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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.

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Master's degree programs in anesthesiology are available through 4-year colleges and universities. All graduate programs in anesthesiology qualify successful graduates to sit for the national registration examination to become practicing certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs).

Schools with Nurse Anesthetist Programs

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2015-2016*
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2-year, Private not-for-profit MSN $21,260 (in-state); $34,944 (out-of-state)
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, Virginia 4-year, Public MSN $10,710 (in-state); $21,933 (out-of-state)
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, Ohio 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $41,137
University of Iowa Iowa City, Iowa 4-year, Public Master's $8,396 (in-state); $25,574 (out-of-state)

*Source: National Center for Educational Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

Further considerations when seeking a program in this field:

  • Program length may be a consideration. Depending on the specific degree, a graduate program in anesthesiology may take anywhere from 24-32 months to complete, with a basic master's degree in anesthesiology taking less time than a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a concentration in anesthesiology.
  • Consider which degree program best suits desired career goals.
  • Look into a school's options for financial aid.
  • Research the types of clinical opportunities available.

Master's Degree in Anesthesiology

Offered as a Master of Science in Anesthesiology or a Master of Nurse Anesthesia, these 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. Students also participate in clinical practicums or internships to gain hands-on experience.

When choosing an anesthesiology graduate program, students should verify the length and coursework, as it varies by title. They should also make sure clinical components are included.

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