How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Colorado – A Simple Guide

How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Colorado

Have you been feeling stagnant in your nursing role?

Are you looking for ways to advance your career?

Or perhaps you’re a nursing student with great ambition.

Becoming a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) might just be for you! 

CRNAs provide anesthesia services to patients in hospitals and other medical settings. They also ensure patients have a painless and comfortable healthcare experience. 

That said, becoming a nurse anesthetist can be a confusing and difficult process. 

Without the right information and guidance, it’s easy for applicants to feel lost and overwhelmed. 

Luckily, we have all the details you need—and then some—in this guide on how to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Colorado. 

We’ll guide you through the process in just four steps. 

And we’ll even answer some FAQs, such as:

  • What types of CRNA jobs are available in Colorado?
  • What is the CRNA salary in Colorado?
  • What continuing education is required for CRNAs in Colorado?

Reaching your goal starts with knowing how to get there! 

So, let’s go through the process step-by-step!

Role of Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs)

CRNAs (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists) play an essential role in healthcare. 

They are highly trained professionals who specialize in anesthesia-related services such as:

  • patient assessment
  • preoperative preparation
  • post-anesthesia care

CRNAs also provide pain management services, including epidural and nerve blocks. 

They work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, medical offices, urgent care centers, and more. 

How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist in Colorado in 4 Steps

These are the four steps to becoming a CRNA in Colorado:

Step#1: Become an RN and Gain Experience 

Step#2: Enroll in a CRNA Education Program 

Step#3: Take the NCE and Gain Certification from the NBCRNA

Step#4: Apply for a CRNA License from the Colorado BON and Start Working as a CRNA

Step#1: Become an RN and Gain Experience 

To become an RN, you need to earn either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). 

A BSN generally takes four years to complete, while an ADN typically takes two to three years. 

However, since your goal is to become a CRNA, you should go after the BSN. 

This is because a BSN teaches you so much more. 

Plus, a lot of CRNA programs require a BSN to enroll. 

After completing your nursing degree, you must apply for your RN license by creating an account with the Colorado Division of Professions and Occupations Online Services.

Once that’s done, you will need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). 

This exam measures the competencies needed to perform safely 

Once you’ve passed the NCLEX-RN, you can verify your RN license in Nursys.  

The Colorado Board of Nursing will verify your education, assess your NCLEX-RN results, and conduct a background check before granting you a license to practice nursing.

For a more detailed guide on how to become an RN in Colorado, you can check this link

Step#2: Enroll in a CRNA Education Program 

CRNAs are advanced practice nurses. This means that you’ll need to level up your education by obtaining either a master’s or doctoral degree in nurse anesthesia. 

These degrees dive deep into specialized knowledge and skills related to anesthesia practice, such as:

  • pharmacology of anesthetic agents
  • techniques in anesthesia administration
  • pain management
  • care of patients during surgery

The typical master’s program lasts around two to three years, while a doctoral program may take three to four years. 

Both paths prepare you for a leadership role in the field of nurse anesthesia.

But wait, there’s more! 

Before applying to a CRNA program, you’ll need at least one year of clinical experience, preferably in a critical care or anesthesia-related patient care setting. 

Your experience in critical care will provide you with the ability to make rapid and complex decisions, communicate effectively with other healthcare professionals, and manage sophisticated healthcare technology.

Now, you might be wondering, “Where do I find the right CRNA program for me?” 

Good news! 

You can use this handy tool to find an accredited program in your area. 

Note: It’s essential to choose a program that’s accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA). This ensures the program meets the national standards for nurse anesthesia education.

Once you’ve found the perfect program, all that’s left is to apply! 

Make sure to carefully review the admission requirements, which may include transcripts, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and possibly an interview.

Step#3: Take the NCE and Gain Certification from the NBCRNA

So, you’ve successfully completed your CRNA education program, and now you’re on the final stretch toward becoming a Nurse Anesthetist in Colorado. 

The next step is to pass the National Certification Examination (NCE) and earn your certification from the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). 

To be eligible for CRNA licensure in Colorado, applicants must pass this exam with a minimum score of 80%. 

To prepare for the NCE, you’ll want to review the NBCRNA’s Candidate Handbook and familiarize yourself with the content outline and structure of the exam. 

