How to Become a Nursing Anesthetist: Career Advice & Information

Overview & Salaries


A nurse anesthetist is responsible for a patient’s wellbeing during surgery that requires anesthetic. Nurse anesthetists evaluate patients, take patient histories, administer medications and fluids, and get consent from patients before surgery. Working with anesthesiologists, they may help to develop a patient’s anesthetic plan. They watch the monitoring equipment during surgery to ensure the patient is stable, and use drugs to respond to any problems. Finally, they also oversee patient recovery. If that sounds like an important and skilled job, it is.


Annual salaries for nurse anesthetists will vary depending on your experience, education level, and expertise. In 2013, the average annual salary for nurse anesthetists working in the U.S. was $157,690 per year.

For more information on what parts of the country have the most opportunity for nurse anesthetists, click through to our Best Places to Work tab for information on the number of people employed and the average salary in each state.

Discover the Best Cities and States to Work as a Nurse Anesthetist

Texas leads the nation in employment for nurse anesthetists, with 3,140 practitioners making an average yearly salary of $162,090. Tennessee is second in employment, where 2,550 nurse anesthetists earn an average salary of $145,020.

The metro areas employing the most nurse anesthetists are:

  • Houston-Sugar Land (1,500)
  • Tampa-St Petersburg (950)
  • Nashville, TN (870)

The metro areas employing the highest concentration of nurse anesthetists are:

  • Chattanooga, TN (1.58 jobs per thousand)
  • Charleston, WV (1.57 jobs per thousand)

The metro areas employing the best-paid nurse anesthetists are:

  • Las Vegas (annual average salary $238,350)
  • Miami (annual average salary $203,540)

Employment and Salary Information for Nurse Anesthetist s

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career as a nurse anesthetist. The associated information has been gathered from Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Nursing Anesthetist

Why Become A Nurse Anesthetist?

Becoming a nurse anesthetist requires years of work and study, and it’s a lot of responsibility. For those who can do the job, however, it’s potentially rewarding in every way. Here are some of the reasons to become a nurse anesthetist:

  • Extraordinary job growth. Healthcare is a growing field, and between 2012 and 2022, the number of nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nurse practitioners is projected to grow by 31%—a huge amount, and much faster than the average job.
  • Incredibly important work. Mistakes in giving anesthetic are extremely dangerous to a patient—and can be fatal. That means a nurse anesthetist has huge responsibility. If you’re a person who likes to step up to that kind of challenge, the job could be for you.
  • Work closely with patients. Although the role is highly-skilled and important, as a nurse anesthetist you’re still a primary point of contact with the patients you treat.
  • Very high pay. Annual average salary of $157,690 per year.
  • Helping others. Nurse anesthetists help make sure surgeries are successful and people recover from them.

Nurse Anesthetist: What You Need To Know

Nurse anesthetists are highly skilled professionals, who need to be good nurses as well as experts in anesthesia. Because of the risks of any surgery, nurse anesthetists need to take a special level of care. A working knowledge of these skill sets will help to set you apart from other candidates.

  • Knowledge and Use of Anesthetics
  • Clinical and Nursing Skills
  • Use of Monitoring Equipment
  • Evaluations and Patient Histories
  • Patient Management and Care
  • Attention to Detail

Feel like you’ve got a lot to learn? Get more information about careers, degrees, and applicable courses for prospective nurse anesthetists from one of the schools below.

Degree Options for Nurse Anesthetist Careers

Master’s degree

Nurse anesthetists need a master’s degree in their area of specialization. Many colleges offer master’s programs, some online. Coursework usually includes pharmacology, medical diagnosis, and the study of equipment and tools used in surgery and anesthesiology.

Before joining a master’s program, however, aspiring nurse anesthetists must have a registered nursing degree, which usually takes up to four years.

Nearly every state in the U.S. recognizes all of the roles of the nurse anesthetist, though some will require individuals to have a nursing license, complete an approved graduate-level program, and pass a certification exam.