Nurse anesthetists are experiencing high salary opportunities, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reporting a median pay for the profession at $115,800. The BLS also projects a 45% job growth from 2019-29 for nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists, and nurse practitioners (NPs), which is much faster than the average rate for all other occupations in the country.

What Is a Nurse Anesthetist?

The role of the nurse anesthetist extends from pre-operative through post-operative phase (for example, pre-anesthesia assessment and monitoring of post-anesthesia recovery). Technical competencies include attaching invasive and noninvasive monitors and providing airway management and ventilation support; CNRAs sometimes consult on these subjects. Some nurse anesthetists perform pain management services such as nerve blocks. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) has provided a sample job description with things that a CRNA might do on the job – it is a long list.

Where Do Nurse Anesthetists Work?

Nurse anesthetists work in many different healthcare settings, including hospitals, private practices, and clinics. Practicing as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), nurse anesthetists collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide safe, effective healthcare.

Nurse anesthetists most commonly work in hospital operating rooms, free standing surgical centers, emergency department trauma stabilization, pain clinics, and labor and delivery units. They may also work in physician offices providing anesthesia for podiatry, dentistry, or other minor procedures.

Steps to Becoming a Nurse Anesthetist

Before beginning a CRNA degree program, you must be a registered nurse (RN) with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. You’ll also need at least one year of experience in an acute care setting such as an intensive care unit (ICU) or emergency room (ER), though you might need more depending on the acceptance requirements of your school.

After meeting these requirements, you can apply to a graduate degree program for nurse anesthetists.

Currently, you need a master’s degree and national certification to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist, but that will change in 2025, when a doctoral degree will be required to enter the field. Per the Council on Accreditation (COA) of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, all CRNA degree programs must include a doctoral degree by January 1, 2022. All students enrolled in CRNA master’s degree programs at that time will be required to transition to a doctoral program. Since it generally takes two years for a student with an MSN to earn a doctorate, students hoping the beat the DNP deadline would have to be well into the first year of their doctorate in 2020.

While the new certification requirements do not specify the type of doctoral degree CRNAs must pursue, the most common choice likely will be the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Other options will be:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Education (EdD)
  • Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS)

Benefits Of Being A Nurse Anesthetist

While it might seem like a lot of work to become a nurse anesthetist the benefits are profound. Nurse Anesthetists rank #10 in the best paying jobs according to U.S. News. It offers a vast amount of flexibility whether you are looking for a permanent placement or like the idea of traveling. Not to mention the rewards of delivering outstanding patient care.

CPR Anesthesia, Inc. provides daily to full-time opportunities for Anesthesiologists and CRNAs based on your individual preferences across the United States. Contact a CPR Anesthesia, Inc. recruiter today to learn more about this exciting career field.