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Division of Continuing and Global Education

PMHNP

Certificate of Advanced Study for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP)

Applications for the Spring 2025 cohort are now open! The application window will open on August 1 and applications are due no later than October 15, 2024.
Apply Here

Unlock a new level of expertise in mental health care with our specialized postgraduate program at the School of Nursing! Tailored for dedicated nurse practitioners seeking to excel in the field of mental health, this program aligns with national certification standards set by the American Nurse Credentialing Center for Mental Health Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners. Elevate your professional competence and gain exclusive access to cutting-edge mental health knowledge. Enroll now and be at the forefront of compassionate and effective mental health care.


Program

Embark on a transformative journey with our Certificate of Advanced Study for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP)! This comprehensive, 19-unit program is meticulously crafted to equip primary care nurse practitioners with the skills to deliver holistic psychiatric care across all life stages. In just one year, you'll gain invaluable clinical experience through 520 hours of faculty-supervised training. Our program is structured to meet the stringent standards for national certification by the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) (Across the Lifespan).

Program Fees

This program costs $600.00 per unit for 19 units, or $11,400 in total. Financial aid is not available.

Experience unparalleled convenience and flexibility with our online program delivery! Utilizing state-of-the-art videoconferencing, videostreaming, and asynchronous computer-based applications, we bring the education to you. With just four on-site visits spread over the one-year program, you'll have the freedom to balance your studies with your professional and personal commitments.

NURS 243. Management of Psychiatric Disorders and Mental Health Problems Across the Life Span
Major theories and models of psychiatric disorders and mental health problems.  Symptoms, underlying causes, and management of common mental disorders seen in primary care settings such as eating disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, and depression discussed.  Ethical issues. Focus on patient as individual.
Units: 2

NURS 244. Advanced Psychopharmacology Across the Life Span
Current scientific knowledge of psychotropic regimens and application to psychiatric disorders and mental health problems. Advanced concepts in neuroscience, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and clinical management.
Units: 3

NURS 245. Management of Common Psychiatric Conditions Across the Life Span Practicum
Assessment, diagnosis, and management of common mental health disorders in primary care. Critical analysis of clinical strategies and interventions in health promotion and maintenance and prevention of common psychiatric problems in primary care. Role of PMHNP in community mental health. (108 hour practicum)
Units: 2

NURS 246. Methods of Psychotherapy
Types and principles of family, adult, and child psychotherapeutic interventions.  Group psychotherapeutic processes and methods of facilitation.  Models of crisis intervention, cognitive behavioral and motivational interventions.  Focus on families and groups.
Units: 2

NURS 247. Management and Care of Patients with Acute and Chronic Psychiatric Conditions Practicum
Assessment, diagnosis, and psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic management of common mental disorders, including psychotic conditions, uncommon presentations, acute exacerbations, and crises. (206 hour practicum, of which 45 hours are to be in psychotherapy).
Units: 4

NURS 248. Psychiatric Disorders and Mental Health Problems in Special Populations
Assessment, diagnosis, and management of common psychiatric conditions in elderly, children, adolescents, and diverse populations. Effect of culture on expression of illness, help-seeking behaviors, and treatment.  Disparities in mental health care, legal and ethical issues.  Focus on community.
Units: 2

NURS 249. Management and Mental Health Care of Special Populations Practicum
Assessment, diagnosis, and psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic management of common mental disorders, with an emphasis on care of the elder adult, children, adolescents, and diverse populations. (206 hour practicum, of which 45 hours are to be in psychotherapy).
Units: 4


Admission

Apply Now!

Applications for the Spring 2025 cohort are now open! Deadline is July 31, 2024.
Admission Criteria

Applicant must meet all of the following seven (7) requirements at the time of application is submitted:

  1. Either a Master of Science in Nursing or a higher degree [ DNP or Ph.D.] from an accredited college.
  2. Valid Active California Nurse Practitioner license and Furnishing Number.
  3. A minimum of two (2) years of clinical experience as an NP is required at the time of application is submitted. Previous mental health experience is preferred (not required).
  4. Currently practicing as a primary care nurse practitioner, i.e. Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Adult Nurse Practitioner, or Geriatric Nurse Practitioner.
  5. Current Drug Enforcement Administration authorization for Schedule II medications.
  6. Valid Active California Registered Nurse (RN) licensure.
  7. Three (3) letters of recommendation. 

