How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists perform a variety of duties including administering anesthesia, monitoring patients' vital signs, and overseeing patient recovery following surgery.[1] They may serve as assists to physicians, dentists, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals. Read this article to learn how to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA).


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    Graduate from high school or pass the General Education Development (GED) examination. This is the first step on the path to becoming a nurse anesthetist. Pay special attention to science courses like biology, physiology, and chemistry, as your performance in these types of courses early on will help you determine whether or not medicine is the right field for you.
    • Take the SATs, the required standardized test for college admissions, your junior year and apply to more than one school to increase your likelihood of acceptance.
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    Get a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.[2][3] While particular programs differ, coursework generally includes physiology, nursing theory, and biology.[4]
    • Though registered nurses don't necessarily need a bachelor's degree, nurse anesthetists do because they must complete postgraduate education, and a bachelor's degree is a prerequisite for these programs.
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    Become a registered nurse. You will need to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses and meet additional state requirements.[5] You must become a registered nurse in the state in which you plan on practicing.
    • Some states require that you complete a criminal background check and send your college transcripts in order to sign up for the national licensing exam.[6]
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    Complete at least one year of acute care experience.[7] This includes working as a nurse in an ICU (Intensive Care Unit), ER (Emergency Room), or other acute care facility within a hospital.[8]
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    Complete an accredited graduate program in nurse anesthesia.[9] These programs typically last between 2 to 3 years, and earn you a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia or other related Master of Science degree.[10] Nurse anesthetist programs combine classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience, focusing on subjects like anatomy, chemistry, physiology, and pharmacology.[11] You will learn important skills like how to administer anesthesia for different types of surgeries.[12]
    • You will need to have a bachelor's degree, hold a nursing license, and show proof that you have completed one year of acute care in order to apply for a master's program in nurse anesthesia.[13]
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    Take the national certification examination for CRNAs.[14] This test is required in order to become a certified nurse anesthetist. Tests are administered several times a year, and there are a variety of programs designed to help you prepare for the exam.
    • You must have successfully completed a postgraduate program in nurse anesthesiology to be eligible for the national licensing exam.[15]
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    Find work as a nurse anesthetist. Certified nurse anesthetists can work in either the private or public sector, and typically work in hospitals, surgery centers, physicians' offices, dental offices, plastic surgeons' offices, podiatrist offices, and clinics.[16][17]
    • Nurse anesthetists earn one of the highest salaries within the nursing profession, with a median income of six figures.[18]
    • As populations continue to grow, there will continue to be an increased demand for nurse anesthetists and other medical professionals.


  • In addition to their extensive knowledge and training, nurse anesthetists should have strong communication skills, exhibit empathy, and have strong manual dexterity.
  • Some postgraduate nursing programs have minimum GPA requirements. Increase your likelihood of acceptance into these programs by doing your best in college, and check with various postgraduate programs to determine these and other requirements.
  • Be resourceful.

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Categories: Health Care