An Average Nurse Anesthetist Program at a Glance…
CRNA Degree offered
The average Nurse Anesthetist Program offers a Master of Science in Nursing. A few CRNA schools offer a Master of Science in Biology or Health Science, and a growing number of schools are offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
An average Nurse Anesthetist Program is 28 months, though they range in length from 24-36 months. There are currently nine CRNA schools that offer a 24 month program.
This can range from 40 to 120 or so. Keep in mind that some schools use quarter hours and others use semester hours. Also, some nurse anesthetist programs will give you credits for your clinical experience while others won’t.
Most nurse anesthetist programs start in August (or September); many start in January.
The deadline is usually about a year before the start date of the program, so start your planning early!
Most schools will begin interviews shortly after the deadline, and will only interview about a third of the applicants. There are a few schools that accept applications year round and a few that give you a short window of time in which to apply.
Cost of Nurse Anesthetist Programs
*Cost of In State Tuition: $10,000 - $60,000
**Fees and expenses: $1,000 - $20,000
Grand Total: $15,000 - $70,000
*Cost of Out of State Tuition: $15,000 - $110,000
**Fees and expenses: $1,000 - $20,000
Grand Total: $20,000 - $120,000
*Private CRNA schools do not charge out of state tuition, but they tend to charge more overall, than state schools do. If you’re planning to relocate, your best bet is usually a private school. Nine times out of ten, you’ll pay less.
**For most schools I’ve listed, “fees and expenses” includes certification fees, mandatory conference costs, nursing supplies and text books.
It does not include transportation costs (which really add up when you’re driving to clinicals that are up to 5 hours away), parking fees, or mandatory health insurance costs. It also doesn’t include the purchase of a laptop and a PDA, which, at most programs, are essential.
Class size can range from 8 students to around 100, with the average class size between 12 - 25 students.
Number of Applicants
Applicants can range from about 70 to 700.
Academic and Clinical Experience
There are basically two kinds of nurse anesthetist programs: front loaded and integrated.
At least 90% are front loaded, which means that the first year is primarily didactic or academic, while the remaining portion is spent in clinical rotations.
An integrated program is one that begins clinical experience early in the first year and incorporates both didactic learning and clinical hours throughout the duration of the program.
What should you look for in a nurse anesthetist program?
In my correspondence with Dr. Sharon Hadenfeldt of BryanLGH Medical Center, I was given extremely helpful advice about how to find a quality CRNA program:
“The clinical experience is highly variable between programs and in some programs between students. A program can have some students in great clinical sites and some students in clinical sites where the CRNAs can’t push their own medications, and are highly restricted.
”This is what I would tell a good friend: Talk to CRNAs and current SRNAs. Ask how a student who struggles academically is handled? Are the students pushing their own medications, and doing a variety of procedures? Do students ‘share’ cases? Do students get regional experience? Do they work with CRNAs outside of an ACT environment? You really need to find out what happens in the clinical area.”
CRNA School Requirements
Here is a general list of CRNA graduate school requirements, or find a detailed list of CRNA school requirements.
CRNA School Performance
CRNA School Rankings - U.S. News & World Report (2007)
CRNA school rankings will give you a rough ball park idea of a school’s performance but it’s nothing to make your final decision based on.
Accredited Nurse Anesthetist Program are reviewed regularly.
You can look at how many years accreditation the school was given to show how stable the program is (10 is the maximum). Many new programs are given only a few years until the next review, as new programs tend to go through many changes when they first begin.
Pass Rate for CRNA Boards
Pass rate for CRNA boards is very straightforward and is a great indicator of how strong a school’s academic instruction is. I’ve found, however, that many schools don’t post this information on their websites.
It’s also important that you look at the school’s attrition rate as well. If it’s really high, they may be failing borderline students to keep their pass rates up.
CRNA Employment Rate of program graduates
CRNA employment rate is a less accurate gauge, since most schools have a 100% employment rate (though they don’t advertise it). I threw in this statistic more for encouragement than anything else. When you’re finished with this arduous journey, you’re just about guaranteed a job.
An average annual nurse anesthetist salary in the US is $163,467 (according to a 2008 study)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’S)
What does the average student registered nurse anesthetist look like? The average SRNA is about 30 years old, has around 3 years experience in a critical care unit, and has a 3.4 GPA. About half of them are married and around 30% have kids.
How many hours should I expect to be engaged in the program each week? Anywhere from 40-70 hours a week. Plan on spending an average of 50-60 hours per week.
Can I work as an RN while I’m in the program?
99% of the time, the answer is no. A few schools will allow you to work up to 16 hours a week, but it’s almost never a good idea. The program is very intense and requires your full focus and attention.