Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are nurses who specialize in the administration of anesthesia and the care of patients who receive it. The average annual salary for CRNAs is well over $100,000, making them the highest paid group of advanced practice nurses. Nurse anesthesia graduate degrees usually take two to three years, in addition to the prep work needed to get into a good program.
Graduate from high school. While there, make an effort to take as many math, health and science classes as you can.
Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) for your undergraduate degree, and graduate with at least a 3.0. Because of the higher salary that CRNAs earn compared to other nurse specialists, the competition to get into nurse anesthetist graduate programs is stiff.
Get licensed as a registered nurse (RN). Exam and education requirements vary by state, so contact your appropriate state agency to find the specifics of obtaining an RN license.
Gain some practical experience by working in the field for a minimum of one to three years, depending on the CRNA program where you want to be accepted. At least one year should be in an intensive care unit.
Achieve a high score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This is a requirement for almost all graduate programs, including advanced nursing degrees.
Apply to a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist graduate program. You may wish to apply to more than one school, so have a backup plan if you don't get into your first choice.
Attend an interview. The selection committee will ask questions about your background, what you can offer and why you want to be a CRNA.
Accept their offer of admittance by the deadline. Most programs have a waiting list, and people will be in line to take your position in the program if you don't want it.
Study hard in grad school. Remember, there is a lot of competition for those CRNA jobs, due to the high salary. Set yourself apart from other nurse anesthetist job seekers by maintaining high grades. When you graduate, you will have a master's degree in nurse anesthesia.
Pass the national certification test for CRNAs. The Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists (CCNA) administers this exam.
Get a CRNA job and enjoy it. As a nurse anesthetist, you are making a difference in people's lives every day. That high salary you worked so hard for throughout school doesn't hurt, either.
Take a recertification course every two years to keep your license up to date.