How much does a Behavioral Health Nurse make in Saint Louis, MO?

Average Behavioral Health Nurse Salary

High Confidence


The average salary for a Behavioral Health Nurse in Saint Louis, MO is $2,865 per week. This is 6% higher than the Missouri average of $2,700.

Estimate based on 63 active jobs in the last 90 days.

What is a Behavioral Health RN?

Behavioral health nursing requires an advanced knowledge of the behavioral sciences, addiction disorders, and mental illnesses. It can be a stressful yet rewarding career path for nurses seeking an in-demand specialty with numerous career opportunities. Behavioral health nurses work in a wide array of settings, including psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse treatment centers, and inpatient, outpatient and community behavioral health clinics. Work setting is one component determining a behavioral health RN’s salary, along with several others.

Behavioral health nurses are registered nurses who specialize in caring for patients with behavioral disorders. Some patients also may experience mental health issues, which is why the duties, patient populations, and work settings often overlap with those of mental health nurses. Behavioral health nurses are experts at recognizing and intervening during behavioral and mental health crises and delivering care based on specific clinical needs.

The educational requirements for behavioral health nurses begin with earning an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become registered nurses. Further training in the behavioral health field may be completed at the employing facility or through accredited programs.

How a Behavioral Health RN salary is based

Healthcare facilities may use a variety of factors to calculate the base salary for behavioral health nurses, but one of the biggest is experience in the field. An entry-level behavioral health RN generally has a smaller starting salary than one with several years of experience. While experience only comes with time on the job, you can take proactive steps to encourage a higher base salary.

Education is one area you can improve in a relatively short time. Becoming a behavioral health nurse only requires an ADN but a BSN is often preferred. Base salaries may reflect this preference. Nurses with an ADN can complete an accelerated ADN to BSN program in as little as a year and potentially boost their salary base.

A healthcare facility may partially base a behavioral health RN’s salary on additional skills relevant to the field. Nurses with crisis prevention training may have a higher base salary due to their enhanced skills in dealing with crises. Fully accredited nonviolent crisis intervention training and verbal intervention training programs also qualify for continuing education credits, which may further improve base salaries.

Certifications are another area that could factor into salaries. Behavioral health RNs must have Basic Life Support certification, so this likely won’t influence starting salary. Some positions also require Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certification, but if they don’t, having it may improve your salary. Professional certifications also help and are often encouraged.

How to increase your Behavioral Health RN salary

Obtaining an advanced degree almost always pays off in the healthcare field. Behavioral health RNs could give their salary a bump by earning a Master of Science in Nursing, which also opens new avenues in your career path. MSN-trained behavioral health nurses can pursue a role as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), which leads to a larger paycheck.

Certified nurses often earn higher salaries than those who aren’t certified and certification provides opportunities for advancement throughout your nursing career. Certification confirms you have specialized knowledge beyond the basic nursing credential. Although there isn’t a specific behavioral health certification, logical certifications exist.

Earning the Certified Addiction Registered Nurse credential from the Addictions Nursing Certification Board makes sense because it's relevant to behavioral health. Sitting for this exam requires 2,000 hours of experience relating to addictions nursing and 30 hours of continuing education credits.

If you’ve earned your advanced practice degree, the ANCB also offers a Certified Addiction Registered Nurse-Advanced Practice credential. To sit for this exam, you must hold an MSN or higher and have a minimum of 500 supervised hours in addictions, 1,500 hours of nursing experience in addiction as an APRN, and 45 hours of continuing education.

Because the duties of a behavioral health RN frequently overlap with those of a mental health RN, consider taking the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification exam to become board certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This exam tests your clinical knowledge and skills in the psychiatric–mental health specialty. You must have practiced full-time as an RN for two years and have at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice and 30 hours of continuing education in psychiatric-mental health nursing.

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What cities in Missouri pay the most for Behavioral Health Nurse?

CityAverage Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Joplin, Missouri$3,300$3,802
Springfield, Missouri$3,138$3,728
Sikeston, Missouri$2,986$3,084
Columbia, Missouri$2,960$3,147
Maryville, Missouri$2,905$3,112
Saint Louis, Missouri$2,865$4,306
Wentzville, Missouri$2,797$4,444
Farmington, Missouri$2,772$3,087
Bolivar, Missouri$2,742$3,207
West Plains, Missouri$2,706$3,283

Top Behavioral Health Nurse Jobs

View job details for Travel Nurse RN - PsychiatricStability Healthcare
Travel Nurse RN - Psychiatric
St. Louis, Missouri
Stability Healthcare
5 days ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrsNights
Travel contract
I'm interested
View job details for Travel Nurse RN - PsychiatricStability Healthcare
Travel Nurse RN - Psychiatric
St. Louis, Missouri
Stability Healthcare
6 days ago
ASAP13 wks3x12 hrsDays
Travel contract
I'm interested

What are the highest paying Agencies for Behavioral Health Nurse jobs in Saint Louis?

Average Weekly SalaryMax Weekly Salary
Assured Nursing$4,224$4,224
Aureus Medical Group - Nursing$3,859$3,859
Next Move Inc$3,443$4,306
Stability Healthcare$3,385$4,107
TotalMed Staffing$2,906$3,024
Focus Staff$2,845$3,073
Premier Medical Staffing$2,789$3,130
Access Healthcare$2,462$2,462
Coast Medical Service$2,004$2,122