What Are the Highest-Paying Positions in Psychiatric Nursing?


Quick Answer

The highest-paying positions in psychiatric nursing mostly belong to advanced practice nurses and those who work in psychiatric nursing subspecialties. These subspecialties include adolescent mental health, forensics, substance abuse treatment and gerontological mental health.

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Full Answer

Most psychiatric nursing positions are held by those who have completed a two-, three- or four-year program to become an RN. The most direct route to obtaining high-paying positions in this specialty is to complete the additional educational requirements to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Advance Practice Registered Nurse, also known as a psychiatric advanced practice nurse. These psychiatric nurse practitioners not only provide primary care services such as prescribing medications, but may also even operate a private practice. Scrubs, a nursing lifestyle website, ranks psychiatric nurse practitioner as number three in their 10 highest paying nursing specialties.

On average, the salaries of psychiatric nurse practitioners range between $65,000 and $95,000 per year, as of 2015. These numbers may be influenced by various factors, however, including their years of experience, their level of education, and their work locations. In general, advanced practice nurses in private practice tend to make more money. The job outlook for psychiatric nurse practitioners is higher than average for the medical field, with a projected growth rate of 26 percent by the year 2020.

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