Best Online CRNA Programs

ASO Staff Writers
by
Updated September 5, 2023
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Many experienced registered nurses (RNs) choose to pursue careers as certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). To become a CRNA, RNs with a bachelor’s degree in nursing first gain 1-3 years of experience in an intensive care unit. These nurses then complete a CRNA program.

Most CRNA programs require a bachelor’s degree in nursing, a license to practice, and a minimum GPA. Many programs also require work experience for at least a year in critical care units. CRNAs are considered advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and need state licensure to practice. They generally work with surgical teams in hospital settings and coordinate patient care. CRNAs also administer anesthesia and medications to patients.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse anesthetists earn a median annual salary of $115,800. The BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 45% between 2019-2029, significantly faster than all other occupations.

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Top CRNA Programs

#1 Best Online CRNA Programs

University of Iowa

  • Location-markerIowa City, IA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,073
  • Out-of-state$30,036
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate83%
  • Students Enrolled31,240
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment50%
  • AccreditationYes
#2 Best Online CRNA Programs

Drexel University

  • Location-markerPhiladelphia, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$52,146
  • Out-of-state$52,146
  • Retention Rate89%
  • Acceptance Rate75%
  • Students Enrolled24,205
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment38%
  • AccreditationYes
#3 Best Online CRNA Programs

University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

  • Location-markerMinneapolis, MN
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,318
  • Out-of-state$31,616
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate57%
  • Students Enrolled51,327
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment30%
  • AccreditationYes
#4 Best Online CRNA Programs

Columbia University in the City of New York

  • Location-markerNew York, NY
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$57,763
  • Out-of-state$57,763
  • Retention Rate99%
  • Acceptance Rate5%
  • Students Enrolled31,456
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment6%
  • AccreditationYes
#5 Best Online CRNA Programs

Duke University

  • Location-markerDurham, NC
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$55,880
  • Out-of-state$55,880
  • Retention Rate98%
  • Acceptance Rate8%
  • Students Enrolled16,686
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment6%
  • AccreditationYes
#6 Best Online CRNA Programs

University of Pennsylvania

  • Location-markerPhiladelphia, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$51,156
  • Out-of-state$51,156
  • Retention Rate98%
  • Acceptance Rate8%
  • Students Enrolled26,675
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment6%
  • AccreditationYes
#7 Best Online CRNA Programs

Wayne State University

  • Location-markerDetroit, MI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$13,024
  • Out-of-state$29,894
  • Retention Rate79%
  • Acceptance Rate73%
  • Students Enrolled26,824
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment34%
  • AccreditationYes
#8 Best Online CRNA Programs

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

  • Location-markerCincinnati, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$9,476
  • Out-of-state$24,810
  • Retention Rate88%
  • Acceptance Rate77%
  • Students Enrolled39,263
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment49%
  • AccreditationYes
#9 Best Online CRNA Programs

University of Southern California

  • Location-markerLos Angeles, CA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$57,256
  • Out-of-state$57,256
  • Retention Rate96%
  • Acceptance Rate11%
  • Students Enrolled48,321
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment17%
  • AccreditationYes
#10 Best Online CRNA Programs

University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus

  • Location-markerPittsburgh, PA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$18,628
  • Out-of-state$32,656
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate57%
  • Students Enrolled32,686
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment4%
  • AccreditationYes
#11 Best Online CRNA Programs

Case Western Reserve University

  • Location-markerCleveland, OH
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$50,450
  • Out-of-state$50,450
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate27%
  • Students Enrolled11,874
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment8%
  • AccreditationYes
#12 Best Online CRNA Programs

Emory University

  • Location-markerAtlanta, GA
  • 4 year
  • Campus
Average Tuition
  • In-State$53,070
  • Out-of-state$53,070
  • Retention Rate95%
  • Acceptance Rate16%
  • Students Enrolled14,415
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment10%
  • AccreditationYes
#13 Best Online CRNA Programs

University at Buffalo

  • Location-markerBuffalo, NY
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$7,070
  • Out-of-state$24,740
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate61%
  • Students Enrolled31,923
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment25%
  • AccreditationYes
#14 Best Online CRNA Programs

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

  • Location-markerNew Brunswick, NJ
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$12,230
  • Out-of-state$29,012
  • Retention Rate93%
  • Acceptance Rate61%
  • Students Enrolled50,173
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment24%
  • AccreditationYes
#15 Best Online CRNA Programs

University of Kansas

  • Location-markerLawrence, KS
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$10,092
  • Out-of-state$26,960
  • Retention Rate86%
  • Acceptance Rate93%
  • Students Enrolled27,552
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment29%
  • AccreditationYes
#16 Best Online CRNA Programs

Barry University

  • Location-markerMiami, FL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$29,700
  • Out-of-state$29,700
  • Retention Rate65%
  • Acceptance Rate51%
  • Students Enrolled7,401
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment16%
  • AccreditationYes
#17 Best Online CRNA Programs

Loma Linda University

  • Location-markerLoma Linda, CA
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$31,680
  • Out-of-state$31,680
  • Retention Rate0%
  • Acceptance Rate0%
  • Students Enrolled4,462
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment27%
  • AccreditationYes
#18 Best Online CRNA Programs

Oakland University

  • Location-markerRochester Hills, MI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$14,520
  • Out-of-state$24,735
  • Retention Rate76%
  • Acceptance Rate83%
  • Students Enrolled19,013
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment26%
  • AccreditationYes
#19 Best Online CRNA Programs

University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Location-markerBirmingham, AL
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$8,568
  • Out-of-state$20,400
  • Retention Rate83%
  • Acceptance Rate74%
  • Students Enrolled22,080
  • Institution TypePublic
  • Percent Online Enrollment59%
  • AccreditationYes
#20 Best Online CRNA Programs

University of Detroit Mercy

  • Location-markerDetroit, MI
  • 4 year
  • Campus + Online
Average Tuition
  • In-State$28,840
  • Out-of-state$28,840
  • Retention Rate82%
  • Acceptance Rate77%
  • Students Enrolled5,080
  • Institution TypePrivate
  • Percent Online Enrollment20%
  • AccreditationYes

FAQs on CRNA Programs

question-mark-circleHow long does it take to become a CRNA?

