GUIDE
March 16, 2022
How Much Does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Make?

Part One What is the Average Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salary?

If you are considering going back to school to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, also known as a psychiatric mental-health nurse practitioner (PMHNP), you will be happy to know that the earning potential is much higher than that of a BSN-trained nurse. According to Indeed.com, the average psychiatric nurse practitioner salary is $143,240 annually. This number includes an additional $15,000 in overtime pay.

Zip Recruiter states that the average psychiatric NP yearly salary is $123,607 but can range between almost $91,000 to about $138,000, depending on your state and city. 

According to the BLS, nurse practitioners of all specialties on average earn about $117,670 annually or $56.57 per hour. That is a moderate increase in salary of about $40,000 per year, or $20 an hour more than registered nurses with an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) or BNS. 

Part Two Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner Salary Factors

There are several salary factors to consider when determining the actual yearly income for psychiatric NPs. Some of these include the level of experience, place of work, geographical location, and additional benefits earned as part of a total compensation package. 

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Level of Experience

As psychiatric nurse practitioners gain experience in the field, their average annual income and hourly wage should also increase. The Clinical Advisor’s 2019 Nurse Practitioner and Physician Assistant Salary Survey states the following average salaries based on years of experience:

PMHNP Salary by Years of Experience

  1. <5 years experience - $100,634
  2. 6-10 years experience - $110,442
  3. 11-15 years experience - $110,828
  4. 16-20 years experience - $111,730
  5. 20 or more years of experience -$112,989

Place of Work

Where you work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner also partly determines your annual salary. Psychiatric NPs working a variety of locations such as:

  1. Acute care hospitals 
  2. Correctional facilities
  3. Outpatient clinics
  4. Drug rehab centers
  5. Behavioral health clinics
  6. Psychiatric mental health facilities
  7. Private NP practices
  8. Benefits

Benefits

In addition, the benefits that psychiatric NPs may have include:

  1. Retirement
  2. Loan repayment options
  3. Paid jury duty
  4. Health insurance
  5. Dental insurance
  6. Health savings accounts
  7. Paid time off
  8. Licensure or re-certification reimbursement

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Part Three Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salaries by City and State

The geographical location where you work dramatically influences your overall yearly salary as a psychiatric NP. 

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salary by State

State Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Alabama $109,061 $52.43
Alaska $114,454 $55.03
Arizona $115,761 $55.65
Arkansas $99,912 $48.03
California $133,201 $64.04
Colorado $106,358 $51.13
Connecticut $117,531 $56.51
Delaware $106,105 $51.01
Florida $105,250 $50.60
Georgia $111,671 $53.69
Hawaii $120,315 $57.84
Idaho $102,304 $49.18
Illinois $99,370 $47.77
Indiana $115,019 $55.30
Iowa $106,907 $51.40
Kansas $107,262 $51.57
Kentucky $101,794 $48.94
Louisiana $108,889 $52.35
Maine $123,124 $59.19
Maryland $113,525 $54.58
Massachusetts $123,715 $59.48
Michigan $99.799 $47.98
Minnesota $112,280 $53.98
Mississippi $100,496 $48.32
Missouri $97,649 $46.95
Montana $116,965 $56.23
Nebraska $111,687 $53.70
Nevada $113,554 $54.59
New Hampshire $134,208 $64.52
New Jersey $116,129 $55.83
New Mexico $106,586 $51.24
New York $138,474 $66.57
North Carolina $90,925 $43.71
North Dakota $113,745 $54.69
Ohio $111,498 $53.61
Oklahoma $103,803 $49.91
Oregon $108,288 $52.30
Pennsylvania $118,288 $56.87
Rhode Island $106,701 $55.50
South Carolina $106,701 $51.30
South Dakota $110,424 $53.09
Tennessee $112,315 $54.00
Texas $98,711 $47.46
Utah $109,833 $52.80
Vermont $126,832 $60.98
Virginia $110,223 $52.99
Washington $120,362 $57.87
West Virginia $120,325 $57.85
Wisconsin $112,148 $53.92
Wyoming $123,660 $59.45

Source: Ziprecruiter

Highest Paying States for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

According to Zip Recruiter, the highest paying states for psychiatric NPs include:

  1. New York: $138,474 annually, or $66.57/hr
  2. New Hampshire: $124,208 annually, or $64.52/hr
  3. California: $133,201 annually, or $64.04/hr
  4. Vermont: $126,832 annually, or $60.98/hr
  5. Massachusetts: $123,715 annually, or $59.48/hr

Highest Paying Cities for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

Zip recruiter also reports that the highest paying cities for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are:

  1. San Mateo, CA: $179,859 annual, or $86.47/hr
  2. Berkley, CA: $174,064 annual, or $83.68/hr
  3. Daly City, CA: $173,580 annual, or $83.45/hr
  4. Richmond, CA: $168,405 annual, or $80.96
  5. Kirkland, WA: $164,429 annual, or $79.05

Many of the cities that pay a higher annual salary also have a higher cost of overall living. Therefore, you may want to research your overall earning potential along with the cost of living in the area, especially if you are considering relocation. 

