How Much Does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Make?

7 Min Read Published August 4, 2023
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salary Guide by

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, the average psychiatric nurse practitioner’s salary is $145,350 annually. 

ZipRecruiter states that the average psychiatric NP yearly salary is $90,554 but can range between almost $32,000 to about $154,000, depending on your state and city. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse practitioners of all specialties, on average, earn about $120,680 annually.

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. 

Level of Experience

Payscale reports that with increased experience comes an increase in pay. Psychiatric NPs specifically can earn the following, 

  • Less than 1 year of experience earn an average annual salary of $109,569

  • 1-4 years of experience earn an average annual salary of $117,949

  • 5-9 years of experience earns an average annual salary of $120,667

  • 10-19 years of experience earns an average annual salary of $124,920

  • 20 years and higher years of experience earns an average annual salary of $123,136

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


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

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


Annual Salary

Hourly Wage

New York


















New Jersey



























New Hampshire















Rhode Island



South Dakota



North Dakota









New Mexico

































South Carolina









West Virginia



























North Carolina






Source: Ziprecruiter

Highest-Paying Cities for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

ZipRecruiter reports that the highest-paying cities for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are:

  • Diamond Ridge, AK - $145,780 annually
  • Soda Bay, CA - $138,841 annually
  • Cameron, AZ - $134,473 annually
  • Talmage, CA - $131,246 annually
  • Johnstonville, CA - $129,773 annually

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. 

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 with multiple campuses, you may want to talk 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. Just remember, if you are a salaried employee you might not qualify for OT or the requirements might be different. Check with your manager and HR department to confirm eligibility. 

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. 

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 additional 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.

>> Show Me Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Is Becoming a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Worth It?

The only person who can decide whether becoming a PMHNP is worth it is you. Do PMHNP duties suit your career goals? Do you have enough time to attend a PMHNP program? Is mental health something you're passionate about? These questions can help guide your decision-making process.

Psychiatric nurse practitioner duties involve providing different types of care than bedside roles. So you generally won't work with a lot of the same nursing skills you cultivated during your initial RN experience. 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.

Additionally, attending a PMHNP program can be quite flexible. There are several in-person and online PMHNP programs that you can attend in a full or part-time capacity. 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!

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner FAQs

  • What is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

    • A psychiatric nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse who provides a wide range of essential mental health care to patients and their families.
  • 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's Degree in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) and complete 600-1000 hours of clinical rotations. Upon graduation, students must also pass their state’s nursing exam for certification to practice as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).

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Sarah Jividen
Sarah Jividen Contributor

Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, is a trained neuro/trauma and emergency room nurse turned freelance healthcare writer/editor. As a journalism major, she combined her love for writing with her passion for high-level patient care. Sarah is the creator of Health Writing Solutions, LLC, specializing in writing about healthcare topics, including health journalism, education, and evidence-based health and wellness trends. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children. 

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