Admission to the program is a three-step process:

Step 1: Apply to the University

Apply to the University as a graduate student via Cal State Apply. Each admission application you file requires a $70 application fee. This fee is nonrefundable and may not be transferred to another term.
Apply via Cal State Apply

Step 2: Apply to the Program

Please be prepared to attach to your application the following:

  • Proof of completion of Master of Science in Nursing (copy of degree or unofficial transcript)
  • Proof the applicant has a minimum of two years working as an FNP by the time of submission
  • Three letters of recommendation (one compiled pdf)
  • Copy of current Drug Enforcement Authorization for Schedule II medications
  • Personal statement to be enclosed with the following prompt:
    Describe how your past work experiences have prepared you to pursue a Post-Masters Certificate in PMHNP
Complete the Supplemental Program Application

Step 3: Submit Transcripts

Electronic- transcripts sent electronically or as a PDF attachment MUST come directly from the issuing institution. Transcripts emailed by the applicant will not be accepted for admission review. 

Have your institution email transcripts to:
Fresno State Admissions OR Fresno State Division of Graduate Studies at imaging@csufresno.edu*

Hardcopy- transcripts must remain in their original, sealed envelope. 

Transcripts should be mailed to:
Graduate Admissions Office
California State University, Fresno
5150 N. Maple Ave M/S JA57
Fresno, CA 93740-8026

*This is a secure email for transcript submission ONLY. Contact the Program Coordinator with any questions about your application.


What is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)?

A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) is a registered nurse with standardized procedures who possesses additional preparation and skills to assess, diagnose, and treat the mental health needs of the client(s) across the lifespan (children, adolescents, adults, geriatric population) in a variety of practice settings. 

Why PMHNP from Fresno State?

Are you a nurse practitioner finding your self- perplexed at times when taking care of individuals with mental health issues? If so, Fresno State's School of Nursing has a formally constructed postgraduate PMHNP certification program designed especially for you. The Fresno State program is designed to assist in your professional competence, providing access to specialized mental health knowledge to provide a full range of psychiatric services in a diverse population throughout the life cycle. Expand your scope of practice and become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

Is the Fresno State PMHNP program currently nationally accredited by CCNE? 

Yes, our post-master’s PMHNP program is accredited by The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). 

What are some career opportunities for PMHNP?

As a PMHNP across the Lifespan, you will be managing clients with acute and chronic mental health conditions, offering psychotherapies (individual, group, family psychotherapy) and psychopharmacological interventions in various settings such as:

  • Out-patient Psychiatric Clinics
  • In-patient Psychiatric Facilities
  • Telemedicine Settings
  • Hospitals
  • Emergency Department
  • Correctional Facilities
  • Substance Use Rehab Facilities
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Case Management and Consultation
  • Domestic Violence Shelters
  • School or College Campuses
  • Veterans Administration Psychiatric Facilities
  • Room and Boarding Care
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Skilled Nursing and Long-Term Care Facilities
  • Home Health Agencies
  • Hospice Centers and Patients’ Homes 

What are the requirements for the PMHNP program?

Applicant must meet all of the following seven (7) requirements at the time of application is submitted: 

  1. Either a Master of Science in Nursing or a higher degree [ DNP or Ph.D.] from an accredited college.
  2. Valid Active California Nurse Practitioner license and Furnishing Number.
  3. A minimum of two (2) years of clinical experience as an NP is required at the time of application is submitted. Previous mental health experience is preferred (not required).
  4. Currently practicing as a primary care nurse practitioner, i.e. Family Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Adult Nurse Practitioner, or Geriatric Nurse Practitioner.
  5. Current Drug Enforcement Administration authorization for Schedule II medications.
  6. Valid Active California Registered Nurse (RN) licensure.
  7. Three (3) letters of recommendation. 

