2024 Most Affordable Online Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Programs (PMHNP)

According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, more than 56 million Americans struggle with mental health and substance abuse disorders. Sadly, only 44 percent of adults and 20 percent of children get the necessary care. Additionally, since 2020 the need for mental health professionals has risen dramatically due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences.

Psychiatric-mental health NPs are trained to assess and diagnose patients across the lifespan with psychiatric and substance abuse disorders, work with individuals, families, and groups, prescribe medications, provide and recommend psychotherapy and other mental health interventions, identify risk factors for psychiatric issues, and perform interventions to help those in crisis.

PMHNPs are also trained to contribute to care quality improvement, policy development, and healthcare reform, collaborate with other healthcare providers to create a care plan for patient mental health and promote mental health awareness and wellness in schools, hospitals, and community settings.

Psychiatric mental health patients may include children, teens, and adults in a mental health crisis, children in abusive families, older adults suffering from dementia and other age-related mental health issues, soldiers and law enforcement personnel suffering from job stress and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), people with anxiety and depression, and others with opioid, drug, alcohol, and other substance abuse or habit addictions.

PMHNPs need a graduate degree and must earn certification by taking the PMHNP certification exam through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to practice psychiatric mental health services. Available graduate degree pathways for nurse practitioners may include:

  • MSN-PMHNP Bridge Program: Also called RN-MSN, RN-MSN Bridge, or RN-BSN-MSN, this type of program is designed for nurses who have earned an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), a nursing diploma, or an RN license with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.
  • MSN-PMHNP: Also called BSN-to-MSN, this type of graduate program is designed for graduates of bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs.
  • BSN to DNP-PMHNP and MSN to DNP PMHNP: Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs may be offered to applicants with a BSN or MSN and include courses to prepare graduates for psychiatric-mental health practice.
  • Post-Master’s PMHNP Certificate: Designed for MSN graduates who may or may not have earned an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) specialization and want to move into psychiatric-mental health practice.

To help nurses find affordable PMHNP master’s, doctoral, and post-master’s certificate programs, HealthcareDegree.com has compiled a list of the 15 most affordable online psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner programs, both by in-state and out-of-state tuition prices.

These rankings are based on tuition data HealthcareDegree.com collected from its sister site NPSchools.com in late 2023 from over 1,000 online nurse practitioner programs. Each list is ordered according to the lowest in-state or out-of-state tuition prices. Tuition information is as current as possible, taken from the 2022-2023 or 2023-2024 school years as published by each school.

Most Affordable Online PMHNP in 2024

Featured PMHNP Programs
Wilkes University MSN - Psychiatric-Mental Health NP (RN to MS Option)GO
Wilkes University MSN - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse PractitionerGO
Purdue Global MSN - Psychiatric-Mental Health NPGO
Purdue Global Post-Master's Psychiatric-Mental Health NP CertificateGO
Sacred Heart University MSN - Psychiatric-Mental Health NPGO
Sacred Heart University Post-MSN Certificate - Psychiatric-Mental Health NPGO
Seton Hall University MSN - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse PractitionerGO
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Check out the 15 most affordable online PMHNP programs by the total cost of in-state tuition in 2024. For this listing, both resident and non-resident tuition are included when applicable. Some programs do not accept out-of-state students.

1) Texas Tech University Online MSN-PMHNP Program

Texas Tech University (TTU) offers an online MSN-PMHNP program with fully online coursework and six campus visits in Lubbock, Texas. These include orientation and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs). Other hands-on experience is gained by completing 576 clinical hours through local clinical preceptorships. Start dates land in the fall and spring, and students can follow a six-semester full-time path or a nine-semester part-time path. PMHNP applicants complete a telephone interview by invitation and must have a passion for helping patients with mental health disorders.

Specialty PMHNP courses cover various topics such as APRN research, pharmacotherapeutics for APRNs, telehealth and rural service delivery, interprofessional collaboration, neuroscience and epigenetics, psychotherapeutic modalities for individuals, families, and groups, and patient diagnostics and management. Populations include children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients. The MSN-PMHNP program through Texas Tech University is CCNE-accredited. TTU does not accept students from Arizona, California, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($265 per credit + fees); non-residents ($589 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 49 credits
  • Total cost: $12,985 / $28,861 + fees

2) East Carolina University Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program

East Carolina University (ECU) offers a CCNE-accredited online MSN-PMHNP program with eight in-person intensives at the Greenville, NC campus. Each campus visit spans two days once per semester. Applicants must have at least one year of clinical work experience, and preference is given to those with at least one year of psychiatric-mental health clinical nursing experience and who plan to work directly with mental health patients upon graduation. The full-time completion plan spans three years, while the part-time plan takes about four years to complete. The MSN-PMHNP program begins in the fall only.

