A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is paid a higher salary than some physicians. The average annual salary range of an experienced CRNA, as per the 2012 Locum Tenens CRNA Salary Survey, was $168,000 per year.
A CRNA is a registered nurse who administers anesthesia to patients on the operating table, including before and after a major surgery (if required) under the guidance of an assisting anesthesiologist. Considering the level of responsibility, you can rightly guess that the pay scale is relatively high. In fact, the salary scale of a CRNA is amongst the highest when it comes to nursing specialties. However, the job profile of nurse anesthetists is quite challenging; they should be very good in decision-making, under stress.
*Note: Salaries will vary based on education, experience, and type of employer.
Salary by Experience
|Less than 1 year||$68,000 – $148,000|
|1-4 years||$69,000 – $155,000|
|5-9 years||$98,000 – $183,000|
|10 years and above||$99,000 – $211,000|
Source: PayScale (as of January 2013)
Top Paying Industries
According to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), these are currently the employers that are paying the big bucks, as of 2013. While this statistic can change in the course of a few months to a year, they still remain as some of the best industries to work at, for an aspiring CRNA.
|Offices of Dentists|
|Offices of Other Health Practitioners|
|Outpatient Care Centers|
|General Medical and Surgical Hospitals|
|Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals|
Salary by Location
Source: Indeed (as of January 2013)
The duty of a certified registered nurse anesthetist is to examine the anesthesia requirements of a patient before a surgical procedure. Based on the candidate’s medical history and current condition, the nurse anesthetist determines the sedation type, the concentration, and other factors to ensure a safe surgery. In most cases, they function under the strict guidance of anesthesiologists. However, they have the authority to give anesthesia, even in their absence. They are also responsible for ensuring that post-surgery recovery from anesthesia is taken care of too.
Most CRNAs prefer to work in public hospitals. However, instead of hiring anesthesiologist physicians, most private hospitals consider taking the help of CRNAs for an operation. With their help, more surgical procedures can be conducted on a daily basis. After becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist, one can think of working in private clinics or other health care settings.
Education and Training
To work as a CRNA, you should have:
- A bachelor’s degree in nursing
- A license as a registered nurse
- A degree from an accredited school of nurse anesthesia
- One year experience in an acute care setting (such as ICU or Emergency Room)
- National certification that can be obtained post graduation
- Training, which includes administration of at least 850 anesthetics and completion of 2500 clinical hours
- Education with 40 credits every two years for re-certification
Source: AANA (American Association of Nurse Anesthetists)
A nurse anesthetist’s salary is higher while working independently as a contractor. Highly experienced nurse anesthetists also start organizations that provide CRNAs to private clinics and hospitals. As the number of jobs increase, the salaries are likely to be more competitive. However, since it is the highest paid job in the nursing field, anyone who enters this line of work is likely to earn a good remuneration.