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Discover the Most Affordable Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Programs

Explore accredited and affordable online PMHNP programs that let you pursue a career in mental health nursing for less.

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A young caregiver in a blue uniform smiles as she discusses something with an elderly woman wearing glasses and an affordable pink blouse in a warmly lit living room.

With an increasing number of patients seeking counseling and other mental health services, mental health professionals have never been in higher demand. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) work closely with primary care physicians to ensure that patients receive the care they need.

There are various paths you can take to become a PMHNP, and one of the best is through affordable, convenient, and accredited online degree programs. This guide will help you discover the top online programs that won’t break the bank, and we’ll help you learn about other ways to minimize the costs of getting a graduate degree while going to an affordable school.

Most Affordable Online PMHNP Programs for 2024

When selecting a PMHNP program, overall cost is a crucial factor to consider, and you can rest assured that all of the ranked programs offer affordable education. The rankings below take into account criteria including school tuition rates, financial aid availability, and several other key education-quality factors.

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About the ranking

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Base Methodology for EduMed’s Most Affordable Online College Rankings for the ’23-’24 school year.

One: Create list of Eligible Schools and Programs

To be eligible, schools were required to meet the following criteria based on data pulled from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), which was self-reported by the schools themselves.

  • Institutional accreditation from an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • At least 1 online component in a program within the ranking-subject area.

Two: Assign Weighting

After creating the list of eligible schools, EduMed data scientists assigned weights and ranked schools based on a mix of metrics, which were all self-reported by the schools themselves to the U.S. Department of Education and IPEDS.

The metrics are listed below in order of most- to least-heavily weighted.

Tuition – The average in-state tuition for undergraduate students studying full-time, as self-reported by the school.

Following metrics were all equally weighted.

Online Programs – Number of online programs in the relevant subject area.

Online Student % – Number of total students who are enrolled in at least 1 distance-learning course in the relevant subject area.

Academic Counseling – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Career Placement Services – Existence of this service on campus or online.

Student/Faculty Ratio

About Our DataEduMed’s rankings use the latest official data available from The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Most recent data pull: July 2023

# School Name Type Tuition Online Programs More Details School Information Online Students Academic Counseling Career Placement Students w/Institutional Aid Median Earnings 10yrs After Entry Accreditation
1 Texas Tech University Health Sciences CenterLubbock, TX Public $ 2

    • Credits: 49
    • Length: Varies
    • Cost: $265/credit (Texas Resident); $685/credit (Non-resident)
    • Mode: Online
    • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
7/1
Online
Student %
64%
2 New Mexico State University-Main CampusLas Cruces, NM Public $ 1

The Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse practitioner Graduate Certificate program offered through New Mexico State University’s Global Campus is designed for students who have already earned an MSN or DNP, or who hold a national certification in another specialty. Students can leverage their education and experience to complete this 18-credit, fully online program in just one year. Students complete a curriculum whose four core components cover advanced health assessment, diagnosis, psychotherapy, and medication management.

Program Highlights:

Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Graduate Certificate

  • Credits: 18
  • Length: 1 year
  • Cost: $444.40/credit; $250/credit (Active Military)
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
15/1
Online
Student %
76%
3 East Carolina UniversityGreenville, NC Public $ 1

East Carolina University’s online Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMH-NP) concentration prepares students to work as avanced practice mental health care providers. Admission to the program is compettive and preference is given to those with previous experience in the field, as well as those who intend to deliver direct patient care following their graduation from the program. In response to the current critical shortage of psychiatric nurse providers in North Carolina, ECU is not considering out-of-state applicants for admission.

Program Highlights:

