Mental Health Nursing in the USA

World International


Hello everyone.

I am about to start university in Sept to gain a BSc in Mental Health Nursing. I am (once i have my qualification and work experience) planning to relocate to the USA, i live in Scotland just now. There is so much information (some accurate and some utter rubbish). Ideally my chosen state would be Colorado. I spent some time living in Denver and i absolutely fell in love with the city and CO as a whole.

I was looking for anyone that has advice or information on this subject, such as is it even really possible? Is there anything i can do to help my self along this process, any companies/agencies that could help or offer advice? Just any information at all would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Be aware that the US educates and licenses all RNs as generalists. Although plenty of nurses specialize in and work exclusively in psychiatric nursing in the US, there is no psych-specific nursing degree or licensure here the way there is in some other countries. In order to eligible for licensure as an RN in any US state, your school transcript will need to include sufficient didactic (classroom) and supervised clinical hours in medical-surgical, OB, and pediatric nursing in addition to psych nursing (each state sets its own standards for what it considered a sufficient number of hours).

Best wishes for your journey!

Thank you, that's really helpful. I was also wondering, if unable to apply as a RN would my qualification allow me to do a different career path? Something like working in a centre as a Counsellor or something of that nature?

Most paid therapist/counselor positions in the US require some kind of recognized professional credential/licensure, in advanced practice nursing, psychology, social work, or LPC (licensed professional counseling). Those are all graduate-prepared roles.

Unfortunately, there isn't really anything comparable in the US to the specially/specifically educated and licensed psychiatric RNs found in the UK. I worked a number of years ago on an inpatient psychiatric unit with a British psych nurse who was working here (in the US) as a tech (unlicensed, low paid) because she wasn't eligible for RN licensure (or any other kind of mental health credential) here with her existing education (and she chose not to return to school). She was great -- v. knowledgeable and competent, and a real pleasure to work with -- but there was no way to translate her education into a US professional credential.

Specializes in Medical and general practice now LTC.

The US is not one of the easiest to move to. As mentioned US are general trained unlike the UK so really unless you have good qualifications and experience plus something else employer requires then going to be very hard to live and work in the US when relying on employment route only

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