The ECE College of Nursing is designated as a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence, and the PMHNP program focuses on student success and academic excellence. As the need is so great for mental health providers in North Carolina, ECU is not accepting out-of-state applications.

Specialty PMHNP courses focus on human physiology and pathophysiology, neuroscience, psychopharmacology, PMHNP role development, psychotherapeutic interventions, and disease management. Populations covered include individuals, couples, families, groups, children, and special populations.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($289.55 per credit + fees); non-residents ($1,020.05 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 47 credits
  • Total cost: $13,608.85 / $47,942.35 + fees

3) Southeastern Louisiana University Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program

Southeastern Louisiana University offers a CCNE-accredited online MSN-PMHNP program with no campus visits and local clinical preceptorships to residents of Louisiana. The MSN is offered through an Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing (ICMSN), including three other Louisiana universities. ICMSN is founded on the core values of diversity, lifelong learning, accountability, caring, collaboration, practice, and leadership.

Applicants must have a BSN with a minimum 3.0 GPA and an unencumbered RN license in LA, with at least one year of clinical work experience. The MSN-PMHNP program can be completed in about two years, with full-time and part-time plans offered. The program begins in the fall, spring, and summer, and students have the option of a scholarly project or a thesis to complete the program. PMHNP specialty courses focus on psychiatric-mental health nursing and diagnostics, and psychopharmacology for advanced practice, with 600 clinical hours included.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($286.03 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 48 credits
  • Total cost: $13,729.44 + fees

4) University of Nevada Reno (UNR) Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program 

The University of Nevada Reno (UNR) offers a CCNE-accredited online MSN-PMHNP program with one three to five-day immersion during the first week of the summer before clinicals begin. The immersion offers relationship-building opportunities, hands-on nursing skills, and knowledge practice, opportunities to work with Standardized Patients, and live lectures. All other coursework is online, with clinicals completed locally in approved states.

The PMHNP program can be completed in five semesters full-time or eight semesters part-time, with a fall start date. Specialty courses cover children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients focusing on mental health assessments, advanced therapies, individual and group therapy, and mental health diagnosis and management. The program may not meet MSN-PMHNP requirements in several states; therefore, students outside of Nevada should check with their state and UNR for enrollment and completion eligibility.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($330.75 per credit + fees); non-residents ($515 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 48 credits
  • Total cost: $15,876 / $24,720 + fees

5) University of Southern Indiana Online MSN-PMHNP Program

The University of Southern Indiana (USI) offers an online MSN with a psychiatric-mental health NP specialization. This program is an entirely online program.

The PMHNP MSN program can be completed in about three years on a part-time basis, with fall, spring, and summer start dates, and is open to applicants in 33 states. Focus courses include advanced psychopharmacology and three PMHNP care of families courses, including 655 clinical hours. The USI online MSN-PMHNP program is CCNE-accredited.

  • Cost per credit: Residents and non-residents ($432.78 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 44 credits
  • Total cost: $19,042.32 +fees

6) Austin Peay State University Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Program

Austin Peay State University (APSU) offers an online MSN-PMHNP program with two campus intensives in Clarksville, Tennessee, one virtual skills intensive, online coursework, and local clinicals. Applicants are not currently accepted from New York. The APSU School of Nursing promotes values such as innovation, collaboration, quality patient care and safety, caring, ethical decision-making and effective clinical reasoning, professionalism and competent leadership, global awareness, and patient advocacy.

The program begins in the summer or spring and is offered both part-time and full-time. At two courses per semester, students can complete the program in about two years, or take fewer courses for an eight-semester part-time plan. PMHNP students complete courses in ethics, quality, and safety, clinical reasoning, scientific inquiry, healthcare policy focusing on prevention and population health, and advanced psychiatric care and practicum experiences. The APSU online PMHNP program is CCNE-accredited.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($470 per credit + fees); non-residents ($747 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 42 credits
  • Total cost: $19,740 / $31,374 + fees

7) Nicholls State University Online MSN-PMHNP Program 

Nicholls State University offers a CCNE-accredited online MSN-PMHNP program to residents of Louisiana, with fully online coursework and local preceptorships. As part of the Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing (ICMSN) with other universities, Nicholls State offers an affordable and convenient online degree option. The 600 clinical hours are logged through the Typhon Nurse Practitioner Student Tracking System (Typhon NPST). 