How long is the PMHNP program?

Our PMHNP is a one-year online program.  It starts in Spring (January) and ends in Fall (December) each year. 

How many units do I take?

You will take a total of 19 Units in one year (divided into three semesters). All students are expected to move through the coursework as a cohort.

How much does the PMHNP program cost?

The program cost at this time is $600.00 per unit for 19 units [$11,400 in total]. There will be additional costs for additional resources (Textbooks, Typhon, Livescans, clinical requirements, etc.). Financial aid is NOT available for this program. Please note that the cost is subject to change.

How many theory courses do I take throughout the program?

There are four (4) theory courses divided into three semesters. 

How many practicum courses do I take throughout the program?

There are three (3) practicum courses divided into three semesters. 

What are the clinical requirements for this specialty?

  • Adult/Geriatric = 310 Hours
  • Pediatric/Adolescent = 120 hours
  • Psychotherapy (45 individual + 45 Group) = 90 hours
  • Total = 520 clinical hours required.

Who can be my preceptor?

Out of 520 clinical hours, up to 430 hours must be completed with either: 

  • A Board-Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC)
  • A Board-Certified Psychiatric (DO, or MD)

The remaining 90 hours can be completed with either: 

  • A Clinical Psychologist (Psych D)
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)

Where do I complete my practicum hours?

The clinical hours can be completed at outpatient psychiatric clinics, inpatient psychiatric facilities, drug rehab centers, telehealth settings, correctional facilities, crisis centers, substance Use Rehab Facilities, etc. The clinical placement site and the preceptor must be approved and have a contract with Fresno State. 

Am I responsible for finding my preceptors?

It is the program's responsibility to place students in clinical preceptorships. However, we strongly recommend students identify a clinical site where they would like to do clinical hours. Finding clinical placements can be very challenging. If you have a specific provider who is willing to precept you, notify the PMHNP Coordinator as soon as possible to avoid delay in starting clinical hours. 

Do I have to travel for the clinical?

Perhaps yes, we try our best to match the clinical site based on the students in their geographical area. However, sometimes students might have to travel out of town.  

Can I do clinicals outside California? 

No, the clinical site, preceptor, the student, and the faculty must be licensed in California. 

Can I do all of my clinical hours as a Telehealth?

Yes, there is no limit on the telehealth hours; however, the clinic and the preceptor must be based in California. 

Can I work full-time and complete clinicals on the weekends?

We strongly recommend that students do not attempt full-time work. Your practicum days will depend on the availability of your preceptor (usually need two-weekday clinics each week).  Most likely you will have to change your work schedule to accommodate clinical rotations. 

How many hours a week I should study for this program?

It is usually expected that students will spend approximately 2 hours of study time outside of class for every one hour in class. For example, if you take a 3-unit class, you should expect to study an average of 6 hours outside of class each week. Multiply this by the number of units each semester. In general, students should expect to devote 2-3 days per week to coursework. This does not include time spent on the clinical hours.

How many times do I need to visit the campus?

All new PMHNP students are required to attend one (1) on-site session termed an “Intensive”.  This is usually scheduled on the 3rd Saturday of January. This will be an 8-hour day and we will be covering a variety of topics such as discussing the overall requirements of the program, reviewing basic principles of psychiatry, the concept of neurobiology, psychopharmacology, mental status exams, practicum requirements, etc, using different modalities such as didactic lectures, discussion, in-class activities, case study. You will also meet with your faculty.  This is the only face-to-face session requirement. However, we will have a total of three (3) Zoom sessions in each semester: *The rest of the program is completely asynchronous online.  

Zoom Sessions
Zoom Semester Date
1 Spring On the third Saturday in April
2 Summer On the third Saturday in July
3 Fall On the third Saturday in November

 

What is the PMHNP Curriculum Plan?

What is the PMHNP Curriculum Plan?

