Master's Degree Programs in Nurse Anesthesia

Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia when surgical, obstetric or other medical procedures are necessary. Learn about enrollment in a nurse anesthesia master's program, which typically requires holding a registered nursing license. Find out about prerequisite courses, what you'd learn in the program and the certification requirements for nurse anesthetists. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Study in a Master's Degree in Nurse Anesthesia Program?

Nurse anesthesia, a practice that dates back to the Civil War, requires you to be a trained expert in preparing patients for anesthesia, administering anesthetics, monitoring vital signs during procedures and providing post-anesthetic care. Your skills as a nurse anesthetist are valuable in a wide range of medical situations, including obstetrics, plastic surgery, organ transplants, diagnostic procedures and emergency surgery. A master's degree in nurse anesthesia is required to work in this field.

Requirements will include both lecture-based courses and clinical experiences. You will study a wide range of physical and biological sciences, as well as behavioral sciences, that help you better anticipate the needs of your patients. You will also learn the fundamentals of anesthesia, from its history to how it affects patients. During your clinical experiences, you will gain hands-on experience in administering anesthesia to live patients in a supervised environment. Due to the hands-on training requirements, nurse anesthesia master's degree programs aren't available online, but many schools offer some online coursework.

Program ComponentsCore science courses, behavioral science courses, anesthesia fundamentals, hands-on clinical training
Admission RequirementsPrograms often require RN licensure, professional nursing experience and a life science or nursing bachelor's degree
CertificationCRNA certification required for practice, with re-certification every two years
Median Salary (2018) $167,950 (for all nurse anesthetists)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 16% growth (for all nurse anesthetists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is Required for Admissions?

Admissions for a master's degree program in nurse anesthesia are typically based on your education, as well as your professional and personal background. You will need a bachelor's degree in nursing or a biological science to enroll. Most programs also require you to hold an active registered nurse (RN) license and have at least one year of professional nursing experience. Additionally, nurse anesthesia programs seek applicants with emotional and psychological stability due to the potential demands of the field.

What Certification Will I Need?

In order to practice nurse anesthesia, you will need to earn mandatory certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) after completing your graduate education. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) offers certification through the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists. Once certified, you will need to earn recertification every two years in order to maintain your CRNA status. To further advance your career, or to pursue a career in education, you can pursue a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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