November 22, 2022

Top RN to CRNA Programs

If you are a registered nurse who is independent, dedicated to quality patient care and interested in advancing your career and earning significantly more income, then becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) may be the right choice for you.

The CRNA degree provides the education and experience needed to prepare and administer anesthesia to patients, as well as to monitor and inform physicians of patient conditions while under anesthesia. Degrees provide both pre-and post-anesthesia care and documentation.

Why Become a CRNA?

1. Generous compensation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), CRNAs earn a median salary of $195,690 annually or $94.04 per hour, which is double the national median salary for registered nurses.

2. Autonomy and responsibility

CRNAs are able to work with a high degree of independence. Many rural communities receive all of their anesthesia care from CRNAs, and even in major metropolitan acute care settings, they assume responsibility for much of patient anesthesia care. 

3. Wide range of practice environments

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists can work in any practice setting where anesthesia is delivered.

4. High level of job satisfaction

CRNAs have a high level of job satisfaction, which is attributed to their many opportunities for advancement, the relatively low stress of the job, and their ability to provide one-on-one patient care.

Top RN to CRNA Programs 

1. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Virginia Commonwealth University accepts baccalaureate-prepared nurses who wish to become CRNA. The program offers students a hybrid schedule format, with on and off-campus learning methods. The third and fourth semesters are a traditional format and students are strongly encouraged not to work during that time.

  • Admissions: Applications are due no later than March 1st. There is only one cohort per year, starting in January.

  • Program Length: 9 semesters full-time

  • Track Offered: Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP)

  • Location: Hybrid for the first two semesters, on campus for the remainder of the program

  • Program Cost: 

    • In-state: $78,408 (total cost)

    • Out-of-state: $131,526 (total cost)

  • Accreditation: 

  •  Contact Info: 

    • Phone: (804)828-9808

    • Email:

2. Duke University, Durham, NC

Duke University, accepts BSN-trained nurses and prepares them with skills in anesthetics administration in various types of clinical settings. Graduates from this program have an overall CRNA National Certification Examination pass rate of 100 percent!

  • Admissions:  Applications are due on September 1st for a start date the following fall.

  • Program Length: 36-month, 83-credit program

  • Track Offered: Doctor of Nursing Practice Nurse Anesthesia (NA-DNP)

  • Location: Hybrid program (on-campus and online; nurse anesthesia courses are primarily on-campus; DNP courses are primarily online)

  • Program Cost: $29,760 (per semester)

  • Accreditation: COA of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

  •  Contact Info: 

3. Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

Graduates of Baylor College of Medicine’s program in anesthesia nursing can become independent Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists

  • Admissions: Application due date Aug 1st

  • Program Length: 36 months full-time 

  • Track Offered: US Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing  (USAGPAN)

  • Location: On Campus

  • Program Cost: $98,686 (total)

  • Accreditation: COA of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

  •  Contact Info: 

4. Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia - California State University, Fullerton

In conjunction with Cal State Fullerton, Kaiser Permanente’s three-year CRNA program prepares students with the skills and knowledge to ensure success as a graduate CRNA.

  • Admissions: Application deadline is August 1st

  • Program Length: Three years full-time

  • Track Offered: DNP 

  • Location: On-campus, all nurse anesthesia concentration courses are held at Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena, California

  • Program Cost: $8,270.25 per semester

  • Accreditation: 

    • COA of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

  •  Contact Info: 

    • Phone: (626) 564-3016


5. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

The University of Pittsburg’s DNP program aims to prepare students through coursework that develops knowledge and anesthesia skills, as well as leadership and organizational skills.  The university offers a BSN to CRNA program and an MSN to DNP program for CRNAs who hold a master’s degree.

  • Admissions: Applications due May 1st, classes begin in January

  • Program Length: 

    • BSN to DNP: 36 months (full-time)

  • Track Offered: About 30 months (part-time)

    • BSN to DNP

    • MSN to DNP

  • Location:

    • On-site for BSN to DNP program

    • Online for MSN to DNP program

  • Program Cost:

    • BSN to DNP in-state: $24,266 (per year)

    • BSN to DNP out-of-state: $34,950 (per year)

    • Online:  $1,036 per credit

  • Accreditation: COA of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

  •  Contact Info: 

    • Phone: 1-888-747-0794

    • Email: 

6. Rush University, Chicago, IL

According to the university’s website, 100% of Rush University’s CRNA graduates earn employment within 6 months of graduation. In addition, the program's overall 2021 certification examination pass rate was 100%.

