What Are RN to CRNA Programs?

If you want to advance in your career as a registered nurse (RN), you may consider entering the field of nurse anesthesia. A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is a nurse specialist who administers medication to patients during medical procedures for pain management. To learn more about academic and certification requirements in this field, keep reading. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

RN to CRNA Program Overview

A registered nurse who wants to move up in his or her field can become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) by completing a graduate degree in a specialty field. These APRNs can become nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and nurse anesthetists. To become nurse anesthetists, RNs must enroll in a graduate program such as an RN to CRNA program. These can lead to either a Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

Didactic coursework in these programs often includes health diagnostics, anesthesiology principles, healthcare management systems, bioscience and pharmacology. In addition to classroom-based sessions, these programs require extensive hands-on experience in local medical centers and hospitals. You'll also study invasive monitoring techniques and learn how to apply general and local anesthesia during obstetric, pediatric, orthopedic and vascular procedures.

Important Facts About These Programs

Programs Clinical internships are offered in these programs
Possible Employment Available at outpatient surgery facilities, surgical clinics, psychiatric institutions, and in respiratory therapy departments
Online Availability Some CRNA courses, such as physics, are available
Continuing Education A minimum of 40 hours is required every two years
Median Salary (2018) $167,950
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 16% growth

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Admissions Requirements

The admissions process for nurse anesthesia programs is often competitive, with many applicants vying for a limited number of positions. For most programs, you'll need to have at least a bachelor's degree in nursing. You can gain advanced standing in a DNP program if you already hold a nursing master's degree.

Some schools may allow you to apply for enrollment with a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, but you'll need to complete supplemental courses in nursing or medical subjects. Completion of an undergraduate statistics course may be required for admission to a master's program; some DNP programs expect applicants to complete a graduate-level statistics course.

Additional prerequisites can include 1-2 years of work experience as an RN, submission of GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a personal interview with admissions representatives. Many programs look for applicants who maintained a minimum GPA of 3.0 at the undergraduate level.

Professional Certification

To become a CRNA, you need to hold a bachelor's degree in nursing and an active nursing license. You also need to complete at least one year of RN work experience, as well as a nurse anesthesia master's or doctoral program. Once these requirements are met, you can take the National Certification Examination offered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.

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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