Top 10 Nurse Anesthetist Programs

Becoming a nurse anesthetist is one of the more popular and well-paid specializations in the nursing profession. To become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) requires a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a state license to get critical care nursing experience and a Master’s Degree in Nurse Anesthesia. On top of this, you need to be certified by National Boards of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). The Nurse Anesthetist profession is represented by American Association of Nurse Anesthetists or AANA with more than 40 000 members. While it takes some time and experience to become a nurse anesthetist, the rewards are outstanding. The employment rate is high among CRNAs and so are the salaries. On average, CRNAs can expect to make around $130,000 a year, while some make as much as $180,000.

If you one of the aspiring to become a Nurse Anesthetist and you have already earned a Baccalaureate degree, a state license and have years of work experience, you can choose any of these Top 10 Nurse Anesthetist Programs available at different colleges and universities.

Virginia Commonwealth University

virgnia-commonwealth-universityVirginia Commonwealth University is a premier urban and public research university that puts great emphasis on academic success. The university takes pride in their nationally-ranked academic programs including the Nurse Anesthetist program for licensed nurses. Virginia Commonwealth University was established in 1838, but the Department of Nurse Anesthesia in the School of Allied Health Professionals was established in 1969. The department has a long and firm heritage of educating high-quality and excellent professional Nurse Anesthetists. They are the first institution to offer a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia 23 years ago and the first in the country to offer a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice degree in 2006.

The university has an academic nurse anesthesia faculty of seven, six of whom hold doctoral degrees. These individuals work together with more than 150 assistant faculty, four staff members, and more than 40 clinical affiliated training locations offering 73 credits in 7 semesters of Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia. The Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice, on the other hand, currently has two formats available: a 33-credit hour postmaster’s program for CRNAs who want to enhance their knowledge in the areas of education, patient safety, evidence-based practice and leadership, and an optional combined degree program of MSNA-DNAP. The combined degree program can be done through completion of doctoral level courses during the Master’s degree program. This requires an additional full-time semester of doctoral studies after the MSNA program conclusion.

All the Nurse Anesthesia programs at Virginia Commonwealth University use state-of- the-art facilities and two-way simultaneous distance technology. These programs are offered at four sites in the state, including Abingdon, Alexandria, Richmond and Roanoke. There is a distance learning Ph.D. program in Health Related Sciences for other allied health professionals and Nurse Anesthetists.

The educational programs provided by the Department of Nurse Anesthesia have received accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. Since the university is highly regarded among peers for its high reputation that entices numerous applicants to the programs. Other than the small class size and flexible class schedules, students also receive solid support from their instructors. Financial assistance and university grants are available for deserving students, but the process is competitive. Finishing the program at Virginia Commonwealth University provides countless of opportunities, especially to those pursuing doctoral level studies in this field of specialization. Other than having a greater chance of getting employment right away, graduates of the Nurse Anesthesia program receive higher salaries than other licensed nurses.

U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing

u-s-army-graduate-program-in-anesthesia-nursingOne of the key reasons why the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing at Northeastern University ranks among the Top 10 Nurse Anesthetist Programs is its affordability in terms of tuition cost. The tuition is fully funded by the government, and an exceptional education and reliable support are available from staff and faculty. In fact, graduates are assured of getting 100% job placement as they are immediately employed in any of the 26 army hospitals in the country or abroad. The salary of a United States Army Officer is estimated to be $5,270 per month. This is somewhat lower than CRNAs earn in private hospitals, but it does not include other benefits of the profession.

Students in this nationally-ranked Nurse Anesthesia program will learn a great deal from this highly-supported and challenging degree. The U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing has several talented military and civilian faculty members who teach and mentor students, helping them achieve their educational goals. Graduates of the Doctor of Nursing Practice from the Northeastern University who serve as an Army CRNA for five years are assured of getting a higher salary and instant respect when they leave the army.

