SPECIALTIES
Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)
SPECIALTIES
Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Work settings for Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)s

Hospitals, surgery centers, and physician offices; CRNAs frequently work in rural facilities and in the U.S. armed forces

View facilities

Education requirements & Helpful Certifications

Ideal PERSONALITY TRAITS

  • Critical thinker, quick decision-maker
  • Focused, attentive, and calm
  • Works well in stressful situations
  • Excellent communicator

Average salary for Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)s

Nurse Anesthetists typically make between $93k - $189k, with a median salary of $147,237. For the most up-to-date salary information, check out Salary Explorer.

  • High degree of autonomy and professional respect
  • Enjoys gaining the trust of anxious patients
  • Satisfaction at the end of a surgery that goes well
  • Increased responsibility but still can defer to anesthesiologists if needed

  • Must obtain and maintain more education
  • Increased liability risk and may need malpractice insurance
  • Exposure to bodily fluids and air-borne communicable diseases 
  • Political differences with MD Anesthesiologists at times

Specialty Organizations & Communities

No items found.
Back to Nurses

Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice nurses trained to administer anesthesia to patients undergoing surgery or other procedures. CRNAs meet with patients and initiate a pre-operative interview to determine what anesthesia would be suitable. They answer any questions or concerns, monitor the patient closely under anesthesia, wake the person afterward, and may escort them to the recovery area. Some CRNAs work collaboratively with other anesthesiologists; others can work independently depending on their location, and in some states, a CRNA can prescribe medication independently.

Education Requirements

CRNAs must complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and successfully pass the state's NCLEX-RN exam. Nurses with ADN degrees will need to obtain their BSN first or combine a BSN to an MSN or BSN to doctoral degree program.  Nurses should have at least a year of experience, preferably with critical care experience, before pursuing a CRNA career. 

CRNAs must complete an MSN; however, by 2025, all CRNAs programs are intending to transition to doctoral training (DNAP).  All programs must be accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) and include all necessary clinical hours.

How to advance/career pathway

After completing your CRNA program, apply and take the CRNA exam to gain certification.

Apply for your state licensure as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

Each state has different rules about licensing and certification. You can check your state’s status here and here.

In addition, CRNAs often take out their own malpractice insurance.

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Evaluate the patient prior to surgery or the procedure
  • Determine the type of anesthesia to administer and maintain proper levels
  • Intubate patient if needed and manage the ventilator
  • Ensure equipment works accurately
  • Monitor vital signs and protect the patient from injury
  • Communicate patient status to the physician and operative staff

MOST COMMON CASES

It entirely depends on the setting. CRNAs see a wide variety of cases from children to the elderly.

How to become a

Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

  1. Complete an ADN or BSN program in nursing
  2. Pass the NCLEX-RN exam and apply for your RN license
  3. Have one to two years of experience working as an RN preferably in critical care settings
  4. Apply and complete either an MSN (until 2025) or DNAP program to become a CRNA
  5. Apply and take your CRNA exam to gain certification and obtain licensing per your state’s rules

Specialty Groups and Communities

The Pros

  • High degree of autonomy and professional respect
  • Enjoys gaining the trust of anxious patients
  • Satisfaction at the end of a surgery that goes well
  • Increased responsibility but still can defer to anesthesiologists if needed

The Cons

  • Must obtain and maintain more education
  • Increased liability risk and may need malpractice insurance
  • Exposure to bodily fluids and air-borne communicable diseases 
  • Political differences with MD Anesthesiologists at times
smily face illustration

Personality Traits

  • Critical thinker, quick decision-maker
  • Focused, attentive, and calm
  • Works well in stressful situations
  • Excellent communicator
piggy bank illustration

Average Salary

Nurse Anesthetists typically make between $93k - $189k, with a median salary of $147,237. For the most up-to-date salary information, check out Salary Explorer.

location pin illustration

Work Setting

Hospitals, surgery centers, and physician offices; CRNAs frequently work in rural facilities and in the U.S. armed forces

View facilities