What is the Salary Potential for a Nurse Anesthetist?

Working as a nurse anesthetist offers individuals the opportunity for a very good salary potential as well as the chance to spend more time working in an operating room. Nurse anesthetists are trained professionals known as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) who work in surgical units assisting anesthesiologists in administering medication to patients undergoing surgery. Qualified nurse anesthetists are very much in demand for the excellent services they provide. Here is some salary information for nurse anesthetists.

Salary Potential for Nurse Anesthetists

Nurse anesthetists have the potential to earn some very good wages. The increase in wages from a registered nurse to an APRN can be so substantial that many RNs feel it’s more than worth the extra time and money to obtain the additional education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nurse anesthetists nationwide earned an average annual wage of $174,790 with the average hourly wage at $84.03.

Nurse anesthetists at the lowest 10 percent earned about $116,820, while those at the top 90 percent saw wages at about $198,470 or more. The industry where nurse anesthetists earned the highest wages was outpatient care centers. Wages here averaged about $194,570 with home health care services coming in second place with wages of $191,030.

Different Locations Mean Different Salaries

The salary potential for nurse anesthetists can fluctuate significantly from one state to another or even from one city to the next. Location is probably the biggest factor affecting wages. Here are the five states where nurse anesthetists earn the highest salaries followed by the five where nurse anesthetists earn the lowest wages in 2018:

  • Montana – $246,370
  • California – $212,210
  • Iowa – $209,130
  • Oregon – $205,730
  • Wisconsin – $204,820
  • Idaho – $143,270
  • Arizona – $144,670
  • Tennessee – $150,880
  • Georgia – $151,070
  • Indiana – $156,580

Nurse.org reports that Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are almost the sole healthcare providers in most rural hospitals throughout the United States, yet some of the highest salaries are earned in metropolitan areas. Here are a few of the highest paying cities for nurse anesthetists:

  • San Diego, CA – $241,670
  • San Francisco, CA – $224,310
  • Spokane, WA – $221,720
  • Louisville, KY – $217,660
  • Providence, RI – $213,670

How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist

To work as a nurse anesthetist, an individual must complete a formal nurse anesthetists training program. Before the candidate can enroll in the program, he or she must first be a licensed registered nurse (RN) and have at least one year of clinical experience. The RN must then complete an accredited APRN program with a concentration in nurse anesthetist. Although the APRN programs typically prefer applicants who already hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing, some schools have bridge programs for RNs who only have diplomas or associate’s degrees.

The APRN program includes classroom work and clinical experiences. Upon completion of the program, the candidate must obtain certification by passing a state certification exam. Certification and licensure requirements vary by state so graduates should check with their state’s licensing board. Some nurse anesthetists choose to earn a doctoral degree.

Nurse anesthetists are expected to see an employment growth of 26 percent between 2018 and 2028 according to the BLS. This potential growth means that career opportunities should be very good for these professionals. In addition to having interesting work, nurse anesthetists can also expect very good salaries to go along with numerous career options.

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