It’s not surprising that so many people pursue a nursing career. After all, it’s a meaningful way to leave a mark on people’s lives — and it’s potentially lucrative too!
The good thing about becoming a nurse is that there are more than enough ways to advance your career.
Today, we’re going to look at one of them — becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist.
However, the path to becoming a CRNA requires you to take several steps.
There are a lot of requirements, such as proper nursing education, national exams, licensure applications, etc.
Fortunately, we’ve mapped those out for you and provided the details of how to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Oklahoma.
We’re also going to answer FAQs that you may find helpful or interesting.
So, are you ready to find out more? Let’s begin!
How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Oklahoma in 5 Steps
The journey to becoming a CRNA takes years, and it can be overwhelming if you look at it from that perspective.
Since we can’t change the process, let’s change our view instead!
If you want to become a Nurse Anesthetist in Oklahoma, focus on these five things:
- Getting your license as an RN
- Accumulating enough nursing experience
- Graduating from an advanced nursing program
- Passing the national certification exam
- Applying with the Oklahoma Board of Nursing
Don’t worry — we’ll fill you in on the details. After reading this article, you should have all the information you need to become a CRNA in the Sooner state.
How to Become a CRNA in Oklahoma Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse
Nurse anesthetics is one of the four specializations of advanced practice registered nurses. Logically, you can’t be an APRN without getting licensed as an RN.
In Oklahoma, aspiring RNs must graduate from a nursing program- either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).
However, since you are aiming to become a CRNA, we advise you to go for a BSN since this is what CRNA programs usually require.
Once you’ve completed your education requirements, you must apply for your license through the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. Here are two ways to do it:
- Licensure by Examination: Aspiring RNs who have never had a license must take and pass the NCLEX-RN. When they do, the BON will issue them their license.
- Licensure by Endorsement: If you are already an RN who wants to work in Oklahoma, you don’t need to take the NCLEX-RN again. You can just verify your current license and meet the requirements to receive an Oklahoma-issued credential.
NOTE: If you come from a compact state, you can practice in Oklahoma without undergoing the endorsement process, but you must carry a multi-state license.
For more details on how to become an RN in Oklahoma, you can read this guide.
How to Become a CRNA in Oklahoma Step #2: Get Enough Nursing Experience to Enroll in a Graduate Program
No matter how excited you are to enroll in a CRNA program, there is still another step to take after becoming licensed.
Gaining practical experience in acute or critical care is imperative.
Although your RN program already included clinical hours, nothing beats actual work.
You will be trained to deal with critical cases, keeping level-headed and developing sound decision-making skills in high-stake situations.
This is key to becoming an effective CRNA.
Besides, you can’t get into a CRNA program in Oklahoma without having AT LEAST one year of experience in these types of settings.
How to Become a CRNA in Oklahoma Step #3: Complete an Advanced Nursing Degree
Yes, it takes a lot of studying to become a nurse anesthetist. That’s why your next step is to get an advanced degree.
You must graduate from a CRNA program with at least a Master’s degree.
However, if you can find one that offers a Doctorate, it might be a better option — by 2025, all CRNAs must have it to practice.
Here’s the catch. To date, only one school in Oklahoma offers a CRNA program — the University of Tulsa. It’ll take 36 months to complete if you attend full-time, but you’ll come out with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
That said, don’t think that you have to go there. Some neighboring states may offer more options if you’re willing to study elsewhere. For example, Texas has five, Missouri has four, and Kansas has two.
You can find a list of programs accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs here.
How to Become a CRNA in Oklahoma Step #4: Earn Your Certification
If you’re getting deja vu, you’re not alone. There are similarities between becoming an RN and a CRNA.
Remember when you had to take the NCLEX-RN? Well, you need to take another exam to become a nurse anesthetist.
This time, it’s the National Certification Exam. The NCE for CRNAs is administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.
Its questions fall under four areas:
- Basic Sciences
- Equipment, Instrumentation, and Technology
- General Principles of Anesthesia
- Anesthesia for Surgical Procedures and Special Populations
However, each topic’s share in the overall exam will change by 2024. Here’s a breakdown of the difference:
|Area||Current NCE||2024 NCE|
|Equipment, Instrumentation, and Technology||15%||20%|
|General Principles of Anesthesia||30%||35%|
|Anesthesia for Surgical Procedures and Special Populations||30%||25%|
Remember, the NCE doesn’t come cheap — you must pay an application fee of $1,045. The retake fee is the same, so it’s best to pass on your first try.
Good thing the NBCRNA offers a lot of free resources to prepare you.
How to Become a CRNA in Oklahoma Step #5: Apply for Your CRNA License
All previous steps lead to this one. It’s time to get your CRNA license.
Here’s how to do it:
- Apply online through the Oklahoma Nurse Portal. Ensure your name is identical to the one on your RN license. You will also need to provide your Social Security number.
- Undergo a licensure status review. Your RN license must be active. If it isn’t, you must have it reinstated before applying for your APRN license.
- Pass a background check.
- Provide a statement on your application if you answered yes to questions on criminal charges, discipline, or competency. It must contain the following information:
- The date, location, and circumstances of the incident
- The resulting action the court or disciplinary board took
- Ensure the following are sent directly to Oklahoma’s Board of Nursing:
- Your official transcripts from your program provider showing you met the required education requirements
- Your national certification from the certifying body
- Pay the $70 application fee.
Once you receive your CRNA license, CONGRATULATIONS!
You can start working as a CRNA in Oklahoma.
Just remember to keep your licenses active to continue working without interruption.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a CRNA in Oklahoma
How often do I have to renew my CRNA license?
All APRNs in Oklahoma renew their licenses biennially in even-number years. However, remember the following:
- You must renew your RN license first.
- You must maintain your national certification.
- You must have at least eight contact hours of continuing education in pharmacology. These must be related to the administration of anesthesia.
For more information on CE requirements, you can read our simple guide.
Where do Nurse Anesthetists usually work?
Yes, you’re likely to find CRNAs in hospitals, but these aren’t the only places where they work. Other work settings include:
- Mobile surgery centers
- Outpatient care centers
- Nursing research facilities
CRNAs may also work in the offices of plastic surgeons, dentists, ophthalmologists, and pain management specialists. Others even find employment in medical facilities in the military.
What do I need to do if I want to be able to have prescriptive authority as a CRNA?
To be able to select, order, obtain, and administer drugs, you must do the following:
- Have your CRNA program provider send your official transcripts to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing
- Complete a minimum of 15 hours of Continuing Education in Advanced Pharmacology.
NOTE: These must be topics connected to administering anesthesia. You must also have completed them within two years of your application.
- Submit an Affidavit to the Board of Nursing when you receive your DEA and OBNDD registrations.
NOTE: This requirement only applies to those who intend to prescribe Schedule II-V drugs.
How much do Nurse Anesthetists earn in Oklahoma?
CRNAs in Oklahoma have a median annual salary of $181,660. That’s around 10% lower than the national average of $202,470.
However, remember that several factors affect your salary. These include the city you work in and your level of experience.
And there you have it! That’s everything you must know to become a Nurse Anesthetist in Oklahoma.
Things won’t look too daunting if you focus on one step at a time.
Following the five steps will ensure that you’ll stay on the right path throughout.
With all this information to guide you, we’re sure you’ll be a practicing CRNA in Oklahoma in no time!
We wish you all the best.