How to Become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA)

If you're interested in becoming a CRNA after completing nursing school or a medical degree, you will need to make sure you meet all prerequisite requirements and acquired some ICU experience at an area hospital. Requirements to become a certified register nurse anesthetist (CRNA) and the educational track for becoming a CRNA may vary slightly from school to school and by state. Most schools will require some work experience in the field, test scores and a certain GPA with your undergraduate degree. If you've wondered how to become a CRNA, take some time to learn about all of the steps involved in becoming a CRNA in your state.

How to Become a CRNA

The process of becoming a CRNA typically takes between two to three years. The educational program for CRNAs is a masters-level program and all students must already be registered nurses with current licenses. You can learn how to become a CRNA by contacting the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) and reviewing requirements to become a certified register nurse anesthetist through schools that interest you.

The general requirements for becoming a CRNA in any state include the following:

  • Bachelor Science in Nursing (BSN) or a bachelor's degree in a related health field
  • Current license as a registered nurse
  • At least one year of experience as a registered nurse in an acute health care setting
  • Completing at least a master's degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program
  • Passing the national certification exam right after graduation

The AANA reports that as of 2011, there were 112 nurse anesthesia programs in the United States. These training programs are partnered with approximately 2,450 approved clinical sites and offer both hands-on and classroom training for those who want to become a certified register nurse anesthetist.

Preparing to Become a Certified Register Nurse Anesthetist

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are among the highest-paid nurses in the industry and have undergone a rigorous training program in order to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in this growing field. Certified nurses who provide anesthesiology administration must also complete a minimum of 40 hours of approved continuing education every two years, and work to maintain state licensure. Failure to be recertified within an appropriate amount of time can prevent the nurse from practicing anesthesia in their state.

In order to prepare to become a certified register nurse anesthetist, you will need to do the following:

  • Make sure you your nurse license is current
  • Acquire relevant work experience
  • Take remedial courses in any subjects that you are weak in
  • Prepare for the national certification exam
  • Seek out comprehensive training programs in your state
  • Learn about state certification and licensing requirements
  • Consider the benefits of enrolling in an army CRNA program

Becoming a CRNA and serving as a certified registered nurse anesthetist can be a challenging but rewarding experience. You will be earning a higher-than-average salary in the medical field and have the opportunity to work in a variety of different settings. Take some time to learn how to become a CRNA and what this type of position entails so that you can make the right career decision.