The nurse anesthetist, also referred to as a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), is a sought after and rewarding occupation in the field of advanced practice registered nursing. Those with a desire to work in anesthesia and the drive to work with a high level of autonomy can enter the CRNA pathway via a specialty Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). With campus-based and online options based all throughout the country, becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist is as easy as picking the right program.

Choosing a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) School

There are a few key elements to look for when researching nurse anesthetist programs:

Accreditation

Making sure a nurse anesthetist program is accredited is extremely important, and is a great sign that the program is of a high caliber. Prospective CRNA students will want to look for accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, as well as other national organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

Program Cost

Nurse anesthesia programs typically list tuition cost by credits. While these costs can vary depending on location and school, students can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $1,700 per credit for tuition for both MSN and DNP program options. This usually does not include additional costs such as mandatory school fees, course materials, or books. Financial aid is widely available for well-qualified students.

Program Length

MSN-level nurse anesthetist programs can typically be completed in around 29 months, with roughly 64 credits required. DNP-level CRNA programs take closer to 36 months and can require around 100 credits. Both programs are usually split between classroom-based courses and clinical experiences.

Internship/Externship Opportunities

Clinical residencies are a large part of the CRNA student's learning experience. Most schools will help to arrange internships, externships, and other hands-on rotations at local hospitals and medical centers, as this is a requirement of the program.

Online/Campus Options

To meet the demands of busy students, many programs offer both online and campus-based certified registered nurse anesthetist pathways. Some schools will even offer a "hybrid" program, allowing students to take many courses online but also offering classroom-based lectures and labs.

Nurse Anesthetist Degree Levels Offered

Nurses have two pathways to become CRNAs; they can choose the master's route or the doctoral route. Both programs offer advanced-level core and specialized courses, and also require clinical hours as part of the program of study. Students should consider which type of educational program is right for them when thinking about CRNA education.

MSN Programs

An MSN Nurse Anesthesia program consists of a mix of advanced general nursing courses, specialty anesthesia courses, and lots of hands-on training. Students take courses such as Chemistry and Physics for Nurse Anesthetists, Anesthesia Principles, Research Methods, and more. The clinical practicum is extensive and involves pre-operative interviews, patient assessment, intravenous sedation, and other hands-on experiences. Westminster College in Utah, as an example, offers an accredited MS Nurse Anesthesia program.

DNP Programs

There are roughly 16 DNP Nurse Anesthesia programs available around the country. The DNP goes a step farther than the MSN-based programs to prepare students in nurse anesthesia at the highest level. Beyond the generalized and anesthesia-based coursework, DNP students takes classes such as Leadership Theory, Teaching/Learning, and Economics of Health Care to hone supervisory and leadership skills. The University of Minnesota, for example, offers an accredited DNP Nurse Anesthetist program dedicated to creating advanced CRNAs.

Online Nurse Anesthetist Programs

There are some distance learning (i.e. online) CRNA programs available for students who want the convenience and flexibility of completing coursework from their own homes. These programs usually utilize a hybrid model of delivery, offering some courses online but requiring some labs and hands-on experiences in the classroom.

Advantages of An Online Program

Online learning has numerous advantages. Those with busy schedules and families usually enjoy being able to take the courses from home on their own time. Online programs are also essential for those in rural areas who couldn't feasibly get to a university on a day-to-day basis. These programs can also save on expenses, as online students don't have to worry about the costs associated with commuting, such as gas and parking fees. While hands-on clinical hours in a hospital or medical facility are required, many online programs allow students to arrange these in their local area. Prospective students should inquire with their school of choice to get information on things like on-campus requirements and clinical practicum options.

Program Accreditation

Like classroom-based programs, online CRNA programs can hold accreditations, and students should check to make sure a prospective program is properly accredited. The most important for a nurse anesthetist program is accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Education Programs, but ACEN and CCNE accreditations are also ones to watch for.

Costs and Length

Online nurse anesthetist programs require the same amount of credits as their classroom-based counterparts, but allow students to work at their own pace, making length a variable factor. Most online programs require that students finish the coursework in a specified amount of time (for example, within 7 years of starting). Tuition cost is also similar, at $1,000 per credit and up, but overall costs for online students are typically lower, since these students don't have commuting costs and often don't have to pay for as many mandatory fees as campus-based programs. For instance, the Nurse Anesthesia DNP program at Texas Wesleyan University charges $1,150 per credit hour, which includes fees.

