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Best Online 24-Month CRNA Programs For 2023
Written By: Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Are you a registered nurse who wants to have more independence while caring for patients? Does the idea of working in an operating room, emergency department, or surgical facility interest you? Maybe you already work in one of these settings but want to step your career up a notch or so. If so, becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) could be an excellent job for you. With one of the many online 2-year CRNA programs that are available today, you could be well on your way to becoming a CRNA.
In this article, I will tell you about the best online 24-Month CRNA programs for 2023 and give you some tips about the admission process, coursework, and some tips for success. For more information about Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists and to find out how to begin your journey to certification, keep reading.
RECOMMENDED ONLINE NURSE PRACTITIONER PROGRAMS
What Exactly Is the Purpose of a 24-Month CRNA Program?
The purpose of online 24-Month CRNA programs is to educate and prepare registered nurses to become advanced practice registered nurses who provide quality patient care related to anesthesia needs while performing in the role of a CRNA. Schools that offer the option of enrolling in a CRNA program that can be completed in as little as twenty-four months, make it possible to increase the number of qualified nurses who can administer anesthesia in the work field.
4 Advantages Of 24-Month CRNA Programs
Evaluating the pros and cons associated with enrolling in any college program is helpful when deciding which school or program to choose. The following is a list of some advantages of pursuing one of the online 24-Month CRNA programs we share in this article.
1. Many choices of work environment:
A CRNA can work in any facility or practice setting where anesthesia is administered to patients. With the option of hospital operating rooms, inpatient or outpatient surgical centers, surgery clinics, and emergency clinics, you should feel confident that you will be able to find a setting that is perfect for you.
2. Gain more independence in less time:
CRNAs are typically afforded the benefit of more autonomy at work. In some areas, such as smaller or more rural communities, the majority of anesthesia care is performed by CRNAs. However, even in larger cities, acute care facilities often employ CRNAs to carry out much of the anesthesia-related care.
3. Significant Salary Increases:
While advanced practice registered nurses earn an average annual salary of about $112,000, CRNAs earn as much as $180,000 and $187,000 yearly, respectively. Some factors, as we will discuss later in the article, may boost income even higher.
4. Respect of Professional Peers:
Earning a CRNA degree is no small feat. Anyone who works in, or is familiar with, healthcare roles knows that anyone who achieves one of these degrees has put a great deal of effort into the accomplishment. As a CRNA, you will work with medical professionals who will rely on and respect the expertise you will offer in some of the most critical situations.
How Much Do Online 24-Month CRNA Programs Cost?
Online 24-Month CRNA programs range in cost from $29,000 to over $182,000. As you research different programs, be sure to ask about fees you may incur in addition to tuition. For instance, some schools require students to pay for technology fees, criminal background checks, and drug testing. Also, before participating in clinical practicum, students are typically required to have malpractice insurance. Knowing what to expect beforehand will help you plan ahead.
offers a post-master's DNAP program, which includes 33 credit hours. In-state tuition and fees average $29,161 for the program, and out-of-state students pay $44,974.
students, both resident, and non-resident pay approximately $72,465 in total program costs for the post-master's DNAP program.
has two DNAP options available to students, as well. The BSN-DNAP program consists of fifty-seven credit hours, and the MSN-DNAP program requires the completion of twenty-three credit hours. Tuition rates are the same whether a student is a state resident or non-resident. The tuition rate is $1135 per credit hour and an additional program support fee of $84 per credit hour, totaling $1220 per credit hour. The BSN-DNAP program costs approximately $69,500, and the MSN-DNAP program cost averages just over $28,000.
students invest $103,563 to obtain a DNP with Anesthesia Specialization.
Coursework For 2-Year CRNA Programs
Coursework for online 24-month CRNA programs is tailored to meet the educational needs of graduate students. Students must take courses that include Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Health Assessment, Advanced Pharmacological Therapies, Patient Safety for Nurse Anesthetists, and Perspectives on Anesthesia.
• Yale-New Haven Hospital
offers a Post-Master's DNAP program from Central Connecticut State University. The program can be completed in as little as twenty-one months and includes the following courses.
• Human Factors and Patient Safety for Nurse Anesthetists
• Evidence-based Practice and Biostatistics
• Advanced Topics in Pharmacology
• Advanced Physical Health Assessment and Monitoring for Nurse Anesthetists
Students enrolled in the MSNA to DNAP program offered at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
must complete 48 quarter hours of coursework, including the following classes.
