According to the 2010 Locum Tenens CRNA Salary Report, the average nurse anesthetist salary was $166,833. Imagine if you were just “average” and were bringing in $166,833 per year for doing something that you truly love… helping others. Imagine the new possibilities now available to you and your loved ones.
If you consult the Merritt Hawkins & Associates study from 2009, however, you’ll see a much higher figure of $189k (up from $156k in 2006).
Locum Tenens used employee surveys to compile their data. The duration of the survey was no more than 3 months.
Merritt Hawkins & Associates, on the other hand, bases their data on the amount of income offered to recruit CRNAs into open positions. The duration of their survey was a full calendar year and spanned 47 states, taking an equal amount of data from small, medium and large cities. Though a more recent study exists (2010), it does not include Nurse Anesthetist salary information and therefore cannot be used.
Though the Merritt Hawkins & Associates study appears to be more thorough, I will use the income results from the Locum Tenens study, as its results are more congruent with other nurse anesthetist salary reports across the web.
Let me tell you a secret.
There’s a strong disdain in the anesthesia community for people who come into the field of anesthesia “just for the money”.
These applicants are quickly weeded out during the application and interview process.
The trouble is, unless you have friends or family who work in health care, you may not have any other legitimate reasons to be attracted to the field.
You may have a limited understanding of Nurse Anesthesia:
Those are all great reasons... but if you're going to make it past the interview, you're going to need to know a whole lot more about this field.
You'll need to express the kind of passion for this field that only comes from a comprehensive understanding of it.
CRNA Salary & Cost of Living by State
Extremely High Cost of Living States
The states included in this list have a cost of living score of greater than 1.15 (where 1 represents average). States are listed in order of greatest buying power for your CRNA salary to least buying power.
$132,673 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in New Hampshire: $158k.
Though many East Coast states are losing some of their population, New Hampshire continues to thrive. Its rocky mountain soil makes it ideal for skiing and other winter sports. Its rich history and culture make a prime tourist attraction. Though there is a current surplus of CRNAs, those who work here enjoy the highest “actual” income of all of the high cost of living states.
$132,596 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in California: $175k.
Most people choose to live in CA for the temperate climate, the close proximity to the beach, and the wide range of things to do. When they think of CA, most people imagine Southern Cal, Hollywood, LA, San Diego… but that’s not all CA has to offer. If I ruled the world, I’d break CA into three separate states: Southern, Central and Northern – because those regions are vastly different.
Unlike Southern Cal, where you can reach the border of Mexico within a few hours and there are palm trees and cacti everywhere, Central CA is a hot, dry valley with no coastal breezes and much farmland. Northern CA is covered in lush greenery, redwood trees and open spaces (can you tell I’m partial to Northern CA?).
California is a hard state to get ahead in. Though the Nurse Anesthetist Salary in CA the highest in the nation, it only barely makes up for the extremely high cost of living; there are only 6 states more costly to live than CA.
On the other hand, there is a shortage of CRNAs in CA (partially due to the lack of CRNA programs on the West Coast), and there is a huge difference in the cost of living in San Jose vs. Eureka, and San Diego vs. Hanford. The further you go from the metropolitan areas in CA (and from the ocean), the lower the cost of living becomes (and the higher your CRNA salary will be, since rural areas usually pay more for CRNAs). So, if you’re determined to live in CA, becoming a CRNA is a great way to afford the temperate climate and high cost of living.
$123,983 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in New Jersey: $160k.
New Jersey is a great state to live in if you want to be close to everything but tend to feel claustrophobic in the city. You can enjoy wide open spaces, yet never be more than two hours away from the Coast, Medieval times, Philadelphia or New York, and enjoy a much higher standard of living than if you choose to practice Nurse Anesthesia in a neighboring state. You’ll also have very little competition for a job, since there is a shortage of CRNAs in New Jersey as well as most of the surrounding states.
$121,931 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Vermont: $150k.
Though you would imagine the standard of living to be high in a state that costs 20% more to live in than the average, it’s really quite varied, depending on where in Vermont you live. Burlington, for instance, was rated #2 for best college town in the US, has the healthiest women, #1 place to raise a family, and the list goes on.
