The first step towards thinking about CRNA school is understanding the CRNA school requirements. In general, there are four bare minimum CRNA program requirements: Degree, GPA, ICU experience and RN License.
CRNA Education Requirements
In terms of CRNA education requirements, all CRNA programs will require a minimum education of a Bachelors degree in a Science related field. For example, this could be Bachelors degree in Biology, Chemistry or Physics can be considered. However, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is always preferred and many CRNA schools will only accept a BSN.
You need to check to make sure that there are no CRNA education requirements in terms of the university you attended. For example, some nurse anesthetist schools will only accept students from CCNE or NLNAC (National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission) accredited schools.
The second of the nurse anesthetist education requirements is GPA. All CRNA programs require a minimum GPA of 2.75. This GPA requirement includes cumulative GPA in addition to GPA of science related courses. In general, the average GPA of students attending CRNA School is approximately a 3.5 GPA. Those admitted to top CRNA programs will generally have a GPA of 3.70 or higher.
For schools with lower nurse anesthetist education requirements, check out Easiest CRNA Schools to Get Into where we list out schools with higher acceptance rates.
ICU Experience is considered one of the standard CRNA program requirements. The more ICU work experience you have, the better prepared you will be for CRNA School. The minimum work experience is 1 year of critical care coverage. Most CRNA students are in their early thirties age with 3-4 years of work experience. So, you will be competing with other people applying to the school who have multiple years of experience in ICU. In general, CRNA admissions are looking for more critical care experience and experience at larger hospitals where you have more cases, exposure and critical thinking opportunities. In general, larger hospitals provide more exposure in the following areas
- Comparable in intensity / stress of ICU environment
- Use of ventilator and other hospital equipment
- ECG monitoring
- Invasive monitoring which may include arterial blood pressure, CVP, pulmonary artery catherization, ABG analysis, ICP and IAP, etc
- Experience with critical care pharmacology
- Vasoactive infusions
Best ICU Experience
It is important to note that ICU orientation is not considered as part of the minimum 1 year CRNA School requirement. However, there are exceptions to the list as found in CRNA schools without ICU experience. The more experience you have in the ICU environment, the better prepared you will be for the nurse anesthetist program. For CRNA admissions, they generally consider these ICU experience from these departments as the best for fulfilling CRNA School requirements:
- Cardiothoracic ICU – caring for postoperative cardiac and thoracic surgery patients
- Coronary Care Unit (CCU) or Cardiac ICU – caring for patients with heart attacks
- Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) – caring for patients with wide range of medical conditions, such as lung problems, gastrointestinal problems, and blood infections
- Neuro ICU – Caring for patients with life threatening neurological problems.
- Surgical ICU (SICU) – caring for patients who recently had or potentially need surgery
- TICU – Trauma ICU
In this section, we list out CRNA Program Requirements Without ICU Experience in the United States. Please click on the CRNA School name for more detailed information on the selected CRNA program.
Other Nurse Anesthetist School Requirements
Lastly, the minimum education requirements for nurse anesthetist is that you must hold a current and active registered nursing license. You can check the status of your nursing license through your current home State Board of Nursing.
If you are an international student applying from overseas, most CRNA schools will require you to take the TOEFL as well.
Although not mandatory, about one third of all CRNA schools now require CRNA shadow experience. Even if the school doesn’t require shadow experience, we recommend you shadow a CRNA for at least one full day. This will give you a leg up against other applicants because it shows that you’re serious about having a career in the field of nurse anesthesia and at the same time you’ll really understand what being a CRNA is all about.
Top CRNA Schools
We spent hundreds of hours studying all CRNA schools and interviewing over 125 nurse anesthetists to create our exclusive list of Best CRNA Schools. So now you know the CRNA School requirements, your next research is to compare the Best CRNA programs with the Nurse Anesthetist School Requirements in order to see which CRNA schools are the best fit and which programs you should apply to.
Map of CRNA Schools by State
As you think about CRNA program requirements, we provide all the CRNA Schools by State in the map for your reference below.
The darker the blue color equivocates to more CRNA Schools in the State.
Tier 1 = 6 or more CRNA Schools
2nd Tier = 3 to 5 CRNA Schools
Tier 3 = 1 or 2 CRNA Schools
White means no CRNA schools in the State.
Data source: everythingCRNA
Conclusion on Nurse Anesthetist School Requirements
In conclusion, it is important that you take into account the CRNA Program requirements to make sure you qualify for admission. The minimum CRNA School requirements are a GPA above 2.75, 1 year of critical care experience and an active nursing license. These are the minimum requirements. Most CRNA Schools, especially the top CRNA schools, will have more additional criteria.
Are you currently a SRNA or CRNA professional? Please be kind and list out your stats that got you into your CRNA program. Everyone in the community appreciates the knowledge sharing.