Additionally, detailed study guides and practice tests are available online to help CRNAs better understand the exam’s material. 

If you pass, the NCBRNA will issue your certification, recognizing you as a qualified professional in the field of nurse anesthesia.

Step#4: Apply for a CRNA License from the Colorado BON 

You’ve done it! 

You’ve reached the final step in your journey to becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Colorado. 

Now, it’s time to apply for your CRNA license from the Colorado Board of Nursing (BON). 

This step will require attention to detail, so let’s walk through the process together:

1. Complete the Required Application Type

Depending on your situation, there are two application types you may apply for in Colorado:

  • APN (Advanced Practice Nurse): If you hold an active Colorado Registered Nurse (RN) license, you’ll apply for an APN. You can find this application under ‘Nursing – Colorado RN Advanced Practice & Prescriptive Authority Applications’ in the ‘Online Services’ portal.
  • C-APN (Compact-Multi State Registered Nurse license): If you hold an active Compact-Multi State RN license, you’ll apply for a C-APN. You’ll find this under ‘Nursing – Out of State RN Advanced Practice & Prescriptive Authority Applications’ in the portal.

2. Complete an Online Healthcare Professions Profile

This profile gathers information about your education, experience, and background to evaluate your qualifications for licensure. You’ll need to include:

  • Verification of your National Certification (AANA, ANCCC, PNCB, etc.)
  • Information regarding other healthcare licenses you may have held
  • Declaration of your primary state of residence (PSOR)
  • Professional liability insurance details

3. Submit Official Documents

You’ll need to attach official, sealed college transcripts that document your graduate nurse anesthetist education. These transcripts should list all courses completed, grades received, the issuing school’s name, contact information, and accreditation status.

Note: If your college transcripts are more than three years old, additional documentation may be required.

4. Pay the Application Fee

You must submit the required non-refundable and non-transferable application fee via credit card. The exact amount can be confirmed on the Colorado BON’s website.

5. Criminal Background Check

Although CRNAs in Colorado are not required to undergo a criminal history background check, you must submit fingerprints for a criminal record check to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) before providing health care services. 

This process includes statewide and federal checks, and results may take some time. For any questions, you can contact the CBI at 303-239-4301, Monday through Friday, 8 am – 5 pm MST.

FAQs About Becoming a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Colorado

Alright! We’ve already covered the steps to becoming a CRNA in Colorado. 

But you might still have some questions about what it’s like being a CRNA in Colorado.

Let’s answer a few of those questions now. 

What types of CRNA jobs are available in Colorado?

CRNAs work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices. 

Job opportunities for CRNAs tend to be concentrated in larger urban areas such as Denver, Aurora, Boulder, and Colorado Springs. 

CRNAs may also specialize in certain fields such as pediatrics, neonatology, and long-term care.

It won’t be hard for you to find a CRNA job since they are in demand. 

What is the CRNA salary in Colorado?

CRNAs in Colorado earn a mean annual salary of $185,860, based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This translates to about $89.36 per hour.

This figure can vary based on factors such as experience, and specialty area. 

CRNAs who specialize in high-demand areas may also be able to negotiate higher salaries.

They may also earn bonuses and other forms of compensation depending on the healthcare facility.

What continuing education is required for CRNAs in Colorado?

Colorado requires CRNAs to renew their licenses every two years. They must also complete 24 hours of approved continuing education courses during each renewal period. 

These courses must be relevant to the CRNA’s practice and must be approved by the state Board of Nursing. They may also need to complete additional continuing education depending on the scope of their practice.  

CRNAs should consult with the state Board for more information about licensure maintenance requirements. 

Final Thoughts

Becoming a CRNA in Colorado is an exciting and rewarding career path for those looking to work in the healthcare field. 

But the process can seem long and overwhelming.

But with this guide, we’ve given you everything you need to know about how to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Colorado. 

With proper preparation, you can pass the National Certification Examination (NCE) and apply for CRNA licensure. 

The salary of CRNAs in Colorado is competitive with other states, making it an attractive option for many nurses interested in this specialty area. 

If you’re considering becoming a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Colorado, make sure you have all your ducks lined up before jumping into the process.

Good luck!

Are you considering a career in nursing? Check out our guide on how to become a nurse

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