Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Available Online

The Post-Graduate PMHNP Certificate program will prepare advanced practice nurses to provide primary mental health care for individuals, groups and populations across the lifespan. This Certificate Program is designed for nurses who hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) who wish to advance their knowledge, education, and skills to practice in an advanced practice role as a PMHNP. This advanced practice nurse maintains a critical role in the health care team and ensures collaboration and the provision of safe, effective, coordinated care. As an independent member of the health care team, and in partnership with patients, the PMHNP provides a variety of evidence-based services and therapies. The PMHNP assesses, makes diagnoses and plans care for complex psychiatric and concomitant medical issues, including the prescription and management of psychopharmacologic agents. The PMHNP advocates for patients and their families within a recovery and trauma-informed paradigm. The PMHNP ensures that patients and their families are engaged and actively participate in their behavioral health (mental health and substance use) care as they respond to the illness experience. The PMHNP continuously enhances their care through quality improvement and safety efforts and influences policy at the local, regional and national levels. The PMHNP melds the art and science of professional nursing and skillfully manages the acute and enduring issues posed by people with behavioral health issues across the lifespan. Graduates of this Post-Graduate PMHNP Certificate Program are eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Lifespan; formerly known as Family Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner) competency-based examination.

*This certificate program is a non-degree, graduate-level program. Upon completion of the program, participants receive a PMHNP Certificate of Completion.

Admission Requirements

  • To be eligible for admission to the Post-Graduate PMHNP Certificate program at National University, candidates must:
  • Meet the University requirements for graduate study, listed in the General Catalog under admission requirements
  • Hold a Master’s or doctoral degree in nursing from a regionally and CCNE and/or NLNAC accredited program in nursing
  • Provide proof of current, active, and unencumbered RN license in the State of residence
  • Have a GPA of at least 3.0 in graduate course work, on a 4.0 scale
  • Have 2-year recent clinical practice as a professional nurse
  • Have completed the University Application for Graduate Admissions
  • Have completed the Post-Graduate Certificate application packet
  • Provide one official transcript from each college or university attended to the Department of Nursing
  • Have three professional recommendation forms, preferably from individuals who hold graduate or doctoral degrees
  • Provide evidence of specified immunizations, a report of a recent physical clearance, a clear drug screen and background check, and current BLS-AED certification

Additional pre-requisite requirements

Students should be proficient in operating a personal computer, including: demonstrated competency in standard computer operating systems and electronic filing systems, basic keyboarding skills, organizing and sorting electronic documents; demonstrated knowledge of standard computer applications to include Microsoft Word and Excel; familiarity with using internet browsers and standard email systems such as MS Outlook.

Additional Information

This is a hybrid program that includes both online, onsite, and clinical preceptored learning activities. It is offered at an accelerated pace of full-time study using an executive weekend format once a month (e.g., Friday-Sunday, all day sessions). All clinical courses are offered as immersion practicum experiences, conducted in faculty approved, in-person, preceptored clinical settings.

Program Learning Outcomes

  • Synthesize theoretical and empirical knowledge derived from the physical and behavioral sciences and humanities as a basis for professional advanced clinical nursing practice.
  • Devise evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention strategies at the patient, family, organizational, community, and population levels for the purpose of improving health care outcomes.
  • Utilize current technologies to deliver, enhance, and document care across multiple settings to achieve optimal outcomes.
  • Apply organizational and systems leadership to current healthcare issues for the promotion of quality, effective and safe patient care, including the emphasis on ethical and critical decision making, effective working relationships, and a systems-perspective approach.
  • Model collaboration and coordination with interprofessional teams in health care systems delivering care to complex, multi-need patients, families and communities.
  • Synthesize broad organizational, client-centered, and culturally appropriate concepts in the planning, delivery, management, and evaluation of evidence-based clinical prevention and population behavioral health care and services to individuals, families, and identified populations.


The Post-Graduate PMHNP Certificate Program of Study includes 46.5 quarter units, at least 600 clinical preceptored hours with expected completion in 4 quarters, each 12 weeks in length, over a 12-month time period. A total of 13.5 units of graduate credit may be granted for graduate work completed at another institution as it applies to this program and provided the units were not used to earn another advanced degree. Refer to the General Catalog section on graduate admission requirements for specific information regarding admission and evaluation.
Requirements for the Certification (10 courses; 46.5 quarter units)
Core Requisite(s):
Experienced, practicing Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) can waive NSG 641 and NSG 681 if taken less than five (5) years prior to application to the Certificate Program. In addition, experienced, practicing APRN can waive NSG 682 if taken less than 10 years prior to application to the Certificate Program.