Semester 1 (Spring)

9 Units

108 Clinical Hours

Semester 2 (Summer)

6 Units

206 Clinical Hours

Semester 3 (Fall)

6 Units

206 Clinical Hours

NURS 243: Management of Psychiatric Disorders and Mental Health Problems Across the Life Span


Major theories and models of psychiatric disorders and mental health problems.  Symptoms, underlying causes, and management of common mental disorders seen in primary care settings such as eating disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, and depression discussed.  Ethical issues. Focus on patient as individual.

UNITS: 2

 

NURS 246: Methods of Psychotherapy

 

 

 

 

Types and principles of family, adult, and child psychotherapeutic interventions.  Group psychotherapeutic processes and methods of facilitation.  Models of crisis intervention, cognitive behavioral and motivational interventions.  Focus on families and groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNITS: 2

NURS 248: Psychiatric Disorders and Mental Health Problems in Special Populations

 

 

 

Assessment, diagnosis, and management of common psychiatric conditions in elderly, children, adolescents, and diverse populations. Effect of culture on expression of illness, help-seeking behaviors, and treatment.  Disparities in mental health care, legal and ethical issues.  Focus on community.

 

 

 

 

 

UNITS: 2

NURS 244: Advanced Psychopharmacology Across the Life Span

Current scientific knowledge of psychotropic regimens and application to psychiatric disorders and mental health problems. Advanced concepts in neuroscience, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and clinical management.

UNITS: 3

NURS 247: Management and Care of Patients with Acute and Chronic Psychiatric Conditions Practicum

Assessment, diagnosis, and psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic management of common mental disorders, including psychotic conditions, uncommon presentations, acute exacerbations, and crises. (206-hour practicum, of which 45 hours are to be in psychotherapy).

 

 

 

 

UNITS: 4

NURS 249: Management and Mental Health Care of Special Populations Practicum

 

Assessment, diagnosis, and psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic management of common mental disorders, with an emphasis on care of the elder adults, children, adolescents, and diverse populations. (206-hour practicum, of which 45 hours are to be in psychotherapy).

 

 

 

UNITS: 4

NURS 245: Management of Common Psychiatric Conditions Across the Life Span Practicum


Assessment, diagnosis, and management of common mental health disorders in primary care. Critical analysis of clinical strategies and interventions in health promotion and maintenance and prevention of common psychiatric problems in primary care. Role of PMHNP in community mental health. (108-hour practicum)

UNITS: 4

Jane Doe

TOTAL

19 UNITS 520 CLINICAL HOURS


 What Pedagogy is utilized to meet course objectives? 

Multiple student-centered learning pedagogies are used including but not limited to the following:

  • Student-centered learning
  • Recorded Lectures
  • Chapter Readings
  • Article Reviews Discussion Questions
  • Directed and self-directed readings
  • Preceptor-supervised clinical practice 

What Evaluation methods are used to assess course objectives?

Multiple evaluation methods are used including but not limited to the following:

  • Weekly case studies/ Discussion Boards
  • Grand Round Paper and Presentation
  • Weekly Quizzes
  • Midterm and Final Exams
  • Client encounter logging into Typhon- an internet patient logging system used to document their daily experiences and total hours.
  • Objective Student Comprehensive Evaluation [OSCE]
  • Student Evaluation by the Clinical Site Preceptor 

Will I be able to contact my faculty anytime throughout the program?

Absolutely yes. Even though this is an online program, you will be able to arrange a meeting (either in person or via Zoom) with your faculty anytime during the program. Students' feedback is highly encouraged throughout the program. We encourage open communication.

What kind of resources are available to the students?

Students' success and satisfaction are very important to us. As such, we offer multiple resources to the students such as weekly lectures will be recorded online for students who can view them when convenient. Handout materials or lecture outlines will be available for each lecture in CANVAS and students can contact the instructor via email or phone with any questions throughout the program. 