Core courses focus on generating evidence for advanced nursing practice, applied statistics, health assessment and diagnostic reasoning, pharmacotherapeutics, business, leadership, and health policy, and PMHNP diagnostics, care, and psychopharmacology for psychiatric disorders. The online MSN-PMHNP program begins in January, March, June, August, and October and can be completed in about two years, taking two to three courses per semester, including summers.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($412.13 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 51 credits
  • Total cost: $21,018.63 + fees

8) Middle Tennessee State University Online MSN-PMHNP Program

Middle Tennessee State University’s School of Nursing offers an online CCNE-accredited master of science in nursing (MSN) with a concentration in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). Available only to in-state students, this fully online concentration helps students hone their expertise for developing a therapeutic alliance with clients and establishing a knowledge base to improve situations with care. Graduates will also develop skills in diagnosis, assessment, treatment, evaluation, and planning for future patients.

Except for clinical rotations through approved preceptors, coursework is completed online. Applicants to the program must be a resident of Tennessee, have a current, unencumbered license to practice as a Registered Nurse in Tennessee, possess a bachelor’s degree in nursing with an overall GPA of 3.0, and successfully complete a three or four-hour undergraduate-level statistics course.

The program’s 42-credit curriculum includes courses such as advanced health assessment; advanced pathophysiology; advanced pharmacology; psychopharmacology; psychiatric mental health diagnosis and management; and theory and evidence-based practice.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($536 per credit + fees); non-residents ($804 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 42 credits
  • Total cost: $22,512 / $33,768 + fees

9) The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health NP

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette) offers an online CCNE-accredited MSN-PMHNP program to residents of LA, with no campus visits. As preceptorship slots are limited, the program is competitive and gives preference to full-time students. The UL Lafayette MSN-PMHNP begins in the fall and spring and takes five to six semesters to complete full-time. Students choose either a scholarly project or a thesis pathway.

This MSN degree is also offered through the consortium of ICMSN Louisiana universities. Prospective students may apply through any of the four institutions; however, tuition may differ between universities. Core courses may focus on applied statistics, health assessment and diagnostic reasoning, population-based care, pharmacotherapeutics for APRNs, leadership and health policy, and pathophysiology. PMHNP specialty courses focus on mental health diagnostics, psychopharmacology for psychiatric disorders, and PMHNP practice and preceptorships.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($480 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 48 credits
  • Total cost: $23,040 + fees

10) University of Nevada Reno (UNR) Online BSN to DNP Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program

The University of Nevada Reno also offers a CCNE-accredited online BSN to Doctor of Nursing Practice PMHNP program with online coursework, local clinical practicums, and a three to five-day campus immersion the first week of summer before clinicals. The BSN to DNP program allows BSN-prepared nurses to earn their DNP while seamlessly completing the MSN-PMHNP courses. The program can be completed in eight semesters full-time or 11 semesters part-time.

The BSN to DNP-PMHNP focuses on the MSN concepts, plus PMHNP specialty courses such as mental health assessment, advanced mental health therapies, diagnosis and management of patients in PMH settings, and working with patients across the lifespan. DNP-focused courses may cover concepts such as scientific inquiry, advanced ambulatory pharmacology; healthcare policy, social justice, healthcare IT systems, the economics of healthcare delivery, healthcare organizational management, translational evidence for the DNP, and outcomes management in nursing.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($330.75 per credit + fees); non-residents ($515 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 72 credits
  • Total cost: $23,814 / $37,080 + fees

11) Old Dominion University Master of Science in Nursing – PMHNP

Old Dominion University (ODU) offers a CCNE-accredited online master of science in nursing with a psychiatric-mental health NP specialization that allows ‘applicants with a BSN’ or ‘RNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree’ to apply. 

Students come to the Virginia Beach campus in Norfolk, VA, once per semester for approximately five campus visits. Additionally, clinical practicum experiences are completed locally by the student. The MSN-PMHNP is solely offered full-time and begins in the fall only. It is designed to be completed in two years.

