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How Do I Become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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To become a certified registered nurse anesthetist, you will first need to complete a bachelor of science degree, typically in nursing or in one of the sciences. You will also need to become licensed as a registered nurse and practice as a nurse for at least one year. After you gain some work experience, you can enter a graduate degree program that will provide you with the academic preparation needed to become a nurse anesthetist. The final step in the certification process is taking and passing the National Certification Examination, which is developed and administered by the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

The certified registered nurse anesthetist designation is a professional credential for qualified nurse anesthetists in the United States. A nurse anesthetist is a registered nurse who has received graduate-level training in administering and monitoring anesthesia to patients. It should be noted that while the process to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist is established by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), the decision to actually allow you to practice as a nurse anesthetist rests with your state's nursing board. You will still need to meet any additional requirements established by your state in addition to the steps necessary to become professionally certified.

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Before you can become a certified registered nurse anesthetist, you must complete all the requirements to become a licensed registered nurse in your jurisdiction and work for a year in an acute care setting. This typically involves completing a nursing training program and passing a professional exam. You will also need to earn a bachelor's degree before you can be admitted to graduate school to complete your nurse anesthetist training. If you did not earn a bachelor's degree in nursing as part of your preparation to become a registered nurse, you will need to go back to school.

After you complete your graduate degree program, you may be eligible to take the certification examination to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. This exam is proctored by a third-party testing company, and you will need to make arrangements with that company to sit for the exam in your area. You are also responsible for providing the NBCRNA with any necessary information needed to inform your state nursing board when you pass the exam. Once you do pass the examination, you will need to work with your nursing board to ensure that you receive the proper licensure to practice as a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

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