Step-By-Step Guide on How to Become a CRNA

How to Become a Crna

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA) are certainly the highest paid nurses in the medical field, especially in the US. The demand for CRNAs is forecasted to have considerable growth over the next decade. Know about how to become a CRNA in detail.

Students wondering ”How long does it take to become a CRNA’’ must know that the road to qualify as a CRNA is a tedious and long one. A minimum of seven years of education and experience is required after obtaining a bachelor’s degree in nursing to become a CRNA.

CRNAs are employed in different healthcare organizations, and their job role is similar to that of physician anesthesiologists. Since World War I, CRNAs are the primary provider of Anesthesia in the US Armed Forces, including the combat zones. A CRNA handles all the areas of management and administration of anesthesia in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations.

CRNA Job Description

Nurse Anesthetists play an important role in delivering anesthesia. They make use of their nursing skills and knowledge of medications in practice. The nurse anesthetists check their patient’s list and ensure that the equipment and drugs are ready to be used. Before developing the anesthesia plan, they assess the patients and record potential complications. They assess by reviewing the medical documents of the patient.

Once the assessment is over, the patient is transported to the operation room where the nurse anesthetist administers local, general, or regional anesthesia. In case of procedures like cardiac catheterization, the anesthetist should administer sedation and monitor the vital signs.

Once the surgery is completed, the anesthetist lets the patient recover from the anesthesia. The patient is then transported to the post-operative recovery area. The anesthetist then completes the final evaluation and prescribes further medication.

Steps to Become a CRNA

Below are the steps and qualifications needed to become a CRNA.

Step 1: Earn a BSN Degree

To become a CRNA, you need to become a registered nurse first. You should earn a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. If you obtain an associate’s degree, then you can find an entry-level nursing position. After completing BSN, You should take the NCLEX-RN (National Council Licensure Examination) and pass it.

Step 2: Enroll in Nurse Anesthesia Programs

After earning a BSN degree and license to practice, you should focus on attending accredited nurse anesthesia programs. Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs (COA), U.S supports 121 nurse anesthesia programs. All the programs demand a minimum of one year of experience in an intensive care unit or emergency care.

Step 3: Pass the CRNA Certification Exam

After completing the university program in nurse anesthesia, you should pass the National Certification Exam conducted by the National Board of Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). You should obtain specialty licensure status in your respective state.

Step 4: Re-Certification in Every Two Years

A CRNA needs to maintain the certification credentials throughout their career. The Continued Professional Certification program is of eight-year periods with two four-year cycles.

[Also Read: What You Need To Become A Nurse Practitioner]

CRNA Requirements & Certifications

The NBCRNA offers certification by examination. General CRNA requirements to take part in the exam include:

  • The candidate should hold an active and unrestricted RN License
  • The candidate should hold a graduation degree from an accredited nurse anesthetist program
  • The candidate should submit a record that has academic and work experience.
  • This record must be signed by the administrator (nurse anesthesia educational program) and the candidate and must be submitted by the administrator.  NBCRNA sends a notice in 1 to 5 business days regarding your eligibility to take up the exam once they receive the verification of your program completion.
  • The final step is passing the National Certification Examination and obtaining certification by NBCRNA. The candidates receive their preliminary results as soon as they complete the test. However, the official results will be sent in the mail within two to four weeks.

CRNA Re-Certification Requirements

Every two years, CRNAs must apply for re-certification in order to continue to practice. NBCRNA believes that this certification requirement ensures that a CRNA has maintained a current license to practice and has taken part in approved continuing education services.

You must meet the following requirements to be re-certified as a CRNA(1).

  • A CRNA must have completed a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education in two years by August 1 ( re-certification deadline).
  • A CRNA should be able to maintain a record of nurse anesthesia practice in the two Years.
  • A CRNA should provide proof of having a current RN state license.
  • A CRNA should submit a certification(2) that notifies that they don’t have any hidden conditions that prevent them from practicing anesthesia.

How Much Does a CRNA Make?

  • As mentioned earlier, CRNAs are the highest paid RNs in the medical field. As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for CRNAs is $165,120. The bottom ten percent earns about $110,520 per annum, while the top 10% earns more than $208,000. The average CRNA salary, however, varies depending on various factors like the type of healthcare organization, state, years of experience, etc.
  • CRNA jobs offer job excellent pay, job security, and satisfaction. Since the pay is excellent, the job offers the opportunity to practice on own.

Bottom Line

A career as a nurse anesthetist is rewarding as well as stressful. CRNA jobs are ranked #5 in the list of 100 best jobs in America and #3 in the list of Best Healthcare Jobs. Though the job doesn’t reward promotion, it doesn’t make any difference because of the lucrative salary it offers.