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMH NP) Concentration

  • Credits: 47
  • Length: 2+ years
  • Cost: $289.55/credit (Resident); $1,020.05/credit (Non-resident)
  • Mode: Online
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
18/1
Online
Student %
74%
4 McNeese State UniversityLake Charles, LA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
19/1
Online
Student %
86%
5 Indiana Wesleyan University-National & GlobalMarion, IN Private not-for-profit $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
17/1
Online
Student %
93%
6 Georgia College & State UniversityMilledgeville, GA Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
16/1
Online
Student %
35%
7 Augusta UniversityAugusta, GA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
16/1
Online
Student %
59%
8 Georgia Southern UniversityStatesboro, GA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
22/1
Online
Student %
65%
9 Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA Private not-for-profit $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
17/1
Online
Student %
91%
10 Purdue University GlobalWest Lafayette, IN Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
27/1
Online
Student %
100%
11 Bluefield UniversityBluefield, VA Private not-for-profit $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
14/1
Online
Student %
71%
12 South Dakota State UniversityBrookings, SD Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
17/1
Online
Student %
50%
13 University of Southern IndianaEvansville, IN Public $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
16/1
Online
Student %
63%
14 Winona State UniversityWinona, MN Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
16/1
Online
Student %
56%
15 Southeastern Louisiana UniversityHammond, LA Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
18/1
Online
Student %
38%
16 Briar Cliff UniversitySioux City, IA Private not-for-profit $ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
12/1
Online
Student %
39%
17 Rocky Mountain University of Health ProfessionsProvo, UT Private for-profit $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
0/1
Online
Student %
100%
18 Mount Marty UniversityYankton, SD Private not-for-profit $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
12/1
Online
Student %
42%
19 Graceland University-LamoniLamoni, IA Private not-for-profit $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
Online
Student %
32%
20 Eastern Kentucky UniversityRichmond, KY Public $ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
15/1
Online
Student %
72%
21 University of Massachusetts GlobalIrvine, CA Private not-for-profit $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
22/1
Online
Student %
99%
22 University of Cincinnati-Main CampusCincinnati, OH Public $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
19/1
Online
Student %
65%
23 Kent State University at KentKent, OH Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
19/1
Online
Student %
89%
24 University of IowaIowa City, IA Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
15/1
Online
Student %
54%
25 University of Missouri-Kansas CityKansas City, MO Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
14/1
Online
Student %
44%
26 Maryville University of Saint LouisSaint Louis, MO Private not-for-profit $$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
Online
Student %
84%
27 University of North DakotaGrand Forks, ND Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
17/1
Online
Student %
70%
28 University of St FrancisJoliet, IL Private not-for-profit $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
Online
Student %
83%
29 University of ArizonaTucson, AZ Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
17/1
Online
Student %
56%
30 The University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleKnoxville, TN Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
17/1
Online
Student %
46%
31 Western Kentucky UniversityBowling Green, KY Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
18/1
Online
Student %
57%
32 Lewis UniversityRomeoville, IL Private not-for-profit $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
Online
Student %
77%
33 Husson UniversityBangor, ME Private not-for-profit $$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
14/1
Online
Student %
69%
34 Otterbein UniversityWesterville, OH Private not-for-profit $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
12/1
Online
Student %
26%
35 University of New Hampshire-Main CampusDurham, NH Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
17/1
Online
Student %
31%
36 University of Massachusetts-AmherstAmherst, MA Public $$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
18/1
Online
Student %
20%
37 DeSales UniversityCenter Valley, PA Private not-for-profit $$$$ 3 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
Online
Student %
45%
38 Samford UniversityBirmingham, AL Private not-for-profit $$$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
12/1
Online
Student %
30%
39 Duquesne UniversityPittsburgh, PA Private not-for-profit $$$$ 1 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
13/1
Online
Student %
42%
40 George Washington UniversityWashington, DC Private not-for-profit $$$$$ 2 Academic
Counseling
Yes
Career
Placement
Yes
Student/
Faculty Ratio
12/1
Online
Student %
26%

What Makes an Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program Affordable?

A school’s tuition rate certainly matters when choosing a school, but other elements also make a huge difference in the ultimate cost of your online education. The following discusses some of those factors.

How much financial aid you can get for your online psychiatric nurse practitioner program

Financial aid comes in many forms, including scholarships, grants, and loans. The first two are the best option for students to save money because they don’t have to be paid back. On the other hand, students should be more cautious when taking out loans because students will ultimately have to pay back the money. Fortunately, most loans come with deferred interest and students won’t have to start making payments until they’ve graduated.

If the psychiatric NP program has a class schedule that allows you to continue working

Many PMHNP programs are part-time. Since a lot of students are already practicing registered nurses, the ability to work while in school provides the income necessary to pay tuition and other costs.

How expensive application fees are

If you plan on applying to many schools, prepare to pay roughly $60 per application. To limit the amount of money spent on application fees, search for programs that have lower fees and prioritize where you really want to apply.

Whether you live in-state or-out-of-state

Residency is usually important regardless of the type of institution you attend, especially if a program requires you to attend campus for immersive classes or orientation. Depending on how far away you live, these on-campus visits can cost you more than just travel time. Additionally, many schools charge higher tuition for out-of-state residence.

How much of the NP program coursework is offered online

Some programs hold in-person learning or clinicals at approved sites close to where you live or work while others hold at least some classroom learning on campus. For students who commute, having in-person components can significantly impact the cost.

If the psychiatric NP program is offered by a private or public college

Generally speaking, private schools have higher tuition rates than public schools. At the same time, out-of-state tuition rates can rival or exceed the cost of attending a private institution. Keep these in mind when determining the overall cost.

How to Lower the Cost of Your Online Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Degree

With the more notable factors affecting online PMHNP program cost in mind, take time to consider how to lower the cost of your degree. The advice below provides a great starting point.

  1. Search for scholarships and grants designed specifically for psychiatric NP students.

Scholarships and grants are gift-based assistance that doesn’t need to be paid back, making them the most desirable forms of financial aid and highly competitive. To increase your chances of winning an award, focus on scholarships and grants specifically intended for nurse practitioners looking to work in psychiatric or mental health fields. To get an idea of what’s available, check out our list of scholarships for nurse practitioner students.

  1. Ask about employer tuition reimbursement

There are some employers willing to cover a portion or all of their employees’ tuition to help them pursue higher education. You should check with your benefits coordinator to see if this is an option for you. But remember, some employers may require you to work for them for a set time after graduation to qualify.

  1. Check for student discounts

Some schools apply discounts directly tied to tuition. This can include discounts for students from states with reciprocity agreements with their school or students with veteran status. Other discounts, such as ones for laptops from computer companies and scrubs from specialty clothing stores, are also available. Discover more discounts by visiting our nursing students discount page.