Nurse Anesthetist

National Avg. Salary

$160,250 More Salary Data →

Job Growth Rate

19.4% More Growth Data →

Recommended Degree

Master's Programs & Degrees →


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  • Growing Industry
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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.

Checkmark What is a Nurse Anesthetist?

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

As with nurse practitioners, a nurse anesthetist’s work schedule depends on a few different factors: where they work, how often are they are needed, the patient load, and are they short of staff? Since nurse anesthetists will typically work for private practices, health clinics and doctor’s offices, which are all open during regular business hours, these professionals will normally only have to work between Monday through Friday 8am to 5pm. Having said that, sometimes nurse anesthetists may also need to be on-call and available to handle emergencies in evenings, on weekends, or over holidays.

There are also nurse anesthetists that work in a hospital environment who keep much different hours than nurses that work in private practices and health clinics. These nurses could work anywhere from 8- to 24-hour-long shifts.

With these types of longer shifts, nurses will typically only work 3 to 5 times per week. Those nurse practitioners working 16+ hour days will usually only work twice a week because they will meet the 40-hour weekly limit much quicker than someone working a typical 8-hour day.

Projected Job Growth

Demand for nurse anesthetists is expected to grow significantly over the next 10 years due to two factors. First, as health insurance has become more affordable and accessible, more people have sought out treatment and services from healthcare providers. Second, as the baby boomer population continues to age, there will be an increased demand for healthcare workers of all types to keep these older individuals healthy and to treat the growing number of patients with chronic and acute conditions.

Nurse anesthetists will also be increasingly used in team-based models of care, which means they will be needed in hospitals, offices of physicians, clinics, and other ambulatory care settings to provide preventive and primary care.

Career Progression

  • 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)

Typical Employers

Nurse anesthetists practice in every setting in which anesthesia is delivered. This includes traditional hospital surgical suites and obstetrical delivery rooms as well as critical access hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dentist offices, podiatrists offices, ophthalmologists offices, and plastic surgeons and pain management specialists. They are also often employed via the military at Veterans Affairs and Public Health Service healthcare facilities.

As advanced practice registered nurses, these professionals are given a high degree of autonomy and professional respect as they provide care for every type of operation and procedure from open-heart surgery to pain management programs.

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Clipboard How To Become a Nurse Anesthetist

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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Wallet 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

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National Hourly Wage

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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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Graduation Cap 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.

Chart 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

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Chart Up Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


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

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Employee What Companies Employ The Most Nurse Anesthetists

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Offices of physicians 21,400 4,800 5%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 8,500 600 1%
General medical and surgical hospitals; local 1,800 --- ---

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