Find out more about how to become certified registered nurse anesthetists, salary information, and educational requirements.

During surgery and other medical procedures, certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) give patients anesthesia and help them feel less pain. These respected APRNs (advanced practice registered nurses) get some of the best pay in the nursing field and have a lot of freedom in how they do their jobs.

There has never been a greater need for CRNAs. Compared to the 6% predicted growth for all registered nurses, the CRNA job market is expected to grow by 12% between 2021 and 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Discover how to become a CRNA and what to expect working in this demanding sector by reading this tutorial.

what is Nurse Anesthetist

CRNAs are APRNs with anesthetic and pain management training. In their capacity as APRNs, they are able to assess patients’ needs for anesthesia and pain management, provide anesthesia, and prescribe painkillers, including banned narcotics.

Hospitals, surgical facilities, clinics, and private practices use nurse anesthetists. They may serve as the sole anesthesia specialist in some contexts, like clinics and remote healthcare facilities, while in others, such hospitals, they often collaborate with physician anesthesiologists.

While our nurse anesthetist job overview provides a more comprehensive view of the field, this guide goes into great detail about nurse anesthetist education, credentialing, and practice.

how to become certified registered nurse anesthetists

Depending on the license and certification standards imposed by the board of nursing in the state where you wish to practice, being a nurse anesthetist requires 7 to 10 years of school and training.

You must also complete a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) or doctor of nursing anesthesia practice (DNAP) degree, which takes about three years to complete, in addition to obtaining a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

You must pass the National Certification Exam (NCE), which is given by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA), after earning your doctorate (NBCRNA).

Get your BSN from a reputable program.

A BSN requires four years to complete. A two-year associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) is the entry point for certain nurse anesthetists. Many universities have RN-to-BSN programs, and some master’s in science in nursing (MSN) programs offer a bridging option for those with an ADN. Depending on how many transferred credits they already have, students with a bachelor’s degree in a discipline other than nursing can enroll in an accelerated BSN program and graduate with a BSN in two to three years.

To become licensed as an RN, pass the NCLEX exam.

This computer adaptive exam, which can last up to six hours, covers subjects such illnesses and treatments, nursing practice, the healthcare system, cooperating with other members of a healthcare team, and patient education and communication. A background check and other state standards are also necessary for RNs.

Obtain critical care nursing clinical experience.

All CRNA programs demand that RNs have between one and three years of critical care experience gained while working in intensive care units (ICUs), medical-surgical units, trauma centers, or emergency rooms

Enroll in a graduate program for nurse anesthesia.

Most graduate programs for nurse anesthetists demand at least a 3.0 GPA, however, others want or strongly prefer 3.5 and above. In addition, applicants submit a personal essay or statement and letters of recommendation.

Pass the National Certification Exam after receiving your DNP or DNAP degree.

Your aptitude for practicing at an entry-level is determined by the NCE. A DNP or DNAP degree and an unencumbered RN license are prerequisites for taking this certification exam. The current test fee is $995; starting in January 2023, it will rise to $1,045. The 100–170 questions on this three-hour computer-adaptive exam cover subjects in basic science, technology, equipment, instrumentation, anesthetic concepts, and anesthesia for surgical procedures and particular populations.

To use the title “nurse anesthetist,” you must have NBCRNA certification in all 50 states. Most states require CRNAs to hold APRN licenses as well.


Be a CRNA to start your career.

As a member of the anesthesia team, nurse anesthetists often collaborate with surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals at hospitals and surgical facilities. They additionally perform in hospitals, clinics, and military installations where they might oversee an anesthetic crew.

They might be the only anesthesia professional in under-resourced settings like rural hospitals. The scope of practice for nurse anesthetists is governed differently in each state, including whether they have complete professional autonomy or are required to work under a doctor’s supervision. Many CRNAs work independently and have their own practices, depending on the state.

Where can you find work?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there is an increasing need for nurse anesthetists around the country. Once you obtain your CRNA license, you will be required in a variety of healthcare settings, including:

  • hospitals for medicine and surgery
  • Outpatient care enters dental offices, plastic surgery practices, pain management clinics, and other medical facilities.
  • US military installations

How much money can a nurse anesthetist make?

It’s crucial to enjoy your line of work. An added benefit is being recognized and properly compensated for your particular training and knowledge.

The average annual wage for nurse anesthetists, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is $202,470 ($97.34 per hour).

No matter where you live, becoming a CRNA may be a highly rewarding career decision. Of course, your compensation will depend on what state you work in and the sort of facility where you are employed. Find out all there is to know about the pay a nurse anesthetist receives.

There are many various types of nurses, and anesthesiology is one of the nursing fields with the highest salaries.

Certificates for Nurse Anesthetists

  • To provide anesthesia, a nurse anesthetist needs to be certified and licensed. While the NBCRNA oversees nurse anesthetist credentials, states handle licensing.
  • Students’ understanding of nurse anesthesia practice is examined on the NBCRNA certification exam.
    While DNAP programs are already built around the specialty, MSN and DNP students attend specialist courses in nursing anesthesia.
    college-cap symbol Certificate of CRNA
  • The completion of core modules, earning continuing education credits, and passing an exam are requirements for recertification.

college-cap symbol CRNA Registration

  • Although every state requires CRNA certification, many states have different licensing criteria. When seeking licensure, nurse anesthetists go to their regional state board of nursing. Some states demand extra applications for medical supervision and/or prescription power. To keep their licenses, CRNAs must accrue continuing education credits.
  • Nurse anesthetists have a variety of job settings to choose from, such as hospitals, medical-surgical units, and critical care centers in remote areas. Additionally available are outpatient and ambulatory surgery facilities, medical offices, and pain clinics. They might be hired by the military, the government, dental practices, ketamine clinics, and clinics for cosmetic surgery, among other places.
  • Surgical suites in hospitals are among the most sought-after employers. In this context, CRNAs collaborate alongside anesthesiologists, registered nurses, and other medical specialists to deliver anesthesia and oversee pain control.

Abdullahi Suleiman a Certified Registered Nurse based in Nigeria, an Entrepreneur and Also a Blogger, passionate about Community Development and Cosmetic Nursing

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