Nurse Anesthetist Salary – Complete Information


Nurse anesthetist salary is always high. Even though there are other many important aspects you have to consider before choosing your career path, your potential future earning in any field play a vital role in influencing your decisions. Deciding to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) involves a big commitment of both your finances and time. Therefore, researching on all the factors of your future career choice which includes the potential job-related stresses, the working conditions, the kind of schooling you require and the character traits you should possess is important. After researching on all this aspects, and deciding that CRNA is your right career path, it is good to know that you will get a reward for your hard work at the end of your journey.




The CRNA Average Salary

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the proposed median nurse anesthetist salary in the year 2015 was $148,160. As reported in May 2013, the mean annual salary for CRNAs was $157,690. The starting salary for CRNAs widely varies and but mostly it’s usually around $100,000-$120,000. The salary range applies to the full-time registered nurse anesthetists. Another report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that hospitals were the top paying locations and on average nurse anesthetists earned around $174,850 and those working in offices of dentists earned $179,570 on average. Most CRNAs are employed in physician’s offices and in general medical and surgical hospitals.


The Salary of Nurse Anesthetists by Geographical Location or States

Salary of a nurse anesthetist also varies widely depending on the state and the geographical location where they practice. Generally, the highest CRNA concentration is on the eastern coast and lesser CRNAs practice in the west and the southwest with an exception to Texas. Some of the states that employ the highest number of CRNAs include:

  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • North Carolina and
  • Ohio.

The mean wages in these states vary between $135,910 in Florida and $162,090 in Texas.


We can calculate the average salary in the other states by combining the rural based and the Metropolitan based salary data. The nurse anesthetics working in the metropolitan locations earn higher salaries compared with those working within the rural locations. Some metropolitan locations that pay high salaries include NV, Las Vegas and the mean salary in these locations is $238,350 and Florida and Miami pay a mean salary of $203,540. Just like you expect with the other professions the demand and supply highly affect the nurse anesthetics pay rates.


The Path to Nurse Anesthetist Salary


To work as a CRNA, you will need at least a masters degree in nursing while the admission to a master’s program will require a bachelor’s degree which should not be necessarily a degree in nursing. However, you should be a graduate with some job experience. There are nurses who opt to pursue doctorate degrees and as a result they are able to work as researchers and educators.

You can also increase your salary by specializing in some other areas such as:

  • Dental anesthesia
  • Pediatrics, or
  • Cardiovascular anesthesia

Some other specialties which offer experience beneficial to nurse anesthetists include:

  • Medical-surgical nurse
    The nurses prepare surgical rooms for surgery and afterwards clear the tools away and monitor the patient. Their responsibilities provide nurses with valuable knowledge related to the operating rooms which is necessary for CRNAs.
  • Recovery room nurses
    The recovery room nurses work with surgeons and doctors to prepare patients for surgery and to care for them after the surgery. They gain sufficient experience in patient concerns which is vital for nurse anesthetists.
  • The emergency room nurses
    These nurses offer treatment for the patients who have undergone injury or trauma. They have the ability to spot any life threatening situations and how to solve them immediately. Their skills are necessary in operating rooms and in administering anesthesia.


Nurse Anesthetics Working as Independent Contractors

The need for anesthesia services has been increasing while the working population of nurse anesthetists has been shrinking. As a result the CRNAs working as independent contractors have started to fill these gaps. There are many benefits associated with working as independent contractor as there are many drawbacks. CRNAs working independently have much control over their work schedule and also enjoy the opportunity of choosing the type of environment they would like to practice in. Independent contractors typically have more professional autonomy and flexibility than the regular employees.

Even though working as an independent contractor seems to be ideal, you should note that by working independently you won’t enjoy the many benefits that employees enjoy. The benefits include things like health insurance, worker’s compensation, malpractice insurance and the benefits of having employer withhold payroll taxes. But if you keep in mind that you will incur many additional costs when working independently, you will be able to work independently for a long time. Gathering data about the per hour rates for independent contractors is hard but the US Bureau of Labor Statistics have listed the average hourly rate for full time nurse anesthetists as $75.81. Typically, it appears that most independent contractors’ jobs have a listing wage of $90-$110 per hour. The rate varies depending on the employer, the qualifications of the CRNA and the geographical location.


Temporary Nurse Anesthetist’s Work

Another way of finding employment for CRNAs is by working as temporary nurse anesthetists also known as Locum Tenens meaning to hold the place of’ and it is a word that is highly used to refer to health workers hired on temporary basis. The assignments of Locum Tenens range between several days and several weeks and they are mostly hired for many different reasons. They are used in supplementing the permanent staff during the busy times or to allow more staffing flexibility in the busy healthcare facilities. Furthermore, health facilities use them to fill positions left vacant as a result of leave of absence, illness, maternity leave or a vacation. The nurses are also used to reduce costs where full time CRNAs are not necessary but where temporary or occasional CRNA work is needed.

