How Much Does a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) Make?

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Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who perform a variety of functions to ensure the safety of pain management and stabilization services for patients. This includes evaluating and monitoring patients and working with physicians to administer anesthesia based on their state’s level of CRNA practice authority. Due to the weight of the responsibilities involved and the length of training, CRNAs are relatively well-compensated.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS May 2016) reported that there were 39,860 nurse anesthetists employed in the United States. The average hourly wage for CRNAs is $78.86, or approximately $164,030 annually. This figure is more than three times higher than the mean annual salary for all occupations in the U.S.: $49,630.

The BLS (May 2016) lists the national percentile annual salary estimates for nurse anesthetists:

  • 10th percentile: $107,960
  • 25th percentile: $137,800
  • 50th percentile (median): $160,270
  • 75th percentile: $189,880
  • 90th percentile: >$208,000*

These are the same percentiles expressed as hourly wage estimates:

  • 10th percentile: $51.91/hr.
  • 25th percentile: $66.25/hr.
  • 50th percentile (median): $77.05/hr.
  • 75th percentile: $91.29/hr.
  • 90th percentile: >$100.00*

*The BLS does not have precise figures for these percentile estimates.

Salaries For Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) By Industry

The amount of money a nurse anesthetist makes varies by industry. According to the BLS (May 2016), the following were the top-paying industries in the field by average annual salary:

  • Outpatient centers: $181,800
  • Specialty hospitals (except psychiatric and substance abuse facilities): $175,800
  • General medical and surgical hospitals: $174,980
  • Federal executive branch: $162,590
  • Offices of physicians: $159,250

It is important to note that while outpatient centers and specialty hospitals offer the highest annual mean wage to nurse anesthetists, they also have much lower levels of employment than other industries. According to the BLS, the five top-employing industries (and national employment figures) for CRNAs in the U.S. were the following:

  • Offices of physicians: 21,460 jobs
  • General medical and surgical hospitals: 11,850 jobs
  • Outpatient care centers: 1,820 jobs
  • Offices of other health practitioners: 1,650 jobs
  • Federal government: 980 jobs

Salaries for Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) By State and Metropolitan Area

The salaries for nurse anesthetists vary by state and region. According to the BLS (2016), the five top-paying states by average annual salary for CRNAs were:

  • Montana: $242,140
  • Wyoming: $233,400
  • California: $215,530
  • Oregon: $199,860
  • Nevada: $192,330

Notably, four of the five top-paying metropolitan areas by average annual salary for nurse anesthetists were in California:

  • San Diego-Carlsbad, CA: $241,670
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA: $238,860
  • San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA: $224,310
  • Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA: $221,720
  • Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA: $219,050

It’s important to note, however, that some states and metropolitan areas have higher employment for CRNAs than others. The top-employing states for nurse anesthetists were:

  • Texas: 4,700 jobs
  • Ohio: 2,510 jobs
  • North Carolina: 2,440 jobs
  • Pennsylvania: 2,310 jobs
  • Florida: 2,300 jobs

Finally, the top-employing metropolitan areas in the United States for nurse anesthetists were:

  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX: 2,040 jobs
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN and WI: 1,200 jobs
  • Pittsburgh, PA: 770 jobs
  • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA: 690 jobs
  • Birmingham-Hoover, AL: 680 jobs

Given these recent employment figures from the BLS, becoming a nurse anesthetist may be a wise career choice as demand for these specialists is growing rapidly in the U.S. The BLS (Oct. 2017) projected that between 2016 and 2026, there would be a 16 percent increase in positions, a much higher rate than the expected average growth of all occupations in the country during that same decade (7 percent).