For nurses currently holding a R.N. and a B.S.N. there are many opportunities to step up the career ladder and advance in the nursing profession. Obtaining a graduate level nursing program to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist or C.R.N.A. is a great way to expand you nursing abilities and to earn additional income. A C.R.N.A. is a specialized advance practice nurse that is qualified to apply anesthesia. These nurses are in high demand and they make a very good income for the specialized work that they do. If you are a nurse looking to move up the career ladder and are considering graduate nursing programs there are a few important steps in obtaining your certification as a C.R.N.A.

Any current nurse considering the step to becoming a C.R.N.A. must be a licensed registered nurse with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree. Gaining these qualifications takes about four to six years depending upon which educational route you take. After gaining these qualifications it is imperative to get as much acute and intensive care experience as possible. If you are a nurse you can request a change to work in the intensive care unit (ICU) to gain this experience. Having the familiarity of working with people who are in critical condition is detrimental to working as an advanced practice nurse performing anesthesia. It provides a firm foundation that ensures that critical nursing skills are learned and thoroughly used.

While gaining acute or intensive care experience you should apply to an accredited Masters in Nursing program. There are many of these programs throughout the country but if you are considering anesthesia work then should narrow your search to schools that provide a specialization in anesthesia. When applying for to a graduate nursing school program it is important to do your best on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). This is a test similar to the SAT but only for individuals seeking admission to graduate schools. When considering that being a C.R.N.A. requires a thorough knowledge of science and math and accuracy it is vital that you excel on these specific subjects to be considered a credible applicant to any nursing graduate school to become a C.R.N.A.

After being accepted into a graduate program for nursing anesthesia it usually takes about two to three years to complete the program. While completing the program it is highly recommended to continue working as a nurse in a hospital if only part time in a critical care unit. This experience will make you more attractive once your advanced degree is finished. Upon completion of the C.R.N.A. program you must take a national certification test given by the National Board on Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Once this test is completed and passed a nurse with the proper graduate degree and certification can then begin working as a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

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