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Physician Assistant/Nurse Practitioner Program in Psychiatry


This 12-month program will provide a background in psychiatry, preparing physician assistants and nurse practitioners to practice psychiatry in many different settings including general family practice, correctional health care, community health centers, and psychiatry practices.

Limited Psychiatric Access

Lubbock and many surrounding counties have limited or no access to psychiatric, mental health or substance abuse care categorizing it as in "Critical Need." Physician assistants and nurse practitioners are in a unique position to help fill this void. The program will enable physician assistants and nurse practitioners to feel more confident in their skills and ability to care for these patients in specialty or primary care settings.

Anticipated Career Enhancements

The anticipated career enhancements for obtaining experience in psychiatry, mental health, and/or substance abuse for physician assistants and nurse practitioners include:

  • Enhanced career mobility
  • Confidence in delivering a higher quality level of patient care
  • Increased compensation

After completion of this program, you could have the opportunity to work in a National Health Service Corps approved site and participate in their loan repayment program. For more information please visit the NHSC website.


There is a stipend of $60,000 a year. Benefits include medical and life insurance, professional liability insurance, and leave time. Dental and short term disability is optional if selected.


Physician assistants:

  • Graduation from a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program accredited physician assistant program
  • Posses a Master's Degree or higher
  • Certified by the National Commission on Certification of physician assistants or eligible upon graduation
  • Licensed as a physician assistant in the State of Texas or eligible upon graduation

Nurse practitioner:

  • Graduated from an accredited master of Science in Nursing or Doctor of Nursing Practice with a specialty as an adult or family nurse practitioner
  • Certified by the American Nurses Credential Center (ANCC) or American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or eligible upon graduation
  • Licensed as a FNP or APN in the State of Texas or eligible upon graduation

Goals and Outcomes

This project is specifically designed to focus on increasing the number of physician assistants and nurse practitioners, with additional psychiatric training, to address the growing need for greater access to mental health and substance abuse health service.

Additionally, the program seeks to redirect patients away from hospital emergency departments, often the initial contact/access to mental health-related services, to the ambulatory setting.

This training program will result in increased patient access and provide additional behavioral/mental health services for the region's patient population, with specific emphasis on the Medicaid/underinsured/uninsured population.

Application Process

Please click on the icon below to download the application, once the application is complete email it to Kary Blair along with a current copy of your curriculum vitae or resume, three letters of recommendation, and an unofficial copy of your transcripts from your physician assistant or nurse practitioner program.




Expected Timelines:

Programs begin in January and September each year.  Other start times are available if need but are subject to approval from department administration.  Contact Kary Blair for more information regarding the application and interview process.


Policy and procedure manual


 OPPolicy and Procedure Manual Download


Useful Links

American Psychiatric Association  Practice Guidelines American Association of Nurse Practitioners
University Medical Center American Nurse Credentialing Center
Covenant Health System National Commission of Certification of Physician Assistants
Texas Medical Board Texas Board of Nursing
Association of Physician Assistant in Psychiatry  American Academy of Physician Assistants