The U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing has ongoing vacancies for their programs as they train independent CRNA’s to function as highly-respected members of the healthcare team in the military. Nurse anesthetists are greatly needed in the army, which is why graduates are offered immediate positions at any of the Army hospitals, either in the States (including Hawaii), Korea, Europe and anywhere in the world. The institution provides a professional atmosphere, an exceptional work environment, and opportunities for growth and promotion. Students will be trained to be among the best nurse anesthetists in the country. They will gain invaluable experience in an army hospital as part of their graduate curriculum.

The admission process for the U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing is competitive. Students who want to gain admission should have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from a CCNE and NLNAC accredited program. They should also have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above and an overall science GPA of at least 3.0. An undergraduate statistics course is needed, including classes in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry. It is further necessary to complete two years on “time on station” and a one-year experience in a critical care setting, as stated by the Council on Accreditation. Other requirements are posted on the school’s website. All of these demands should be met to be considered for the admission process.

Baylor College of Medicine

baylor-college-of-medicineBaylor College of Medicine is always ranked among the Top 10 Nurse Anesthetist Programs in the country. The reason is that BCM’s DNPNA program is committed to promoting excellence through extensive research, in-depth education and quality healthcare. It provides a comprehensive graduate learning experience for licensed nurses, particularly in the practice of giving all forms of anesthesia (local, regional and general). The program can be completed in 36 months, and graduates will earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice–Nurse Anesthesia program has two phases: the first step is an 18-month instructional experience and the second phase is an 18-month practical section of the course. The first step consists mainly of coursework in clinical and basic sciences, policy and healthcare delivery, leadership and management and transnational research. The clinical phase, on the other hand, provides an extensive clinical education about administering local, general and regional anesthesia. Once the degree requirements are completed, graduates will be eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination given by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.

Baylor College of Medicine also provides credit to students for the studies completed elsewhere when they apply for Master’s Program for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. CRNA’s with advanced standing can complete the necessary coursework in 24 months. The class schedules are designed in a way to cater to working professionals. Most of the courses are offered online with limited on-campus time.

The application process takes place from February to July every year. Applications are reviewed during the summer period, and selected applicants are given an invitation for an interview in August. The program usually starts in January which is why enrollment is done after the interview. The Baylor College of Medicine is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

Since the beginning of the program, there have been 305 students who have graduated from the college’s Nurse Anesthesia studies. All the graduates of the Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Anesthesia program have received offers of employment upon graduation, and have passed the National Certification Examination in a single attempt. Other than the entry-into-practice graduates, at least 29 CRNA’s with advanced standing have received DNP degrees. The alumni of the school provide clinical care in various healthcare settings in the United States, and they are highly regarded by employers.

Rush University


Rush University is considered among the top-ranking educational institutions for Nurse Anesthetist programs in the nation. This course requires full-time study and can be completed in 3.5 years. Tuition is $1,050 per credit hour. The University is located in Chicago, IL and provides students with unparalleled opportunities to enhance their skills, network and collaborate with colleagues across the discipline.

The Nurse Anesthesia program of Rush University prepares students to work as Nurse Anesthetists in various clinical settings. The comprehensive program blends extensive academic programs with wide-ranging clinical practice experience. Students will be prepared to become experts as advanced practice nurses in administering anesthesia care to patients with different levels of acuity, undergoing procedures of different complexities. The Nurse Anesthesia program is not for every one and is only offered to licensed nurses with a minimum of one year of experience in adult critical care. The University offers a practical chance to learn in patient care units, research laboratories, and classrooms, guided by the school’s faculty with the necessary expertise and qualifications.

Rush University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program puts more academic focus on the beginning of the program, with a gradual increase of clinical experience in the second year. Once this part of the program has been completed successfully, students will start a 15-month clinical residency and complete a DNP project. The residency period allows students to receive a $800 grant from the University to assist him/her throughout the extensive program. Consequently, the residency will expose students to all types of surgical procedures in the areas of cardiovascular, thoracic, gynecological, neurological, trauma and transplants.

The demand for CRNAs or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists is high, and it is expected to continue over the coming years because of the changing healthcare workforce and increasing population. Graduates of Rush University are highly recruited, as they rank among the best in the country. The CRNAs practice in diverse settings like community hospitals, tertiary medical centers, rural areas, private practice and academic settings. For Nurse Anesthetists with a doctoral degree, several opportunities wait in administrative, academic and research.