Graduate Students also have access to the Graduate Student Success Center which includes the Graduate Writing Studio & Graduate Statistics Studio: https://academics.fresnostate.edu/drgs/gssc/index.html

Other resources to consider include:

  • Fresno State Henry Madden Library
  • Technology Services
  • Faculty Advisors
  • Student Health Center
  • Financial Aid Center
  • Nursing Office
  • Nursing Resource Center (NRC)
  • Simulation Lab
  • Division of Research and Graduate Studies (DrGS)
  • Graduate Writing Studio
  • Graduate Statistics Studio

When is the application due?

Applications for admission are accepted from May 1 through July 31 of each year. We recommend applying early and not waiting for the deadline because a decision may be made on a first-come, first-served basis, and the application may close before the deadline if all seats have been filled.

I am meeting all the requirements, and I am excited! How do I apply for the program? 

Great to hear that! 

Admission to the program is a three-step process:

Step 1: Apply for admission to the university. The university application form can be found online at https://www.calstate.edu/apply

Step 2: Apply for admission to the PMHNP program. The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program application can be found online at http://fresnostate.edu/chhs/nursing

Step 3: Submit Transcripts

Electronic- transcripts sent electronically or as a PDF attachment MUST come directly from the issuing institution. Transcripts emailed by the applicant will not be accepted for admission review. 

Have your institution email transcripts to:
Fresno State Admissions OR Fresno State Division of Graduate Studies at imaging@csufresno.edu*

Hardcopy- transcripts must remain in their original, sealed envelope. 

Transcripts should be mailed to:
Graduate Admissions Office
California State University, Fresno
5150 N. Maple Ave M/S JA57
Fresno, CA 93740-8026

*This is a secure email for transcript submission ONLY. Contact the Program Coordinator with any questions about your application.

How are admissions decisions made?

The Division of Continuing and Global Education (CGE) and Graduate Studies will review all submitted applications to ensure they are complete for all the required information, transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc. Once the application meets the University and CGE requirements, the PMHNP program coordinator will carefully review the application and determine whether to make an admission offer, place the applicant on a waitlist, or make a decision of non-admission. 

Will I be interviewed by the program coordinator?

The Program Coordinator may contact an applicant to perform a phone interview if they need to clarify something. 

How many students are accepted each year?

The number of students offered admission may vary each year based on many factors. Typically, we admit approximately 16 students. Many factors such as NP experience, mental health background, etc are considered while making admission decisions. Since this is an online program, candidates must be computer literate and have reliable internet access.

I just applied, what is the next step?

Thank you for applying. Your application will be carefully reviewed. If needed, the PMHNP coordinator may contact you over the phone for a brief interview. 

Please check your email regularly and you will be officially notified via email by October 31st (either to make an admission offer, to place the applicant on a waitlist, or to make a decision of non-admission of acceptance). 

If admission is offered, you will be required to sign the confirmation letter of intent to either accept or decline the offer of admission. The form must be returned to the program coordinator via email attachment no later than November 15. 

Please check your emails regularly, you will also receive additional information such as course registration, agenda for orientation, intensive, etc. 

Here is a recap of the timeline: 

  1. Application opens: May 1
  2. Application closes: July 31
  3. Decisions Notification: October 31
  4. Student letter of acceptance: November 15
  5. Orientation/Intensive: 3rd Saturday of January.
  6. Graduation: 3rd week of December. 

After completing the program, what will my credentials and certifications be?

After completing the PMHNP program, you will be eligible to sit for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) (Across the Lifespan) national board certification examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). 

Once you complete the eligibility requirements to take the certification examination and successfully pass the exam, you will be awarded the credential: PMHNP-BC (Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified).

I still have more questions regarding the program, who do I contact?

No worries, please feel free to contact the PMHNP Program Coordinator and you will receive a response within 2-3 business days. We look forward to hearing from you and we wish you all the best!

Contact

Questions about the program? Don't hesitate; contact us today!

 
 

 

 

Harkirat S. Bal
Associate Professor
harkirat@csufresno.edu
559.278.2041

Harkirat S. Bal