Program Highlights

  • Earn your certificate in as little as 20 months
  • Only 500 precepted clinical hours required
  • Gain hands-on practice through two on-site intensive weekends
  • You will be eligible to sit for the board certification after completing the program
  • Exposure to topics in telehealth, special populations, and upcoming trends in psychiatry
  • Flexible online classes designed for working professionals
  • Access to comprehensive Career Services support after graduation
  • Competitive tuition with financial aid and scholarships available for those who qualify

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At West Coast University, we embrace a student-centric learning partnership that leads to professional success. We deliver transformational education within a culture of integrity and personal accountability. We design market-responsive programs through collaboration between faculty and industry professionals.

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Post-Master's Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner


Pursuing your post-master’s certificate in the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) track, helps you develop the skills you need to take on roles specialized in psychiatric or mental health care.

As a PMHNP, you can help make a difference both in your community and in your career.

A Need for Mental Health Professionals

With mental health concerns on the rise, the world needs dedicated professionals that can provide patients the care and support they need. Here are just some of the reasons why your community might need more mental health professionals:

  • Nearly one in five U.S. adults lives with a mental illness. That is about 51.5 million individuals.2
  • According to the World Health Organization, there was a 13% increase in mental health conditions worldwide in the last decade (to 2017)3
  • The CDC stated that from August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%4
  • During the same period, the percentage of those reporting an unmet mental health care need increased from 9.2% to 11.7%4

As a PMHNP, you will not only be poised to help educate the community and eliminate the stigmas around mental illness, but you will be able to take on roles where you can directly work with the most at-risk individuals.

Our Post-Master’s Certificate PMHNP track helps you gain the knowledge and develop the skills you need to take on these more advanced roles, while specializing in mental health care. Once you earn your PMHNP certificate, you will be eligible to sit for the board certification.

Where Do PMHNPs Work? 

Nurse practitioners, including PMHNPs, can work in a variety of healthcare facilities, including:

  • Offices of physicians
  • Hospitals (state, local, and private)
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Educational services
  • Offices of other health practitioners1

As a PMHNP, you can find the work environment that matches your skills and abilities.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,

National Institute of Mental Health,

3 World Health Organization,

4 Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of Anxiety or Depressive Disorder and Use of Mental Health Care Among Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, August 2020 – February 2021. 

  • Skills for new opportunities  Gain the foundation you need to take on roles specialized in mental health and psychiatric care.
  • Board certification – On program completion, you will be eligible to sit for the board certification
  • Build on current experience – Our curriculum is designed to build on your current academic and working experience.
  •  Online flexibility for working professionals – While you will have due dates to keep you on track, watch lectures and complete coursework when and where it’s convenient for you, so that your studies can always fit around your work schedule.
  • Faculty mentor – Make the most out of your growth opportunities with a designated PMHNP faculty mentor. Learn about the mental health field in nursing and gain a realistic understanding of what it takes to be successful.
  •  Fast decisions – Once you have provided all necessary application materials, the decision for acceptance will be provided no later than 5 days after the documentation is submitted.
  • Academic transcript support – Talk to your admissions advisor to obtain help getting your transcripts. WCU might be able to request your transcripts on your behalf if your institution allows it.
  • One-on-one support – We want you to have all the support you need as a working professional pursuing your certificate. You’ll have a designated Student Success advisor to help you access tools and resources when you need them.
  • Accessible faculty – Through the Remind app, your professors are only one call or text message away.
  • Relevant curriculum – Our curriculum is aligned with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF)

Why Do Students Choose WCU for their Post-Master’s Certificate? 

  • Earn your certificate in as little as 20 months – that’s under two years!
  • Get hands-on practice through two on-site intensives delivered on campus*
  • Prepare to work with both adults and children with our lifespan approach
  • Engage with faculty members who are experienced nursing professionals, active in relevant clinical practice, and nationally board-certified
  • Get support from our clinical relations coordinators
  • Upon completing the program, students will be eligible to sit for the national board certification
  • 24-hour access to library and courses

Support for Students Beyond Graduation

West Coast University supports its students beyond the last day of classes. We are committed to helping our graduates throughout their careers.

Our Career Services Department provides ongoing assistance with professional and career development through workshops and guidance for our online post-master’s certificate students and graduates. We partner with industry professionals to enhance our students’ prospects for securing employment and achieving professional success.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment.

*Students enrolled through the Orange County campus must complete their OSI’s in California. Students enrolled through the Texas campus must complete them in Texas. Travel costs are not included in tuition and fees, and students are responsible for arranging transportation.


Upon graduation, post-master’s students will:

  • Integrate the various sciences from nursing and such other fields as physiology, statistics, psychosocial, political, financial, genetics, public health and the organizations sciences in the continued improvement of nursing across the continuum of various healthcare settings.
  • Provide leadership in a variety of settings that promote high quality, safe patient care that also incorporates ethical decision making and effective inter-professional working relationships.
  • Demonstrate the skills needed to effect quality improvement that incorporates the various models, standards and performance measures necessary to apply quality principles, within any type of organization.
  • Apply evidence-based research in clinical practice by identifying actual or potential practice problems in a setting and resolving them through the role of change agent.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in computer skills both technical and in the application of informatics to enhance, deliver, communicate and integrate and coordinate patient care.
  • Recognize the need for and ability to affect policy changes by using the policy development process and advocacy strategies to influence health and healthcare systems.
  • Communicate and coordinate inter-professionally in a variety of settings to manage and coordinate care.
  • Identify and integrate the various evidence-based practices of health promotion and disease prevention using client centered, culturally and age-appropriate concepts in the nursing process of services to individuals, families and broad based aggregate populations.
  • Demonstrate an advanced level of scientific and nursing-specific knowledge with the ability to integrate that knowledge into nursing practice that influences health care outcomes for individual, families, populations and/or systems.

WCU Distance education programs are delivered out of the Orange County and Texas campuses and may not be available to residents in all states.

Practice Experience is required in order to graduate from the RN to BSN, RN to MSN, MSN, DNP degrees and Post-Master’s certificate programs.

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