Anesthesiology Graduate Schools: How to Choose

Anesthesiology is the practice of administering anesthesia and monitoring a patient during surgery. Graduate programs in anesthesiology are available at the master's level to individuals who already hold a current, valid license as a registered nurse (R.N.) and have completed a bachelor's degree in nursing.

How to Select an Anesthesiology Graduate School

Master's degree programs in anesthesiology are available through 4-year colleges and universities. While all graduate programs in anesthesiology qualify successful graduates to sit for the national registration examination to become practicing certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), some programs offer small, specific differences in title. Depending on the specific degree, a graduate program in anesthesiology may take anywhere from 24 -32 months to complete. A basic master's degree in anesthesiology may take less time than a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a concentration in anesthesiology. This is due to varying coursework, typically extended in the MSN program by research and a residency period.

Further considerations when seeking a program in this field:

  • Consider which degree program best suits desired future career.
  • Look into a school's options for financial aid.
  • Research the types of clinical opportunities available.

Anesthesiology Program Overviews

Master's Degree in Anesthesiology

Offered as a Master of Science in Anesthesiology or a Master of Nurse Anesthesia, this degree program prepares students to sit for the national CRNA examination. Coursework includes:

  • Pharmacology
  • Endocrine physiology
  • Renal physiology
  • Anatomy

Programs include extensive clinical practicums or internships. Students learn specialized techniques to be used during cardiovascular, pediatric and neurological surgery. They also learn to operate anesthesia machines, ventilators and monitoring equipment. Students take research courses as well and may be required to complete a thesis.

Master of Science in Nursing in Anesthesiology

A Master of Science in Nursing with a concentration in nursing anesthesia may take as long as 32 months to complete. This is mainly due to the addition of specialized courses, such as the theory of nurse research, advanced health assessment and population health. Like an M.S. in Anesthesiology, nursing programs cover the many different aspects of anesthesiology, including:

  • Pathophysiology
  • Advanced anesthesia principles
  • Anatomy and physiology

Students also participate in clinical practicums or internships to gain hands-on experience.

Top Schools with Nurse Anesthetist Programs

College/University Institution Type
University of Pittsburgh 2-year, Private not-for-profit
Rush University 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Duke University 4-year, Private not-for-profit
Virginia Commonwealth University 4-year, Public
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences 4-year, Public
University of Pennsylvania 4-year, Private not-for-profit
University of Maryland 4-year, Public
Case Western Reserve University 4-year, Private not-for-profit
University of Iowa 4-year, Public

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