This is our main CRNA Schools page – a main hub if you like, designed to help any nurse wanting to train as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Lots of information to get you started!
You’ll find a list of the top-rated CRNA schools by state – follow those links to see your options in each state in the US.
Then we cover all the information you need to get started in this career. Let’s begin …
- 1 CRNA Schools by State
- 2 CRNA School Guide
- 3 About Nurse Anesthetists
- 4 DNP or DNAP
- 5 Employment Opportunities for CRNA’s
- 6 CRNA Schools and Universities
- 7 The Path to Becoming a CRNA
- 7.1 Step 1: Complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a similar degree
- 7.2 Step 2. Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
- 7.3 Step 3. Gain at least one year of critical care experience.
- 7.4 Step 4. Obtain a doctorate degree in nurse anesthesia from an accredited institution.
- 7.5 Step 5. Pass the National Certification Examination (NCE).
- 7.6 Step 6. Gain Employment
- 7.7 Step 7. Maintain Certification
CRNA Schools by State
This list provides links to all our individual state pages where you’ll find details of CRNA schools and programs in each state :
- CRNA Schools in Alabama AL
- CRNA Schools in California CA
- CRNA Schools in Connecticut CT
- CRNA Schools in Florida FL
- CRNA Schools in Georgia GA
- CRNA Schools in Louisiana LA
- CRNA Schools in New York NY
- CRNA Schools in Ohio OH
- CRNA Schools in Texas TX
There is quite a variation from state to state in terms of the number of schools offering training in nurse anesthesia. Each state page gives a full rundown of what is available – but remember you may not be restricted to your state. If your state does not have a suitable program consider another for your training.
CRNA School Guide
So you want to take the next step on your career path and have decided to become a CRNA, but are not sure what this entails. We have taken the hard work away for you by completing this guide on what it takes to reach your goals.
Changes to how CRNAs are trained and become qualified are being introduced with many schools and universities submitting applications to the COA for approval to award doctoral programs.
The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) requires that all students matriculating into a nurse anesthesia educational program on January 1, 2022, or thereafter be enrolled in a program approved by the COA to award a practice doctoral degree.”
These changes are necessary because The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has stated that,
By 2025 all CRNA programs change from the current Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia degree to a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice. All nurse anesthetists qualified before 2025 will not have to go back and study as they will be grandfathered in.
About Nurse Anesthetists
A CRNA is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist with advanced training in the administration of anesthesia. These highly qualified and specialized advanced practice nurses currently must hold at least a Master’s degree but as we have said this will be changing to a least a Doctoral degree. Many schools and universities have already made changes to how they deliver their program with these new rules in mind.
CRNAs are trained in the administration of anesthesia and can work alongside other professionals such as surgeons, dentists, and anesthesiologists. Some states also allow CRNAs to work independently such as Alaska, California, Kansas, and Nebraska.
In rural America CRNAs are the primary providers of anesthesia care, allowing health care facilities in these areas to offer pain management, obstetrics, surgical, and trauma services. In some states, CRNAs are the singular providers of anesthesia in nearly 100 percent of the rural hospitals.
Nurse Anesthetists also serve as the key providers for men and women of the Armed Forces in the US both at home and abroad.
Given the high level of training and responsibility that comes with being a CRNA, they are one of the highest-paid advanced practice nurses in the US.
DNP or DNAP
Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) and the Doctorate of Nursing Anesthesia Practice (DNAP). These degrees are classified as practice-oriented degrees or clinical doctorates.
The main difference between these degrees is what you hope to do in the future. If you want to obtain a university faculty position the DNAP is not recognized as a terminal degree in some states and would therefore exclude you from seeking a tenure.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) sets the curriculum for the DNP in Nurse Anesthesia which is obtained through a school of nursing, usually based in a university.
The Nurse Anesthetists Council of Accreditation approves the DNAP degree which is a professional practice degree in nurse anesthesia. Its focus is on evidence-based clinical practice, education, and management related to nurse anesthesia.
The Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) evolved because many of the nurse anesthesia schools are not situated within schools of nursing, and therefore cannot offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
Employment Opportunities for CRNA’s
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS updated March ’19) Nurse Anesthetist work in a variety of settings and industries including:
- Offices of Physicians
- General Medical & Surgical Hospitals
- Outpaient Care Centres
- Offices of Other Health Professionals
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
States that employ the most CRNAs include:
- North Carolina-3,050
- Tennessee 2,190
States that pay the highest salary include:
Have a look at our main CRNA Salary page – it has detailed salary information and employment stats for all states in the US.
CRNA Schools and Universities
The majority of CRNA programs are offered through a university’s school of nursing department with some facilities having their own medical school. They offer extensive academic education and hands-on experience with many facilities having state-of-art simulation labs and departments.
CRNA School Admission Requirements
Each CRNA program and school will have set its own admission criteria, but many will include the following as a minimum standard. Be sure to check each individual school for any variations.
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Registered Nursing License in the state you are training
- Critical Care Experience- at a minimum of one year but usually more
- An overall GPA of 3.0 or above – 3.4 is becoming the average for those accepted
- A combined Minimum GRE of 300 or better
- TOEFL – Test for English as a Foreign Language if required
- Live Saving Certification- BLS, ACLS, PALS
- Course Prerequisites-including, but not limited to anatomy and physiology, biology, nursing research, or statistics
- Shadow a CRNA or Anesthesiologist-10-40 hours and this must be documented
Each CRNA school will also want to complete a background check on prospective students
States with the Highest Number of CRNA Programs
Not all states in the US offer a DNP in Nurse Anesthesia or DNAP but several states offer several schools and universities. It is important to look at each program individually to find the right fit for you. Tuition fees and other expenses should be taken into consideration with some states adding an out-of-state element to their pricing.
Pennsylvania has 13 CRNA programs which is the largest number of schools for any state, closely followed by Florida with nine facilities.
However, Texas Wesleyan offers a program where you are on campus in Fort Worth for the first 12 months then you can complete your course in one of nine states including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Ohio.
North Carolina offers the program in seven schools and California and Texas have five schools or universities which offer CRNA programs.
The Path to Becoming a CRNA
Becoming a CRNA can take up to seven years of post-secondary education according to the AANA. On average each student will administer over 850 anesthestics and have completed 2,500 clinical hours before gaining certification.
Step 1: Complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a similar degree
This is the first step to becoming a CRNA and it is advisable to get the best grades you can as many of the accredited nurse anesthetist programs require applicants to have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher in order to gain admission.
The degree must come from an accredited program usually recognized by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing (NLNAC).
Step 2. Pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).
All nurses wanting to practice in the United States must pass this exam, with Registered Nurses targeting the NCLEX-RN. This exam covers areas including safety and infection control, basic care and comfort, and pharmacological therapies.
Step 3. Gain at least one year of critical care experience.
Admission requirements for all accredited nurse anesthetist programs have this as a criterion, with many setting the standard experience at a higher level. What constitutes critical care can vary between schools and therefore it is important to do your research.
This experience is necessary as it allows students to become familiar with medical instrumentation and advanced monitoring technology while becoming competent at evaluating unstable and critically compromised patients.
Step 4. Obtain a doctorate degree in nurse anesthesia from an accredited institution.
Most Schools have transitioned to the new Doctoral Programs as set out by the AANA and the COA
Step 5. Pass the National Certification Examination (NCE).
This exam is administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) and is used to make certain new nurse anesthetists are competent and have the required knowledge to perform at entry-level.
Step 6. Gain Employment
Newly qualified and registered CRNAs can apply for entry-level jobs working either in several major departments or more specialized fields such as pediatrics and obstetrics.
Step 7. Maintain Certification
CRNAs must recertify every four years and re-test every eight years. To be eligible for re-certification they must complete a minimum of 100 units of continuing education every four years and cover several areas of expertise including applied pharmacology, anesthesia techniques, airway management techniques, and human physiology and pathophysiology.
They must also pass a test every eight years.
I hope you have found this guide helpful and informative. Now it is up to you to chase your dream of becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and find the CRNA schools that suit your needs.