$121,281 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Maryland: $150k.
Maryland is known for many things. There are plenty of things to do, coastal access, highly educated people, great schools, and easy transportation. On the flip side, there's also heavy traffic and high crime in certain areas. The state is very liberal.
If you choose to live in DC, you’ll pay a much higher cost of living:
$103,950 = Adjusted CRNA Salary in DC than you would in other parts of Maryland. There’s a shortage of CRNAs in most of the East Coast, and Maryland is no exception, so it will be easy to find a job.
$109,351 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in New York: $145k.
Clearly, there is no lack of things to do in New York. If you like city life, and are willing to pay a high price to live there, you’ll have ethnic diversity (including excellent food), rich culture, rich history and night life. And when you’ve had enough of city life, there’s always the natural beauty of Niagara Falls, and the Adirondack Mountains, with soaring peaks and crystal-clear lakes. Though the cost of living will dip into your earnings substantially, the shortage of CRNAs will make it easy to find a job.
$106,724 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Rhode Island: $133k.
Though it’s the smallest state in the US, it still has much diversity. Its coastal access makes it a great place for boating, fishing and clams. If you’re moving to Rhode Island and want to know where to settle down,this article gives a very thorough description of each city. Unless you have family in Rhode Island, or are partial to sea food, it’s not the best value for your CRNA dollar, though there is a shortage of CRNA's, which will make it easy to find a job.
$105,255 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Connecticut: $140k.
When considering a move to Connecticut, first note that there are two primary options, the counties close to NYC and the more rural areas. Obviously, the closer you are to NYC, the more expensive the real estate. On the plus side, CT has coastal access, great schools, and beautiful colors in the fall. On the flip side, you’ll have to battle the snow in the winter (as you would with any Northeastern state), and the cost of living is quite high. In fact, Connecticut is out priced only by MA, HI, and DC. With Nurse Anesthetist salaries in CT slightly lower than the national average, it means you'll be making a financial compromise by moving here. On the other hand, the current shortage of CRNAs in Connecticut and the states surrounding it will make it easier to secure a job.
$100,215 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Massachusetts: $140k.
Massachusetts is similar to many of the other Northeastern states in the snowy winters, humid summers, great schools, great restaurants, diversity, liberal mindset, and high cost of living. Also like many of its neighboring states, it is experiencing a shortage of CRNAs.
$97,774 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Alaska: $130k
Alaska is definitely a beautiful state, with its snow-capped mountains and clear skies. If you decide to relocate there, you'll experience first-hand the unique daylight hours: 5 hours of sunlight per day at the peak of winter and only 4 hours of darkness at the summer solstice. CRNA salaries there are lower in AK than the national average, and there are only 3 states (4, if you count DC) with a higher cost of living, but if you love the snow and the untouched outdoors, it just might be worth it. There is insufficient data to determine if there is a shortage or a surplus of CRNAs in Alaska.
$84,282 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average CRNA Salary in Hawaii: $140k.
Even though Hawaii wins the prize for lowest actual CRNA salary, I don’t think you could ever call it a “bad” place to live. It’s the most expensive place to live in the US (by far), and for good reason! With temperatures never dropping below 70 degrees or rising above 85, it’s the perfect climate. Add that to the tropical waters, beautiful waterfalls and the slower pace of life, and you’re on a permanent vacation.
Though the cost of living in HI is high, it is the cost of housing that most find astounding. It’s about 2.5 times more expensive than the US average for housing, and about the same as housing in the heart of New York City or San Francisco.
So, as I said with CA, if you'd like to live in HI, being a Nurse Anesthetist in Hawaii will afford you a much higher standard of living than most other professions could.
Above Average Cost of Living States
The states in this category have a cost of living index score ranging from 1.051 to 1.15 (where 1 represents average). States are listed in order of greatest buying power for your CRNA salary to least buying power.
$139,715 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Oregon: $148k.