Key courses cover healthcare disparities, epidemiology, pathophysiology, service to vulnerable populations, evidence-based research and decision-making, psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, neurobiology, ethical concerns, psychiatric disorder management, telehealth, and business practice. ODU delivers online nursing classes in a combination synchronous/asynchronous instructional model. Synchronous class times typically occur on Thursdays. Applicants should have at least one year of nursing work experience, and the GRE is required for applicants with less than a 3.5 cumulative GPA.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($599 per credit + fees); non-residents ($623 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 42 credits
  • Total cost: $25,158 / $26,166 + fees

12) Northern Kentucky University Online MSN-PMHNP Program

Northern Kentucky University (NKU) offers a fully online MSN-PMHNP program with no campus visits and local clinical practicums. Courses last seven weeks each, with start dates in January, March, May, June, August, and October, and the program can be completed in 20 to 22 months. Those with a non-nursing bachelor’s are welcome to apply and must complete two additional courses. NKU seeks to offer private higher education at a lower cost than most public institutions and create personal relationships with faculty who know students by name.

Topics covered include analysis and application of health data in advanced nursing practice, healthcare policy and economics, nursing research, clinical pharmacology and intervention, psychopathopharmacology, PMHNP assessment and diagnosis, patient management, and psychiatric-mental health nursing and practice. The PMHNP program is CCNE-accredited, and NKU is located in Highland Heights, Kentucky.

  • Cost per credit: Residents and non-residents ($550 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 46 credits
  • Total cost: $25,300 + fees

13) Ohio University Online Master of Science in Nursing – PMHNP

Ohio University, located in Athens, OH, offers a CCNE-accredited online master of science in nursing psychiatric-mental health NP program with two campus intensives and local preceptorships, including 750 clinical hours. The curriculum combines evidence-based practice with advanced nursing theory and concepts.

Designed for practicing nurses, the MSN-PMHNP program teaches students to address the unique challenges of the mental health field, positively affect the lives of individuals, groups, and families in psychiatric-mental health practice, and care for patients across the lifespan.

The PMHNP program can be completed in six semesters by taking two courses per 15-week term. The program begins in the summer term, and applicants must hold a BSN from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA and an unencumbered RN license in one of the 28 approved states.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($633 per credit + fees); non-residents ($652 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 40 credits
  • Total cost: $25,320 / $26,080 + fees

14) University of Missouri Online MSN-PMHNP Program

University of Missouri’s Sinclair School of Nursing offers an online master of science program in nursing with an emphasis on psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. This program is offered in a blended format and students may complete all courses online but an on-campus visit is required once per year. Part-time students are most likely to complete the program in three years.

Helping students enhance their careers in psychiatric and mental health, this program comprises 43 credits and includes 720 clinical hours. The curriculum includes courses such as scientific foundations for health sciences; advanced nursing roles and professional communication; practice inquiry; advanced pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics; diagnostics and psychopharmacology for mental health nurses; brief individual and family psychotherapy; mental health nursing interventions for families; and pediatric mental health assessment and treatment.

  • Cost per credit: Residents and non-residents ($600 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 43 credits
  • Total cost: $25,800 + fees

15) Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis MSN-PMHNP Program

IUPUI, a one-of-a-kind partnership between Indiana University and Purdue University, offers an online master of science in nursing program in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner lifespan. Most courses in this program are offered in an online or hybrid-distance format making them accessible to students throughout the state. Clinical/practicum experiences can be completed by students in their home community within Indiana and are arranged cooperatively by faculty and students.

The psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner–lifespan track prepares students for the diagnosis, assessment, prevention, and clinical management of mental illness across the lifespan. Admission to this track will be offered in both Spring and Fall 2024.

The program comprises 42 credits, including courses such as nursing theory; nursing research methods; advanced pharmacology across the lifespan; neuro-psychopharmacology; measurement and data analysis; leadership for advanced nursing practice; substance use/abuse and co-morbid disorders across the lifespan; and measurement and data analysis.

  • Cost per credit: Residents ($637.50 per credit + fees); non-residents ($1,681 per credit + fees)
  • Number of credits: 42 credits
  • Total cost: $26,775 / $70,602 + fees

Most Affordable Out-Of-State Online PMHNP Programs in 2024

Following is a listing of the 15 most affordable out-of-state online PMHNP programs in 2024 by total cost. This list only includes out-of-state tuition data.

1) The University of Southern Indiana (USI) Online MSN – PMHNP

The University of Southern Indiana (USI) offers an online MSN with a psychiatric-mental health NP specialization. This program is an entirely online program.

