A certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) is a registered nurse who has also had extensive training in administering and monitoring the effects of anesthesia. CRNAs can administer anesthesia for various surgeries and procedures to prevent a patient from feeling pain or discomfort.
They can also administer other medications and monitor the condition and vitals of the patient receiving anesthesia. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CRNAs were imperative for helping manage the care of patients on ventilators. Here’s all you need to know about how much a CRNA makes.
A note about our data. We use the median of the data gathered from The BLS at data.bls.gov and other salary data sources such as Salary.com, Indeed.com and Zippia.com. We believe that this is the best average to follow, rather than the mean or mode. The mean will find the average of all salaries in each state; the mode will favor the most frequently reported salaries. However, the median will find the middle. All data in this report will favor the middle salary from all ranges, which means 50% will fall below and 50% will be above the salary data reported below. On another note, we have removed data from Puerto Rico, Guam, and The Virgin Islands from the data we have sourced as we have focused on the 50 US States plus The District Of Colombia.
CRNA Salaries in the United States
Though a CRNA has more specialized tasks than other nurses, the salary for a nurse anesthetist in the United States makes the position a well-compensated option for nurses interested in advancing their skills or education.
How Much Does a CRNA Make a Year?
The average annual salary for a CRNA is $140,357.71 a year. However, this is only a small fraction of the position’s earning potential. With a bit of experience and working in the right location, a CRNA can earn over $200k a year.
How Much Does a CRNA Make an Hour?
CRNAs earn an annual average hourly wage of $67.48, making the position a well-compensated nursing job.
CRNA Salary by State
Like most nursing positions, there’s a lot of variation in CRNA salary from state to state. States with higher living costs and large metropolitan areas tend to have higher salaries, as do states that need to attract more CRNAs to fill the demand for this position.
Check out this chart that examines the annual median CRNA salary among all the states using information provided by Zippia.com.
Hourly median wage
Annual median wage
Compared To National Average
District of Columbia
Some states have CRNA salaries that are higher than the national average, like North Dakota (43 percent), Alaska (27 percent higher), Pennsylvania (23 percent higher), Washington (24 percent higher), and Minnesota (15 percent higher).
Other states have annual median CRNA salaries that are below the average CRNA salary, such as Florida (22 percent lower than the national average), Hawaii (55 percent lower than the national average), and Alabama (15 percent lower than the national average).
Factors That Affect How Much a CRNA Makes
Multiple factors impact how much a CRNA makes, including:
Years of experience: the more experience you have working as a CRNA, the more money you can make
Location: Areas with a high cost of living or regions that need to attract qualified CRNAs will usually have higher salaries
Education: CRNAs with a doctorate degree will earn more
Where the CRNA works: Certain types of facilities tend to be higher salaries, notably outpatient care centers and some specialty hospitals
There is a significant income potential for a CRNA that makes this nurse position an attractive career alternative to individuals who can handle a high-stress environment with a lot of responsibility.
How Quickly Can You Become a CRNA and Start Earning?
The education and training to become a CRNA and start earning a CRNA-level salary are extensive due to the duties and responsibilities associated with the position. In all, it takes 7 to 10 years to become a CRNA.
Not only do you need to complete the education and training to become an RN, but you have to acquire experience working in the intensive cure unit (ICU) as an RN, and graduate from a nurse anesthesia program. A nurse anesthesia program is a graduate degree program that takes three years to complete.
After obtaining your graduate degree, you’ll also need to pass your CRNA certification. After you get your certification, you have to pass your state licensure exam for the state (or states) where you plan to work.
If you already have some type of nurse training, be it CNA or RN training, this will reduce the amount of time it takes you to become a CRNA. It’s generally possible to receive credit for skills you’ve already mastered or courses you’ve previously taken.
How Much Does a CRNA Make Compared to Other Nursing Jobs?
When compared to other nursing jobs, CRNAs earn some of the highest salaries in the medical profession. It’s interesting to note that while CRNAs are technically a type of nurse, they do similar types of work as an anesthesiologist, a position that currently requires a doctorate degree.
Using the average median wage of $140,357.71, CRNAs make more than nearly every other type of nurse. NPs (nurse practitioners) have a median annual wage of $116,358.04, which is less than the average compensation for CRNAs.
RNs have a median annual wage of $76,944.90 and LPNs have an annual median wage of $51,097.65, both of which are lower than CRNA compensation. CRNAs earn more than travel nurses (annual median wage of $87,958.51) and ICU nurses (median annual wage of $84,281.06).
CRNA Salary FAQs
Thanks to the high compensation associated with the CRNA position, there are a lot of FAQs about the salary potential for this nursing job.
