Best Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Schools
Nurse anesthetists are very high in demand with about 16% expected growth through 2016 expected. To get into this career, you?ll have to undergo extensive schooling and training to earn a CRNA degree. All of the schools on the list offer accredited programs that prepare you for the certification exam to become a nurse anesthetist offered by the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists. These 20 colleges were selected for this list because of their commitment to student education, emphasis on science and critical thinking, and cutting-edge classrooms that provide the latest technology for your education. Study.com's rankings are unique in that they emphasize accessibility, affordability, and quality of education, which we considered the most important attributes in our ranking lists. We also used several data points provided by the U.S. Department of Education, such as tuition, student retention, graduation rate, and student-to-faculty ratio.
1. Bryan College of Health Sciences
Topping our list of the best schools for nurse anesthetists is Lincoln, NE?s, Bryan College of Health Sciences. Here you?ll find top-notch training opportunities with state-of-the-art technology in a hospital setting that provides you with the clinical experience you need to succeed in this field. Designed for experienced registered nurses, this college?s Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program features clinical experience in numerous surgery specialties as well as an additional medical center for hands-on practice. You?ll be able to collaborate with experienced faculty and fully explore techniques in anesthesia through the community hospital rotations included in the program.
2. Saint Vincent College
A Benedictine college in Latrobe, PA, Saint Vincent College offers a supportive, student-focused CRNA program. Saint Vincent?s program is currently in transition from a master?s degree to a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice in order to fulfill 2022 requirements on education by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). You?ll have the opportunity to interact with nurse anesthesia faculty, utilize the expertise of the faculty advisors assigned to the program, and get additional support from student mentors while you earn your degree. The program features more than 20 clinical sites that cover a range of needs, and you?ll be expected to execute at least 550 anesthesia administration cases during your tenure in order to thoroughly prepare to enter the workforce.
3. La Roche College
This Catholic college in the Northern Pittsburgh area is a leader in clinical education, with most of its graduates performing well over the national minimum of case requirements determined by the COA. In the master?s program, you?ll start your clinical training with simulations before moving on to working with actual patients in such specialties as neuro, pediatric, trauma, and cardiac. This program has two parts, with your primary science courses completed at La Roche and your didactic courses and practicum completed through the Alleghany School of Anesthesia. La Roche?s nurse anesthesia program offers you the opportunity to work with healthcare experts who lead your courses and get clinical experience in 11 different sites. You can also find a doctorate in nurse anesthesia practice here for advanced nurse anesthetists.
4. University of Kansas
A high-tech approach to nurse anesthetics and faculty with extensive knowledge of specialty anesthesia fields are just a couple of the reasons the University of Kansas ranks high on our list of nurse anesthetist schools. The university?s Kansas City-based Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice features a cutting-edge virtual hospital, full-body simulator, and clinical sites loaded with the latest technology in the field. This 36-month program is led by experienced faculty and practicing anesthesiologists who serve as mentors to students. You?ll receive training in a Level-1 Trauma Center and a busy, urban medical center, in addition to a diverse array of clinical sites designed to prepare you for independent or group practice in nurse anesthesia.
5. Otterbein University
Ohio?s Otterbein University proudly features a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia in partnership with OhioHealth Grant Medical Center. Graduates of this program have high exam pass rates and are in demand for their extensive experience in varied clinical settings. During the program, you can benefit from clinical simulations, coursework on-site at the medical center, and attentive faculty. A unique feature of Otterbein?s program is a focus on building your character, emotional intelligence, and ability to handle criticism in order to prepare you for high-pressure, stressful situations on the job.
6. University of Detroit Mercy
This Catholic university in Detroit stands out for its small class sizes and faculty commitment to ongoing clinical practice. As a student here, you?ll get plenty of one-on-one attention from faculty members who remain active as nurse anesthetists in addition to teaching. You?ll get experience at around 20 clinical sites in a range of settings and be able to complete some of your coursework in an online format. 100% of graduates of this master?s program in nurse anesthesia land jobs within six months of graduation and complete more than the minimum number of cases required to practice nurse anesthesia.
7. Missouri State University-Springfield
Research plays a key role in the DNAP program at Missouri State University. The program kicks off with an assigned research project that allows you to get hands-on experience during your tenure here, culminating in your final year. Missouri State?s DNAP program features a robust alumni network and faculty mentors who provide support throughout the program. You?ll engage in clinical experiences in various medical settings, including ambulatory surgery centers and labor and delivery. This accredited nurse anesthesia program offers two options, an RN to DNAP for bachelor?s degree holders and a CRNA to DNAP for those with a master?s degree.
8. Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU stands out for its technologically advanced approach to nurse anesthesia education. Here, you?ll have access to the Center for Research in Human Simulation, which provides practice opportunities on five patient simulators. You can also earn your DNAP via distance education at a variety of sites across the state. Simultaneous courses across all sites, online lessons, face-to-face instructors, and simulations are just a few of the benefits of the distance education option. You?ll also find clinical experiences available at more than 50 locations throughout the region.
9. Rhode Island College
Rhode Island College, in Providence, features a nurse anesthesia master?s program in conjunction with the St. Joseph Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia. The program is completing the process of converting to a doctoral program to meet COA requirements. As a student in this 30-month program, you can take classes at both Rhode Island College and the nursing education center, in addition to completing clinical rotations at several hospitals and medical centers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. To enter this program, you will need a license to practice nursing in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts along with at least one year of experience in critical care.