What Are the Admissions and Certification Requirements?

Nurse anesthetist MSN and DNP programs typically have the following requirements:

  • BSN or MSN from an accredited college or university
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Personal statement outlining the student's desire to become a CRNA
  • Three letters of professional reference
  • Resume or CV detailing relevant job titles
  • GRE scores may be required
  • Current RN license in good standing
  • Copy of official university transcripts
  • Current PALS and ACLS certifications

Certification as a CRNA is obtained through the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Criteria for the examination includes:

  • Hold an unrestricted RN license
  • Must have completed an accredited nurse anesthesia program
  • Must submit a completed application and an electronically prepared record of academic and clinical experience signed by both the student and a program administrator within 30 days of completing the program

Certification as a CRNA is awarded upon successful completion of the examination.

List of Nurse Anesthetist Schools

A variety of nurse anesthetist programs designed to prepare CRNAs are available from coast to coast, and include the following list.

Select Your State:

Alabama

SchoolContact Information
Samford University
DNP ProgramsMSN Programs
800 Lakeshore Drive
Birmingham, AL 35229
(205) 726-2011

Arizona

SchoolContact Information
Arkansas State University
P.O. Box 910
State University, AZ 72467
(870) 972-3074
University of Arizona
DNP Programs
1305 N. Martin | PO Box 210203
Tucson, AZ 85721
(520) 626-6154

California

SchoolContact Information
Loma Linda University
11262 Campus St.
Loma Linda, CA 92350
(909) 558-4923
Samual Merrit Univerisity
3100 Telegraph Ave
Oakland,, CA 94609
(180) 060-7637 x7

Connecticut

SchoolContact Information
Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
(203) 254-4000

District Of Columbia

SchoolContact Information
Georgetown University
MSN Programs
3700 O St NW
Washington, DC 20057
(202) 687-0100

Florida

SchoolContact Information
Florida Gulf Coast University
MSN Programs
10501 FGCU Blvd. South
Fort Myers, FL 33965
(239) 590-1000
Florida International University
11200 SW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33199
(305) 348-7748
Gannon University
105 Commercial Center Dr
Ruskin, FL 33573
(814) 871-7000
University of Miami
P.O. Box 248153
Coral Gables, FL 33124
(305) 284-3666
University of North Florida
1 UNF Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32224
(904) 620-1000
University of South Florida
MSN Programs
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd MDC Box 22
Tampa, FL 33612
(813) 974-2191

Georgia

SchoolContact Information
Augusta University
DNP Programs
1120 15th Street
Augusta, GA 30912
(706) 721-9767
Emory University
1520 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322
(404) 727-7980
Georgia Southern University
1332 Southern Drive
Statesboro, GA 30458
(912) 478-4636

Illinois

SchoolContact Information
Millikin University
DNP Programs
1184 W. Main St.
Decatur, IL 62522
(800) 373-7733
Rush University
DNP Programs
600 S. Paulina St
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-7100
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
DNP Programs
1 Hairpin Dr
Edwardsville, IL 62025
(888) 328-5168

Indiana

SchoolContact Information
Marian University Indianapolis
DNP Programs
3200 Cold Spring Road
Indianapolis, IN 46222
(317) 955-6000
University of Saint Francis
2701 Spring Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46808
(260) 399-7700

Iowa

SchoolContact Information
University of Iowa
DNP Programs
50 Newton Road
Iowa City, IA 52242
(319) 335-7018

Kansas

SchoolContact Information
Newman University
MSN Programs
3100 McCormick
Wichita, KS 67213
(316) 942-4291

Louisiana

SchoolContact Information
Louisiana State Univeristy New Orleans
DNP Programs
1900 Gravier Street
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 568-4200

Maryland

SchoolContact Information
University of Maryland
DNP Programs
655 W. Lombard St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 706-6109

Massachusetts

SchoolContact Information
Boston College
MSN Programs
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-4250
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2000

Michigan

SchoolContact Information
Michigan State University
220 Trowbridge Rd
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 355-1855
Oakland University
MSN Programs
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309
(248) 370-4253
University of Michigan- Flint
MSN Programs
303 E. Kearsley Street
Flint, MI 48502
(810) 762-3300

