Nurse Anesthetist Careers

ENTRY LEVEL EDUCATION

RN to MSN

CAREER TRAINING

Nursing Certificate Programs Online

NUMBER OF JOBS

34,180

JOB OPENINGS

185,696

JOB GROWTH

14%

AVG. SALARY

$154,390 /yr

$74.22 /hr

All Stats from www.BLS.gov

Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia for medical and surgical procedures. They work closely with doctors, often in surgical environments. The job often requires the nurse anesthetist to stay with the patients throughout pre-operative, surgical, and post-operative periods to manage anesthesia.

What Is a Nurse Anesthetist?

Nurse anesthetists are needed in multiple medical settings—from advanced surgery wards to dental clinics. Your patients as a nurse anesthetists could range from trauma victims and those injured in violent accidents to patients managing chronic pain problems, cosmetic surgery patients, dental patients, and more.

How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist

Earn your Bachelor’s degree. Your first step in becoming a Nurse Anesthetist is earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. You don’t always need a Bachelor of Science to become a nurse, but in this area of specialty, the advanced training you need next requires this as a minimum prerequisite.

Become an RN. After you earn your Bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to become a Registered Nurse (RN). This requires you to pass the NCLEX-RN, which is the commonly-required state licensing test. The pre-requisites for sitting for the test vary by state, but if you’re pursuing a Nurse Anesthetist career it’s best to earn your BSN first.

Earn a Master’s of Nursing in Anesthesia. This degree program usually takes two to three years to complete. It requires a Bachelor’s degree, an RN designation, and often about a year of professional experience as a nurse in an acute setting, working in hospital emergency rooms, intensive care wards, and other areas.

Earn state certification. Once you complete your degree programs, you’ll need to earn state certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). This involves passing a multiple-choice exam and maintaining your certification through continuing education. Nurse anesthetists are required to re-certify once every two years.

Nurse Anesthetists and Online Degrees

It is possible to prequalify for your RN examination by earning a nursing degree from an accredited online college. And there are plenty of online schools that offer nursing programs. Any nursing education program should require a significant in-person component, however, and your online nursing program should be able to arrange this for you in your area. Most “online” nursing programs in fact offer only the non-clinical portions of the program online.

If you’re planning to earn your advanced degree in nursing at a traditional school, be sure beforehand that your online nursing credits will be accepted there. Some traditional schools are less willing than others to accept online credits—particularly if you attended a for-profit school.

Nurse Anesthetist Salary

Nurse anesthetists tend to be among the highest-paid of all nursing specialties. According to Salary.com, certified registered nurse anesthetists earn an average of $160,191 across the country and across all employers and areas. Your salary will vary, however, depending on where you work—high needs rural and urban areas may pay more to attract qualified applicants—as well as your experience.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Nurse Anesthetist

Nurse anesthetists must undergo considerable education—usually about seven years including the Bachelor’s and Master’s, plus at least a year of acute nursing experience and the passing of both the RN exam and state certification exams. The education investment requirement is high, but so is the payoff—nurse anesthetists make more than most other nurses and some doctors as well.

The job can require irregular and long hours, and you’ll need to be available for some emergency and off-hour situations. However, nurse anesthetists also tend to be in high demand—and you may have more flexibility and freedom in deciding where you live and your working schedule than many other nursing professionals.

Additional Resources:

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Nurse Anesthetists