses will be more advanced than degree or certificate programs that precede the master’s (e.g., earning your BS or becoming an RN).

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