Cheapest Online Psych NP Programs

Last Updated on December 15, 2022 by Omoyeni Adeniyi

The education for an online psychiatric nurse practitioner program comes in the form of an online degree. Although an online pmhnp program can be done in as little as 16 months. When you compare this to other courses, it is very quick. The courses are based on general nursing knowledge, which is the same across the board. They are also written in a way to meet the needs of all learning styles. They have an extremely wide range of course offerings, both in psychiatric nurse practitioner programs and other nursing areas.


As an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), a psychiatric nurse practitioner needs at least a master’s degree in nursing. Often referred to as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP), these professionals care for patients struggling with mental health disorders. They craft patient care plans that incorporate medicinal and therapeutic interventions.


Each state maintains specific laws and regulations regarding a PMHNP’s scope of practice and professional responsibilities. PMHNPs should familiarize themselves with these laws to make sure they are working within the legal limits of their profession. Typical PMHNP responsibilities include the following:

  • Perform patient assessments, including diagnostic exams, risk analysis, and mental health tests
  • Prescribe medications according to their scope of practice under state laws
  • Evaluate treatment effectiveness
  • Maintain accurate and detailed patient history and records
  • Conduct mental health field research
  • Develop interdisciplinary treatment plans that address a patient’s complete care needs
  • Consult for various healthcare groups and facilities, such as legislative bodies, community groups, and hospitals

Students can enroll in online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs to earn a master of science in nursing with a concentration in psychiatric and mental health. Fully online courses generally run asynchronously, allowing students to work while they go to school. However, clinical rotations and practicums require students to work on-site at locations within their local area.

best online pmhnp programs

University of South CarolinaColumbia, SC
New Mexico State UniversityLas Cruces, NM
University of Southern MississippiHattiesburg, MS
University of North DakotaGrand Forks, ND
The University of Alabama at BirminghamBirmingham, AL
University of South AlabamaMobile, AL
Anderson UniversityAnderson, SC
Wilkes UniversityWilkes-Barre, PA
Husson UniversityBangor, ME
Tennessee Tech University/ETSU JointCookeville, TN

Cheapest Online Psych NP Programs

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who focus primarily on mental health. The field of nurse practitioner has undergone rapid growth, as well, with more than 30,000 NPs completing their academic programs in 2018-19, according to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Among the nurse practitioners currently working, fewer than 2% hold certificates in the psychiatric-mental health specialty, AANP data shows.

Additionally, advanced practice nurses can join one of the fastest-growing professions in the country. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of APRNs to increase by 45% from 2019-to 29.

Individuals hoping to follow this career path must first obtain a master of science in nursing (MSN) with a concentration in psychiatry-mental health. Several students prefer to enroll in online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs, which offer them a greater degree of flexibility and convenience.

If you’re interested in this career path, you can find a list of online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs below.

Cheapest Online Psych NP Programs

1Idaho State UniversityPocatello, ID
2Ohio State UniversityColumbus, OH
3Regis CollegeWeston, MA
4University of ArizonaTucson, AZ
5University of Michigan-FlintFlint, MI
6University of PittsburghPittsburgh, PA
7University of South AlabamaMobile, AL
Online Nurse Practitioner Programs - A Review of the Top Ten

list of online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs

Most psychiatric nurse practitioner programs are technically considered psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) programs.

Nurses that want to become psychiatric NPS shouldn’t be concerned by the label – it’s all the same field.

If you’re looking to pursue this path, check out these top 10 PMHNP programs for 2021 – 2022

1. University of Pennsylvania

Tuition: $53,166 per year

A top-ranked institution for psychiatric-mental health, the NP program at the University of Pennsylvania combines neuroscience with psychotherapy. Full-time students finish this program in just 14 months, making this a quick and high-quality option. Part-time students typically finish in two to five years. 

2. Rush University

Tuition: $1,224 per credit hour

Rush University PMHNP program is a doctoral program, keep that in mind before applying – it typically takes two or more years to complete. However, the program is entirely online, so students won’t have to relocate to earn their degrees.

3. University of Washington

Tuition: $9,934 per quarter in-state, $14,150 per quarter non-resident

UW’s PMHNP program is technically a graduate certificate and is completed in person. Applicants must be either enrolled in the DNP or Ph.D. program at UW OR already earned a doctorate degree from an accredited program. UW has one of the top health and nursing programs in the nation, so even without intense specialization, this is an education worth having.

4. University of California – San Francisco

Tuition: $60,482 per year in-state, $72,727 per year non-resident

While the focus of the psychiatric nurse practitioner program at UCSF is on all demographics, students have the option to complete their residency while focusing on a specific age group. This program is ideal for nurses who want to work exclusively with adults or children.

5. Yale University

Tuition: $26,162 per term

A master’s specialty, Yale’s psychiatric-mental health nursing specialty gives students the benefits of Yale’s highly respected nursing education. Yale boasts an impressive 100% pass rate on the PMHNP examination for the last five years. Students will receive an all-around education in the psychiatric-mental health field, preparing them for any setting they might end up in.