The PMHNP MSN program can be completed in about three years on a part-time basis, with fall, spring, and summer start dates, and is open to applicants in 33 states. Focus courses include advanced psychopharmacology and three PMHNP care of families courses, including 655 clinical hours. The USI online MSN-PMHNP program is CCNE-accredited.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $432.78 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 44 credits
  • Total cost: $19,042.32 + fees

2) University of Nevada Reno Online MSN Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program

The University of Nevada Reno (UNR) offers a CCNE-accredited online MSN-PMHNP program with one three to five-day immersion during the first week of the summer before clinicals begin. The immersion offers relationship-building opportunities, hands-on nursing skills, and knowledge practice, opportunities to work with Standardized Patients, and live lectures. All other coursework is online, with clinicals completed locally in approved states.

The PMHNP program can be completed in five semesters full-time or eight semesters part-time, with a fall start date. Specialty courses cover children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients focusing on mental health assessments, advanced therapies, individual and group therapy, and mental health diagnosis and management. The program may not meet MSN-PMHNP requirements in several states; therefore, students outside of Nevada should check with their state and UNR for enrollment and completion eligibility.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $515 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 48 credits
  • Total cost: $24,720 + fees

3) Northern Kentucky University Online MSN-PMHNP Program

Northern Kentucky University (NKU) offers a fully online MSN-PMHNP program with no campus visits and local clinical practicums. Courses last seven weeks each, with start dates in January, March, May, June, August, and October, and the program can be completed in 20 to 22 months. Those with a non-nursing bachelor’s are welcome to apply and must complete two additional courses. NKU seeks to offer private higher education at a lower cost than most public institutions and create personal relationships with faculty who know students by name.

Topics covered include analysis and application of health data in advanced nursing practice, healthcare policy and economics, nursing research, clinical pharmacology and intervention, psychopathopharmacology, PMHNP assessment and diagnosis, patient management, and psychiatric-mental health nursing and practice. The PMHNP program is CCNE-accredited, and NKU is located in Highland Heights, Kentucky.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $550 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 46 credits
  • Total cost: $25,300 + fees

4) University of Missouri Online MSN-PMHNP Program

University of Missouri’s Sinclair School of Nursing offers an online master of science program in nursing with an emphasis on psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. This program is offered in a blended format and students may complete all courses online but an on-campus visit is required once per year. Part-time students are most likely to complete the program in three years.

Helping students enhance their careers in psychiatric and mental health, this program comprises 43 credits and includes 720 clinical hours. The curriculum includes courses such as scientific foundations for health sciences; advanced nursing roles and professional communication; practice inquiry; advanced pharmacology and pharmacotherapeutics; diagnostics and psychopharmacology for mental health nurses; brief individual and family psychotherapy; mental health nursing interventions for families; and pediatric mental health assessment and treatment.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $600 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 43 credits
  • Total cost: $25,800 + fees

5) Ohio University Online MSN-PMHNP

Ohio University, located in Athens, OH, offers a CCNE-accredited online master of science in nursing psychiatric-mental health NP program with two campus intensives and local preceptorships, including 750 clinical hours. The curriculum combines evidence-based practice with advanced nursing theory and concepts.

Designed for practicing nurses, the MSN-PMHNP program teaches students to address the unique challenges of the mental health field, positively affect the lives of individuals, groups, and families in psychiatric-mental health practice, and care for patients across the lifespan.

The PMHNP program can be completed in six semesters by taking two courses per 15-week term. The program begins in the summer term, and applicants must hold a BSN from an accredited institution with a minimum 3.0 GPA and an unencumbered RN license in one of the 28 approved states.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $652 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 40 credits
  • Total cost: $26,080 + fees

6) Old Dominion University Online Master of Science in Nursing – PMHNP

Old Dominion University (ODU) offers a CCNE-accredited online master of science in nursing with a psychiatric-mental health NP specialization that allows ‘applicants with a BSN’ or ‘RNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree’ to apply. Students come to the Virginia Beach campus in Norfolk, VA, once per semester for approximately five campus visits. Additionally, clinical practicum experiences are completed locally by the student. The MSN-PMHNP is solely offered full-time and begins in the fall only. It is designed to be completed in two years.

