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

How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Hawaii

If you are interested in becoming a CRNA in Hawaii, you’ve come to the right place!

CRNAs are in-demand advanced practice nurses who administer anesthesia to patients undergoing surgical, therapeutic, or diagnostic procedures. 

Even though working as a CRNA is a challenging career, the outcome is always rewarding. 

You get to help patients manage pain in critical procedures, you become a highly-respected and vital member of the healthcare team, and you become one of the highest-paid healthcare professionals! 

But the question is… How do you become one? 

If you’re not quite sure about the whole process, we’re here to help!

We’ll give you a simple 5-step guide on how to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Hawaii.

And we’ll also answer relevant questions, such as:

  • How much do CRNAs in Hawaii make?
  • How long does it usually take to become a CRNA in Hawaii?
  • What are the license renewal requirements for CRNAs in Hawaii? 

We have a lot to discuss, so let’s dive in!

How to Become a CRNA in Hawaii in 5 Steps

Here is a quick overview of the steps for becoming a CRNA in Hawaii:

  1. Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree and a Nursing License
  2. Gain Relevant Experience as an RN
  3. Complete a Master’s or Doctorate Degree Program
  4. Pass the National Certification Exam
  5. Obtain Your License

Let’s discuss each one in detail!

Step #1: Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree and a Nursing License

CRNAs are Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. This means that becoming an RN is a prerequisite before you can become a Nurse Anesthetist.

To become an RN, you first need to complete a nursing degree and obtain a registered nurse license. 

A nursing degree program will provide you with a strong foundation in nursing practice and theory which is important when you’re planning to be a CRNA.

We suggest you go straight for a Bachelor of Science degree rather than an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) because most CRNA education programs require a BSN as your educational background. 

However, if you are already an ADN-RN, it doesn’t mean you can’t become a CRNA. You may find RN to BSN bridge programs or you may be required to take some prerequisite courses before proceeding to the CRNA program. 

Once you have completed an accredited nursing degree, you also need to pass the NCLEX-RN to obtain your license. 

To obtain your RN license, you need to gather and submit the required documents:

  • Evidence of receiving the “Verification of License”
  • Verification of educational credentials and exam scores
  • Submit the completed and signed application form
  • Your social security number
  • Verification of employment 
  • FBI fingerprints 

According to the Hawaii Board of Nursing, once the application has been submitted, the processing time takes 15-20 business days. 

For more information on how to become an RN in Hawaii, check out How to Become an RN in Hawaii (A Complete Guide).

Step #2: Gain Relevant Experience as an RN

Now that you have your RN license, you will be able to work in healthcare settings such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, and clinics.

In Hawaii, you need to have at least one year of nursing experience in an acute care setting such as an operating room or intensive care unit since CRNAs will be responsible for administering anesthesia during surgery and other medical procedures.

Most CRNA education programs won’t accept your enrollment application without at least 1-2 years of experience. 

As a registered nurse, you will be able to experience administering medications, providing patient care, and working with other healthcare professionals. This experience is crucial as you move on to the next steps in becoming a CRNA. 

The experience, skills, and knowledge that you will gain as an RN will become valuable if you decide to pursue a career as a CRNA. 

Step #3: Complete a Master’s or Doctorate Degree Program

Now that you have relevant nursing experience, you need to complete a master’s degree or doctoral program from an accredited CRNA school.

Unfortunately, there are no CRNA programs or schools in Hawaii. If you want to pursue a CRNA career, you will need to travel outside Hawaii to obtain your degree.

Most CRNA programs take 2-3 years to complete, depending on your preferred university’s requirements. 

All CRNA programs include in-classroom and clinical training. During the in-classroom training, students will take courses such as pharmacology, anesthesia principles, anatomy, and physiology. 

During the clinical portion, students will experience hands-on training where they will work with patients in different healthcare settings under the supervision of anesthesiologists and experienced CRNAs.

Take note that by 2025, all aspiring CRNAs will need to have graduated from a doctorate program rather than a Master’s.

Step #4:  Pass the National Certification Exam

You’re almost there!

The last step in becoming a CRNA in Hawaii is to take and pass the National Certification Exam (NCE) administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). 

The NCE is similar to the NCLEX-RN you took in the past, but it is precisely for nurse anesthetists. 

The national exam measures your skills, knowledge, and abilities as an entry-level nurse anesthesia practitioner. It consists of different types of questions such as multi-select, multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, short answer, and hotspot. 

To be eligible to take the NCE, you must have completed an accredited CRNA program and have an active RN license. 

Here are some of the topics that may be covered in the NCE:

  • The Professional and Legal Aspects of Nurse Anesthesia
  • Pharmacology
  • Anatomy, Pathophysiology, and Physiology
  • The Basic Principles of Anesthesia Practice
  • The Anesthetic Management of Surgical Speciality Procedures
  • Pediatric, Geriatric, and Obstetrical Anesthesia

To help you prepare for the NCE, there are available study courses, study guides, and practice exam software for CRNA graduates. 

The National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetics (NBCRNA) also provides a Self-Evaluation Examination to help students who are enrolled in an accredited nurse anesthesia program prepare for the NCE.

Step #5: Obtain Your CRNA License

Congratulations on passing the NCE!

You’ve come a long way and, finally, all the hard work has paid off!

To obtain your CRNA license, you must submit:

  • A completed application form
  • Criminal history record check
  • Government-issued ID
  • Current Hawaii RN license
  • A licensing fee of $60

It’s worth noting that you should keep your RN and CRNA licenses active so you can enjoy the job opportunities that await you.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a CRNA in Hawaii

So, we’ve covered the 5 steps to becoming a CRNA in Hawaii. 

But let’s tackle a few more questions that can help you prepare for your future career. 

How much do CRNAs in Hawaii make?

According to an employment survey conducted by, the average annual salary of CRNAs in Hawaii is $211,200 as of January 2023. 

Top CRNA earners are making around $314,617 annually in Honolulu.

The average salary for CRNAs varies greatly and depends on their skill level, years of experience, and location. 

How long does it usually take to become a CRNA in Hawaii?

The CRNA program alone takes 2-3 years to complete. 

However, it can take you between 7 to 10 years to become a CRNA since you still need to earn a BSN degree and gain relevant nursing experience. 

What are the license renewal requirements for CRNAs in Hawaii?

APRNs in Hawaii are required to renew their RN and APRN licenses to continue practicing. License renewal is done every 30th of June of an odd-numbered year. 

The great news is that you can renew your CRNA license online if it is not yet expired. 

You are required to submit the following:

  • Criminal background check
  • Proof of completion of at least 30 CE hours (8 hours in pharmacology and 22 hours in your practice specialty).


Becoming a CRNA is a challenging but rewarding journey. With your dedication and hard work, you can easily achieve your goal of becoming a highly skilled and respected healthcare professional. 

If you’re willing to commit, we encourage you to research and identify the programs and resources available in Hawaii.

Good luck with your journey. We are rooting for you!

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