Education Requirements

Nurse anesthesia educational programs have admission requirements in addition to the above minimums. View the complete list of programs.

The minimum education and experience required to become a CRNA include:

  • A baccalaureate or graduate degree in nursing or other 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.
  • It takes a minimum of 7-8.5 calendar years of education and experience to prepare a CRNA.
  • In 1990, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published findings indicating a growing need for additional nurse anesthetists. The present day workforce numbers nearly 54,000 CRNAs (including CRNAs and student registered nurse anesthetists).


Before they can become CRNAs, graduates of nurse anesthesia educational programs must pass the National Certification Examination. More than 2,400 student registered nurse anesthetists graduate each year and go on to pass the National Certification Examination to become CRNAs.

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