Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) are advanced practice nurses who provide anesthesia, or pain-relief, to patients undergoing some form of surgery. They are required to take have a bachelor of science degree in nursing, one year of experience, and a current registered nurse license to apply to graduate school. Once they’ve applied, they must take specialized courses in anesthesiology, and graduate from an accredited program before passing the national certification exam to be licensed.
How Much Does a Nurse Anesthetist Make?
The median annual CRNA salary in the United States is $157,788. As can be seen in the graph above, the lowest 10% make less than $140,064 per year, while the top 10% make more than $177,630 per year. These numbers do not, however, show the variances of part-time verses full-time work, how location and years of experience influence the salary rate, or bonus. These numbers are just the base salary rate that a CRNA can expect. The 2012 LocumTenens Annual Compensation and Employment Survey showed a higher rate: $167,607, including base salary and bonuses, for full-time CRNAs.
Rural locations can increase the salary range for CRNAs since 100% of anesthesia administered in these areas is performed by nurse anesthetists. They do not have to compete with physician anesthetists for positions. In addition, the wage can be higher to attract more qualified applications to the rural position.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurse positions are expected to increase by 26% by the year 2020. Since they undergo specialized training and exam requirements, CRNAs will continue to make more than general registered nurses, in addition to having a higher demand for their services because there are less of them practicing.
LocumTenens also illustrates that 51% of CRNAs are employed in hospitals while 31% work in group practices. Over half of CRNAs are salaried, 62%, while 34% are locum tenens, temporary workers, or independent contractor only. These figures reflect that there are numerous avenues that a CRNA can find work in and receive stable wages. Becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist is a career path that will be highly sought after in the coming years.
According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, CRNAs work in conjunction with surgeons, dentists, podiatrists, and sometimes physician anesthetists, to administer anesthesia and monitor the patient’s vital signs and the anesthetic to ensure safety and comfort. They are educated and can administer the three types of anesthesia: general (full-body anesthesia), regional (specific region anesthesia), and local (small region anesthesia) depending on the requirements of the operation.
CRNAs duties are not just in the operating room; they take care of the patient before, during, and after the surgery. Before the treatment, they preform patient evaluations and help prepare the patient for their operation. During the surgery, they administer the anesthesia and monitor vital signs for any adverse reactions. After surgery, they make sure the patient wakes up from anesthesia, update the medical records, and perform postoperative patient evaluations and follow up.
You might also want consult my other post on the higher anesthesiologist salary, they have similar jobs. I’ll try to add a detailed Anesthesiologist vs Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists salary post in the future that will compare not only salaries but also job descriptions and years of education!