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:
These are the same percentiles expressed as hourly wage estimates:
*The BLS does not have precise figures for these percentile estimates.
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:
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:
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:
Notably, four of the five top-paying metropolitan areas by average annual salary for nurse anesthetists were in California:
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:
Finally, the top-employing metropolitan areas in the United States for nurse anesthetists were:
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).