10. University of New England
The University of New England is proud to offer a collaborative nurse anesthesia program that combines elements of dental medicine, pharmacy, and medicine with nurse anesthesia training. At this university in Portland, Maine, you?ll kick off your education with an 8-month classroom portion that provides you with the fundamentals of anesthesia and science. Simulations play a key role in the classroom portion, so you?ll gain experience through simulated medical situations and activities. You?ll then move into the hands-on portion of the curriculum, where you?ll spend 19 months in a hospital setting acquiring essential clinical experience and continuing to take courses in a distance format.
11. University of Cincinnati
Among the oldest nurse anesthesia programs in the nation, the Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia at the University of Cincinnati offers clinical experiences at a Level-1 Trauma Center, community hospitals, and a well-known pediatric hospital. You?ll find a nationally recognized faculty with extensive experience in nurse anesthesia, and you?ll have numerous opportunities to participate in national nurse anesthesia committees and make presentations. You can also take advantage of the university?s annual CRNA job fair and boost your resume by getting involved in community partnerships.
12. University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus
At the University of Pittsburgh, you?ll find a DNP in Nurse Anesthesia program that emphasizes leadership skills and collaboration with other health fields in addition to training in anesthesia practices and technology. This full-time program features individualized advising opportunities to help you make the right choices for your education and career. You?ll get hands-on experience through simulation labs and the simulation institute available on campus, including trauma, problem-based, and pediatric simulations. Clinical experiences at Pitt cover a broad array of medical fields and settings, including organ transplantation, electroconvulsive therapy, and regional anesthesia to name a few. An online program is also available for nurse anesthetists who possess master?s degrees.
13. Central Connecticut State University
Based in New Britain, Central Connecticut State University offers a DNAP program in conjunction with Yale-New Haven Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia and the Nurse Anesthesia Program of Hartford. You can choose from the entry-level program or the advanced program, which is designed for those with master?s degrees in nurse anesthesia. You?ll get a solid foundation in the science of anesthesia through this Department of Biology program, as well as opportunities to hone your critical thinking and analytical skills in preparation for your career. This practice-based program includes extensive clinical requirements, as well as a scholarly project and core biological systems courses.
14. University of Alabama at Birmingham
Recent graduates of the University of Alabama at Birmingham?s DNP in Nurse Anesthesia program all found employment within the first three months of graduation. The DNP program emphasizes clinical experience, utilizing 8 key facilities, including one in Birmingham and the additional 7 throughout the state. You?ll earn your degree through a combination of online learning, on-campus lab and classroom work, and clinical rotations. Compared to a national certification exam pass rate of 82.4%, University of Alabama graduates had a 100% first-time pass rate, as of 2017.
15. Lincoln Memorial University
Named for the 16th president of the United States, Lincoln Memorial University is based in Harrogate, TN, and offers a master?s program in nurse anesthesia. The program requires a full-time commitment and takes 28 months to complete. You?ll get plenty of hands-on experience here with a clinical component taking up 5 semesters and providing you with a broad array of sites to practice nurse anesthesia, including several outside of TN, in Georgia, Virginia, and Kentucky. This master?s program is small, with around 20 students in each class, so you?ll get plenty of one-on-one attention.
16. Newman University
Newman is a Catholic university in Wichita, and one of just two Kansas universities that offer nurse anesthesia programs. In addition to extensive clinical education and the scientific knowledge needed to work in this field, you?ll get in-depth training in anesthesia design, managed care, and ethics of anesthesia. Newman nurse anesthesia graduates are considered to be in high demand, with alumni employed in 20 states. Newman is in the process of converting this master?s program to a doctorate in order to meet COA requirements.
17. Drexel University
Drexel?s Philadelphia center city campus offers a hybrid 28-month master?s program, with anesthesia and science courses taken on campus, and research and core courses available online or in a blended format. You?ll get clinical experience at locations in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania and in such varied specialties as cardiac, pediatric, and neurosurgical. You?ll benefit from courses that utilize smart technology as well as simulations that bring anesthesia principles to life. Drexel?s nurse anesthesia program boasts a 100% employment rate for graduates within six months of graduation.
18. Texas Christian University
Fort Worth?s TCU features a Doctor of Nursing Practice - Anesthesia that emphasizes science, technical knowledge, clinical skills, and critical thinking skills. You?ll be trained by experts in the field of nurse anesthesia who actively participate in research projects and encourage student involvement in field research. This program is heavy on clinical experiences, with most students participating in 900 or more anesthesia cases. The university offers an advanced pain management fellowship as well as simulations to enhance your education.
19. Texas Wesleyan University
You can choose from two nurse anesthesia options at Texas Wesleyan, including a fully online DNAP for CRNA?s with a masters and an entry-level DNAP for RN?s. The university?s nurse anesthesia program is the largest in the U.S. and offers clinical sites in 19 locations across 9 different states. The first year of the program is spent on campus. In the 20-month clinical portion, you?ll have a minimum of 650 cases spread out over many different specialists, types of anesthetics and patient demographics.
20. Florida International University
Miami?s Florida International University boasts a DNP in Nurse Anesthesia program with state-of-the-art classrooms and the latest technology. You?ll have access to patient simulations and a virtual hospital to hone your skills as well as the opportunity to acquire clinical experiences at 5 Miami area hospitals. This program provides a solid foundation in nursing skills and science, as well as opportunities to perform research and participate in community service projects.
To get a more in-depth look at our school ranking methodology, please visit Study.com?s ranking methodology page.