Career Overview

Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

What They Do:

Provide pain medication (anesthesia) care for patients before, during, and after surgery. They administer medications to keep patients asleep or pain-free during surgery and constantly monitor every function of the patient’s body while under anesthesia. May assist anesthesiologists, surgeons, other physicians, or dentists. Must be registered nurses who have specialized graduate education. A type of Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. 

Also Known As:

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Nurse Anesthetist, Staff Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (Staff CRNA), Staff Nurse Anesthetist

Minimum Education Requirements:

  • Baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing or other appropriate major.
  • An unrestricted license as a registered nurse
  • Minimum of one year of full-time work experience as a registered nurse in a critical care setting (example: hospital ICU)
  • Graduation with a minimum of a master’s degree from a nurse anesthesia education program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Program (COA).

Nurse anesthesia educational programs range from 28-51 months, depending on university requirements. Programs include clinical settings and experiences. Graduates of nurse anesthesia educational programs have an average of 9,369 hours of clinical and nursing experience by the time they graduate and become CRNAs.

(It takes a minimum of 7-8.5 calendar years of education and experience to prepare a CRNA.)

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