• Scholarly Writing
• Quality and Safety-Outcomes Management
• Translational Research I and II
• Organizational Theory/Leadership and Management in Healthcare
The Post-Master's DNP in Nurse Anesthesia program at Union University
consists of thirty-eight credit hours of coursework, which includes:
• Anesthesia Pharmacology I and II
• Perspectives of Anesthesia (courses include obstetrical anesthesia, pediatric anesthesia, cardiovascular/pulmonary anesthesia, and neurosurgical anesthesia)
• Transitions to DNP Practice
• Advanced Principles in Anesthesia
Clinical Training For 2-Year CRNA Programs
State boards of nursing determine the minimum requirements for clinical practicum in nursing programs. Schools that offer programs, such as online 2-year CRNA programs, may have guidelines above the state's minimum standard. Typically, CRNA students must complete at least two thousand clinical hours in various anesthesia-related settings and participate in providing anesthesia care to clients of different ages. Your program director or clinical advisor can provide you with specific information about the requirements you must meet to be eligible for graduation. The following are a few examples of clinical requirements for some of the programs mentioned in this article.
is one of the best 24-month CRNA programs online we have found. Students in this program experience clinical training that includes participation in approximately eight hundred cases and over 2,500 clinical practicum hours. The clinical program is designed to ensure all students get to experience various patient cases with broad exposure to anesthetic practice. Students participate in cases including obstetrics, geriatrics, neurological, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, urology, radiology, orthopedics, and transplant procedures.
offers a BSN-DNP with Nurse Anesthesia program. After completing the required coursework, students must also complete an 18-month clinical practicum during which they will actively participate in cases at various clinical sites. Students will learn to administer local, regional, and general anesthesia. The college also offers an MS-DNP with Nurse Anesthesia specialization program designed to provide advanced standing for master's prepared CRNAs. The MS-DNP program can be completed in twenty-four months of online coursework and credit received for clinical work experience.
students enrolled in the post-master's DNAP program must participate in a minimum of six hundred clinical hours. The clinical requirement is typically met through the student’s current employment. Students are required to demonstrate completion of the clinical practicum requirements through the development of a professional portfolio, which should include written case studies of clinical experiences with a significant relation to nursing anesthesia practice.
Many of the best online 2-year CRNA programs offer limited admission that is very competitive.
• Possess a BSN degree awarded by an accredited nursing program
• Three letters of recommendation. One letter from each of the following: current clinical supervisor, preferred recommendation attesting to the applicant’s academic work, and one from an individual who can assess the applicant’s level of expertise and clinical performance in an acute care setting
• A minimum of 40 hours shadowing an anesthesia provider (preferably a CRNA)
• GRE scores (taken within five years of the application date) with a combined score of 297 (153 on the verbal test content and 144 on quantitative content)
• Completion of undergraduate courses in biostatistics or statistics (preferably including inferential), chemistry, and health assessment (3 semester hours each)
• A minimum of 2,080 hours of experience within two years of applying to the program in either coronary care or intensive care unit
• Bachelor of Science degree in nursing or a related field from an accredited university, such as the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
• Cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in all nursing and nursing-related undergraduate coursework
• Certification or recertification as a CRNA
• Completion of a graduate-level research course
• Submission of two essays: One should focus on the applicant’s professional goals. The second should address the applicant’s proposed doctoral scholarly project.
• Evidence of a master’s degree from a nationally accredited nurse anesthesia program
4 Tips to Help You Succeed in 2-Year CRNA Programs
Completing a nurse anesthesia program takes dedication. The coursework and clinical requirements are rigorous. If you are considering enrolling in one of the best online 24-month CRNA programs, consider these four tips to help you succeed.
1. Time management:
One of the most vital keys to success for students in online 24-Month CRNA programs is to learn the art of time management. This program will demand your attention and focus. It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, especially in the first few semesters. Before beginning the program, take the time to consider what your personal and professional responsibilities are currently and try to create a schedule that includes those obligations but also leaves plenty of time for study. Once you have made a schedule, stick with it.
Seek out people who have completed this program. Ask them what to expect during the different phases of the program. There is a wealth of information that you can gather from people who have been through the program before you. Ask about test-taking strategies, study aids, and reference sheets. Every little bit of information you can gather can help your chances of success increase.
3. Ask for help if you need it.
One of the biggest downfalls of students in graduate programs is their self-imposed belief that they have to know everything and should be able to handle difficult situations on their own. If you find that you have come to a place in the program where you need help, reach out to your instructors or student support group. Also, being enrolled in an online 2-year CRNA program does not mean that life stops. If you experience personal or family difficulties that require your attention, speak to your academic advisor. Even the instructors that students feel are the harshest, in reality, want you to succeed. You may need to take some time off or ask for extensions on assignments or exams. The only way they will know you need help is if you ask.