Key courses cover healthcare disparities, epidemiology, pathophysiology, service to vulnerable populations, evidence-based research and decision-making, psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, neurobiology, ethical concerns, psychiatric disorder management, telehealth, and business practice. ODU delivers online nursing classes in a combination synchronous/asynchronous instructional model. Synchronous class times typically occur on Thursdays. Applicants should have at least one year of nursing work experience, and the GRE is required for applicants with less than a 3.5 cumulative GPA.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $623 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 42 credits
  • Total cost: $26,166 + fees

7) University of South Alabama Online MSN-PMHNP Program

The University of South Alabama offers an online master of science program in nursing with a specialization in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner preparing graduates to provide psychiatric mental healthcare to those in need of psychiatric services. All students in this online specialty will be required to attend one mandatory virtual Clinical Skills Intensive (CSI) during the fall term.

This 45-credit program includes courses such as advanced nursing assessment; physio-pathological basis of advanced nursing; introduction to psychiatric mental health; health promotion/disease prevention & issues for psychiatric mental health; organizational & systems leadership; healthcare policy and finance; evidence-based practice & informatics for professional nurses; scientific underpinnings of advanced nursing practice; and evidence-based practice and quality improvement in healthcare.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $594 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 45 credits
  • Total cost: $26,730 + fees

8) Texas Tech University Online MSN-PMHNP Program

Texas Tech University (TTU) offers an online MSN-PMHNP program with fully online coursework and six campus visits in Lubbock, Texas. These include orientation and objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs). Other hands-on experience is gained by completing 576 clinical hours through local clinical preceptorships. Start dates land in the fall and spring, and students can follow a six-semester full-time path or a nine-semester part-time path. PMHNP applicants complete a telephone interview by invitation and must have a passion for helping patients with mental health disorders.

Specialty PMHNP courses cover various topics such as APRN research, pharmacotherapeutics for APRNs, telehealth and rural service delivery, interprofessional collaboration, neuroscience and epigenetics, psychotherapeutic modalities for individuals, families, and groups, and patient diagnostics and management. Populations include children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric patients. The MSN-PMHNP program through Texas Tech University is CCNE-accredited. TTU does not accept students from Arizona, California, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $589 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 49 credits
  • Total cost: $28,861 + fees

9) St. Thomas University Online MSN-PMHNP Program

St. Thomas University offers an online CCNE-accredited master of science program in nursing with a specialization in psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. With six starts per year, this program can be completed entirely online and requires as few as 18 months. The program’s curriculum integrates health policy, psychopathology, clinical pharmacology, and advanced health assessment.

By completing 500 clinical hours, students will graduate ready to work with increased autonomy as mental health nurse practitioners. Applicants to the program must possess an unencumbered RN license, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing school with a 3.0 GPA, and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended.

Comprising 50 credits, the program includes courses such as psychopharmacology; psychopathology; psychiatric management; role to transition to advanced practice nursing; philosophical & theoretical basis of nursing; advanced pathophysiology; advanced health assessment; diversity in advanced health practice; influencing health policy; and advanced clinical pharmacology.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $585 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 50 credits
  • Total cost: $29,250 + fees

10) Georgia Southern University Online Post-BSN to DNP Program

Georgia Southern University’s School of Nursing offers a post-bachelor of science in nursing to doctor of nursing practice (post-BSN-DNP) program with a master of science in nursing (MSN) exit option. Both synchronous and asynchronous formats are used for courses in this program. The PMHNP track prepares graduates to provide pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic therapies for meeting the mental health needs of families and individuals across the lifespan. While this program is online, there will be two to three in-person learning days each semester.

Students in this program will have the option to opt-out after the final PMH course and receive their MSN degree in order to be eligible to sit for their national certification exam. However, they will still have four years to return and complete the remaining DNP courses for the DNP Degree.

This 77-credit Post-BSN to DNP program includes courses such as psychodynamics of health; epidemiology; health policy concerns in delivery systems; pathophysiology & differential diagnosis; mental health care of individuals and families with substance abuse; complex health care of special populations clinical; and vulnerable populations.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $389 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 77 credits
  • Total cost: $29,953 + fees

11) Wilkes University Online MSN-PMHNP Program

Wilkes University offers an online master of science in nursing (MSN) program in psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). This online program includes 15 courses and requires one residency visit. The program also includes 500 clinical hours and can be completed in 27 months.

Applicants to the program must have a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) with a 3.0 GPA, an unencumbered RN license, one year of clinical experience, and a current resume.

