Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist: Salary and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

View popular schools

Becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist requires significant education and knowledge. CRN Anesthetists work alongside physicians, or sometimes independently, in the administering of anesthesia, and other pain management measures. Requirements differ by state, and job demand is higher in more rural areas where anesthetists are not available, or hospitals are underserved.

Essential Information

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) administer anesthesia to patients undergoing certain medical procedures and provide pain management services as well. They work alongside other healthcare professionals, such as surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists, ophthalmologists and podiatrists. Experienced registered nurses may pursue this advanced practice specialty by completing a master's degree program in nurse anesthesia, which typically includes a residency. Graduates can earn certification by passing an exam.

Required Education Master's degree
Other Requirements Clinical experience and residency; RN licensure
Certification Required
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 31% for all nurse anesthetists
Median Salary (2015)* $157,140 for all nurse anesthetists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Salary Information

Nurse anesthetists earned a median salary of $157,140 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The lowest-paid ten percent earned $105,410 or less and the highest-paid ten percent earned $187,200 or more. A CRNA's salary can vary based on his or her level of experience. PayScale.com reports that, as of October 2016, CRNAs with less than one year of experience earned a median salary of $122,878, while CRNAs who had been working for over 20 years earned a median salary of $156,852.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Career Information

CRNAs often work in rural areas, providing anesthesia care at a reduced cost to the medically underserved. In some states, nurse anesthetists may work independently without the supervision of a physician. CRNAs conduct pre-anesthetic evaluations, administer anesthesia and provide post-anesthesia care. They may administer local, general or regional anesthesia, as well as intravenous sedation. Responsibilities include monitoring patients as they are under or recovering from anesthesia, giving drugs or fluids, and providing ventilator support as necessary. They also provide pain relief therapy through the use of drugs or anesthetic techniques.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Nursing
  • Critical Care Nursing
  • Direct-Entry Midwifery - LM, CPM
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse Training
  • Mental Health Nursing
  • Neonatal Nursing
  • Nurse Anesthetist
  • Nurse Assistant or Patient Care Assistant
  • Nurse Midwife
  • Nurse Practitioner or Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Nursing Administration
  • Nursing for Adults and Seniors
  • Nursing Science
  • Occupational Health Nursing
  • Operating Room and Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatric Nursing
  • Public Health Nurse or Community Nurse
  • Registered Nurse

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Education Requirements

In order to become a CRNA, one must first earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a related bachelor's degree. Students enrolled in these programs take courses in anatomy, physiology, psychology, microbiology, nutrition, chemistry and nursing. Clinical experience is also required at a hospital or other clinical facility. Graduates must take the National Council Licensure Examination in registered nursing (NCLEX-RN) to obtain licensure as a registered nurse (RN). Some states may have additional licensing requirements. Aspiring CRNAs should gain at least one year of experience working as a licensed RN.

The next step is to enroll in a master's degree program in nurse anesthesia that is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). These programs generally take 24-36 months to complete and include courses in pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, physics, pain management and pathophysiology. Programs generally include a research component and clinical residency. The residency allows students to gain experience with patients and learn how to apply anesthesia techniques. Graduates of this program must pass the certification examination administered by the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists (CCNA). Continuing education is required to maintain certification every two years.

Nurse anesthetists first pursue an undergraduate degree in nursing or a related field, and then complete a master's degree to gain specialized knowledge as a nurse anesthetist. CRNAs must be certified and maintain the relevant licensure for their state. This is a high earning and fast growing field of nursing.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?