Schools for Aspiring Certified Nurse Anesthetists

Feb 27, 2019

In order to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), a person must hold a valid license as a registered nurse, as well as a bachelor's degree in nursing or a related field, before enrolling in a graduate degree program in anesthesia. These programs can be found at 4-year colleges and universities and teaching hospitals.

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Certified nurse anesthetists, known better by the official title of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs), are trained health care professionals who administer anesthesia and monitor patients during surgery. Aspiring CRNAs may choose to enroll in either a master's or doctoral degree program in anesthesia or nursing anesthesia.

Top 9 Certified Nurse Anesthetist Schools

At these well-regarded institutions, student can get the training they need for a nurse anesthetist career:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's, Doctoral $37,392 in-state, $43,290 out-of-state
Rush University Chicago, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Doctoral $999 per credit
Duke University Durham, NC 4-year, Private not-for-profit Doctoral $1,568 per credit
Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $12,397 master's in-state, $25,492 master's out-of-state, $12,600 doctoral
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda, MD 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral $0
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Doctoral $31,068
University of Maryland Baltimore, MD 4-year, Public Doctoral $692 per credit in-state, $$1,251 per credit out-of-state
Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH 4-year, Private not-for-profit Master's $1,891 per credit
University of Iowa Iowa City, IA 4-year, Public Doctoral $17,388 in-state, $35,442 out-of-state

Source: *U.S. News and World Report

School Selection Criteria

Here is some information to consider when selecting a nurse anesthetist school:

  • Students should consider schools that offer programs accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Attending a properly accredited school allows students to sit for certification as a CRNA through organizations such as the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists or the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthesia.
  • Programs that offer preparation courses for the certification examination could be beneficial to students upon graduation, and schools with strong employment records are likely to help students find professional positions after successful completion.
  • Schools that offer extensive clinical rotations could help students make professional connections that later lead to employment.
  • Students interested in specialty areas, such as obstetrics, cardiovascular studies, pediatrics, neurology or orthopedics, may want to look for programs that offer clinical opportunities in these areas.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Anesthesia

A M.S. in Anesthesia may be completed in two years and, when properly accredited, can qualify students to become CRNAs. Clinical experience in a variety of professional settings commonly makes up the final year of study in the graduate program. Some schools may require a thesis in order to graduate. The first year is spent on basic academic coursework.

Master of Nursing in Anesthesia

This program may take anywhere from 24-36 months to complete and can qualify graduates to become CRNAs upon completion. A residency period and research project may be included at this level, as may be an extensive amount of clinical experience.

By completing a master's or doctoral program that provides adequate preparation for the CRNA exam, aspiring certified nurse anesthetists can get the training they need for a successful career in the field.

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