Nurse Anesthesia is one of the highest paying healthcare careers and has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as #3 in its Best Jobs in Healthcare ranking and #10 overall jobs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, reported the median annual income for nurse anesthetists was $104,740, with the lowest 10% earning $71,530 and the upper 10% earning $171,560. The Nurse Anesthesia profession is projected to grow at a rapid 31% between 2014-2024.
Best Medical Degrees has listed this profession in our 50 Top Paying Healthcare Careers and with this current list has explored nurse anesthesia programs, including BSN to DNP, MSN to DNP and DNP programs. In 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) endorse that the colleges affiliated with the AACN develop DNP programs as the terminal degree in nursing. The list below considers tuition costs (not additional fees), curriculum, accreditation and ranking by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review or Forbes Magazine.
Nurse Anesthesia programs are highly competitive, not to mention costly; and, most colleges admit only 20-25 students per academic year because of the highly intensive didactic and clinical training. As you determine your school of choice, be certain the program meets your state licensure requirements.
Federal Financial Aid
Federal Financial Aid is limited for graduate and professional degrees, but you may want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. to determine if you might qualify for student loans. Schools, and other funding opportunities, often require the filing of a FASA is also needed for any scholarship consideration. Prospective students may also want to check requirements for scholarships and grants provided by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation for Nurse Anesthesia students.
Nurses currently working in healthcare may also want to determine if your employer offers tuition reimbursement programs as part of employees benefits packages. Check with your supervisor or Human Resources Department to see if your employer offers such an option and how to apply for the benefit.
Veterans, Active Military, Spouses and Dependents
Increasingly, colleges and universities offer discounted tuition costs to active duty military, spouses and dependents. Many schools also provide price breaks for retired veterans. Be sure to check with your schools of choice to determine if they offer discounts and if you qualify based on your service.
The list below considers tuition costs (not additional fees), curriculum, accreditation, program length and ranking by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review or Forbes Magazine.
1. Florida Gulf Coast University
This Fort Myers, Florida public university was founded in 1991 and ranks #82 in U.S. News and World Report’s Regional Universities South national ranking; and, it’s Master of Science in Nursing anesthesia program ranks #51 in the Best Nursing Anesthesia Program category. This MSN with an anesthesia concentration is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) and presents coursework in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, chemistry and physics in anesthesia, pharmacology and clinical practice.
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) has a student enrollment of over 14,000 students and is comprised of five colleges in arts and sciences, education, health professions and social work, business and engineering. FGCU holds accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The program is 28 months long and requires full time enrollment.
Program Length: 81 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $30,213 (Resident); $105,381 (Non Resident)
2. East Carolina University College of Nursing
Rated #28 in U.S. News and World Report’s survey of Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs, East Carolina University provides a Master of Science in Nursing with an anesthesia concentration through its College of Nursing. The Pirate Anesthesia Nurse Anesthesia Program holds accreditation by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and prepares students to become Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Coursework involves studies in advanced pharmacology, chemistry and physics of anesthesia, gross anatomy, advanced principles in nurse anesthesia and clinical practicum experiences.
Located in Greenville, North Carolina, East Carolina University was established in 1907 and has a current enrollment of nearly 29,000 students. The College of Nursing has been educating nurses since 1957 and the Pirate Anesthesia Program (presumably named for the university’s mascot, PeeDee the Pirate) has been training nurse anesthetists for a little more than a decade.
Program Length: 28 Months
Estimated Cost: $35,126 (Residents); $77,369 (Non Residents)
3. Thomas Jefferson University College of Nursing
Thomas Jefferson University College of Nursing offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice entry level nurse anesthesia degree. Requiring about 36 months for completion and requires a BSN with an active license for admission. Courses will include study in pharmathereaputics, quality measurement and outcomes, clinical decision making, chemistry and physics related to anesthesia and 2000 hours, hands on, clinical practice. Graduates are prepared to provide anesthesia care surgical care. This DNP holds accreditation from the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
Ranked #100 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs, Thomas Jefferson University was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1824 as Jefferson College and added a medical department in 1825. The College of Nursing has a current enrollment of over 900 students and the DNP degree in anesthesia enrolled its first 26 students in 2016.
Program Length: 92 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $45,395
4. Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
This is a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with an anesthesia specialty available to BSN prepared students from CCNE and ACEN accredited program. Admission also requires at least one-year recent clinical experience, preferably in ICU. Coursework will include physiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, doctoral project design and management as well as clinical practicum in anesthesiology.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) is ranked #51 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs and the university is also ranked #13 Top Public Schools and #63 Regional Universities Midwest by the magazine. Located in Edwardsville, Illinois, the school was founded in 1957 and has an enrollment of over 14,000 students and hold accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Length: 83 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $52,000
5. Augusta University
Augusta University was established in Augusta, Georgia in 1828 and is home to the Medical College of Georgia, which is the 13th oldest medical school in the United States. The College of Nursing joined the Medical College of Georgia in 1956 and, today, the college offers BSN, MSN, PhD and DNP degrees. The school offers a Master of Science in Nursing with an anesthesia major. The MSN with an anesthesia major was approved by the Board of Regents in 1994.
This is a seven semester program that blends didactic study with clinical experience. Accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Council on Accreditation Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), this program is in the top 100 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs nationwide. The curriculum includes studies in pharmacology, basic principles in anesthesia, anatomy and physiology, technology and techniques in nursing anesthesia, along with 2205 clinical/lab hours.
Program Length: 81 Credit Hours
Estimated Cost: $53,946 (Residents); $110,727 (Non Residents)
6. Western Carolina University
Ranked #36 for this type of program by U.S. News and World Report, Western Carolina University offers a BSN to MSN and BSN to DNP degrees with a nurse anesthesia concentration. The last MSN Nurse Anesthesia degree will begin in January, 2018. The school, pending accreditation approval, will be offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice in anesthesia in 2018. The program is approved by the accredited by The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and is estimated to be completed within 28 months. Courses will cover physiology, research, pharmacology, pathophysiology and principles in anesthesiology. Students will receive clinical experiences as well as anesthesia regional experiences.
Western Carolina University is located near the Great Smoky Mountains in Culhowee, North Carolina and was founded in 1889 to bring higher education opportunities to Western North Carolina. The university has been recognized by as one of Kiplinger Personal Finance’s Best Value Universities and currently has an enrollment of over 10,000 students.
Program Length: 66 Credit Hours
Estimated Cost: $57,506 (Resident); $68,593
7. University of Alabama Birmingham School of Nursing
UAB School of Nursing offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice with an anesthesia concentration, which is COA accredited and ranked #65 in the Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs by U.S. News and World Report. The program requires an accredited MSN or BSN degree, current licensure and at least one year in acute clinical experience. The preferred clinical experience is in
CCU, CVICU, MICU, Neuro ICU, SICU, Burn/Trauma ICU and Pediatric ICU. Educational coursework will include anesthesia pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, principles in anesthesia, evidence based practice and 1,125 in anesthesia immersion clinical practicum.
Beginning in 1859 as the Medical College of Alabama, the University of Alabama Birmingham we know today was established in 1966. The School of Nursing originated in Tuscaloosa in 1950 and was moved to the Birmingham campus in 1969. The university presently has over 18,000 students enrolled and holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Program Length: 113 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $57,630 (Resident); $135,939 (Non Resident)
8. Newman University
This Master of Nurse Anesthesia degree is offered at Newman University, located in Wichita, Kansas. Created for the BSN prepared nurse, this program covers the basic principles of anesthesia, pharmacology and anesthesia, chemistry, applied anatomy, advanced courses in physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology and regional anesthesia. Students are required to complete 2,400 clinical clock hours to graduate. The program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) and the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The origins of this Catholic university, date to 1902 when the Adorers of the Blood of Christ sisters opened boy and girl schools in Wichita. The Sacred Heart Junior College officially opened in 1933, during the Great Depression; but, continued to grow and expand enrollment and degree offerings. The school was renamed Newman University in 1998 and has a current enrollment of more than 3,000 students. U.S. News and World Report ranks Newman University’s nurse anesthesia program #43 in its Best Nursing Anesthesia programs in the U.S.
Program Length: 60 Credit Hours
Estimated Program Cost: $60,290
9. University of Detroit Mercy
Ranked in the top 10 of U.S. News and World Reports ratings of anesthesia programs, the University of Detroit Mercy provides a Master of Science in Nursing degree with an anesthesia concentration. This program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). The program integrates online learning with in class participation. Courses include gross anatomy, physiology, principles of nurse anesthesia, pharmacology and clinical internships.
The University of Detroit Mercy was created in 1990 with the merger of the University of Detroit (founded in 1877) and Mercy College of Detroit (1941). The school has over 100 degree programs and seven colleges and schools. With a current student enrollment over 4,000, the University of Detroit holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and is a Catholic university.
Program Length: 27 Months
Estimated Cost: $60,347
10. Wake Forest Baptist Health- Wake Forest School of Medicine
This is a two-year graduate program for Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia which has been offered at Wake Forest for 74 years. Students are required to have a minimum of a BSN from an accredited institution. Accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs and has been ranked #10 by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nursing Anesthesia programs. Located in the Winston-Salem, North Carolina area.
The school focuses on a team approach and covers such subjects as: Physics and Mechanics of Anesthesia Systems, Basic Principles of Nurse Anesthesia Practice, Applied Clinical Learning Nursing in Anesthesia, Respiratory and Cellular Pathophysiology for Nurse Anesthesia, Pharmacology of Autacoids and Other Chemical Mediators and Analysis of Research in Healthcare, etc. Clinical training includes about 800 cases and 1800 clinical practicum experience.
Program Length: 64 Credit Hours
Estimated Cost: $63,164
11. University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
This highly, U.S. News and World Report Best Nursing Anesthesia Program (#4) Master of Science in Nursing with an anesthesia major can be completed in 28 months with fulltime attendance. The program is Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Program (COA) and consists of 20 core courses and 32 anesthesia specialty credits. Courses include studies in basic principles of anesthesia, chemistry and physics of anesthesia, advanced physiology and pathophysiology, applied pharmacology, as well as clinical experiences.
One of the oldest school’s in the country, the University of Pittsburgh started simply in 1787 within a log cabin and was known as the Pittsburgh Academy. It was in the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in 1955, that Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine that saved countless millions from the ravages of polio. The School of Nursing was founded in 1939. The University of Pennsylvania currently has an undergraduate enrollment of over 25,000 students and over 7,000 graduate and doctoral students.
Program Length: 52 Credit Hours
Estimated Cost: $63,750 (Resident); $74,130 (Non Residents)
12. University of Iowa College of Nursing
This is a Doctor of Nursing Practice anesthesia specialty degree for BSN prepared nurses with some graduate and clinical experience. The DNP-CRNA program is accredited by Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) and the College of Nursing holds accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Students will study courses in human anatomy, medical physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology of anesthesia practice and principles of anesthesia, among others. The three year program also includes clinical anesthesia, clinical experience and a DNP project.
The nursing anesthesia program was given a #10 ranking by U.S. News and World Report for Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs, the University of Iowa, founded in 1847, is ranked in the Top 100 universities. Student enrollment at this university exceeds 30,000 and the university offers 100 degree programs. Located in Wichita, Iowa, the school has a rich history in research, ranking in the top 50 nationally.
Program Length: 78 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $64,798 (Resident); $125,778 (Non Resident)
13. Louisiana State University Health New Orleans School of Nursing Center
Located in New Orleans, this program offers a BSN to DNP nurse anesthesia program which COA accredited. The program combines health and nursing sciences to that examines principles of anesthesia, advanced physiology, pathophysiology, and pathophysiology of nurse anesthesia, advanced principles of nursing and clinical practicum in anesthesia in sites across Louisiana. Students are also taught to combine research with evidence based practices in anesthesia.
Louisiana State started the nursing education program in 1929 and the School of Nursing was established in 1968. The BSN to DNP with an anesthesia concentration has been ranked #36 in the Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs by U.S. News and World Report.
Program Length: 143 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $65,619 (Resident); $114,681 (Non Resident)
14. Texas Wesleyan University
Texas Wesleyan University offers a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia degree which may be completed in one of two options, on-campus and distance learning in select cities and states. There are two phases to this degree. Phase I is the academic portion and Phase II consists of clinical experience. Academic courses include: Professional Aspects of Anesthesia, Applied Chemistry for the Nurse Anesthetist, Advanced Pharmacology, Advanced Anatomy, Physiology and Pathophysiology, Research Methods in Nurse Anesthesia, Advanced Physical and Health Assessment.
Founded in 1890, this school has its roots in the Methodist Church and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) with the MS in Nurse Anesthesia program is COA accredited. The Nursing Anesthesia program holds a #74 ranking from U.S. News and World Report and the university is ranked #50 in its National Universities and #26 in Best Value Schools and #27 in Best Schools for Veterans. The university has an enrollment of over 2,000 and is located in Fort Worth, Texas.
Program Length: 66 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $76,238
15. University of Maryland School of Nursing
This is a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree with a specialty in anesthesia services. The program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) and requires full-time attendance for 36 months. This BSN-DNP program includes classroom and clinical experience practice for completion. U.S. News and World Report ranks this program in the top 10 of its Graduate Nursing School Programs and its DNP program is ranked #5 nationally. The UM School of Nursing was founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1889 and is the only Nurse Anesthesia program in the state.
Typical coursework will include: Chemistry of Nurse Anesthesia, Advanced Pharmacology, Principles of Nurse Anesthesia, Technology and Physics of Nurse Anesthesia, Theory of Evidence-Based Practice and clinical practicums. Admission to the program requires at least one year of continuous acute care nursing employment for eligibility.
Program Length: 92 Credit Hours
Estimated Total Cost: $76,544
16. University of Cincinnati College of Nursing
Offering a BSN to DNP degree with a nurse anesthesia concentration, this Ohio university program has been ranked #25 in Best Nursing Anesthesia Program by U.S. News and World Report. Studies will include human pathophysiology and pathology, chemistry and physics for anesthesia, biostatistics, healthcare policies, a DNP capstone project and an anesthesia internship. The program is COA accredited and has been named a Distinguished Program by the Apple Corporation for innovation, leadership and educational excellence.
Dating to 1819, the University of Cincinnati has received accolades from the Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes and Princeton Review. This public institution has a student enrollment of over 29,000 and has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as #135 in National Universities, #64 in Top Public Schools and recognized as #90 for Best Colleges for Veterans.
Program Length: 107 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $81,106 (Resident); $142,915 (Non Resident)
17. Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions
Drexel University offers a Master of Science Nursing with an anesthesia concentration. The program is accredited by COA and has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as #43 in its Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs. A blended program, the degree offers online core courses and research courses with some in-class participation. Following core and research classwork, successful graduates will participate in a clinical practicum in general, regional and anesthesia sedation. Students will take 31 didactic courses in anesthesia component integrated with 25 credit hours clinical practicum.
Drexel University is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was established in 1891; and, the College of Nursing and Health Professions evolved from the affiliation of the Woman’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1863. Over the centuries, Drexel has become a nationally ranked university (in the top 100 according to U.S. News and World Report) and has an average student enrollment of 23,000 undergraduates and graduates.
Program Length: 90 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $82,523
18. Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College
The Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College has a COA accredited Master of Science in Nursing degree with an anesthesia concentration. The institution holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and their nurse anesthesia program has received a #18 rating in the U.S. News and World Report ranking for Best Nurse Anesthesia Programs. Students will take courses in anatomy, physiology, chemistry/physics as applied to anesthesia and advanced principles in anesthesia, among others. The school of nursing also utilizes the state of the art, Clinical Simulation Institute in the student’s training.
Beginning 1902 as the Jewish Hospital School of Nursing, the School of Nursing affiliated with the Barnes College of Nursing in 1955, which eventually, thanks to a generous endowment, changed its name to the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College in the early 21st century. This school is located in St. Louis, Missouri and holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
Program Length: 78 Credit Hours
Estimated Academic Cost: $85,558
19. Midwestern University Glendale
Accredited by the COA (Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs) this Glendale, Arizona university provides a MS in Nurse Anesthesia degree. Students with a BSN are eligible for admission for this program which is divided into two phases. Phase one, completed during the first four quarters, will concentrate on the basic sciences, including anesthesia equipment and management. Phase two will focus on the clinical practicum and an anesthesia related research project. Clinical rotations can be considered in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas and Washington state.
Midwestern University began as the American College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in 1900. The Glendale campus was established in 1998 and currently has an enrollment exceeding 6,000 students enrolled in a variety of health science studies in osteopathy, nursing, pharmacy, physician assistant programs as well as clinical psychology, nurse anesthesia and others. The nurse anesthesia program ranks #65 in U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nurse Anesthesia Program ranking.
Program Length: 27 Months
Estimated Total Cost: $84,270
20. Samuel Merritt University
Located in Oakland, California, Samuel Merritt University is COA accredited and is a Master of Science in Nursing degree which result in a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist specialty. Students are required to hold a BSN from an accredited institution for admission as well as a minimum of one year acute care experience. Coursework will encompass pharmacology, advanced health assessment for the nurse anesthetist, human anatomy and physiology, clinical anesthesiology, clinical practice and simulation sessions.
Ranked in the top 20 of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Nursing Anesthesia Programs, Samuel Merritt University was founded in 1909 as a private, not-for-profit institution, teaching the health sciences. While the School of Nursing holds its accreditation from COA and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the university is accredited by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Length of Program: 66 Credit Hours
Estimated Total Cost: $96,507