Most learners need 7-10 years to become a CRNA. This time frame includes the career’s required education track and professional experience.

question-mark-circleWhat does CRNA stand for?

CRNA stands for certified registered nurse anesthetist. CRNAs are generally considered APRNs.

question-mark-circleWhat GPA do you need for CRNA school?

GPA requirements for admission to a CRNA program vary by school. Many programs require at least a 3.0 GPA while others ask for a higher GPA.

question-mark-circleCan you go from nurse practitioner (NP) to CRNA?

Yes. NPs who want to work as CRNAs can choose this path by earning a CRNA degree.

What Are the Goals of a CRNA Degree?

Prospective CRNAs need at least a master of science in nursing. However, many aspiring CRNAs choose to pursue a doctorate. Doctoral programs for CRNAs include doctor of nursing practice (DNP) and doctor of nurse anesthesia practice (DNAP). Courses in these programs often include advanced pharmacology, fundamentals of nurse anesthesia practice, and evidence-based practice.

CRNAs work in various medical settings, including operating rooms, emergency rooms, and pain management units. They can also specialize in a particular area, such as pediatrics, obstetrics, and neurosurgical anesthesia.

Why Get a CRNA Degree?

Earning a CRNA degree offers many personal and professional benefits. See below for some of the top benefits to earning this degree.

  1. 1

    Independence

    CRNAs typically work with high levels of responsibility and autonomy. In rural settings, patients receive their anesthesia only from CRNAs. Patients in larger cities also receive most of their anesthesia care from CRNAs.

  2. 2

    High Earning Potential

    Earning a CRNA degree allows nurses to make more money. According to the BLS, CRNAs earn significantly more than RNs, who earn a median annual salary of $73,300.

  3. 3

    Diverse Range of Specializations

    CRNAs can work in any setting where anesthesia is administered, including hospitals, dental offices, and surgical clinics.

  4. 4

    Professional Advancement

    The education and experience required to become a CRNA helps RNs advance in their careers. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals look to CRNAs for information based on their expertise.

  5. 5

    Ability to Help Others

    CRNAs know how to administer anesthesia and help patients manage pain. They ensure patients feel as comfortable as possible before, during, and after surgery.

What Are the Requirements for a CRNA Degree?

While specific admission requirements vary by school, most CRNA programs require applicants to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Applicants also typically need RN work experience and a state license to practice nursing. Additionally, applicants need experience working in intensive care units.

CRNA programs usually require prospective students to submit transcripts from previous college programs. Many CRNA programs also ask applicants to submit recommendation letters.

CRNA students must often complete a project or dissertation to graduate. Enrollees also typically complete a clinical practicum, which gives them hands-on experience prior to entering the field.

Professional Organizations for CRNA Students

By joining professional organizations, CRNA students can learn more about the field and connect with others in their profession. Membership often includes access to educational resources, networking opportunities, and discounts to conferences. See below for some professional organizations available to CRNAs and CRNA students.

AANA represents thousands of CRNAs nationwide. Members receive access to educational resources, sponsored events, and opportunities to network with other professionals.
This organization promotes diversity in the field by mentoring and encouraging CRNAs through professional development. Members receive access to special events, participate in mock interviews, and receive editing services on research.
ABNS promotes nursing specialty certification. The organization focuses on improving patient outcomes and protection through certification. Membership allows nursing leaders to connect with each other. ABNS also invites members to biannual assemblies and educational events.
ANA provides educational resources for nurses at any level. The association also promotes a high quality of standards in the field and advocates for healthcare issues. ANA helps members stay current on information in the field through access to academic journals. Members also receive access to free webinars and discounts on certification renewal.

Scholarships for CRNA Students

Scholarships help students pay for tuition, fees, and other expenses associated with their education. Many CRNA students apply for scholarships to help fund their degree. Students often apply for multiple scholarships based on their academic interests, work experience, and financial need. The following list includes scholarships available to CRNA students.

plusGood Samaritan Foundation Scholarships

Who Can Apply: The Good Samaritan Foundation sponsors these awards to help alleviate the nation’s nursing shortage. Applicants must be currently working or planning to work in the healthcare field. The Foundation accepts applications three times each year.

Amount: Varies

plusRuth Abernathy Presidential Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate student members of the Society of Health and Physical Educators may apply. Candidates must major in the field of dance, recreation, physical recreation, or health, including nursing and other medical sciences. Applicants need a minimum 3.5 GPA and must provide three recommendation letters, transcripts from previous schools, and a letter from their school’s dean indicating full-time status.

Amount: $1,250-$1,750

plusAISES A.T. Anderson Scholarship

Who Can Apply: Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a STEM degree, including nursing and other medical sciences, may apply. Applicants need a 3.0 GPA or higher and must submit recommendation letters and three essays. The scholarship application includes possible essay prompts.

Amount: $1,000-$2,000

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