There might be as much as $30,000 or more between the highest and lowest-paying locations in some cases. 

Part Four How to Increase Your Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salary?

There are several ways to increase your PMHNP salary. If you are willing to be creative and open to new ways to increase your annual salary, you may want to consider the following suggestions.

1.) Negotiate

The most obvious way to make more money as a psychiatric NP is to ask your employer for a higher wage. You can do this during the interview process before you accept a new job, or you may even want to consider renegotiating your salary with your current employer.

If you work for a larger institution, you may want to consider talking to your HR department about other options. They may have another position in another city that pays more. You must advocate for yourself, especially when it comes to your earning potential. 

2.) Work Overtime

Many institutions will offer time-and-a-half or double-time pay for psychiatric NPs who work overtime hours. 

Overtime pay is more common during holidays or weekends. In addition, some facilities will offer a pay differential for those who work mid-shift or night shifts. In some cases, this may be anywhere from $3 to $9 an hour more than your standard rate. 

3. Change Your Geographical Location

Research the cost of living of the cities and states that pay psych NPs the most money. In some cases, increasing your salary might mean moving to a location with a lower cost of living that also offers a higher annual salary.

4. Move into an Administrative or Leadership Role

Another way to earn more money as a psychiatric NP is to move into an administrative role. Nurse practitioners have a lot to offer from an executive position because they have direct patient care experience and additional knowledge to bring to the job.

5. Earn More Certifications

Many employers want NPs to have more certifications and training. Many even offer a salary increase for those who do. Talk to your manager and see what additional training might also offer and increase pay.

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Part Five Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner FAQs

  • What is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

    • A psychiatric nurse practitioner is an advanced practice nurse who provides a wide range of essential mental health care to patients and their families. They are licensed to provide acute and emergency mental health services. Some of the treatments that psychiatric NPs help patients with include treatment for ADHD, substance abuse, anxiety, mood disorders, and other serious emergency psychiatric conditions.
  • What Do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Do?

    • Some of the tasks that psychiatric NPs do daily include assessing patients, diagnosing mental illnesses, conducting therapy with patients, prescribing medications (depending on the state), managing substance abuse programs, managing treatment plans, educating patient families and staff on evidence-based practices and protocols.
  • Where Can Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Work?

    • Psych NPs work in various locations, including acute care hospitals, psychiatric facilities, assisted-living facilities, doctors’ offices, and outpatient clinics.
  • What is the Scope of Practice for a PMHNP?

    • The scope of practice for NPs depends on the state in which they live. In some states, psychiatric NPs can practice autonomously, own their own practice, and even write prescriptions. But in other states, such as California, the state nursing regulations are more strict and require all NPs to practice under the supervision of a physician. 
  • How Do You Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

    • Becoming a psychiatric NP requires completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and working as a registered nurse for a minimum of two years. Then candidates must complete a Masters Degree in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) and complete 600-1000 hours of clinical rotations. Depending on the degree and if the student is working full-time or part-time, this can take three to seven years to complete. Upon graduation, students must also pass their state’s nursing exam for certification to practice as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).
  • Are Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners In Demand?

    • According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for all advanced nursing practitioners will grow 45% between 2020-2030.

Part Six Is Becoming a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Worth It?

If you are considering advancing your education to become a psychiatric NP, you are the only one who can determine if the role is worth your time. There are so many factors to consider, and you may want to look into other NP programs to see if they might be a good fit.

Working with psychiatric patients is usually much different than working with patients receiving other types of medical care. You generally won’t work with many of the same nursing skills you used while working as a bedside nurse at the hospital. However, most patient care institutions treat both physical health and mental health concerns, so there is a good chance you have already gotten experience in each area. 

Most importantly, if the thought of earning a higher salary and helping patients with mental health issues excites you, then a career as a psychiatric NP might be right up your alley!

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