How Much Does a Nurse Anesthetist Make?

The investment you make in an advanced education can pay off.

dental anesthetist helping youth patient adjust nosepiece
dental anesthetist helping youth patient adjust nosepiece

The amount of time and rigorous training required to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA) might seem daunting, but this career is highly rewarding in more ways than one.

Not only do CRNAs fill a crucial role in healthcare, but they also earn, on average, the highest pay among advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) at $181,040 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Advanced practice registered nurses include CRNAs, certified nurse midwife practitioners, family nurse practitioners, and other highly educated nurses. CRNAs are respected healthcare professionals who collaborate with physicians, surgeons, and other members of a patient’s care team when anesthesia is needed for medical procedures. Their expertise, experience, and responsibility are rewarded with highly competitive salaries.

CRNAs are rewarded with highly competitive salaries for their expertise, experience, and responsibility.

If you’re looking to the join the nursing field and earn an excellent living, learn more about what salary you might expect as a CRNA, as well as other benefits of the role.

Average Salary for CRNAs

Although nurse anesthetists earn an average salary of $181,040, their pay can be greatly influenced by a number of factors, including workplace, level of education, and experience. The top 10% of earners make more than $200,000 per year, according to the BLS.

CRNA Salaries by Workplace

In general, CRNAs enjoy plentiful job opportunities in an array of healthcare settings. But where you work can be a big influence, according to BLS numbers. This chart ranks CRNA workplaces from highest to lowest in terms of average pay.

Employer

Average Annual Salary

Outpatient care centers

A medical facility, often part of a hospital, that provides care for patients not staying overnight.
Places you may work:

  • Ambulatory (same day) surgical centers
  • Pain management clinics

$224,630


Home healthcare services

Healthcare for illness or injury that is provided in a patient’s home, instead of in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
Places you may work:

  • In the home of a patient

$192,300


General medical and surgical hospitals

Academic or community-based facilities providing short-term care for acute illnesses and injuries.
Places you may work:

  • Traditional hospital suites
  • Labor and delivery units
  • Public health centers

$192,380


Specialty hospitals

Healthcare facilities focused on treating specific medical conditions or patient populations.
Places you may work:

  • Midwifery or private birth centers
  • Critical access hospitals, small hospitals in rural areas
  • Plastic surgery centers
  • U.S. military and veterans’ hospitals

$184,200


Colleges and universities

Medical facilities or clinics operated by public, private, teaching, or research institutions.
Places you may work:

  • On-campus healthcare clinics
  • Teaching hospitals
  • Leadership roles in administrative offices

$184,090


Physicians’ offices

Private medical practices, clinics, medical groups, or independently practicing physicians’ offices.
Places you may work:

  • Podiatrist clinics
  • Sports medicine clinics

$171,220


Health practitioner offices

Clinics or private practices operated by advance practice providers such as nurse practitioners or other healthcare professionals.
Places you may work:

  • Dental offices
  • Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) group practices
  • Ophthalmologist offices

$169,140


Your Salary Also Can Depend on Where You Live

Where you live also can affect your earning power as a CRNA. For example, the two top-paying states in the nation are largely rural, areas where it can be harder to attract healthcare workers.

Wyoming
Average Annual Pay for CRNAs: $243,310


Hourly average wage:
$116.98

Top paying area:
Hourly and annual wage data is calculated statewide.

Montana
Average Annual Pay for CRNAs: $239,380


Hourly average wage:
$115.09

Top paying area:
Hourly and annual wage data is calculated statewide.

Oregon
Average Annual Pay for CRNAs: $234,750


Hourly average wage:
$112.86

Top-paying area:

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro
$224,170

Wisconsin
Average Annual Pay for CRNAs: $233,600


Hourly average wage:
$112.31

Top-paying areas:

Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis
$219,850

Northeastern Wisconsin nonmetropolitan area
$260,220

California
Average Annual Pay for CRNAs: $227,290


Hourly average wage:
$109.28

Top-paying areas:

San Francisco
$254,860

Vallejo-Fairfield
$240,820

Los Angeles
$217,450

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

CRNA Salaries Compared to Pay for Other Nurses

APRNs in general are well compensated, but CRNAs are way out in front of their peers with advanced credentials. In their field, only anesthesiologists make more. Here’s a comparison with a sampling of nurse roles.

Position

Average Annual Salary


Anesthesiologist (MD or DO)

$261,730

Nurse anesthetist

$181,040

Nurse practitioner

$111,840

Nurse midwife

$108,810

Registered nurse (RN)

$77,460

License practical nurse/licensed vocational nurse (LPN/LVN)

$47,480

Certified nursing assistant (CNA)

$30,720

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2019

Other Benefits and Perks

Along with highly competitive salaries, many employers might also pay for:

  • Continuing education needed to maintain CRNA certification
  • Leadership training courses to help CRNAs advance in the field 
  • Fees for malpractice insurance, which can run roughly $4,000 a year for full-time CRNAs and $2,200 for those working part time

Another benefit is the potential for being paid to travel. Because CRNAs are needed in nearly every medical setting, you might have the option to work as a travel nurse on short-term assignments that last between two and six months.

Depending on demand due to nurse shortages, unfilled positions, leaves of absence, or emergency situations, travel nurses can often choose their assignments based on their desired location and specialty. And along with above-average pay, travel nurses often receive paid housing and untaxed stipends.

malia jacobson

Written and reported by:

Malia Jacobson

Contributing Writer

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