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What are CRNA LEAP Programs?
The CRNA Leap program is a one-year nurse anesthesia certificate study for applicants who got rejected from DNP CRNA programs or don’t meet the exact requirements to apply directly for DNP programs. LEAP stands for Leadership Excel and Achievement Program. Essentially, if you can’t make it to a CRNA program through the normal application path, by participating in the LEAP program and adding another 12 months to your study, you are guaranteed admissions to the CRNA School to reach your dream of becoming a CRNA.
Is the CRNA LEAP School for you?
If you meet one or more criteria below, the CRNA LEAP program might be for you
- You were previously rejected from an accredited CRNA doctoral degree
- Your current skills and qualifications do not meet the program standards. (For example, you are missing course loads, degree certifications or experience.)
- You are a minority, disabled or require special needs.
Requirements for the LEAP Program
In general, the requirements vary slightly school by school, but there are general CRNA Leap requirements which include the following:
- At least 3 recommendation letters
- Written essay which usually requires you to answer why you are applying to the LEAP program. In addition, anything that prevented you from applying to the traditional CRNA path helps.
- Resume with employment history and academic backgrounds.
What Schools have CRNA Leap Programs?
This is generally a new pilot program for the 2022 CRNA School Year. There are five CRNA schools participating in the LEAP Certificate Pathway.
These five nurse anesthetist leap programs in 2022 include:
- Columbia University CRNA Leap Program
- University of Alabama at Birmingham CRNA Leap Program
- Case Western CRNA Leap Program
- University of Arizona
- MUSC CRNA Leap Program
I expect in future years, more CRNA LEAP programs will be offered by nurse anesthetist schools. This is really just the beginning.
What is in the CRNA Leap Curriculums?
As the purpose of the Nurse Anesthetist LEAP program is to prepare you for the DNP CRNA program, LEAP course load will include:
- GRE preparation courses
- Introduction to CRNA courses
- Chemistry and Physics
- Writing workshops
- Mentoring sessions and simulations
How many CRNA LEAP students are there?
As this is a pilot program, it’s still a work in progress. Admissions will see how the students fare and the response is from all the schools. There are 5 CRNA schools and each school is required to enroll at least two students. Therefore, there will be at least 10 students in the CRNA LEAP program who make it to the DNP level program next. This might seem small, but it’s good to note that it’s a minimum number of students, not a fixed amount.
Be aware that if you attend the LEAP program at one specific school, you are required to attend that school for the CRNA program. That means you aren’t allowed to change schools.
Finally, and most importantly, if you attend the CRNA Leap program, you are not guaranteed admissions to a CRNA Program. Think of it as a stepping stone to get your foot in the door.
CRNA LEAP Program Conclusion
As said by the program director of Case CRNA School,
“LEAP is a way for nurses who want to become a nurse anesthetist, have a strong work ethic and passion for nursing, but who may benefit from a focused preparatory program,” she said. “The field of CRNAs is still fairly narrow. Through this initiative, we hope to bring a broader student audience to nurse anesthesia. Awareness and knowledge will drive the profession forward.”
Personally, I believe the CRNA LEAP program is a great way forward to get students interested in becoming a CRNA. It’s perfect for those who fail to meet the narrow traditional application process. I hope more schools continue to embrace this process as I believe there’s little downside. The other disadvantage is for the school to put more resources to develop CRNA talent.
Best CRNA Schools
If you’re applying to CRNA Schools this year or thinking about applying in the future, I highly recommend you check out the Best CRNA Schools. Over 100 real nurse anesthetists from the AANA ranked all the CRNA schools to come up with the rankings of the Best CRNA Schools, the Worst CRNA Schools, the easiest nurse anesthetist schools to get into and the ones that have the lowest tuition. Make sure you don’t make a mistake. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with the consequences for the next 24 to 36 months of your life.
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