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Online Master of Mental Health Nursing Career Pathways

National shortage of mental health nurses

According to the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN), mental health nurses are in short supply in comparison to the demand for professionals who can provide direct clinical mental health care.1

Reports have found that:

  • within a decade, there’s been an 82% increase in those seeking emergency care for mental health issues2
  • in 20 years, full-time staff in mental health services has nearly tripled1
  • the ACMHN cites concerns regarding a projected shortfall of nearly 19,000 mental health nurses by 2030.1

Those who live in rural areas or Indigenous communities face critical concerns in receiving adequate treatment,3 a specific focus area in our online Master of Mental Health Nursing course. By graduation, you’ll be well prepared to step into new mental health careers, including clinical roles, and help solve Australia’s mental health crisis.

Registered psychiatric nurses


As a registered mental health nurse, you’ll provide direct clinical care to patients. From assessing patients at intake to carrying out treatment plans to following up with clients and other caregivers, you’ll work with people throughout their care. According to 2019 labour projections, the growth rate for registered nurses is well above average at 11.7%4 and Payscale reports they earn an average salary of $70,429.5

Clinical nurse managers


As a mental health nurse manager, you’ll be responsible for hiring and training staff, creating and implementing training processes and improving outcomes of patients in your care. According to 2019 labour projections, the growth rate for clinical nurse managers is nearly double the national average at 16.2%,4 and Payscale reports they earn an average salary of $93,108.6

Mental health employers:

  • Community mental health organisations
  • Hospitals and health services
  • Government departments
  • Private sector
  • Universities and research institutes

Program outcomes

By graduation, you’ll be able to:

Career support from La Trobe

As you get ready to advance your career, La Trobe’s career services team and alumni community are here to support you. You’ll graduate ready to put your best foot forward to secure the role you want.


Get resume support through our CareerHub to write effective, targeted resumes. You have access to 24/7 automated feedback online and you can request personalised feedback from a career adviser. Learn more.

Interview Preparation

Use our free online tool – Big Interview – to get ready to nail your interview. Know what to expect and practise general, behavioural and technical questions for over 140 industries and sets. Use the Answer Builder tool so you can find the right stories to tell in answers to questions. Finally, get hands-on experience with practice interviews as you’re coached by an expert.

Alumni Community

As a graduate of La Trobe University, you’ll have access to our team of career advisers. To arrange an appointment, please complete the Alumni Career Consultation request form.


  1. “Productivity Commission Inquiry: The Social and Economic Benefits of Improving Mental Health. ACMHN Submission.” The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, Inc., 2019 April, Accessed 14 October 2020.
  2. Rees, Margaret. “Australian mental health report highlights a systemic crisis.” International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI), World Socialist Web Site, 2019 December 28, Accessed 14 October 2020.
  3. “Accessibility and Quality of Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Australia, Report, Chapter 5.” Parliament of Australia, Accessed 14 October 2020.
  4. “Occupation projections – five years to May 2024.” 2019 Employment Projections – for the five years to May 2024, Australian Government Labour Market Portal, Accessed 14 October 2020.
  5. “Average Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) Hourly Pay in Australia.” Payscale. Accessed 14 October 2020.
  6. “Average Clinical Nurse Manager Hourly Pay in Australia.” Payscale. Accessed 14 October 2020.