The 42-credit curriculum includes courses such as advanced pathophysiology; advanced pharmacology; diagnostic reasoning for nurse practitioners; health perspectives of culturally diverse, rural, and underserved populations; advanced health assessment; clinical modalities in advanced psychiatric/mental health nursing practice; psychopathology, theories, and advanced clinical modalities; and psychopharmacology.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $728 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 42 credits
  • Total cost: $30,576 + fees

12) The University of Alabama – Birmingham Online MSN-PMHNP Program

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Nursing offers an online master of science in nursing program in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Graduates of this program will be able to provide mental health care in a variety of settings with populations that represent the full life span. Students in this online program must participate in four on-campus intensives during the last four semesters.

This 45-credit program includes courses such as interprofessional leadership and role development for practice excellence; advanced pathophysiology; population health in advanced practice nursing; pharmacology and therapeutics; evidence-based practice design and translation; assessment and diagnostic reasoning for advanced nursing practice; focus on advanced nursing practice specialization; and advanced psychiatric/mental health nursing.

Applicants must hold a BSN degree from a regionally accredited institution and a nationally accredited nursing program with a 3.0 GPA and possess an unencumbered and unrestricted nursing license to practice in the state where they plan to conduct their clinical practicum.

  • Cost per credit: $682 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 45 credits
  • Total cost: $30,690 + fees

13) Saint Joseph’s College of Maine Online MSN-PMHNP Program

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine offers an online CCNE-accredited master of science in nursing program with a concentration in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). Students in this NP track will be required to complete a mandatory on-campus skills session. This mandatory session will account for 24 hours of clinical time.

Made up of 48 credits, the program includes courses such as the advanced practice nurse as provider; nursing informatics; organizational and systems leadership; population health & interprofessional collaboration; advanced pharmacology; advanced pathophysiology; and advanced health assessment.

To enroll, students must have earned a BSN from an accredited institution and currently hold an active, unrestricted RN license.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $683 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 48 credits
  • Total cost: $32,784 + fees

14) New Mexico State University Online BSN to DNP PMHNP Program

New Mexico State University offers an online BSN to DNP in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Courses in this program are delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous distance education. The program’s clinical component comprises over 1,000 hours of supervised clinical experiences in the student’s own community, the majority of which are completed in the final year. Students are also required to generate a project that reflects their advanced coursework in research translation, leadership, as well as clinical skills and knowledge.

The 74-credit program includes courses such as epidemiology for advanced practice nursing; diagnostic reasoning and advanced health assessment; healthcare policy and ethics; PMHNP across the lifespan; advanced clinical pharmacology; strategic and financial planning for clinical programs; psychopharmacology for advanced practice; nursing informatics; and advanced pathophysiology for clinical nursing.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $444.40/credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 74 credits
  • Total cost: $32,885.60 + fees

15) Chamberlain University Online MSN-PMHNP Program

Chamberlain University’s MSN-PMHNP program prepares graduates to manage the mental health needs of patients and to sit for national certification as Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP-BC).

While this program has coursework that can be completed entirely online, this specialty track does require two campus visits. The program consists of 45 credits of online courses in addition to 625 onsite lab and clinical hours.

Courses include advanced pathophysiology; advanced pharmacology fundamentals; advanced pharmacology: psychopharmacology for the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner; psychiatric assessment for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner; foundational concepts for advanced nursing practice; informatics for advanced nursing practice; and research methods and evidence-based practice for advanced nursing practice.

  • Cost per credit (out-of-state): $710 per credit + fees
  • Number of credits: 47 credits
  • Total cost: $33,370 + fees

Find an Affordable Online Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program

These online PMHNP programs ranked by affordability can open up opportunities you might have yet to consider to earn a graduate degree or certificate and move into the world of psychiatric-mental health nursing. They are designed for working nurses to be able to continue working while earning an affordable graduate education.

These online PMHNP programs offer affordable tuition and flexible online learning modes, and the BSN to MSN programs can be completed in two to three years on a part-time basis. Those attending full-time can complete the programs more quickly. Note that DNP programs take about four years to complete part-time. With the tremendous need for nurse practitioners, these PMHNP programs can provide a viable and necessary career pathway without the heavy burden of more expensive tuition costs.

Sara Navratil

Sara Navratil

Writer

Sara Navratil is a freelance writer and a Certified Canfield Success Principles Trainer. She owns Sara Liza Life, a company dedicated to helping people rewrite their lives. She enjoys researching and writing about healthcare-related topics, including information about online NP programs. When not working, she likes to read, exercise, and spend time with her family and cats.

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