National Avg. Salary$160,250 More Salary Data →
Job Growth Rate19.4% More Growth Data →
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Nurse anesthetists work with anesthesiologists to prepare patients for receiving pain-blocking drugs. Prior to surgeries, nurse anesthetists prepare patients for receiving anesthesia, and they monitor patient vital signs during treatment to ensure an appropriate amount of medication has been administered.
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The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in nurse anesthetist roles:
- Discuss medical histories and medications with patients before procedures
- Administer local anesthetics to numb areas where anesthetic needles will be inserted
- Monitor patient vital signs during treatment to ensure no issues exist
- Monitor patients while recovering from anesthetics after procedures to ensure proper recovery
- Perform both scheduled and emergency procedures
A Day in the Life
Nurse anesthetists are nurses who assist anesthesiologists with the administration of anesthesia before surgeries, childbirth, and invasive diagnostic procedures. They may assist anesthesiologists with administration of general anesthesia, or they may work also to administer less dangerous forms of anesthesia—like local anesthesia—to block pain during procedures. When a patient arrives for a procedure, the nurse anesthetist takes a medical history and collects a list of current prescriptions to ensure that the proper amount of medication is administered, and to avoid dangerous drug interactions.
After determining that it is safe to administer anesthetics to a patient, the nurse anesthetist begins preparing the patient for the procedure. He/she cleans the insertion area and administers a local anesthetic to eliminate pain from installation of an IV. The nurse anesthetist then inserts the needle that will be used during the procedure to administer anesthetics. He/she also explains the process to the patient, and helps the patient stay calm and relaxed by understanding exactly what’s going to happen.
During the procedure, nurse anesthetists monitor patient vitals to look for signs of issues. This could include excess sedation or ineffective sedation. They may recommend raising or lowering medication levels depending on the type of issue the patient’s vital signs point to. After the surgery, the nurse anesthetist monitors patient recovery. When the patient wakes up from treatment, the nurse anesthetist explains to the patient how to recover and delivers any prescriptions from the anesthesiologist.
Typical Work Schedule
Nurse anesthetists may be required to work irregular hours. While scheduled procedures may be performed during normal business hours, nurse anesthetists may also need to be on-call and available to handle emergencies in evenings, on weekends, or over holidays.
Projected Job Growth
Demand for nurse anesthetists is expected to grow significantly in the coming decade due to two factors. First, health insurance has become more accessible and affordable, allowing greater access to healthcare. Second, the large, aging Baby Boomer population is expected to increase demand for healthcare workers of all types as they move into their senior years.
- Early Career: Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
- Mid-Career: Registered Nurse (RN)
- Late Career: Nurse Practitioner (NP), Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Nurse Midwife (CNM)
Nurse anesthetists work in many different types of healthcare institutions. They may work in hospitals, physician or dentist offices, outpatient care facilities, or clinics.
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Nurse Anesthetist Salary Data
We've provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Annual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Nurse Anesthetist salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Nurse Anesthetist's can make an average annual salary of $160,250, or $77 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $133,990 or $64 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#15 Nationally for All Careers
Above Average Salary Nationally
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How To Become
The first step to becoming a nurse anesthetist is to earn a bachelor’s degree from a college or university with an accredited nursing program. With a bachelor’s degree, you’ll qualify to sit for the licensing examination that’s required to become a licensed registered nurse (RN). After earning a bachelor’s degree and an RN license, most RNs will work as nurses in critical care facilities—such as intensive care units (ICUs)—for at least one year to gain professional experience before pursuing further education to become a nurse anesthetist.
To find work as a nurse anesthetist, you’ll need to continue your education to earn a master’s degree in nursing. These programs typically last two years. In a master’s degree program, you must make sure to take coursework related to the administration of anesthesiology in order to ensure that the education prepares you for the work you’ll do in your career, as well as for the test you’ll be required to take in order to become certified as a nurse anesthetist.
After graduating from a master’s degree program in nursing, you’ll need to pass another test to become licensed to work as a nurse anesthetist in your state. Each state has its own guidelines for licensing prerequisites and requirements—as well as what tasks a nurse anesthetist is allowed to perform—so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the requirements before pursuing higher education. By passing the exam, you’ll become a certified registered nurse anesthetist and can start practicing in your state.
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Recommended Min. Degree
Programs and Degrees
Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Nurse Anesthetist. a Master's is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.
Highest Education Among Nurse Anesthetist
- 13.6% Doctorate
- 61.5% Masters
- 13.6% Bachelors
- 4% Associates
- 4.9% College
- 2.3% High School
- 0% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs38,200
2024 Est. Jobs45,600
Job Growth Rate19.4%
Est. New Jobs7,400
How does Nurse Anesthetist job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 7,400 jobs for a total of 45,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 19.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#56 Nationally for All Careers
Above Avg. Growth Nationally