  • Admissions: Application deadline May 1st, program starts September

  • Program Length: 36 months (full-time)

  • Track Offered:  DNP

  • Location: On-site

  • Program Cost: $1,286 per credit

  • Accreditation: COA of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

  •  Contact Info: 

    • Phone: (312) 942-7100

    • Email:

7. Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Georgetown attracts and admits qualified BSN-trained students from various institutions throughout the country. 

  • Admissions: Applications are due by Oct 15th for a start date the next summer

  • Program Length: 3 years full-time (64 credits)

  • Track Offered: DNP

  • Location: on-site

  • Program Cost: $153,600 (total cost)

  • Accreditation:  COA of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

  • Contact Info: 

    • Phone: (202) 687-3912

    • Email:

8. University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX

Cizik School of Nursing at the University of Texas Health Science Center is the first and only public university in the State of Texas to offer the BSN-DNP in Nurse Anesthesia.

  • Admissions: 

    • Application for Summer 2023: dueJanuary 15, 2023

    • Application for Fall 2023: due March 15,2023

  • Program Length: Three years, full-time

  • Track Offered: DNP

  • Location: on-campus

  • Program Cost: $50,079

  • Accreditation: COA of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

  •  Contact Info: 

    • Phone: 713-500-2025

    • Email:

9. University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Graduates of the University of Iowa’s  DNP-CRNA  program are prepared to practice as nurse anesthetists and become leaders within the profession. According to the university’s website, since Iowa and other rural environments have a shortage of anesthesia practitioners, students participate in mandatory clinical rotations in rural and critical access hospitals. 

  • Admissions: Applications due June 1st, for a start date the following summer

  • Program Length: 36 months full-time

  • Track Offered: DNP

  • Location: on-campus

  • Program Cost: $159,206 (total cost)

  • Accreditation: COA of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

  •  Contact Info: 

10. University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD

During the second and third years of the University of Maryland’s CRNA program, students have the opportunity to attend clinical rotations in several renowned hospitals throughout the region. The majority of the didactic instruction takes place during the first year of the program.

  • Admissions: classes start in June

  • Program Length: Three years

  • Track Offered: DNP

  • Location: on-campus, some classes are web-based

  • Program Cost: 

    • In State: $856.00/credit

    • Out of State: $1,519.00/credit

  • Accreditation: COA of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

  •  Contact Info: 

    • Phone: 410-706-6109

    • Email:

About RN to CRNA Programs 

Acceptance to a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist program requires that students have a minimum of a BSN from a school accredited by the:

All CRNA programs must be accredited by  Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA).

As of August 2022, there were 130 accredited nurse anesthesia programs in the United States and Puerto Rico.

RN to CRNA Classes 

CRNA programs vary between universities. However, programs typically include coursework in the following topics:

  • Epidemiology

  • Health system management

  • Evidence-based practice

  • Biomedical statistics

  • Organizational leadership in nursing 

  • Advanced pharmacology

  • Advanced physiology

  • Advanced pathophysiology

  • Advanced health assessment

  • Advanced health assessment for advanced practice nursing across the lifespan

  • Healthcare economics and policy

  • Neuroscience coursework

  • Chemistry & physics in anesthesia 

  • Anesthesia pharmacology

According to the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (AANA), graduates of nurse anesthesia programs earn an average of 2,604 hours of clinical work during their CRNA program.

Is the CRNA Degree Right for Me?

A CRNA degree promises you the ability to advance your career, provide one-on-one patient care, and experience one of the highest degrees of job satisfaction of any nursing career. With a CRNA degree, you’ll enjoy 

  • A high degree of autonomy

  • New challenges

  • Increased responsibility

  • The professional respect of your colleagues

  • A much higher salary

CRNA-degreed nurses have nearly unlimited career opportunities, as they are in demand everywhere that anesthesia is administered. Nurse anesthetists are the primary providers of anesthesia in America’s rural areas, as well as in the military.

CRNAs  are known for their leadership, dependability, competence, collaboration, and their adherence to the principles of scientific research in order to advance patient outcomes. Being situationally aware and engaged is a hallmark of their profession. 

If these characteristics describe you and you are interested in significantly increasing your earnings capacity, then a CRNA degree may be right for you.


Bureau of Labor Statistics

AANA Journal

Becker’s Hospital Review

Anesthesia Journal

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists

U.S. News and World Report

Occupational Information Network

Johns Hopkins Medicine

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs

Lumina Foundation


Federal Student Aid