I'm the person that harmonizer was responding to. I thankfully did not take his advice. He means well but since then I've spoken to many psych NPs who share a much different opinion. Yes this is a great career with lots of demand. The pay is excellent. It's well worth the time and debt to do this if you're looking for a stable career. Of course it's impossible to predict the future. There could be some medical discovery that will make psychopharmacology obselete. I would be happy if that were the case, although a little freaked out due to my encroaching loan debt. But I highly doubt that'll happen. I really do not think that the demand for psych NPs is going to decrease anytime soon.
Re-reading harmonizer's post now.. there's a lot I disagree with. He's wrong about a lot. Psych NPs do make more than 50% of MD pay. It depends on where you live but you can make around 80% of psychiatrist pay. In Oregon you can make as much as a psychiatrist due to their parity law if you're in private practice. As for demand, unknown? It's known. Every psych NP i've spoken to gets hounded by job recruiters weekly. Every psych student in my school gets a job months before graduating. In most areas there is a several month wait to see a psychiatrist/psych NP due to the shortage of providers. There's plenty of demand, especially if you're willing to move. Not all geographical areas are ideal due to factors such as state restrictions on autonomy. The southeast is particularly terrible, which I think is where harmonizer is from, which might may be influencing his perception. As far as NP specialties go, psych is by far the most in demand after graduating. I've heard this directly from several faculty at my school. Lastly, in regards to the time management aspect. We have the freedom to open up a private practice. Then you can do whatever you want. 30 minute med checks, psychotherapy, you name it. We have the freedom to do all that and do not need to work for somebody else. And when you're looking for your first job, you can ask them about these factors going in, and if their practice environment doesn't suit your needs, you can walk away knowing there's plenty of other places where you can easily find work.
I'm currently in a PMHNP program, halfway done. I just did my RN year and just started the MSN year, so in a year i'll be working. If you have any questions just PM me and we can talk.