6. University of North Carolina

Tuition: $34,535 for full program in-state tuition; $61,124 for full program out-of-state tuition

A part of UNC’s Master of Science nursing program, psychiatric-mental health is an advanced practice area that students can focus their studies on. This all-around education will require students to be able to attend in-person practice, something to keep in mind before applying.

7. Duke University

Tuition: $1,910 per credit hour. The average fully enrolled tuition per semester is $11,460

According to the 2022 U.S. World News & Report, Duke’s program currently ranks # 1 for PMHNP programs in the country. While Duke’s PMHNP program will teach students to help people of all ages, it does focus on people living in rural and underserved areas. Any nurses who are interested in treating and helping these communities will find that Duke’s program is a good fit.

8. University of Maryland

Tuition: $824 per credit hour in-state, $1,461 per credit non-resident

UM’s psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program takes anywhere from three to five years, making it one of the longer programs of study on this list. This is also a doctoral program, and students are required to be located in the Maryland/Washington, D.C. area for the program.

9. Vanderbilt University

Tuition: $1,793 per credit hour

One of the top nursing schools in the nation for graduates, Vanderbilt’s PMHNP program offers a holistic approach to a complicated subject. This program doesn’t require relocation – it is offered entirely online. Also, it is possible to earn this degree without a strong psychiatric nursing background.

10. New York University

Tuition: $1,983 per credit hour

The master’s program in psychiatric-mental health at NYU will teach nurses how to help people of all ages. By the end of the program, nurses will be able to conduct individual or group therapy, allowing them to pick whichever focus they feel is best for them.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner | Texas Tech University Health  Sciences Center

shortest pmhnp program

(These shortest online nurse practitioner programs are ideal for BSN graduates who wish to become a nurse practitioner in less than twenty months.)

1. Vanderbilt University – Nashville, TN (1-Year)

Concentrations Offered: Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Hospitalist, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Intensivist, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Acute Care, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner – Primary Care, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Lifespan), and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

About the School: For a registered nurse, eager to climb the career ladder, the next best step is to enter a program that makes you an NP rather swiftly. Well, if you are keen on fast-tracking your career then you may want to learn about the best and shortest online nurse practitioner programs in the nation, and Vanderbilt University’s NP programs certainly top the list. The college has earned the distinction of offering the nation’s oldest FNP program and likewise, it boasts of producing advanced practice nurses in many other practitioner roles. With its 10 fastest nurse practitioner programs online, regardless of the NP role you choose, you will be groomed for success through individualized attention and a fine blend of learning inside and outside the virtual classroom, all this within just 12 months.

Program Details: Whether your goal is to serve adults, the elderly, women, children or mental health patients of all age groups, Vanderbilt’s NP pathways can take you closer to your dream role of becoming a nurse practitioner within your chosen population foci. To graduate, you must complete around 40 credits which most students complete in one year. Each specialty track is based on the foundation of nursing theory, research, and evidence-based practice. Although all these tracks are primarily online, a few campus visits are required for intensives. For those interested in the care of adults & the geriatric population, the college also offers two optional focus areas including that of a hospitalist and an intensivist.

Admission Requirements: Vanderbilt reviews applications holistically, so to increase your odds ensure your application includes the highlights of your educational & professional background. To start with, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and an encumbered RN license in the state you plan to complete the clinical practicum. Additionally, you must attach your academic history and three letters of academic or professional reference. A course in statistics is also required before the start of classes.

2. Georgetown University – Washington, DC (19 Months)

Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner

About the School: If you are searching for one of the country’s best and shortest online nurse practitioner programs that trains you as a holistic caregiver quickly, then you may certainly want to learn about Georgetown University’s FNP program that trains you within as little as 19 months. The program is grounded in Jesuit values and stresses the need to treat a patient as a whole person. The school of nursing founded in 1903, has long been promoting health equity and improving health outcomes at all levels. Here, you will be taught by an expert faculty who have had the experience of working in community-based organizations, military, health systems, and academia.

Program Details: Georgetown’s nursing school not only boasts of preparing you for the FNP certification through a quick route, but it also takes pride in its impressive pass rates on the certification exam. This fast-track online nurse practitioner program, delivered through live classes, HD streaming, and interactive web content, comprises 44 credits. Also, included in the curriculum are 650 hours of clinical practice and two on-campus intensives. As a certified FNP who promotes health and prevents diseases, to optimize health outcomes you will be trained to take into account a patient’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

Admission Requirements: As an eligible candidate, you must either be a U.S citizen or a permanent resident of the country. Along with having a valid RN license in the U.S, you must have completed your baccalaureate in nursing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. The college also requires you to have completed a college-level statistics course with a minimum grade of C. Additionally, a professional resume, academic transcripts, personal statement, a live recorded interview, and three letters of recommendation are required to be submitted as part of your application.