Oregon is known for its abundant rain and lush, green vegetation. It tends to attract a more “natural” crowd, who strongly value organic foods, hemp clothing and a “green” lifestyle. Not to say that everyone there is a hippie, but there is a higher concentration, for sure, and the new age movement has strong roots in OR.
A lot of people have recently moved from CA to OR to escape the high cost of living and enjoy a more rural environment (and the lack of sales tax). Unfortunately, there is a surplus of CRNAs in Oregon.
$138,023 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Maine: $155k.
Maine is a beautiful state with rolling hills, lots of trees, beautiful colors in the fall, lots of snow in the winter, and great lobster and fishing. The cost of living is Maine is manageable, but the surplus of CRNAs will make the job hunt a little more competitive.
$135,615 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Delaware: $145k.
As the second smallest state in the nation, Delaware is known for its tax free shopping and its rural beauty (solitude is only a 5-15 min drive from any incorporated area). Its low real estate tax makes it a first choice for retirees, but because of the current surplus of CRNAs, DE may not be a first choice for CRNAs.
Average Cost of Living States
The states in this category have a cost of living index score ranging from 0.95 to 1.05 (where 1 represents average). States are listed in order of greatest buying power for your CRNA salary to least buying power.
$174,413 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Wisconsin: $170k.
Wisconsin is known for its beer, cheese and the Green Bay Packers. Aside from that, it has very cold winters, and its two major cities (Madison and Milwaukee) both border lakes. WI’s access to water is perhaps one of its greatest assets, when compared to its landlocked neighboring states. With realized CRNA salaries as high $174, it’s a shame that there is a surplus of CRNAs in Wisconsin.
$174,216 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in South Dakota: $170k.
Home of Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota attracts its fair share of tourists. Most locals enjoy the small community feel, where your grocer knows you by name and random strangers greet you as they pass you in the street. Political views in SD tend to be more conservative. As for CRNAs, there’s a surplus of them right now.
$167,678 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Florida: $163k.
Overall, Florida is a great vacation spot; you have gorgeous beaches, warm weather year round, and palm trees galore. Some people are content to never call Florida home because of the tornadoes, hurricanes, unvaried landscape, and myriad of poisonous/dangerous critters (including alligators).
There are numerous discussions on the web comparing Southern CA to Southern FL. Sad to say, but So Cal usually wins the debate. However, if your vote goes to FL, it’s not a bad idea to move there – you can help make up for the deficit of CRNAs, and you’ll enjoy a fairly high standard of living there, besides.
$165,482 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Minnesota: $170k.
Minnesota is a great place to relocate if you like the snow. Because it is so far north, and is on the west side of Lake Superior, weather conditions are just right for heavy snow and a greater chill during the winter months, though I am sure it's a beautiful place all year long.
If you're considering moving there as a CRNA, your chances of finding a job are great since there is currently a shortage of CRNAs in MN.
$162,272 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in North Dakota: $160k.
North Dakota is known for cold winters, hot summers, lots of mosquitoes, and grassy hills with very few trees. It is, perhaps, one of the safest states to live in and a great place to raise children, as the elementary schools do a great job educating their students (evidenced by their well-above-average test scores). If you're a new CRNA looking for a place to relocate, you won't have much competition for a job, since there is currently a shortage of CRNAs.
$161,209 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in New Mexico: $160k.
If you're looking for beautiful sunsets, warm weather and open spaces, New Mexico may be just the place for you.
Also, a little FYI, only 15% of the roads are paved (there are a lot of forest service and county roads that few people ever use). If you plan on going to the mountains, you'll want a truck, but for everyday living, a car is fine. On a separate note, there is a shortage of CRNAs in NM, so if you're looking for a place to find a job, come on over!
$160,064 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Montana: $160k.
Montana is a beautiful state that is mountainous on the west side and flat and windy on the central and east side of the state. The four seasons in MT include hunting season, winter, spring and construction season. Winter is very long and very cold; snow in July is not unheard of and -60 degrees F is fairly standard weather for at least one month of the year. It's not a great time to relocate there as a CRNA because there's currently a surplus of nurse anesthetists in Montana.
$157,978 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Iowa: $150k.