Am I Being Paid Fairly as a CRNA?
To decide if your compensation as a CRNA is fair, you’ll need to consider how many years of experience you have working as a CRNA, the type of setting you’re working in, and the state or city where you’re working.
For example, an entry-level CRNA will have a significantly lower salary than a CRNA with 10 to 20 years of experience.
An entry-level CRNA may make closer to $100k, while CRNAs with a decade or more of experience can make more than $200k a year or even $300k a year when working in an area with a high cost of living.
If you have ten years of experience but are making in the low $100ks, your compensation may not be fair.
The CRNA's setting also influences whether their compensation is considered fair. A CRNA working in a physician's office will make approximately $180,780 a year, while CRNAs employed by outpatient care centers make approximately $224,810 a year.
Are CRNAs Paid Mostly Hourly or Annually?
The CRNA nursing position is a job that may receive an annual wage or an hourly wage, depending on the specifics of the placement. If you receive an annual wage, you’ll receive the same amount of money, regardless of how many hours you work.
However, some CRNA jobs offer hourly wages rather than annual payments. This pay structure means that your paycheck will vary depending on how much you work, and you’ll receive more money for working overnight or holiday shifts.
Your contract terms will specify whether your position is hourly or annual.
Do CRNAs Get Paid Overtime?
Whether or not a CRNA is paid overtime depends on the terms of their contract. According to FLSA overtime rules, the CRNA job is considered exempt under CRNA regulations and not eligible for overtime.
However, states also have their own laws regarding overtime and whether CRNAs receive overtime pay. There are also non-exempt CRNA jobs.
CRNAs who qualify for overtime pay will usually receive 1.5 times their hourly wage for hours worked exceeding 40 hours a week.
With an overtime wage equal to 1.5 times your hourly wage and an average wage of $67.48, the average overtime pay for a CRNA is equal to $101.22 per hour.
Do CRNAs Get Paid More Privately or in Hospitals?
A CRNA who works in a hospital environment will usually earn more than a CRNA who works in private practice.
For example, a CRNA employed by a specialty hospital makes an average of $201,220, while a CRNA working at a general medical hospital makes approximately $196,530. The salary for a CRNA employed by a physician's office will make around $180,780.
Some CRNAs may prefer to work in a private office due to better shift options and the potential for a better work-life balance, even though the compensation potential isn’t as high. Hospitals never close, while private offices have set office hours that limit a CRNA's hours to work.
What State Pays CRNAs the Most Per Hour?
While CRNA salaries vary yearly based on demand and cost of living, North Dakota has the highest CRNA pay at $201,154.00. Washington has the second-highest CRNA pay with a median annual pay of $173,491.00.
Can You Live Off a CRNA Salary in the USA?
You can live an extremely comfortable lifestyle anywhere in the USA with a CRNA's salary. Even an entry-level CRNA's salary is higher than the average US salary of $53,490.
Does a CRNA Salary Make You Rich?
To be classed as rich depends on where you live, one piece of data states that households earning $131,350 a year or more are among the richest 20 percent of households in the nation. In many areas, a CRNA salary is high enough for you to be considered a rich household based on your income alone.
What is the Highest Paid Nurse Anesthetist?
The top 25 percent of CRNAs make at least $208,000 a year. These individuals tend to be experienced CRNAs or individuals working in areas with a high cost of living.
What are the Highest Paying Jobs in Nursing?
The CRNA job is consistently listed as the highest paying position in nursing.
Other high-paying nursing jobs include certified nurse-midwife positions (average salary of $115,540 a year) and psychiatric nurse practitioner (average annual salary of $112,196 a year).
How Can You Increase Your Pay as a CRNA?
CRNAs seeking to increase their pay have a few options for boosting their earnings. If you find a position that pays you an hourly wage instead of a salary wage, this can assist you with increasing your compensation.
Receiving an hourly wage allows you to take advantage of unpopular shifts with a higher pay rate, like shifts over the holidays or overnight shifts. You’ll also be compensated for any overtime you work with a CRNA position that pays by the hour.
Earning more education will help you earn more money. Even though current guidelines state that a CRNA needs a graduate degree, the guidelines will eventually change so that CRNAs need a doctorate degree. Acquiring this education sooner rather than later will work to boost your salary.
Suppose you gain administrative experience and are willing to work as a director or manager who handles staffing duties. In that case, this will increase your compensation as a CRNA due to the additional responsibilities.
Relocating to in-demand areas that are paying higher salaries to attract CRNAs can also assist you with boosting your earnings.