4. Learn the art of self-care.
Nothing says "stress" like being enrolled in a nurse anesthesia program. If you are not taking care of yourself, you will eventually lose focus and not be able to concentrate on your studies. If you do not take time to take care of yourself, how can you expect to provide exceptional care to patients that graduates of this program are expected to give? Take the time to go for a walk, get a pedicure, soak in a hot bath, or have lunch with a friend. The little things can significantly impact your emotional and mental well-being and can set you up for success in this program.
FOLLOWING ARE THE 12 BEST ONLINE 24-MONTH CRNA PROGRAMS IN THE NATION FOR 2023
(These 2-Year CRNA Programs are for individuals who are interested in becoming a CRNA in 24 months or lesser.)
1 to 3 Years
MS to DNAP
MSNA to DNAP
Post-Master's DNP Nurse Anesthesia
DNP with a Specialization in Anesthesiology
MSNA to DNAP
MSNA to DNAP
View Ranking Methodology
What Kind of Career Opportunities Exist for Graduates of This Program?
After graduation from one of the best online 24-month CRNA programs, job opportunities can be found in a variety of settings. Anywhere that anesthesia care is needed is a potential place of employment. The following is a list of potential employers for graduates of this program.
• Critical care hospitals
• Surgical hospitals
• Medical hospitals
• Outpatient surgery centers
• Inpatient surgery centers
• Nursing research facilities
• Mobile surgery centers
• Dental offices
• Pain management clinics
• Plastic surgery clinics
• Military medical facilities
Earning Potential Post Completion of This Program
The generous salary opportunities available for CRNAs make online 24-Month CRNA programs an attractive option for would-be students. As you can see in the chart below, the average salary reported varies among reporting agencies ranging from $153,000 to $181,000. Using the data in the chart suggests the average annual wage for graduates of this program is $168,506. Practice location, previous experience, continued work experience, and work schedules are a few factors that may influence salary, as well.
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Job Market for Graduates of This Program
The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists reports that CRNA jobs are in demand in many practice settings throughout the United States. With estimated job growth of thirty-one percent from 2019 to 2029, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for graduates of the best 24-month CRNA programs online seems to be more than stable but quite promising.
An Important Note About the Future of Anesthesia Nursing
In our continuing effort to make sure our readers are well-informed before making educational decisions, we want to make sure to mention that although many schools offer CRNA programs, the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
(AANA) has revised requirements for CRNA programs to be accredited. The revisions state that all CRNA programs must begin changing their curriculum from a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia (MSNA) degree to a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP). The deadline for revisions is the beginning of the 2025 academic year. Nurse anesthetists who obtain a master’s degree CRNA before 2025 will be grandfathered into the system and will not be required to return to school for a DNAP. However, as you are deciding on a program, keep in mind that your start date and estimated date of completion may determine which program is best for you to enroll in.
Choosing to become a CRNA is a major decision that can open doors of opportunity for you. The benefits of increased income and being given a chance to work more independently on the job can provide you with a great sense of accomplishment. After reading this article, if you believe it is time to take the next step in your career and become a CRNA, reach out to one of the best online 24-Month CRNA programs for 2023 mentioned here. There is no time like the present to move your career in a new direction with more extensive opportunities!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR EXPERT
1. Is it better to enroll in a 24-month MSN-CRNA or DNAP program?
Both MSN-CRNA and DNAP programs provide the opportunity for registered nurses to make significant advances in their careers. However, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners has developed new guidelines that all CRNA programs begin making changes in their curriculum. The guidelines state that all CRNA programs must change from a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia to a Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice. According to the AANA’s website, these changes must be completed no later than the beginning of the academic year 2025. Nurse anesthetists who obtain a CRNA degree before 2025 will be grandfathered into the new program and will not be required to get a DNAP to continue practicing.
2. After completing a 24-month CRNA program, will I have to take a certification exam?
All graduates of CRNA programs must successfully complete the National Certification Examination (NCE), which is administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).
3. What’s the difference between a MSN-CRNA and a DNAP?
MSN-CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses who have achieved a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a specialization in anesthesia. DNAPs are advanced practice registered nurses who have earned the highest nursing practice, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, with an anesthesia concentration. While both MSN-CRNAs and DNAPs administer anesthesia to patients who require surgery or other medical procedures, DNAPs have a broader scope of practice. DNAPs possess a professional practice degree with a nurse anesthesia specialization. While they work in clinical settings, a DNAP's practice also includes a focus on using research findings in evidence-based clinical practice, education, and administrative or business management related to nursing anesthesia.
Darby Faubion BSN, RN
Darby Faubion is a nurse and Allied Health educator with over twenty years' experience. She has assisted in developing curriculum for nursing programs and has instructed students at both community college and university levels.