Rush University’s program has gained accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and exceeds the academic and published clinical requirements. It earned re-accreditation by the COA in 2015 for another 10-year accreditation period. Completing a graduate study at Rush University provides myriad of job opportunities all over the United States and around the world.

Duke University

duke-university1Duke University School of Nursing is a diverse community of clinicians and scholars with a mission to educate the next generation of leaders in the field of nursing. U.S. News and World Report ranked Duke University among the Top 10 Best Nursing Schools in 2016, and it has consistently gained recognition from various organizations and institutions. The School of Nursing at Duke University offers undergraduate and graduate nursing practice degrees.

They have a Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Anesthesia program, offered every fall. It has an incredibly low drop-out rate of only 6 and a National Certification exam passing rate of 100%. The DNP – Nurse Anesthesia program prepares nurses to become skilled in administering anesthesia in a wide range of clinical facilities to patients in different age groups. Graduates will be prepared for research and evidence-based clinical practice, the transformation of healthcare systems, and the measurement of patient outcomes to ensure safety and quality. The Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Anesthesia answers the critical leadership skills required to translate evidence-based care to practice, measure outcomes of patients and change systems of care.

Duke University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice with Nurse Anesthesia specialization is a 36-month program with 83 credits and full-time and on-campus study. The program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Nurse Educational Programs and concludes by completing a project addressing quality improvement among patients, medical organizations and health care systems. The good thing about the DNP – Nurse Anesthesia program is that it provides numerous benefits to students. They will experience a diverse clinical rotation and dynamic interaction with the university’s dedicated faculty of licensed Nurse Anesthetists. They also provide an extensive mentoring program to students, an e-portfolio and exceptional clinical instructors and staff committed to every student’s education.

The school has a 100% passing rate among graduates, and their alumni are able to practice their profession all over the country, as several healthcare facilities are continuing to hire new Nurse Anesthetists. Duke University takes pride in having the best faculty of distinguished leaders in the nursing profession. They have received several awards such as the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Researcher of the Year, President of the Board of Directors for the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists, and Elected delegate to the AANA Education Committee. They have some of the best instructors out there, who will mold the students to become Certified Nurse Anesthetists in the state. They not only guide and supervise their students, but they also make sure they get the necessary knowledge and skills to become competent Nurse Anesthetists.

University of Pittsburgh

university-of-PittsburghThe Nurse Anesthesia program is one of the Master’s degree options in the University of Pittsburgh’ School of Nursing. The program places importance on the continuum of care starting from pre-operative evaluation and ending with discharge from the rehabilitation area. Nurse Anesthetists are responsible for interviewing and assessing every patient, and they also formulate and implement an optimal plan of care. It is their responsibility to be a patient advocate, provide reassurance and coordinate with other hospital staff to provide the best anesthetic experience.

The curriculum of the University of Pittsburgh’ Nurse Anesthesia program prepares licensed nurses for an entry-level anesthesia practice. Graduates will be prepared to provide a full range of anesthetics to a variety of patients, and they will experience integrated classroom and clinical instruction. This develops academic knowledge and clinical skills needed to provide a safe and efficient practice.

Students in the program rotate between different facilities in Pittsburgh, nearby region and more distant sites for their hands-on training. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health System hospitals are renowned worldwide in the areas of trauma medicine, surgical innovation, research, organ transplantation and biomedical technology. Rotations will include specialized experiences in neurosurgical, cardiothoracic, dental, organ transplantation, regional anesthesia, obstetrics, pediatrics, burn and electroconvulsive therapy. Community hospital rotations will prepare students for practice in a diverse setting. They will be able to safely manage an incredibly complex range of patients.

The Nurse Anesthesia coursework can be executed in a full-time format, usually over 28 months, with classes that start every August and January. There is part-time study available for the curriculum. The clinical practice starts two days a week in the first term, which will increase in intensity and frequency throughout the program. The final two terms of the program have four to five days/weeks of clinical practice and are integrated with clinical conferences as well as preparation sessions about the Certification Examination.

