“What is a nurse anesthetist salary?”
The question you want answers to, but don’t want to get caught asking.
Nurse anesthetist salary depends on a variety of factors, but we’re breaking it down for you based on location, demand, years of experience, and education level.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice registered nurses with graduate-level degrees in nursing, with a tremendous amount of autonomy and responsibility dating waaaaay back to the 1800s administering anesthesia to soldiers in the Civil War (phew am I glad we’ve come a long way since then). CRNAs are airway experts, masters at managing hemodynamics, intubation and extubation specialists, and are even highly skilled at placing invasive lines and performing peripheral nerve blocks. Every CRNA has a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN), and now, all anesthesia programs produce Doctorate-level graduates, so you’ll see many more CRNAs with DNP and DNAP degrees.
Nurse anesthetists work in a wide variety of settings, and in more than 80% of rural locations are the sole anesthesia providers. But, don’t worry, if the peace and quiet of Montana isn’t for you, CRNAs also work in a wide variety of other settings (basically, anywhere anesthesia is administered) such as dental offices, outpatient surgery centers, major teaching hospitals, plastic surgery centers, endoscopy suites, Ketamine clinics, VA Hospitals and aesthetics offices.
CRNAs are vital to the healthcare system, with many CRNAs working independently or under the Anesthesia Care Team (ACT) model. The ACT model is what a lot of hospitals operate under, which means that one anesthesiologist supervises a number of CRNA rooms. There are medically-directed and medically-supervised ACT models. In short, the medically supervised model allows the CRNA more independence as the MD does not need to be hands-on in the patient care (this is the type of setting I work in), so you can see why CRNAs need such extensive education and training.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2021 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists made a mean of $202,470.
In today’s job market (2022), new graduates can find jobs paying around 180k (W2) and higher, even with some loan assistance and sign on bonuses, although this isn’t standard. Gaswork is a great resource to just see what’s out there, and what different locations are offering for pay in today’s market.
The more years of experience you have under your belt, like any job, the more negotiating power you have. You also likely may have honed some skills that you may not have felt comfortable with as a new grad, like regional experience doing blocks, or specialized populations like OB or peds. Being able to do all your own blocks will be an incredible tool in your skillset. You also might be comfortable making the leap to independent practice at all-CRNA group (#goals). With this, you might be looking at pay anywhere from $200,000 and up with a W2, and a 1099 position will be higher (but don’t forget, there are expenses you need to cover with a 1099).
The first way to increase your pay as a CRNA is to equip yourself with the tools and confidence to work independently. This opens up the doors for you to work in higher paying rural locations, private practices, and all-CRNA groups. Working independently in an all-CRNA practice is a goal for many CRNAs.
Another way to to increase your pay, if you have the flexibility, is to do locums work, fulfilling short term staffing needs. We have all seen the social media posts about how much travel nurses are getting paid, the same increase goes for CRNAs as well.
A lot of CRNAs advocate for doing their own billing for anesthesia services. You can also use a billing service, but they usually take a percentage cut.
You’ll hear a lot of pros and cons on this one, but the bottom line is that many CRNA’s work 1099, and love it. The hourly pay is higher, but the tax rules are different, and you have to pay for your own health insurance (this is a big one). Depending on your lifestyle, needs, and health, a 1099 job might be a good option for you, but I would speak to CRNAs who have 1099 experience first before making the leap.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2021, the best paying states (mean wages) for CRNAs were as follows:
Are CRNAs still in demand?
The job outlook for the CRNA profession is extremely bright. According to the BLS, the nurse anesthetist profession will grow by 15% by 2029, at a rate of 2,900 new positions a year. The Covid 19 pandemic has pushed the limits of our healthcare system, and CRNAs have proved valuable in caring for the sickest of the sick and saving lives during a worldwide crisis. CRNAs are and will continue to be in demand for years to come.
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