CRNA Schools in North Carolina

6 Min Read Published March 7, 2024
CRNA Schools in North Carolina

Looking to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in North Carolina? Read on to learn about all the CRNA schools in North Carolina, as well as their admission requirements, tuition, and more. 

How to Become a CRNA in North Carolina

The North Carolina State Board of Nursing explains that to become a CRNA in North Carolina, registered nurses must complete an accredited master’s level or another graduate CRNA program and pass the national certifying examination. 

Beginning in 2025, all students entering a  CNRA program will need to complete their doctoral degree in order to practice. 

CRNA Schools in North Carolina

There are six accredited CRNA programs in North Carolina. In addition to recognizable schools like Wake Forest and Duke University, North Carolina offers CRNA students a diverse choice of smaller-campus learning with access to large and established medical facilities in the area. 

Many schools in the area also participate in North Carolina’s loan forgiveness program, which allows students committed to working in critical shortage areas in the state access to loan forgiveness. 

1. Duke University

Duke University allows students access to a robust local area of military hospitals and facilities, which provides a unique educational opportunity with clinical sites in both Virginia and North Carolina. Students must complete a peer-reviewed manuscript project as a graduation requirement. 

The full-time 36-month CRNA program is highly selective, admitting less than 30 students out of an average of 125 applicants every year, so applicants are encouraged to apply early.  

2. East Carolina University

  • Location: Greenville, NC
  • Program Cost: $43,349
  • Degree offered: DNP
  • School Type: Public

ECU’s 36-month doctoral program begins each May, so applications close in September of the prior year. Their 2023 graduating class had a 92% first-time NCE pass rate and a 100% six-month post-graduation employment rate. 

ECU only accepts 12-14 students every year, once a year, so students receive a tailored and focused educational experience. There are also no outside travel requirements for clinical experience, and the tuition rate is one of the lowest in the state.   

3. University of North Carolina Charlotte

  • Location: Charlotte, NC
  • Program Cost: $81,012
  • Degree offered: DNP
  • School Type: Public

UNC’s full-time CRNA program is yearly, with interviews for top candidates held twice a year. The doctoral program is campus-based and lasts nine semesters. 

All clinical experiences take place in the Charlotte area and in conjunction with the local Carolinas Medical Center, which includes access to the medical facility’s leading simulator. A minimum of 18 months of adult critical care experience is required to apply. 

4. University of North Carolina Greensboro

  • Location: Greensboro, NC
  • Program Cost: $47,836.89
  • Degree offered: DNP
  • School Type: Public 

This school’s CRNA doctoral program can be completed in 3 years and offers one of the lower tuition rates in the state. It also offers a high graduation and NCE pass rate, along with employment rates post-graduation. 

The program combines on-campus learning, web-based education, and simulation experiences. Clinical sites are located throughout the state of North Carolina, and students are required to rotate through each site (students are not allowed to be placed solely near their homes). In order to apply for the program, prospective students must shadow a CRNA at least twice. 

5. Wake Forest School of Medicine

  • Location: Winston-Salem, NC
  • Program Cost: $152,296
  • Degree offered: DNP
  • School Type: Public 

Wake Forest has the most established CRNA program, with harkenings back to 1942 when its first School of Medicine was founded. An impressive 80-year history means that the entire CRNA program at Wake Forest is highly regarded and has a reputation for excellence in faculty and educational experience. 

Both the case load and clinical hours students receive as part of the program are 25% higher than the minimum requirements of other schools, so students receive robust preparation for clinical practice. 

6. Western Carolina University

WCU offers a low student-faculty ratio as well as small class sizes of 17 students, allowing for a personalized educational experience. The tuition is competitive, and the program also has a 100% pass rate. WCU also encourages faculty to have an open-door policy, and one of the program’s highlights is that students receive clinical training at three different sites in the state that are solely staffed by CRNAs. The application deadline for the yearly doctoral program is October 1st. 

About North Carolina CRNA Schools

Admission Requirements for North Carolina CRNA Programs

Program admission requirements vary by school, but generally, most programs require the following:

  • Minimum of 2 years of critical care experience
  • Minimum (undergraduate cumulative) GPA 3.0
  • Official transcripts from ALL postsecondary schools
  • Official GRE transcripts
  • CRNA or anesthesiologist shadow experience
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of intent
  • Official school application
  • Official CV/resume
  • Current RN license

Read our guide to CRNA school requirements to learn more about what it takes to get into a CRNA program.

How Hard is CRNA School in North Carolina?

CRNA school is challenging, time-consuming, and stressful regardless of which program you attend. Completing a CRNA program requires a higher level of learning and processing than a BSN degree. 

How Long is CRNA School in North Carolina?

CRNA programs in North Carolina range from 36 months (3 years) to nine semesters. These programs offer didactic coursework in both online and in-person formats. However, students complete clinicals and simulations in person. 

Because students must complete classes according to a specific progression, CRNA students follow a strict educational pathway.

What to Expect Working as a Nurse Anesthetist in North Carolina

CRNA Salary in North Carolina

CRNAs earn a national average annual salary of $203,090 or $98.93 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). North Carolina CRNA salaries exceed the national average, making $214,740 annually, or $103.24/hour.

Career Outlook

The BLS predicts a 38% growth in nurse anesthetist jobs over the next decade, faster than other occupations. Currently, there are 2,380 CRNAs employed in North Carolina. From 2022 to 2023, there will be a need for 4,500 more nurse anesthetists nationwide.

Where Can You Work? CRNA Jobs in North Carolina

Facilities with operating rooms, emergency rooms, and intensive care units need CRNAs. Some places nurse anesthetists can work in North Carolina include the following:

  • Medical and surgical hospitals
  • Critical access hospitals
  • Mobile surgery centers
  • Pain clinics
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Offices of plastic surgeons, dentists, ophthalmologists, pain management specialists, and other medical professionals
  • U.S. military medical facilities

Next Steps

Becoming a CRNA, regardless of the state, is a serious commitment. Programs in North Carolina range from 36 months to nine semesters, with few breaks, which can be emotionally and physically stressful.

If you want to become a CRNA, consider speaking to an admissions counselor and shadowing a current CRNA. This will give you first-hand experience of the day-to-day responsibilities.

For more information on what it takes to be a nurse anesthetist, check out these helpful guides:


  • How many CRNA schools are in North Carolina?

    • There are currently six accredited CRNA programs in North Carolina:  Duke University, East Carolina University, University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Western Carolina University
  • How much do CRNA schools in North Carolina cost?

    • CRNA programs range in price from roughly $43,349 to $186,750, depending on the program.
  • How long is CRNA school in North Carolina?

    • CRNA school ranges from 36 months to nine semesters in North Carolina.
  • How many CRNAs are in North Carolina?

    • Currently, there are 2,380 CRNAs employed in North Carolina.
  • How much do CRNAs in North Carolina make?

    • North Carolina CRNA salaries exceed the national average of $203,090, making $214,740 annually, or $103.24/hour.
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