The Lowdown on CRNAs


Please enjoy this informative guest post by John Keith, Chief CRNA of CRNA Career Pro.

What Is a CRNA?

A CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) is an advanced practiced registered nurse (APRN) who provides the same anesthesia services as an anesthesiologist (MDA). Nurse anesthetists have been providing anesthesia care in the United States for 150 years, and are nationally certified to practice in all 50 states.

CRNAs are the only anesthesia providers in more than two-thirds of all rural hospitals in the United States, and they administer approximately 34 million anesthetics to patients nationwide each year. Practicing in a wide variety of settings, you may find CRNAs in academic medical centers, community hospitals, day surgery facilities, pain clinics, or physician’s offices. Nurse Anesthetists can either work side by side with anesthesiologists, or in independent practice.

The scope of practice for CRNAs includes all accepted anesthetic techniques, including general, epidural, spinal, peripheral nerve block, sedation, and local anesthesia.

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Why CRNA School?

  • Better hours
  • Higher Salary
  • More Autonomy
  • Less physically demanding
  • Lower burnout rate

How Hard Is It To Get Accepted?

  • For every 1 position in CRNA school there are 7 applicants.
  • Most applicants have their CCRN.
  • The majority of people applying have strong work experience.
  • More people are applying every year.

Will My Limited Nursing Experience Hurt Me When I Apply?

It is always best to have a strong resume when applying to any graduate CRNA program. Not all ICU settings are equal. Schools put a higher priority on some settings, and less on others. To be successful in school, you will need to be familiar with certain things (Swanz Ganz, ventilator settings, vasoactive drips, etc.), and only certain critical care areas offer this type of clinical experience.

How Hard Is CRNA School?

On average, the attrition rate is between 8 and 12%. CRNA school can be very difficult if you are unable to get into the studying mode quickly, and the educational experience is commonly compared to “trying to drink from a fire hose.”  You are presented with so much information, and it is easy to become overwhelmed. Every program has a slightly different course load, but you can expect to be taking courses such as Advanced Anatomy & Physiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Organic Chemistry, and Research.

How Do I Choose a School?

The application process can be very stressful and time-consuming if you don’t have some framework to follow. Every school requires different GRE scores, work experience, reference letters, etc. All of this can become very confusing and leave you overwhelmed.

There are important factors that need to be considered when you decide to choose a CRNA program. These factors include attrition rate, cost, requirements, and location. The school’s location is another very important factor to consider. If you must move to attend school, then relocation cost needs to be accounted for.

Typically you want to avoid schools with high attrition rates. The worst thing in the world would be to get into school, rack up a ton of loans, drop out of the program, and then have no way to repay your debt.

CRNA programs may differ in terms of their educational requirements, and it is prudent to pay very close attention to these requirements when applying. These may include:

  • Number of chemistry courses needed and how recent your previous courses need to be
  • Graduate-level courses needed to apply
  • Minimum math requirement
  • Organic and inorganic chemistry (Organic chemistry is a tough course, even for very bright individuals.

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What Resources Are Available To Help Me Get Accepted?

CRNA Career Pro is the leading resource for CRNA school applicants. This company is staffed by CRNAs who focus on educating, motivating, and assisting individuals who are interested in the field of Nurse Anesthesia. CRNA Career Pro is unique, in that of our staff has experienced the application process, and we continuously network with CRNA program directors and admission committees across the nation in order to assure that you get the latest and most up-to-date information regarding what schools are looking for in new applicants.

The CRNA Career Pro Process:

  • We give you a foolproof, step-by-step guide for completing the crucial requirements.
  • We uses strategies that current CRNA students have successfully employed in order to gain entrance to the best CRNA programs in the country.
  • The CRNA Career Program shows you what schools are REALLY looking for.
  • We will fine tune your application so that it will stand out and get noticed.
  • Even if you have a low GPA, this program will show you how to get accepted.
  • Each lesson is straightforward, giving an explanation of what to do and why it works.

 Please learn more by visiting our website:


John Keith is the founder of CRNA Career Pro, and creator of CRNA School Admissions. He graduated from West Texas A&M University with his BSN, and was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society. While working at Baptist St. Anthony’s Hospital in their Coronary Care Unit, he acquired his CCRN (Critical Care Registered Nurse), CMC (Cardiac Medicine Certification), and TNCC (Trauma Nursing Core Course) certifications, which helped him prepare for his current career as a Nurse Anesthetist. He also gained Emergency Room experience at Hereford Regional Hospital. John had the honor of attending CRNA school at Texas Wesleyan University, graduating with his Masters of Science in Nurse Anesthesia. In addition to helping applicants get into CRNA school, he is a practicing CRNA with a great passion for this amazing career.



  1. […] A new guest post on the RNFM Radio blog details what it means to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), and some listeners may find this potential professional avenue worth a look. And if there are other avenues you’d like to pursue as a nurse, the sky’s the limit. […]