Psych NP usually work in hospital, either in crisis units (72 hour detention), outpatient maintinance (sometimes involving addictions), or in inpatient settings (mental hospitals or wings). PNP may do assessments, establish treatment plans, prescribe medications (in PA yes, some other states only under an MD supervision), run therapy groups (usually an RN does this), etc. The dress code is usually business dress with an optional lab coat, a doctorate is compensated higher and may have more responsible positions, such as unit director (in a small unit), private practice is another animal but possible (depending on insurance compensation requirements), and your real job may be dayshift, or it may be nights, sitting at a desk and filing reports so that your unit can get paid.
psychiatry is the study of the mind as a functional machine from a medical perspective. we all know that the medical condition of the rest of the body, and the individual and group psychology influencing a case study will directly affect psych diagnosis and treatment, so someone practicing in any of the 3 fields is always well served by a thorough understanding of the other perspectives. study the entire human experience before monkeying with any one factor of it, especially a factor that involves prescribing powerful psychoactive drugs that may have varied affect from client to client, and may either ameliorate a problem, or exacerbate it to the point of violent death (most recent suicides and recent mass murders involve changing levels of prescribed antidepressants). in short, this is serious stuff. don't take it lightly.
the actual pay scale is 90-110K in PA facilities.
there is an ever increasing demand for NP of all kind in penna. NP are cheaper than MD specialists
that all being said, I, personally, do not believe that NP Psych at a masters level should have psychoactive prescriptive powers (but they do in PA), and I do not believe that such should have diagnostic abilities or be allowed to create treatment plans. the human mind is a complicated machine, and there are already too many amateurs fiddling with disturbed and imbalanced minds out there.
let's face it. treatment of physical disorders of the mind is the highest level of medicine. treatment of the body is OK for a 26 year old NP with 3 years of clinical experience, but treatment of the mind is better done by an MD Psychiatrist with a doctor's understanding of body chemistry and the related neurologic process that nurses just don't have, even at NP level.