Mental Health Nursing
Types of Degrees Mental Health Nursing Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many psychiatric/mental health nurse/nursing graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Mental Health Nursing Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to psychiatric/mental health nursing and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Majors
According to O*NET survey takers, a major in psychiatric/mental health nursing should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Skills for Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Majors
A major in psychiatric/mental health nursing prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Abilities for Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing Majors
As you progress with your psychiatric/mental health nursing degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
What Can You Do With a Mental Health Nursing Major?
People with a psychiatric/mental health nursing degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses||14.8%||$71,730|
|Nursing Instructors and Professors||24.0%||$73,490|
How Much Do Mental Health Nursing Majors Make?
Salaries According to BLS
Average salaries range from $75,510 to $110,030 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to psychiatric/mental health nursing. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Mental Health Nursing
Some degrees associated with psychiatric/mental health nursing may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to psychiatric/mental health nursing have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Some College Courses||3.2%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||19.6%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||0.8%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||6.8%|
|First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession.||2.3%|
Online Mental Health Nursing Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 111 schools offered some type of psychiatric/mental health nurse/nursing program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||1||1|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||0||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||5||2|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||15||2|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Mental Health Nursing Worth It?
The median salary for a psychiatric/mental health nursing grad is $81,350 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 104% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $829,000 after 20 years!
Majors Related to Mental Health Nursing
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to psychiatric/mental health nursing.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By Aleksahgabrielle under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.