The US News & World Report named nurse practitioner as the second-best job on their list of the top 100 jobs, based on projected jobs, median salary, and work environment.
A Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or CRNA is a type of nurse practitioner specialized in anesthesia. There’s a lot going for a career in this field: CRNA nurses are in high demand and enjoy rewarding, well-paid careers.
To become a CRNA, you’ll need a specialized DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) or a qualification in nursing anesthesia. If you’re a busy working professional or looking to return to the workforce while juggling family commitments, you’ll find these excellent online programs flexible enough to meet your needs.
Vols Online is the online education wing of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and offers over 70 online programs. This nurse anesthetist program online involves some on-campus attendance, with two face-to-face intensives per semester. The program prepares nursing professionals for advanced anesthesia and care settings.
Courses include: General principles of DNP anesthesia, evidence-based practice improvement, and DNP anesthesia seminar.
CNHP at Drexel University is committed to experiential and evidence-based learning, making use of advanced technology and real-world experience to deliver a higher standard of education. This DNP-NA program is partly online, and aims to develop nursing professionals who are equipped to provide safe, culturally sensitive, and compassionate anesthesia care to patients of all ages.
Courses include: Nurse anesthesia practice principles, nurse anesthesia pharmacology, and clinical ethics and health law.
Credits: 135 quarter-credits
Duration: 39 months
Tuition: $1,073 per credit
Financial aid: Grants, scholarships, federal work-study, and loans
Acceptance rate: 77.2%
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Baylor College of Medicine, School of Health Professions
The Baylor College of Medicine is one of the few CRNA online schools that can boast that 100% of its students pass the National Certificate Examination and are hired straight after graduation. This nurse anesthetist online program offers MS to DNP as well as BSN to DNP options, and aims to prepare students not only for clinical care but also to work in education, research, or policy.
Courses include: Evidence-based anesthesia practice, influencing healthcare policy, and emerging sciences in healthcare.
The University of Arizona is considered one of the top CRNA schools in the Southwest. This online nurse anesthesia program is practice-based and involves some on-campus intensives. The program emphasizes evidence-based and innovative professional practice supported by credible research.
Courses include: Foundations of nurse anesthesia, co-existing disease and anesthetic implications, and nurse anesthesia pharmacology.
Johns Hopkins University is a world-renowned medical institution that has been ranked second in clinical medicine in the USA and #10 of global universities overall. This is one of the few nurse anesthesia programs online that gives you the opportunity to learn from world-class faculty while benefiting from advanced and innovative approaches to education.
Courses include: Nurse anesthesiology principles, professional aspects of nurse anesthesiology practice, and advanced pathophysiology for nurse anesthesiology.
Duke University is a leader in excellence in education, and is committed to advancing nursing education that addresses global issues. The program’s CRNA online courses are delivered by eminent faculty members who are recognized nationally and internationally.
Courses include: Quantitative methods for evaluating healthcare practices and transforming the nation’s health.
The University of Pittsburgh has been named the no. 1 public university in the Northeast and is one of the top universities producing Fulbright scholars. This is one of the CRNA programs online that not only teaches clinical practice, but also healthcare leadership, economics, and organizational skills. It has a special focus on various specialized areas including healthcare finance and population health.
Courses: Introduction to Health Informatics, Directed Seminars in Nurse Anesthesia Practice, Organizational and Systems Management for Healthcare Leaders, etc.
National University is a veteran-founded, non-profit university based in San Diego and committed to educate adult learners both online and on-campus, with 200,000 alumni globally. This program involves some on-campus attendance, but offers a high level of flexibility, with on-site courses held in multiple locations across California.
Courses include: Advanced human anatomy for nurse anesthesia, nurse anesthesia physiology, and implementing EBP in anesthesia.
The University at Buffalo is the flagship university of New York state and is known worldwide for its affordable, high-quality education. This program aims to equip students with essential leadership and clinical skills for nurse anesthesia care. The courses are delivered by expert nursing professionals and CRNAs and have a practical focus.
