Becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist(CRNA)

by Maria Pavel on August 2, 2011

A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, or CRNA, is a nurse specializing in administering anesthesia and caring for the patients receiving it. As this is a highly skilled career, a CRNA’s salary runs more than $100,000 a year. This makes them the highest paid among nurses with advanced skills. A CRNA must obtain an anesthesia graduate degree that typically takes 2 to 3 years to complete on top of additional preparation work required to enter a good program.

The way to become a CRNA is rather involved and should be a career path that you truly want. It’s best to make this decision early in life so that you can take as many classes in science, math and health as possible in high school. Following high school graduation, you’ll need to obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. To be able to go further, you must have a grade average of at least 3.0 upon graduation because it’s a highly competitive program.

Next, you must become a licensed registered nurse, or RN. You’ll need to look into your state requirements as each state has their own. This is followed by working for 1 to 3 years to gain the necessary practical experience. You need to work at least one of those years in an intensive care unit.

When you’re ready to apply to a CRNA program, you must score high on the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE. Once you’ve met this requirement, you can apply to a CRNA program. Since you might have to apply to several schools, you should make a list of your preferences. If a school is interested in you, they’ll call you in for an interview with the selection committee.

Be prepared to answer questions regarding your background and the reason you want to be a CRNA. When you’re offered admittance, be sure to accept or decline by their deadline. There’s a waiting list for this training and the next person on the list will need to be contacted if you decline.

Do everything you can to stand out among the other CRNA candidates. These jobs aren’t handed to just anyone. There’s a national certification test that you’ll need to pass and it’s easier if you’re ready. Once you’re certified and working, it’s necessary to recertify every 2 years to keep your license current.

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