CRNA vs NP - Which has More Prospect in 2023? (2023)

Welcome to an educational article on the study of differences between a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetistand a Nursing Practitioner.

At the end of this discourse, you will learn about the differences between the two careers, their educational requirements comparisons, career pathdifferences, and more.

We shall discuss the following and more:

  • Job Description of a CRNAvs NP
  • Education/Certification of CRNAvs NP
  • Average Salaryof CRNAvs NP
  • Between CRNAand NP – Career choice

So, let’s roll!

Table of Contents

Introduction to CRNA vs NP

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Students interested in nursing have a range of professional opportunities.

Certified registered nurse anesthetistsand Nurse practitionersare two popular specialties.

While they share some similarities, such as educational preparation through a Master of Science in Nursing(MSN), NPs and CRNAshave different professions.

Yet, they all demand distinct abilities for success and offer diverse job chances and future career prospects.

This comparison will be useful for those deciding between a nurse practitionerand a nurse anesthetist.

Job Description of a CRNAvs NP

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Patients of all ages receive primary, acute, and specialist care from NPs.

They may, however, specialize in certain areas, such as adult, child, or women’s care or psychiatric patients.

American Association of Nurse Practitioners(AANP) reported an estimated 1.06 billion patient visits to NPs in 2018.

NPs do various tasks, including delivering diagnostic tests and treatments, writing prescriptions, and counseling patients on living a better lifestyle and preventing disease.

They may work in hospitals, urgent care centers, nursing homes, and schools, among other places.

NPs can serve as educators and researchers in addition to delivering health care.

They can study their disciplines and apply what they learn to existing practices.

Nurse practitioners(NPs) provide a larger range of services.

Nurse practitionersare primary careproviders.

In contrast, nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are educated to deliver anesthesia to patients in settings such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, ICUs, and doctors’ offices.

CRNAsprovide more than 45 million anestheticsin the United States each year.

CRNAscan undertake patient evaluations and administer anesthesia to determine which type of anestheticshould be utilized.

CRNAsalso keep track of vital signs while the patient is sedated, assist patients with recovery and side effects, and provide post-procedure assessments.

Education/Certification of CRNAvs NP

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In addition to a bachelor’s degreein nursing and a registered nurse (RN) license, prospective CRNAsmust have a master’s degreefrom a nurse anesthesia programaccredited by the Council on Accreditationof Nurse AnesthesiaEducational Programs.

Pharmacology, physiology, professional practices, and pain managementare just a few of the topics covered in these classes.

In addition, nursing professionals can gain clinical experiencedelivering anesthesia as part of their advanced nursing degreeprograms.

Conversely, to become a nurse practitioner, you’ll need a BSNand an MSN program, as well as the ability to pass certification examinations, do clinical research, and apply for licensing in the states where you want to practice.

Nurses who work as advanced practitioners specialize in their skills during their advanced studies.

It enables nurses to concentrate their studies on specific skills and duties more effectively.

For example, while many NPs specialize in oncology or pediatrics, the CRNAcertification reflects a concentration in anestheticcare.

If an advanced practice registered nurse(APRN) wants to change specialties, they’ll need more training and certification.

Although nurses with either qualification can change specializations, changing specialties for an NP is frequently easier.

A certified NP can enter a specialty nursing programto receive certification in their new area in a year or less.

Still, a CRNAmay require multiple years of study to earn an NP certification before switching specializations.

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Even though both programs require the same amount of study, CRNA programsare frequently more competitive since fewer schools offer them.

Although both roles necessitate passing a certification exam, the boards that administer these exams are different.

For example, CRNAsare certified by the National Board of Certificationand Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists(NBCRNA).

On the other hand, nurse practitionersare certified by organizations like the American Association of Nurse Practitioners-AANP or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Nursing Skills – CRNAvs NP

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Because NPs provide lifelong care and wellness counseling to patients of all ages, good communication, and interpersonal skills are essential.

They must manage diagnoses, therapies, and various health conditions with tact.

Compassion, empathy, and emotional fortitude can help you provide more effective and professional care while also fostering long-term relationships with your patients.

In their roles as educators, mentors, and clinicians, NPs must also have good leadership abilities.

In an emergency, they must manage cases and make authoritative choices concerning sensitive issues.

CRNAs, like NPs, must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to collaborate with patients and team members.

Patients should trust these nurses when delivering sedatives or pain relievers.

As a result, when discussing procedures, CRNAsshould use compassion and empathy to keep patients calm and reduce their anxiety before surgery or treatment.