Courses include: Interpreting health care policy, applied informatics to evaluate health care outcomes, organization & leadership concepts in health care.
The College of Health Professions supports multiple learning styles based on different student interests, with a focus on innovative education, multiprofessionalism, and teamwork. This Nurse Anesthesia DNP is not fully online, but rather has a hybrid format and prepares students for all types of anesthesia care settings.
Courses include: Advanced nurse anesthesia pharmacology, principles of anesthesia, and advanced physiology & pathophysiology.
When preparing for your online CRNA program, it’s also a good idea to read relevant journals and network with CRNA professionals to learn about the latest developments in the sector.
Finally, there are different license and certification requirements for nurse anesthetists at the state and national levels, meaning you will usually need to seek additional certification along with your CRNA degree. State licensing is administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the certifying exam at the national level is conducted by NBCRNA (The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists).
What to Consider when Choosing an Online CRNA Program
It’s important to check schedule requirements, whether on-campus attendance is necessary, and whether part-time and full-time online study is possible, in order to find a CRNA program that fits with your needs and commitments.
Here are some other key considerations to keep in mind:
Tuition and other expenses
Scholarship and financial aid options
Accreditation, licenses, and certifications are also important. The best nurse anesthetist programs are accredited by one or more of the following bodies:
The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education
National League for Nursing
Jobs and Salaries for CRNAs
CRNA nurses may find employment in a range of settings, such as large hospitals, healthcare facilities, surgical clinics, doctor’s offices, outpatient centers, the military, or nursing schools. They can also secure roles not only as nurse anesthetists, but also in other related capacities. These professions are some of the best paid in the nursing sector: according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary of nurse anesthetists is $202,470.
Average Cost of a CRNA Online Degree
Tuition and other costs to complete an online degree for CRNA can vary based on a range of factors. You can expect to pay between $40,000 and $150,000 in total tuition at a leading private university, though many offer excellent scholarships and financial aid options.
Additionally, you need to factor in expenses such as study materials, administrative fees, and technology fees.
However, choosing an online program means you’ll save on transport and living expenses.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Online CRNA Degree?
Most online DNP programs that will qualify you to become a CRNA last around three years. You can find accelerated CRNA programs that can be completed faster, but they’re pretty rare.
Why You Should Sign Up for an Online CRNA Program
An online CRNA qualification can help you get hired as a nurse anesthetist at a top medical institution, and launch a rewarding, well-paid career.
Additionally, an online CRNA program will help you to develop the following skills:
Inhaled anesthesia administration
Intravenous and intramuscular anesthesia administration
Advanced health assessment
Advanced pharmacology and physiology
Leadership and management
Finance and economic management
Frequently Asked Questions
Will an online CRNA program help me get a job?
An accredited online CRNA program from a reputed school is as valuable as any on-campus qualification. With CRNAs currently in high demand, with job prospects predicted to grow in the future, this degree will likely help you get a well-paid job in the field.
Should I enroll in an online CRNA program?
An online CRNA program allows working professionals to gain their degree remotely while continuing to work, or access excellent education at a university on the other side of the country or even the world. This valuable qualification will allow you to build a career as a registered anesthesia nursing professional.
Most people would consider a CRNA degree worth the money, given the high earning potential, high demand, and other benefits of working as a CRNA.
What does CRNA stand for?
CRNA stands for ‘Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist’, a registered nurse with specialized training in anesthesia. Generally, these nurses are responsible for administering anesthesia in surgery and other procedures.
By becoming a CRNA, you can build a rewarding, well-paid career where you could literally save lives. Because the profession requires advanced hands-on training, many online CRNA programs are not fully online and most have a minimum on-campus requirement. Keep this in mind when comparing the best online CRNA programs.
Lisa is a full-time writer specializing in career advice, further education, and personal development. She works from all over the world, and when not writing you'll find her hiking, practicing yoga, or enjoying a glass of Malbec.