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On line NP or On-campus Np? (MA)

by Rosemarch Rosemarch (New) New

Hi all,

I am writing to ask for your help and advice.

Right now I am detox nurse, working 3 shifts x8 hours in a detox unit in a psychiatric hospital in MA. I graduated in 2019 May and I am considering going to PMHNP program in this fall or next Spring.

I am debating between the online program and on-campus program.

1 The on -campus program in MGH IHP, Northeastern, BC costs 100,000 dollars. I am a little bit scared by the student loan. For online programs like Regis, Walden, it costs about 50,000 dollars and it looks like more manageable.

2 I have a kid in elementary school and I still wanna work when I do my NP program. On line programs can save tons of commute time. However, I will need find preceptors on my own for these online programs which I have no clue how hard it will be or if it is doable.

I will appreciate any input/ information/ advice. Any info will be very helpful and meaningful to me.

Thank you all so much. This forum gave me a lot of support and let me felt so warm all the way on my journey from a pre-nurse student to RN. Thanks and wish everyone stay in good health in these tough days.

Numenor, BSN, MSN, NP

Specializes in Internal Medicine. Has 9 years experience.

On campus for sure. I am not saying that online education is bad but you will be VERY stressed looking for preceptors. I know many people who flat out quit because it was not possible. Remember, hospitals or clinics don't really want students. they eat up productivity for no gain. So many horror stories out there with online students at for profit schools who got screwed.

Neuro Guy NP, DNP, PhD, APRN

Specializes in Vascular Neurology and Neurocritical Care. Has 9 years experience.

Agree. On campus. Maybe consider finding a reputable state school. At any rate, on campus you'll likely have better networking and professors who actually know you and can be references for you. The stigma - or at minimum, the controversy - of online education hasn't really gone away so do yourself a favor and go on-ground.

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 13 years experience.

$100k for a degree is too much! I also recommend on campus but I think you should look for another program.

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 25 years experience.

There are a lot of reputable programs that use online delivery of education. I would find one that provides your clinical sites, unless you already have good connections, because I read a lot about people having to defer their courses due to inability to find preceptors.

I attended a reputable school's online option and only had to travel once a year to the campus. Keep in mind that it's more often the norm that schools do not find clinical preceptors for you, whether that's on-campus or online school.

5 hours ago, db2xs said:

I attended a reputable school's online option and only had to travel once a year to the campus. Keep in mind that it's more often the norm that schools do not find clinical preceptors for you, whether that's on-campus or online school.

Thank you very much for your reply. Can I know which program you went to?

Mr.Sta, BSN, MSN, NP

Has 7 years experience.

I know someone currently going through mizzou for PMHNP, I believe she has had to go to the campus once or twice. I know she does have to find her own preceptors. I believe she is satisfied with how things are going also.

I do have experience with all online and if you have no other option I guess you do that. I feel like even the labs once a year or semester would be very beneficial. Also as @Neuro Guy NPsaid the networking is huge, having contacts for references and help with difficult cases is important.

Edited by Mr.Sta

umbdude, MSN, NP

Specializes in Psych/Mental Health. Has 4 years experience.

Online vs. on-campus is ultimately a personal choice. I go to a on-campus PMHNP program and I swear by it. There is no way I could get as much out of an online program. My school is well-regarded and has a lot of resources.

The MSN programs at MGH and Northeastern do not cost $100k. They cost ~$65k. BC costs ~$110k because it's a DNP program. Also, the calculation for psych NPs should be different in comparison to other specialties because of the higher compensation (at least for now), and it's easy to get high-paying side gigs.

I would be wary about Walden. It's perceived as a diploma mill and you might not be able to find a preceptor unless you have great connections. The NP job market in MA is competitive even for PMHNPs and most likely will become even more competitive by the time you graduate.

Other options include UMass medical (Worcester), UMass Amherst (online), and MCPHS.


Has 5 years experience.

I'd go for the cheapest program that is still reputable.


Specializes in Nurse.

Online classes are "convenient" in that you can work on your own time and still care for your child. However, be rather careful and consider what YOUR level of confidence is in Psych. Online classes that offer recorded video/audio lectures, Power Points, scheduled on-campus sessions, and blackboard collab sessions are way better.

If you are paying as much as these courses now cost, please be sure the school offers you preceptorships. You may have to travel to the school's location (city) to be placed since the colleges may only have local contracts. That is way better than having to find your won preceptors.

My beef with finding your own preceptors is the fact that the EDUCATION is unequal. If you are lucky to find a very good and compassionate preceptor, you will get a lot out of the experience. If you become desperate (as can sometimes happen) for a preceptor, you will be glad to just find ANYONE that will help you within the school's deadline.

Please ask about the certification pass rate for the program that you eventually decide to attend BUT if you asked me, I WOULD PICK AN ON-CAMPUS program over online.

I cannot tell you how many people I know who regretted doing online programs, because they were required to find their own preceptors. They were enormously stressed, and some had to take a semester off because they could not find a preceptor. If you do an online program, question them carefully about preceptors. There are some schools that have a good network already in place. But most don't, in my experience.

I can't remember which school it was, but I recently heard of an on-campus program that was requiring students to find their own preceptors. I hope that is not a trend! At this time, it is not the norm. But definitely ask questions.