Iowa is a state of corn fields, small communities and more corn fields. It is a fairly safe place to live, and because of the lower cost of living, you can live quite well on a CRNA salary. Iowa currently has a surplus of CRNAs.
$156,773 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in North Carolina: $150k.
This is perhaps one of the BEST states to move to as a CRNA. The fact that it's listed as the 6th most popular state where people would like to live is no surprise. The general consensus from those who've lived there is that North Carolina is an amazing state. With beaches on one side, mountains on the other, and great weather most of the time, it's the perfect place to call home. The many tourist attractions and cultural activities mean there's always something to do. If you're considering becoming a CRNA in NC, do it now before the secret gets out. They're experiencing a shortage of CRNA's, so you may even get a sign on bonus!
$156,581 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in West Virginia: $155k.
A beautiful, mountainous state with many state parks and outdoor activities, West Virginia would be a perfect place to practice nurse anesthesia except for the current surplus of CRNAs.
$154,895 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in South Carolina: $150k.
The temperate climate, beautiful beaches, and good southern food make SC a great place to call home. However, think twice about relocating there to practice nurse anesthesia; there's a surplus of CRNAs.
$154,847 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Virginia: $150k.
Virginia living offers a variety of different experiences. The weather is great and the beaches are beautiful, so since there is a shortage of CRNAs, it's worth considering if you plan on working as a nurse anesthetist.
$154,604 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Washington: $160k.
If you don't mind a little rain (ok, a LOT of rain), and enjoy outdoor activities, WA may be a great place for you to live. But I wouldn't move there just yet, there's currently a surplus of CRNAs.
$148,080 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Wyoming: $145k.
Wyoming is a vast expanse of shrub-lands. It's hilly and windy and very down-to-earth. There's insufficient data to determine if there is a shortage or surplus of CRNAs in WY.
$142,813 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Nevada: $138k.
Home to Vegas and Reno, there's plenty to do in the hot, desert state of Nevada, especially if you enjoy gambling and night life. Maybe that's why there's already a surplus of CRNAs in NV?
$136,852 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Pennsylvania: $140k.
If you're looking for culture, history and four seasons, PA may be a great fit for you. The shortage of CRNAs in PA will make the job hunt a breeze.
$133,531= Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Colorado: $135k.
Listed as the 4th most popular state that people want to move to, Colorado has plenty of things to do, especially if you like snow sports. The mountains are beautiful and the air is clean. There is a surplus of CRNAs in CO, so there will be some competition in the job market.
$111,219 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Arizona: $115k.
Having lived in AZ for two years, I became well acquainted with rock yards, cacti and dust. The sunsets are absolutely amazing though, and the weather is beautiful in every season except summer. From a purely financial perspective, Arizona is not an ideal place to work as a CRNA. With a Nurse Anesthesia salary well below the national average, and a cost of living that is slightly above average, you could maximize your buying power much better in other states. The Arizona CRNA’s future looks even more challenging when you consider the current surplus of CRNAs in Arizona.
Below Average Cost of Living States
The states in this category have a cost of living index score of less than 0.95 (where 1 represents average). They are listed in order of most buying power from your CRNA salary to least buying power.
$189,478 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Oklahoma: $170k.
Of the 50 states in the US, Oklahoma has the lowest cost of living, and is, therefore, ranked #1 on the cost of living scale. Combine that with a Nurse Anesthetist Salary that’s slightly higher than average, and you’ll be living like royalty. The only challenge with becoming a Nurse Anesthetist in Oklahoma is the current surplus of CRNAs.
$189,291 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Nebraska: 175k.
Nebraska is known for its small towns and wide open spaces. There is a surplus of CRNAs in NE.
$183,883 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Michigan: $170k.
MI is a great state to get ahead financially in, especially as a CRNA. It doesn't take very much to live well in MI, and with a high CRNA salary of $184k, you could set up a great retirement for yourself. It's an absolutely beautiful state, especially on the Lake Michigan side. The beaches (I think) are more beautiful than CA beaches (much less crowded, anyways, and the sand is softer). You'll enjoy four seasons, and as long as you don't go too far north, the winters aren't that bad. There's a shortage of CRNAs, so if you're looking to relocate, do it now!
