Many people who become nurses decide to advance their educations to become Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs). One of the most popular types of APNs is the Nurse Anesthetist. This type of nurse offers a valuable service to the nursing profession. It takes an incredible amount of time and dedication to become a Nurse Anesthetist.
What is a CRNA?
A CRNA or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is an Advanced Practice Nurse licensed to provide the same services as an Anesthesiologist. At times, CNRAs provide their services when an Anesthesiologist is not available. CRNAs generally work in conjunction with a team headed by an Anesthesiologist. They allow more surgeries to be completed with less Anesthesiologist on a medical staff.
These nurses can practice in any state after receiving their licenses. Some states may require CRNAs to work with supervision from Anesthesiologists. CRNAs are very well paid nurses. They are among the highest paid nurses in the industry. They can work in hospitals, medical offices, and outpatient surgery centers providing their services. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists administer over 65% of anesthetics to patients. Over 30,000 CRNAs currently practice in the U.S. today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Degree Requirements for CRNA School
To become CRNAs, students must first earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing to qualify for admission into CRNA School. Additional requirements include:
- Earning the bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- Proof of clinical practice in an intensive care unit (1 year minimum)
- Currently licensed as a Registered Nurse
- Transcript with all professional and academic coursework
- Minimum GPA (varies by school)
- Minimum Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores (varies by school)
- Minimum GPA from the most recent quarter or semester
A few more requirements may include:
- TOEFL scores for international students
- Certain prerequisite courses
- Current PALS and ACLS certification
- MCAT scores may substitute GRE scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Clinical shadowing experience with an Anesthesiologist or CRNA
GPA Requirements for Nurse Anesthetist Program
The GPA requirements to enter a Nurse Anesthetist program vary by college or university. For graduate level programs, colleges and university usually set the GPA high, as students who are trying to get into these schools have prior education degrees. Most schools usually require that students have a GPA of at least 3.0. Some school may require a much higher GPA. The top ranking Nurse Anesthetist schools may have a much higher GPA since they want the top students to enter their programs.
It may still be difficult to get into a Nurse Anesthetist program by only meeting the minimum GPA requirements. Some schools have competitive admissions. For example, if the minimum GPA is only 3.0 and the majority of the students who meet the requirements for admissions have GPAs of 3.8 or higher, it may be very difficult for those falling under the highest GPA of the other applicants to get into the program. It is a good idea to earn the highest GPAs possible before applying to Nurse Anesthetist schools.
Graduate Record Exam (GRE) for CRNA School
The GRE requirements to enter a Nurse Anesthetist program vary by college and university. The minimum GRE score for many CRNA schools is 1000 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the exam with the old scores (prior to 2011). The scale score is 200 to 800 on each of the two sections. The new score range is 130 to 170 on each section. A 1000 on the old GRE is equivalent to a 300 on the new GRE. Some schools require students to take the analytical writing portion and score a minimum of a 4 on a scale of 0 to 6. Higher ranking CRNA schools may require that their students earn higher GRE scores for admission.
Since many CRNA school have competitive admission, many students may have to make higher GRE scores that the minimum requirement to get into these schools. For example, it the majority of applicants meet earn an 1100 (old scores) or 300 (new scores), they may have difficulty getting admission into their chosen CRNA school.
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Experience Requirements for CRNA School
The experience requirements vary by CRNA school. These schools require that students have experience in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Most schools require at least one year in ICU, but students may need much more experience to get into CRNA school. Many of the students competing for admission may have 2 to 3 years of experience when applying for admission into CRNA school.
Here are some salary statistics for CRNAs: