Everything You Need to Know About CRNA Programs

Many colleges and universities contain nursing programs, but it is a bit harder to find Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, or CRNA, programs. In some ways, this makes finding the correct program for you an easier task as there are fewer options to sift through. However, it also limits choices. Still, it is important to learn a bit more about these programs as a whole before even beginning to choose between them.

Accredited Schools

In order to have an accredited CRNA program, a school must get approved by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs , or COA. This helps ensure that every CRNA student is learning what they must in order to perform their job correctly. Unfortunately, not many schools in the Unitsed States have accredited programs. The COA has awarded accreditation to 112 programs in the United States as of October 2011, and some states have no accredited programs at all.

Requirements

In order to become a CRNA, completion of a registered nursing program, such as a Bachelor's degree in nursing, must be completed. After becoming a registered nurse, at least one year of experience is required before entering CRNA programs. A CRNA program will prepare prospective CRNA for their future work, and upon completion of the CRNA program, students are expected to pass a certification exam in order to be qualified CRNAs. This entire process takes a prospective CRNA at least seven years to complete.

Recertification

Certifying once is not enough for CRNAs to continue their work for life. As specialty nurses, CRNAs are expected to always know the latest information in their field. As the first specialty nurses to even require a special certification and continued education beyond the standard nursing degree, CRNAs want to always be up to date. CRNAs are required to be recertified every two years. To do this, they must take at least 40 continuing education credits and meet practicing requirements set by the COA.

CRNAs in the Workforce

With more than 44,000 CRNAs practicing today, it seems to be a rewarding job to those who love it enough to stick to it through the long education. Every year, more than 2,000 new CRNAs pass the certification exam and join those current CRNAs in the workforce. In keeping with the trend of other nursing jobs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has found that the need for CRNAs is growing, which is good news for anyone who wishes to go into the field. With the employment rate of CRNAs growing faster than most other jobs, prospective CRNAs should not have much trouble finding a job upon completion of CRNA programs.

CRNA programs are not very widespread at the moment, but the job opportunities are everywhere. Prospective CRNAs should look forward to extensive schooling and be prepared to continue their education until retirement, but they can also look forward to a very positive employment rate in the future. Becoming a CRNA is no doubt rewarding, but finding the correct CRNA program is also important to assure you are being prepared for your future employment.