How Do I Become a Nurse Anesthetist?

Nurse AnesthetistA career as a nurse anesthetist, also called a CRNA, is not only a very stable job in the health care field, but it is also one of the most in-demand and highest paying medical professions.

CRNA Requirements

CRNAs are highly trained, uniquely skilled practitioners with a high-degree of responsibility and expectation. Nurse anesthetists are responsible for every stage of the surgical anesthesia process. To begin the journey to CRNA status, a person will need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. After receiving a nursing degree, one must obtain licensure as a registered nurse. This procedure has slight variations by state and/or region, but the NCLEX exam is a virtual given at this stage.

New nurses will need a minimum of one year of critical care experience. The field to becoming a nurse anesthetist is competitive. Working in a more advanced critical care unit will yield better results on the road to becoming a nurse anesthetist. While one year is required for experience, most applicants come into these programs with several years of experience and many advanced certifications. Individual nurse anesthetist programs have their own requirements with regard to prior experience and certifications. Some will accept PACU or ER experience, while some many not. Nearly all require certification in advanced lifesaving procedures.

Education and Experience

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, a minimum of seven years of education when getting a CRNA. Most student nurse anesthetist completes 2,500 clinical hours. They also will administer about 850 anesthetics as a student. After receiving your nurse anesthetist degree, CRNA’s are required to be certified every two years throughout their career. This includes meeting practice requirements and having a minimum of 40 continuing education credits.

Related Resource: Types of Nursing Degrees


Becoming a nurse anesthetist is a very rewarding career. If you are a person who pays close attention to detail, can handle high levels of responsibility and takes pride in knowing that the patient is benefiting from your care, than this might be the right career path for you. To learn more about what it takes to become a nurse anesthetist, review the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists.

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