Becoming a CRNA ─ Education, Training, and Career Path

Whenever a patient goes through a surgical, therapeutic, or diagnostic process, the healthcare expert who gives anesthesia found beside the patient, observing crucial indicators during the whole process, is often a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist).

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are highly-trained experts who work in compliance with the supervision of an anesthesiologist. However, in certain areas, they usually have a higher level of autonomy.

Apart from playing a crucially essential part in medical processes, CRNAs also assist patients by giving medications for pain or providing specific emergency services. Coupled with outpatient settings or hospitals, they may also work with centers for pain management, public health services, and offices of dentists or physicians. Find out in this article, what becoming a CRNA entails.

What Do Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Do?

What CRNAs do goes way beyond merely injecting drugs and observing monitors. Those experts care for patients with a detailed method, interacting with healthcare providers and patients all through a process, in order to guarantee a hitch-free experience.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists work in outpatient settings, clinics, and hospitals. They provide anesthesia to patients who are going through certain medical processes. This may include administering nerve blocks, general anesthesia, and other kinds of pain-relieving treatments before, during, and immediately after a process.

During the preparation to provide anesthesia, CRNAs examine records or reports concerning the health of the patient. They also interact with the patient before the commencement of a process to describe the procedure and respond to the patient’s possible questions. In addition, they watch the patient all through the process to fix the anesthesia or other treatments when the need arises.

How to Become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist


Finish a Nursing Program, then Become a Registered Nurse (RN)

Before you commence the advanced practice nursing program, you need to first become registered as a nurse. Although specific programs will not reject candidates who have a diploma, the majority of programs prefer those who have bagged a bachelor’s degree in nursing and have the basic skills and experience to go through the more specialized training to become a CRNA.

Likewise, most programs need experience in a clinical setting for a minimum of one year before consideration. Becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist also requires you to have a master’s degree, and this could last for about two or three years before completion.

Pass the Examination

To become a CRNA, you must pass an examination via the NBCRNA (National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists). Once you pass the examination, then you will get certified.

To sit for the examination, nurses are required to possess an active RN license in their state and have a master’s degree awarded from a program that must have been accredited by the COA (Council of Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia). Also, your record as an aspiring nurse must be free of disciplinary action, with the submission of the appropriate application materials.

Furthermore, aspiring CRNAs have to officially state that they are not suffering from problems that may negatively affect their role as a CRNA.

Know the State Requirements

Pertaining to becoming a CRNA, every state has differing laws and regulations guiding licensing. Some expect a CRNA’s work to be directly supervised by a physician, while others give room for CRNAs to give anesthetic through the order or approval of a physician. Interestingly, some states give room for a higher level of autonomy.

In any case, CRNAs are expected to shield themselves from all forms of legal problems. This can be achieved by completely comprehending the state requirements and the laws guiding healthcare facilities.

Get Continuing Education and Keep Certification Updated

Due to the fact that medications and processes often change, CRNAs are expected to be well-informed about the most ideal practices in providing anesthesia. Courses for continuing education supply up-to-date information and update the CRNA with the certification criteria.

For the purpose of maintaining certification, CRNAs have to complete a minimum of 40 hours of continuing education approved in the space of two years. They also have to document relevant experience as a nurse anesthetist and ensure their RN license remains current in their state. In addition, they have to state that there’s nothing that would prevent them from effectively carrying out their duties.

Courses, Clinical Training, and Seminars for CRNA Degree Program


The degree program is intense, often requiring study for at least 36 months, although there may be an option for part-time study. Students will be required to complete several courses regarding anesthesiology and practicums that apply their knowledge to function in a real-life scenario.

Clinical hours are also a requirement through the program, which are drawn out to enable students to have a higher level of experience and autonomy as the training continues. Clinical days often start with two to three days per week and gradually increase according to the student’s level of knowledge. The following classes are a sample of what CRNA students should prepare for.

Fundamental Principles of Anesthesia

This trains students for clinical rotations by examining the best practices for anesthesia, pharmacology, monitoring, and management techniques for dealing with common issues or complex cases in the field.

Applied Pharmacology

This entails how specific medications react or act in the human body when anesthesia is being administered. These drugs include certain agents of anesthesia and complementary medications. The purpose is to develop a detailed line of knowledge for the students, coupled with presentations, analysis of cases, and the usage of pharmaceuticals under proper supervision when clinical rotations are being carried out.

Team Training in the Safety of Patients

This training gives both practical and theoretical education on matters of team performance, management of resources, and other things that can affect the safety of patients. A thorough assessment of situations, effective communication strategies, and proper management of crises, to mention a few, are also covered.

Clinical Practicum

This experience constitutes a large part of the training and encourages the focus of students on several areas all through the sessions. Furthermore, CRNA students are usually given various challenging cases, with duties to carry out throughout the course.

Bag a Higher Degree

Although a master’s degree is the least education needed to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), you can choose to go further and earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), with a specialization in anesthesia. You can also earn the Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP). Those advanced degrees can provide you with greater opportunities as a CRNA to go into either teaching or research.