Minnesota

SchoolContact Information
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
MSN Programs
700 Terrace Heights
Winona, MN 55987
(507) 452-4430
University of Minnesota
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 624-9600

Mississippi

SchoolContact Information
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
(601) 266-1000

Missouri

SchoolContact Information
Goldfarb Jewish School Of Nursing
MSN Programs
4483 Duncan Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 454-7055
University Of Missouri Kansas City
5100 Rockhill Rd
Kansas City, MO 64110
(816) 235-1000
Webster University
DNP Programs
470 East Lockwood Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63119
(800) 981-9801

Nebraska

SchoolContact Information
Bryan College of Health Sciences
5035 Everett Street
Lincoln, NE 68506
(402) 481-3801
Clarkson College
MSN Programs
101 S. 42 Street
Omaha, NE 68131
(402) 552-3100

New Jersey

SchoolContact Information
Rutgers School of Nursing
180 University Avenue
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 972-4307

New York

SchoolContact Information
Columbia University
617 W 168th St
New York, NY 10032
(212) 305-5756
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
12 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
(716) 645-2000

North Carolina

SchoolContact Information
East Carolina University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
East Fifth Street
Greenville, NC 27858
(252) 328-6131
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223
(704) 687-8622
Western Carolina University
1 University Way
Cullowhee, NC 28723
(828) 227-7211

Ohio

SchoolContact Information
Case Western Reserve University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
10900 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44106
(216) 368-2000
Lourdes University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
6832 Convent Blvd.
Sylvania, OH 43560
(800) 878-3210
Otterbein University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
1 South Grove Street
Westerville, OH 43081
(614) 890-3000
The University of Akron
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
302 E Buchtel Ave
Akron, OH 44325
(330) 972-7111
Youngstown State University
MSN Programs
1 University Plaza
Youngstown, OH 44555
(330) 941-3000

Oregon

SchoolContact Information
Oregon Health & Sciences University
MSN Programs
3147 SW Sam Jackson Park Rd
Portland, OR 97239
(503) 494-8311

Pennsylvania

SchoolContact Information
Bloomsburg University
MSN Programs
400 E. Second St.
Bloomsburg, PA 17815
(570) 389-4000
Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
1601 Cherry Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 895-2000
La Salle University
Graduate Certificate ProgramsMSN Programs
1900 West Olney Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19141
(215) 951-1000
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
DNP Programs
418 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-8281
University of Pittsburgh
DNP ProgramsMSN Programs
3500 Victoria Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
(412) 624-4586
University of Scranton
MSN Programs
235 Jefferson Ave
Scranton, PA 18510
(570) 941-7673
York College of Pennsylvania
443 Country Club Rd
York, PA 17403
(717) 846-7788

Rhode Island

SchoolContact Information
Rhode Island College
MSN Programs
600 Mount Pleasant Avenue
Providence, RI 02908
(401) 456-8000
St. Joseph Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia
MSN Programs
200 High Service Ave
North Providence, RI 02904
(401) 456-3050

South Dakota

SchoolContact Information
Mount Marty College
DNP Programs
1105 West 8th Street
Yankton, SD 57078
(605) 668-1545

Tennessee

SchoolContact Information
Lincoln Memorial University
MSN Programs
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752
(423) 869-3611
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
MSN Programs
615 McCallie Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 425-4416
The University of Tennessee Health Science Center- Memphis
DNP Programs
910 Madison Ave
Memphis, TN 38163
(901) 448-5500
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
1200 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996
(865) 974-4151
Union University
1050 Union University Drive
Jackson, TN 38305
(731) 661-6545

Texas

SchoolContact Information
Texas Christian University
2800 S University Dr
Fort Worth, TX 76129
(817) 257-7000
University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston
DNP Programs
6901 Bertner
Houston, TX 77030
(713) 500-2000

Utah

SchoolContact Information
Westminster College
1840 S 1300 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
(801) 484-7651

Washington

SchoolContact Information
Gonzaga University
502 E Boone Ave
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 328-4220

Wisconsin

SchoolContact Information
Marquette University
DNP Programs
1250 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(800) 222-6544
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
800 Algoma Blvd
Oshkosh, WI 54901
(920) 424-1234