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What are the Differences Between a CRNA and an Anesthesiologist?

Nursing Specialty Finder

What are the Differences Between a CRNA and an Anesthesiologist?

Woman in scrubs an hairnet about to receive anesthetics
The key differences between a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and anesthesiologist is that a CRNA is licensed to practice as an advanced-practice nurse and graduates from an accredited nursing school. An anesthesiologist is licensed to practice as a physician and graduates from a medical school.
The key differences between a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) and anesthesiologist is that a CRNA is licensed to practice as an advanced-practice nurse and graduates from an accredited nursing school. An anesthesiologist is licensed to practice as a physician and graduates from a medical school.
2024-02-05T15:51:45.416Z

Education and Training

  • CRNA: CRNAs are postgraduate-prepared nurses with experience in critical care who complete a graduate level nurse anesthetist program (while some schools still offer a masters’ level program, the field is moving towards making the DNP the minimum level of entry by 2025). Nurse anesthetist programs are very competitive, and strong candidates also hold Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) and advanced life support certifications.1, 2
  • Anesthesiologist: Anesthesiologists complete medical school and a residency prior to being able to practice independently. Many employers look for candidates who complete a fellowship after residency and who are board certified in anesthesiology.3

Scope of Practice

  • CRNA: In the U.S., CRNAs can practice independently in 30 states. Of the remaining 20, these states require a practice agreement with an anesthesiologist.4
  • Anesthesiologist: Anesthesiologists are able to practice independently throughout the U.S.

Cost of School

  • CRNA: The average cost of a CRNA graduate program ranges between $30,000-$190,000.5
  • Anesthesiologist: The average cost of medical school is between $250,000 - $340,000.6

Annual salary

  • CRNA: The average annual salary of a Nurse Anesthetist is $175,000.7
  • Anesthesiologist: The average annual salary of an Anesthesiologist is $325,000.8

It's important to note that the specific roles, responsibilities, and legal regulations governing CRNAs and Anesthesiologists may vary between different countries and regions. It's always advisable to consult local healthcare regulations and guidelines for the most accurate and up-to-date information.


References

  1. The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA)
  2. All CRNA Schools
  3. American Board of Physician Specialties.
  4. NCSBN.org
  5. All CRNA Schools
  6. Forbes.com
  7. Payscale.com 
  8. Payscale.com 
Close-up of female nurse setting up an IV drip
High Demand
Everything you need to know about becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), which includes the crucial role of administering anesthesia and providing anesthesia-related care to manage patients pain before, during, and after surgery.

Group of smiling nurses in scrubs holding folders
Group of smiling nurses in scrubs holding folders
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