The education and experience required to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) include:
- A baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing or an appropriate major.
- An unencumbered license as a registered professional nurse and/or APRN in the United States or its territories.
- A minimum of one year full-time work experience, or its part-time equivalent, as a registered nurse in a critical care setting.
- Graduation with a minimum of a master’s degree from a nurse anesthesia educational program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). As of August 2016, there were 115 accredited nurse anesthesia programs in the United States using more than 2,100 active clinical sites; 46 nurse anesthesia programs are approved to award doctoral degrees for entry into practice. Nurse anesthesia programs range from 24-42 months, depending on university requirements. Programs include clinical settings and experiences.
- Pass the National Certification Examination following graduation.
It takes a minimum of seven calendar years of education and experience to prepare a CRNA. More than 2,400 student registered nurse anesthetists graduate each year and go on to pass the National Certification Examination to become CRNAs.