The Nurse Anesthesia program of the University of Pittsburgh requires enrollees to have at least a minimum of one year of critical care nursing experience after the completion of their Bachelor of Science in Nursing. It is also necessary to submit the following requirements: academic transcripts, GRE examination results, professional references, and an essay. The MSN – Nurse Anesthesia program of the University of Pittsburgh is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

Case Western Reserve University

case-western-reserve-universityThe Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University is globally recognized as a leader in nursing education and research. Apart from offering an undergraduate nursing program, the university is home to a Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Anesthesia degree for licensed nurses who want to specialize in this area.

Nurse anesthetists are licensed nurses who administer different types of anesthesia for every kind of procedure or surgery. They keep their focus on pre-operative evaluation, as well as intraoperative management and postoperative anesthesia care. The MSN in Nurse Anesthesia program providesstudents with an opportunity to participate in various educational programs, direct patient care and distinguished research on clinical topics. They will work with a clinical preceptor expert in Nurse Anesthesia and take part in general and regional anesthesia for individuals in different age groups. Management of pediatrics, obstetrics, emergency operations and neurosurgery are vital parts of the hospital work experience. Graduates of the program will be eligible to sit for the certification examination given by the Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists.

Applicants of the program should have at least one year of critical care experience with a specialty certification or two years of current critical care experience. A critical care area is where a registered nurse regularly manages procedures like invasive hemodynamic monitors (arterial, CVP, or pulmonary artery catheter), mechanical ventilation, cardiac assist devices, and vasoactive drips. The application packet must have one reference from an Assistant Nurse Manager or current Nurse Manager.

The Master of Science in Nursing – Nurse Anesthesia of Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing is provided by the university’s well-trained faculty and staff. These individuals have credentials as Nurse Anesthetists themselves, and they will supervise the students from their academic learning experience to their clinical. Clinical practice is held in various healthcare facilities in the area, and a preceptor will oversee them throughout the experience. The classrooms and state-of-the art facilities of the university are conducive to learning, especially the small class size implemented for the MSN – Nurse Anesthesia program.

The Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing has gained accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs, allowing the university to provide a graduate level curriculum that leads to a Master of Science in Nursing degree or a Post-Master’s Certificate. Applicants must complete the requirements of the program to be considered for admission.

Georgetown University

George Washington UniversityGeorgetown University is one of the higher learning institutions offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Anesthesia program. This program aims to help licensed nurses become healthcare professionals who are systems-level thinkers and leaders in managing patient safety and delivering quality care. The university has a strong emphasis on health policy and boasts a highly-respected faculty with a solid background in academia. They aim to prepare students for the changing needs of the state’s health system by incorporating nursing science with ethics and organizational leadership.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Anesthesia program utilizes research evidence to outline, regulate, implement and evaluate systems of care. This practice-based program is offered to nurses who hold a master’s degree in an advanced nursing area and possess extensive clinical experience. The DNP program usually consists of 38 credit hours and is offered in full- or part-time study.

The highlights of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program include an innovative transnational research project, research and practice expertise in multiple academic departments, the ability to finish lean six sigma, and excellent quality learner experiences rooted in interprofessional practice and staff cooperation. One of the unique things about the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Georgetown University is that they integrate courses taught by the Information Systems and Healthcare Economics, as well as the Department of Health Systems Administration on Quality and Performance Measurement. The principles of ethical leadership are included in the programs of the university.

The DNP Translational Research Project, a requirement for all Nurse Anesthesia students, allows them to translate evidence from original research to the adoption of the best clinical practices. This project is a compilation of an interactive learning process, and the curriculum provides information on the depth and development of the DNP project.

The advantage of completing a Nurse Anesthesia program at Georgetown University is that it allows graduates to assume leadership positions at any medical level. The program is designed in such a way that students can create, implement and even evaluate quality improvement projects. Aside from the fact that the University uses state-of-the-art facilities, they also have the best faculty and staff to aid students in all their educational goals. This combination of excellent faculty and state-of-the-art facilities makes the University a great place for a Nurse Anesthetist program.

