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Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Salary and Job Description

Written by: North Carolina Central University   •  Jun 27, 2024

Nurse anesthetist standing and smiling in an operating room.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist Salary and Job Description

Before undergoing any kind of surgical procedure, patients naturally worry about the level of pain they’ll experience. Thanks to advances in sedation and anesthesia, most patients can enjoy a surgical experience that’s free of not only discomfort but also any potentially traumatic or troubling memories.

Trained medical professionals are required to ensure that sedation and anesthesia are administered effectively as well as safely. One role that plays an integral part in anesthesia is the certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). These advanced practice nursing professionals can have a major influence on patient comfort and care, making this a rewarding path for nurses who’ve obtained the right academic background. In fact, a strong foundational education can help lead to competitive nurse anesthetist salary ranges and positions of heightened responsibility.

What’s a Nurse Anesthetist?

A CRNA is a specialized type of advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). CRNAs are nursing professionals who initially gain patient care experience as registered nurses (RNs), before receiving additional training to practice more independently.

For CRNAs, their independent practice involves the safe, careful administration of anesthesia, as well as the management of patients’ well-being while they’re under the effects of anesthesia. CRNAs may work closely with anesthesiologists or autonomously, providing anesthesia without the need for a supervising physician.

CRNA Job Description

Nurse anesthetists may work in hospitals, surgery centers, and outpatient care facilities, as well as private practices that routinely do invasive procedures. While the exact duties and responsibilities vary by role, a typical job description may look like this:

  • Evaluating patients’ needs, including their medical histories, to determine the most appropriate types of anesthesia and sedation, taking into account allergies or other potential interactions

  • Prepping the operating room with any equipment needed for the safe delivery of anesthesia

  • Advising patients about what the anesthesia process will be like and answering any questions they may have

  • Monitoring vital signs during the procedure and ensuring a normal and safe recovery

Standard Nurse Anesthetist Salary

Those who are drawn to this role will understandably want to know more about potential earnings. As of May 2023, the median annual salary for this position was $212,650, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Several factors can impact a nurse anesthetist’s salary range, including years of experience, level or education, and geographic location. For example, due to cost-of-living differences, the RN salary in North Carolina is a little bit lower than it would be in New York or California.

The BLS notes that the job growth rate for APRNs is projected to grow by 38% by 2032, much faster than the average for all professions.

How to Become a CRNA

For those who are intrigued by this position, a few steps are required to become a CRNA and develop the proper clinical skills to keep patients safe and comfortable.


First, aspiring CRNAs must master foundational learning skills. They can achieve this by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and then becoming an RN, or by earning an associate degree, starting an RN practice, and later returning to school for an RN to BSN.

Becoming an advanced practice nurse requires a master’s-level degree, including coursework that covers pharmacology, physiology, and anatomy. A master’s-level education leads to a sharper skill set and ensures a competitive nurse anesthesiologist salary.

Licensure and Certification

Working as a CRNA first requires obtaining RN licensure, a process that the state board of nursing oversees. Because CNRAs qualify as APRNs, obtaining certification through the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) is required. This encompasses the completion of the National Certification Examination (NCE), a requirement to practice as a CRNA in a majority of states.

Skills Formation

Education, training, and experience can help cultivate diversity in nursing; an appreciation for health equity; and, of course, a range of pertinent skills. Essential skills for the CRNA include the following:

  • Communication: Success in this role requires an ability to communicate clearly with patients as well as attending doctors, surgeons, or nurses.

  • Attention to Detail: To ensure the stable condition and ongoing safety of the patient, having an eye for detail is imperative.

  • Analytic Thinking: Analytic thinking is essential for determining the best form of anesthesia to administer to each patient.

  • Leadership: CRNAs often provide leadership throughout a surgical process and must be adept at managing the skills of their nurses and technicians.

Pursue a Career Providing Safety and Comfort

CRNAs play a crucial role in keeping patients well and helping doctors work as effectively as possible. As such, these professionals need an effective educational foundation that helps them cultivate the skills required for patient safety.

At North Carolina Central University, our RN to BSN program can help build the foundational skills required for success across a range of nursing vocations. The program provides flexibility and robust training for those who are already serving in a nurse capacity, but wish to advance their careers and elevate their skill sets. Explore the program today, and learn more about how it equips the nurses of tomorrow.

Recommended Readings

What Does a Pediatric Nurse Do?

How Nurse Advocates Protect Patient Health

History of HBCU Nursing Programs


American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology, Become a CRNA

Indeed, “How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in 6 Steps”

Indeed, Learn About Being a Nurse Anesthetist

Indeed, Registered Nurse Salary in North Carolina

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners

WebMD, What Is a Nurse Anesthetist?

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