However, not everyone can work on locum tenens basis. Most CRNAs require steady incomes to and dependable schedule which come easily after they are employed on full time basis. The nurse anesthetists that enter locum tenens positions enjoy many benefits. These positions may assist individuals in between full time positions or searching for full time positions to fill the income gaps. It is also a great way for CRNAs to try working in different anesthesia care specialties or practices before settling on a specific niche. Most CRNAs rely on agencies and recruiters that specialize in finding candidates to fill any locum tenens position. The average salary for Locum Tenens is around $720-$880 for 8 hours.

The Future Outlook of Nurse Anesthetists

Future outlook of CRNAs indicates a very positive trend. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupation Outlook Handbook predicts over 31% job growth for CRNAs, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners from the year 2012 to the year 2022. As a matter of fact, the average age of the entire population of the United States is highly increasing and with this increase, we expect an increase in demand for healthcare services.


The demand for more procedures and surgeries will demand more qualified nurse anesthetists to administer anesthetics. And looking toward the future, most health facilities will start making cost-effective decisions that will help them keep their prices as low as possible. Moreover, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists has also reported that depending on the most recent studies, nurse anesthetists will be the most cost effective solution for the healthcare facilities that are looking forward to offering higher quality anesthesia services.

With the high income and the expected increase in CRNA services requirements, this is a better time to enter the career field as a nurse anesthetist. While the demand for CRNAs will be increasing, possibly health facilities will improve the nurse anesthetists salary offer as they try to fill the crucial positions with the competent and qualified employees. A CRNA career offers both financial security and job security.

The Bureau for labor statistics shows that there is a huge difference between the CRNAs salaries and those of RNs. The mean nurse anesthetist salary in the year 2003 was $157,690 while that of registered nurses was $68,910. In contrast to CRNAs and RNs, the mean annual salary of nurse anesthesiologists was reported as $235,070. The high salary anesthesiologists expect is one of the reasons why the demand for CRNAs is always increasing.


According to American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, the difference between anesthesia provided by anesthesiologists and the anesthesia CRNAs provides is almost 0% but CRNAs make less than anesthesiologists and therefore they are a more attractive hire. The AANA once reported that having anesthesiologists directing CRNAs is over 110% more expensive for health facilities compared to having CRNAs as the sole anesthesia providers. The statistics show the future of CRNAs and the value of their services.

The Malpractice Insurance

To become a CRNA, you will require a malpractice insurance cover. It is an important factor that you should consider especially when looking at your future salary since there are employers who may include it in your salary and it can also be an extra cost. It is a type of insurance designed to offer financial protection when sued due to medical malpractice.

Larger hospitals or medical centers offer this form of insurance to their employees under group policies. There are facilities that will simply calculate the cost of offering this insurance and include it in the CRNA’s salary while others will deduct the amount needed from each and every paycheck. And if your employer is offering a group policy, this policy may not cover you after you change your job or decide to practice in another place.

Becoming a Certified Nurse Anesthetist

Generally, nurse anesthetists are registered nurses practicing at an advanced level. They help patients to manage their pain before and during the operations, after injuries and when giving birth in the form of an epidural. Mostly CRNAs work in some circumstances in a high-stress environments because their patients are usually on pain. Most hospitals within the US have CRNAs as the primary source of anesthesia in their facilities.


The Different CRNA Education Pathways

To become a CRNA, you must complete one of these education courses:

  • Diploma
    A diploma won’t meet the lowest educational requirement for practicing as a certified nurse anesthetist. Often nurse anesthetists require a degree certificate or even a doctorate education level which you cannot react through a three year college diploma or even hospital training program.
  • Associate degree
    An associate degree that typically takes two years to complete won’t meet the minimum set requirement either. However, you can complete a bridge program after registering as a nurse anesthetic which takes associate level registered nurses to BSN status.
  • Undergraduate degree
    To practice as a nurse anesthetic, you have to start by working as a certified nurse. This means that you have to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing which will take you four years at any of the accredited universities. During this time you will complete some courses such as microbiology, anatomy and pharmacology. These are the basic requirements to start the career path and should be followed by a full year of practice before taking a masters degree.
  • Graduate degree
    To start working as a CRNA you should complete an Advanced Graduate Study/ Master of Science in Nursing Degree in a school offering nurse anesthesia program. This means that you should school for an additional 2-3 year in addition to education you acquired previously so that you can attain a higher level of academics necessary for you to continue with this career path.
  • Doctorate degree
    A DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) is an additional nurse anesthetic level of learning which you can complete in 1 to 3 years after completing an undergraduate level and a masters level of education.


Online Option

You can consider the many online learning opportunities at the graduate level, even though most colleges prefer hands-on classroom learning.

The Licensing Process

To start working as a qualified nurse anesthetist within the US, you must pass the NCLEX-RN, which is a national licensure examination. After the licensing you will have to work for 1000 hours or one year to gain the necessary experience before you continue to the graduate level program. You can also consider the secondary certification level which is available through Board of Certification/Re-certification for nurse anesthesia.

The Prerequisites for Studying

To get enrolled in a graduate level nurse anesthesia program you will need a 3.0 GPA or even higher but there are schools that will require a GPA of 2.0 and because nursing is a very serious career path any school offering this program has to be accredited.

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