3. Union University – Jackson, TN (16 Months)

Concentrations Offered: Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner

About the School: Enrolling in one of the best fastest nurse practitioner programs online means you will invest a lot less time and money as compared to other standard NP programs and still graduate with professional preparedness. Union University not only prepares you for advanced practice nursing within as little as 16 months but the college’s Christ-centered and excellence-driven NP education trains you with future-ready patient-centric skills. With two online fast-track nurse practitioner programs, you can either decide to specialize in family health or the care of mental health patients, depending on your interest.

Program Details: Whether you decide to enroll in the FNP or PMHNP program, being offered in a fast-track format, these programs are available only on a full-time basis. Although both the programs start only once a year in the fall, admissions are accepted on a rolling basis, so you can apply throughout the year. If you are keen on working while pursuing this degree, then it is recommended that you take only a part-time job. Graduation requires you to complete 46 credits in core and specialization-specific courses, in addition to 560 hours of clinical practice. The core courses, common to both the programs teach you advanced nursing statistics, health assessment, pathophysiology, theory & ethics, nursing research & evidence-based practice, pharmacology, and healthcare informatics. While the FNP track stresses the primary care of individuals & families across the lifespan, the PMHP track trains you in the management of acute & chronic mental health disorders of patients of all ages.

Admission Requirements: Admission into either one of these tracks requires you to have a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited college with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, a current RN license in Tennessee or a compact state RN licensure is required. The college also requires you to have completed pre-requisite courses in anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pathophysiology, and an undergraduate statistics course.

4. National University – San Diego, CA (12-18 Months)

Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

About the School: Have you ever wondered if there was a shorter path to becoming an NP? If so, you may ask whether a quicker route offers the same quality as compared to that of a 2-to-3-year program. Well, yes! At National University, not only can you kickstart your career as an NP within 12 to 18 months, but you also go through the same rigorous training as your counterparts enrolled in the other not-so-short programs. This is counted among the fastest nurse practitioner programs in the nation. This NP program has produced many evidence-based care providers who have contributed to the state’s health and well-being. Also, if you are from the military, you may be eligible for reduced tuition costs as National is a Yellow Ribbon School.

Program Details: Although this is a fast-track program, the credit requirements do not differ from the regular NP programs. So, whether you opt for the FNP or PMHNP, the credit requirements range between 45 to 49. The program starts with six core courses in advanced practice nursing, theory in advanced practice, biomedical statistics, health policy & finance, project management, and evidence-based practice. Both the tracks end with a clinical practicum and capstone where you apply the newly gained knowledge to improve health outcomes for your chosen population focus.

Admission Requirements: To be considered for admission into both these shortest online nurse practitioner programs, you must have a BSN with a minimum GPA of 3.0 from a regionally accredited university. The application also requires you to be a registered nurse with an encumbered license in the state you plan to complete your clinical practicum. You must also attach two recommendation letters, a personal goals statement, and a professional resume.

5. South College – Knoxville, TN (18 Months)

Concentrations Offered: Family Nurse Practitioner

About the School: As a registered nurse, you perhaps already know about the shortage of primary care providers that the nation is facing. In the aftermath of COVID-19, the demand for the primary care worker has further gone up and has hit an all-time high. As a registered nurse if you are keen on playing your part in helping patients recover, then you must consider enrolling in one of the best short-term online nurse practitioner programs in the nation that prepares you for this role as quickly as possible. South College – Knoxville’s NP program could be the option you are looking for, as here you can get certified as an FNP in a short duration of 18 months. Moreover, being a blended format, the program easily fits into the lives of busy working nurses.

Program Details: If you think you are a self-starter and dedicated enough to complete a rigorous curriculum within a compressed time frame, then this fast-track nurse practitioner program grooms you as a lifelong learner who is committed to optimizing patient outcomes across diverse populations. Through individualized mentoring and interactive online platforms, you will master skills that are required to succeed in today’s complex healthcare environment. The MSN-FNP curriculum is a fine balance of didactic and practical training. Typically, clinical training includes practice experiences and on-campus learning sessions. As a graduate, you will demonstrate exceptional critical thinking and analytical skills to promote health in all types of healthcare environments.

Admission Requirements: As an applicant, you must fulfill certain requirements specified by the college. These include proof of having completed undergraduate nursing courses with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Also, you must have an encumbered RN license in the state where you plan to complete your clinical training. Additional requirements include three recommendation letters from healthcare professionals, a personal statement, identification of clinical sites, and preceptors to fulfill the clinical practicum requirement. You must have completed a minimum of 2000 hours of work experience as a working nurse.

How to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner | All Nursing Schools


Online psych NP programs are a great way to earn your degree while working a full-time job or raising a family. You can take courses in the comfort of your home while saving money and time.

You can choose from many different types of online psych NP programs and find one that fits your needs. The best part is that you can take as little or as much time as you need to complete the program, so you’ll never have to give up your current career just to get your degree.

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