$182,401 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Tennessee: $165k.
Tennessee is an appealing state; partly for the low cost of living, and partly for the rolling green hills and family values. The shortage of CRNAs makes it an ideal place to start your career as a nurse anesthetist.
$174,768 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Kentucky: $160k.
If you're looking for small towns with rolling green hills, KY would be ideal, except for the current surplus of CRNAs.
$172,525 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Missouri: $160k.
Missouri is another Midwest state that gets heavy snow in the winter and has thick humidity in the summer. Your CRNA salary will go a very long way in MO and the shortage of CRNA's will make it that much easier to find a job.
$171,840 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Texas: $155k.
Texas is large, flat and hot, and has become a very popular state to relocate to! The sunsets are beautiful and the shortage of CRNAs will make it easy to find a job. The low cost of living will make it easy to get ahead financially.
$169,528 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Ohio: $158k.
Ohio's people are diverse, living both in rural areas and great cities. You can find what you're looking for, and if you're looking for a CRNA job, it will be easy to find one since there is a shortage of CRNAs in Ohio.
$168,974 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Indiana: $155k.
Indiana has the seventh lowest cost of living in the US. With a Nurse Anesthetist salary hovering around the national average, the only thing that makes this state less than a perfect place to practice Nurse Anesthesia is its current surplus of CRNAs.
$167,396 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Arkansas: $153k.
Arkansas is a great state to live in if you practice Nurse Anesthesia. Though CRNA salaries are slightly below the national average, the cost of living is fifth lowest in the nation. The only factor that makes Arkansas less desirable for the CRNA is the current surplus of Nurse Anesthetists in this state.
$166,807 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Illinois: $158k.
Like many of its neighbors, IL experiences all four seasons and shares the same Midwest values as nearby states. If you're near Chicago, you'll have access to many cultural events, great food and many fun things to do. There is a current shortage of CRNAs in IL.
$163,079 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Kansas: $150k.
As the eighth cheapest place to live in the US, Kansas will give you more than what you work for, especially since the salary is right around the US average for CRNAs. The current shortage of CRNAs will make it easy for you to stay employed.
$162,008 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Louisiana: $153k.
Louisiana is a southern state with a lot of character; while some people only think of the swamps, alligators and small towns, there is also a lot of history and fun things to do in Louisiana. LA currently has a shortage of CRNAs, so it's an ideal time to relocate.
$158,782 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Utah: $145k.
Though there is a mix of religious beliefs in Utah, the state is predominantly LDS (the Church of Latter Day Saints, or "Mormons"). The state has a lot of fascinating history and is a mix of flat land and mountains, depending on where you are. The mountains make it an ideal place for snow sports. There is a surplus of CRNAs in UT.
$143,145 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Georgia: $135k.
Though Georgia is one of the poorest states in the nation, and the education levels are lower than average, the state has beautiful mountains in the north and pristine beaches on the coast... and... there is a current shortage of CRNAs.
$141,151 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Mississippi: $130k.
Mississippi is the most charitable state in the nation (according to Forbes.com). They are usually the first on scene to help with major disasters, giving of their time and resources. Despite their low cost of living, the CRNA salary is well below the national average, and there is a current surplus of CRNAs in MS, so it may not be the best state for a nurse anesthetist who's just starting out.
$140,358 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Idaho: $130k.
Though the CRNA salary in Idaho is lower than the national average, the cost of living is also low (and the lakes there are beautiful and never crowded!) The only downside is the current surplus of CRNAs in ID.
$140,177 = Adjusted CRNA Salary
Average Nurse Anesthetist Salary in Alabama: $130k.
Though the CRNA salary is lower than the national average in the state of Alabama, it is still an ideal place to work as a Nurse Anesthetist. AL ranks the #14th most affordable place to live in the US. Alabama is currently experiencing a shortage of CRNAs so it should be fairly easy to find a job in this state.
*This page was updated November 25th, 2012.*
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