Samuel Merritt University

samuel-merritt-university1SMU or Samuel Merrit University offers an entry-level program that prepares graduates for a full scope of practice in a nurse anesthesia specialization, making them competitive in the marketplace through the best quality of care possible. Consequently, students will be exposed to all aspects of anesthesia including local, general and regional. Additionally, they will learn cases that involve conscious sedation and diagnostic, therapeutic, and custodial ancillary services like emergency airway management, pain management, and anesthesia for radiology procedures. Under close supervision, students will be responsible for anesthesia administration, management of surgery categories and common invasive modalities for a diverse group of patients and acuity levels.

Samuel Merritt University aims to manage the learning process through a shared enterprise between faculty and students. The faculty is consistent in fulfilling the learning objectives of the program and provides guidance and instruction to meet student educational goals. As a result, students are expected to be responsible, highly motivated, self-disciplined and focused. The university only accepts students mature enough to represent skilled critical care nurses, who are exceptionally driven and compassionate.

The university has high passing rates of nurse anesthesia graduates. In fact, employers often cite their knowledge regarding theoretical background and range of clinical expertise. This is the reason why Samuel Merritt University is recognized as one of the best Nurse Anesthetist program providers in the country. After all, they have consistently produced topnotch Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists over the years. The school has a state-of-the-art Health Sciences Simulation Center, which allows students to develop skills for the clinical rotation.

The nurse anesthesia program was created through a joint venture of Samuel Merritt University and Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Students can have their clinical experience in some of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers, and they have high chances of getting employed. This healthcare facility provides an excellent learning experience for students in their hands-on training, which is the key reason for future employer satisfaction and their outstanding performance. Kaiser Permanente awards the students with a $10,000 per year bonus for two years if they graduate and become employed at a Northern California Kaiser facility.

The program of Nurse Anesthesia at Samuel Merritt University is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. It underwent a reaccreditation review in the fall of 2013 and was given continued accreditation for a maximum period of ten more years. The program also complies with the Standards of Accreditation for Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

University of Iowa

university-of-iowaThe University of Iowa aims to provide a Nurse Anesthesia program that educates licensed nurses through didactic and clinical experiences. Since the state and its rural environments experience a shortage of Anesthesia Nurse practitioners, the university ensures that their students can successfully enter into practice and participate in clinical rotations in critical access and rural hospitals. The school’s DNP – CRNA graduates are prepared to become great leaders in the profession, especially in the local healthcare system.

The University of Iowa offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Anesthesia program, designed to provide a graduate-level education and clinical experience to BSN graduates or Registered Nurses who want to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. The curriculum allows graduates to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice – Nurse Anesthesia degree and have eligibility to take the NBCRNA National Certification Exam.

The Nurse Anesthesia program of the University of Iowa involves 3 years of intense clinical experience and academic study. The curriculum is designed such that the program can be completed in 36 months if taken full-time. The first year curriculum follows a traditional academic calendar, and students receive ten days off after the summer semester. First year courses will vigorously prepare students for their 2nd and 3rd-year clinicals and their future practice.

Clinical education starts in the second year with guidance from the university’s remarkable CRNA mentors. The first clinical experience is taken either at Unity Point Iowa Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, or Spencer Community Hospital in Northwest Iowa. Once the students become comfortable in the operating room, they will be assigned to increasingly challenging cases.

Students who are registered in the Nurse Anesthesia program rotate between different locations in Iowa, and one of the highlights of their workplace experience is the rotation made in rural hospitals. They will spend three months in three different rural areas including a Veteran’s Affairs Hospital, a medium-sized community hospital, pain management clinics or a private ambulatory surgery station.

The clinical experiences obtained in the University of Iowa DNNP-Nurse Anesthesia program surpass the requirements of the COA and NBCRNA. The university has a strong reputation in preparing remarkable Nurse Anesthetists who can provide full-service anesthesia to patients in various clinical settings. Thus, UI is considered one of the best institutions for this kind of postgraduate nursing program.