Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner FAQs

What is the length of time to complete the PMHNP program?

Approximate length of time to complete the PMHNP program is 3 to 4 years, depending upon part or full-time study. Less time may be required if the student requests to transfer in core courses completed prior to admission; a total of up to 12 hours are permitted for transfer.

APRNs that are completing the coursework to qualify for a post-master’s certification are required to take the eight specialty courses. These courses must be taken sequentially over the course of 5 semesters (1.5  years) that begin in the fall semester.

Is the program offered online?

The curriculum for the PMHNP program requires some face-to-face attendance on the main Little Rock campus or via one of the UAMS Regional Center sites, as well as internet capabilities and basic technological skills to complete online learning.

Specialty practicum courses occur the three semesters prior to completion/graduation. Currently, students must complete these practicums with a preceptor in the state of Arkansas.

How many hours are the specialty practicum courses? Can I still work?

Students complete three practicum courses that total 540 hours. Practicum I occurs in the summer before graduation and requires 90 hours under the preceptorship of a licensed counselor or therapist over a 10-week period. Practicum II occurs in the following fall and requires 270 hours divided equally between the pediatric, adult, and older adult populations under the preceptorships of a psychiatrist or PMHNP over a 15-week period. In the spring, Practicum III requires 180 hours with a psychiatrist or PMHNP over a 15-week period; the student is encouraged to focus their skills with the population and in the setting in which they plan to practice.

Many students are able to complete the core coursework and specialty theory courses with mild to moderate disruption in their work and home schedules. The final two practicum courses offered in the last two semesters, however, can require a significant schedule adjustment due to the number of required clinical hours alongside a 3-hour theory course.

Are there jobs available as a PMHNP?

Yes, there are definitely jobs available! With the increased need for mental health services and the new policies being implemented by the Affordable Care Act, mental health care providers are in high demand. There is especially a need in Arkansas due to the vast amount of rural areas. Upon graduation, current students have had job offers from the VA, inpatient facilities, private practice and more.