Workplace Variety

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A CRNAjob offers less variety in everyday tasks than some other NP specialties because it is highly concentrated.

As a result, the anesthetictreatments required and the patients a CRNAdeals with might vary greatly daily.

Because of the wide range of illnesses, NPs can treat, several NP specialties offer more options.

Working hours

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CRNAsand NPs can have occupations that demand long shifts, ranging from 12- to 24-hour shifts.

They may also be required to remain on-call after hours in the event of an emergency.

Depending on the type of medical facility, advanced practicenurses may also operate in environments that allow for regular 40-hour workweeks.

Because CRNAs workmostly in hospitals, they are more likely to work longer shifts on average over their careers.


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One of the major differences between working as a CRNAand working as an NP is utilizing diagnostic methods.

Many nurse practitionerspecializations allow the NP to diagnoseand manage patient care.

A nurse practitioneris likely to be a career choice for an advanced practicenurse interested in diagnosingand treating patients.

CRNAsdo not diagnosepatients; instead, they offer anestheticcare as a treatment plan.

Average Salaryof CRNAvs NP

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It’s worth noting that the incomes of nurse practitionersand CRNAsare vastly different.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicates that the typical annual compensation for nurse practitionersis $109,820, while the median annual salary for CRNAsis $174,790.

Salary ranges for both roles are subject to change based on a variety of criteria, including:

  • Level of expertise:A greater wage range is usually associated with more years of clinical experience
  • Education:Salary ranges for advanced degrees may be greater
  • Location:The location is important. Salaries in larger, more urban, or metropolitan areas are frequently more competitive

Between CRNAand NP – Career choice

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CRNAsand NPs both earn competitive incomes as senior healthcareprofessionals.

On the other hand, working as a CRNAis a more rewarding professional option.

CRNA schoolis incredibly demanding and competitive.

By comparison, becoming a nurse practitioneris a lot easier.

It is far easier to get into NP school, and the standards are less severe.

However, a nurse practitionermay choose to advance to a CRNAor follow any other nursing career path.


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Choosing an advanced practicenursing school is a big decision, and weighing your options carefully can help you make the right choices:

Make a list of your top priorities: Easily identify the career paththat aligns with your interests.

Take a look at both sides:Consider the positive benefits of both programs when evaluating an area where the two programs differ to create an honest comparison.

A CRNA, for example, gets more money on average, but a nurse practitionerworks fewer hours.

Consider all NP specialties: Because NPs can specialize in a wide range of subjects, it’s crucial to think about all of your possibilities before deciding on a career path.

If you have a great interest in a certain field, being a nurse practitionermay be ideal.


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Which is better, CRNA or NP?

Both CRNAsand NPs can expect to make a good living. On the other hand, working as a CRNAis a more rewarding professional option. The payslips of CRNAsare much fatter than NPs. However, NP is ok if you want to have an up-and-personal relationship with patients.

Which is harder, NP or CRNA?

CRNA schoolis a very rigorous and competitive program. Admission to NP school is substantially easier, with fewer criteria. Nurse practitionersmight focus on a particular care area, such as women’s health or acute or primary carefor adults and children. A CRNA, on the other hand, is an anesthesiologist.

How do I choose between CRNAand NP?

Choosing between a CRNAand NP career is a personal choice. You may need to weigh your preferences. NP is a better option if you love to work close up with patients. However, if you want to be a specialist, CRNAmay be the right choice.

What is the minimum education requirement for CRNAand NP?

A minimum master’s degreeis currently required for both CRNAand NP. However, by 2025, all CRNAswill be required to have a Ph.D. in nurse anesthesia. To reach the 2025 deadline, master’s-level nurse anesthesianurses will need to convert to doctoral programs by 2022.

Can I become a CRNAas an NP?

If you are a nurse practitioner, you can pursue a career as a CRNA. However, there are a few things to think about. Becoming a CRNAis not equal to climbing up the ladder. If you’re a nurse practitioner, it’s more of a lateral move.

Will my background as a nurse practitionerhelp me succeed in my CRNAstudies?

To upgrade from NP to CRNA, you must have professional experience as a nurse practitionerin addition to specified educational qualifications. A lower limit of one year of full-timework experience as a registered nurse, or the part-time equivalent, is required for most CRNApositions.

Can an NP go to CRNA school?

If you are a nurse practitioner, you can pursue a career as a CRNA. However, getting into CRNA schoolnecessitates a fresh start. The process entails applying to and interviewing for several programs, studying full-time, and participating in clinical studies. CRNA schoolis a very rigorous and competitive program.


Average Median Salary of CRNAsand NPs

From NP to CRNA

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