Requirements to be Board Certified

Becoming a CRNA/APN-A

Today, nearly 54,000 CRNA’s administer more than 49 million anesthetics in the United States each year. In addition, CRNA’s administer anesthesia for all types of surgical cases, from the simplest to the most complex. CRNA’s are the primary anesthesia professionals in rural America; in some states CRNAs are the sole providers in nearly 100 percent of the rural hospitals. CRNA’s work in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered: traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms, ambulatory surgical centers, and the offices of dentists, podiatrists, and plastic surgeons

In order to be a CRNA you must:

Education and Training

It takes a minimum of 7-8.5 calendar years of education and experience to prepare a CRNA. The minimum education and experience required to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) include:

  • A baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing or another appropriate major.
  • An unencumbered license as a registered professional nurse and/or APRN in the United States or its territories.
  • A minimum of one-year full-time work experience, or its part-time equivalent, as a registered nurse in a critical care setting. The average experience of RNs entering nurse anesthesia educational programs is 2.9 years.
  • Graduation with a minimum of a master’s degree from a nurse anesthesia educational program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). As of August 2019, there were 121 accredited nurse anesthesia programs in the United States and Puerto Rico, using more than 1,870 active clinical sites; 91 nurse anesthesia programs are approved to award doctoral degrees for entry into practice.
  • Nurse anesthesia programs range from 24-51 months, depending on university requirements. Programs include clinical settings and experiences. Graduates of nurse anesthesia educational programs have an average of 9,369 hours of clinical experience
  • The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) provides the public with several ways to obtain information about each of the nation’s accredited nurse anesthesia programs across the country. To gain knowledge regarding tuition costs, admittance requirements, class size, program length, curriculum and more.
  • Accredited Nurse Anesthesia Programs and Fellowships
  • Education of Nurse Anesthetists in the United States – At a Glance
  • Infographic about education and training
Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists
  • The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) is the certifying body that administers the national certification examination. Each graduate of a nurse anesthesia educational program must pass the national certification examination before he or she can be certified as a CRNA.
  • Recertification: A recertification program called the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program, which is administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA), is based on eight-year periods comprised of two four-year cycles and officially began on Aug. 1, 2016. In addition to practice and license requirements, the CPC Program includes four main components: 60 Class A CE credits or traditional continuing education credits; 40 Class B credits or professional development activities; completion of Core Modules in four content areas, including airway management technique, applied clinical pharmacology, human physiology and pathophysiology, and anesthesia equipment and technology (recommended but not required); and pass a comprehensive examination every eight years.
  • Additional information can be found:
Clinical Practice
  • CRNAs practice according to their expertise, state statutes or regulations, and institutional policy.
  • CRNAs administer anesthesia and anesthesia-related care in four general categories:
    (1) preanesthetic preparation and evaluation;
    (2) anesthesia induction, maintenance and emergence;
    (3) postanesthesia care; and (4) perianesthetic and clinical support functions.

The CRNA scope of practice includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  1. Performing and documenting a preanesthetic assessment and evaluation of the patient, including requesting consultations and diagnostic studies; selecting, obtaining, ordering, or administering preanesthetic medications and fluids; and obtaining informed consent for anesthesia.
  2. Developing and implementing an anesthetic plan.
  3. Selecting and initiating the planned anesthetic technique that may include general, regional, and local anesthesia and intravenous sedation.
  4. Selecting, obtaining, or administering the anesthetics, adjuvant drugs, accessory drugs, and fluids necessary to manage the anesthetic, to maintain the patient’s physiologic homeostasis, and to correct abnormal responses to the anesthesia or surgery.
  5. Selecting, applying, or inserting appropriate noninvasive and invasive monitoring modalities for collecting and interpreting patient physiological data.
  6. Managing a patient’s airway and pulmonary status using endotracheal intubation, mechanical ventilation, pharmacological support, respiratory therapy, or extubation.
  7. Managing emergence and recovery from anesthesia by selecting, obtaining, ordering, or administering medications, fluids, or ventilatory support in order to maintain homeostasis, to provide relief from pain and anesthesia side effects, or to prevent or manage complications.
  8. Releasing or discharging patients from a post-anesthesia care area and providing post-anesthesia follow-up evaluation and care related to anesthesia side effects or complications.
  9. Ordering, initiating or modifying pain relief therapy, through the utilization of drugs, regional anesthetic techniques, or other accepted pain relief modalities, including labor epidural analgesia.
  10. Responding to emergency situations by providing airway management, administration of emergency fluids or drugs, or using basic or advanced cardiac life support techniques.
  11. Additional nurse anesthesia responsibilities which are within the expertise of the individual CRNA.
The functions listed above are a summary of CRNA practice and are not intended to be all-inclusive. A more specific list of CRNA functions and practice parameters is detailed in the AANA Scope of Nurse Anesthesia Practice and Standards for Nurse Anesthesia Practice. See AANA Practice Documents.