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

How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Tennessee featured image

Planning to become a nurse anesthetist in Tennessee but don’t know where to start?

Becoming a CRNA is challenging, to say the least. 

The whole process can seem overwhelming since it involves years of rigorous training and thorough evaluation.

With all the requirements, it’s easy to feel lost. Where do you even start?

That’s why we created this step-by-step guide on how to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Tennessee. 

We’ll walk you through the process and make it much simpler for you. 

After that, we’ll answer some FAQs.

Now, as we go through the process, remember to keep your end-goal in mind.

Becoming a CRNA allows you to help people in such a crucial and meaningful way. It also yields a very rewarding career professionally and financially. 

Keeping the goal in mind will help you persevere through the difficulties.

And, if you’ve got a passion for healthcare and a compassionate personality, then you’re already off to a great start!

So, let’s dive in!

How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist in Tennessee in 6 Steps

To become a CRNA in Tennessee, you need to follow these six steps:

  • Step #1: Complete a BSN Program
  • Step #2: Obtain Your RN License
  • Step #3: Gain Critical Care Experience
  • Step #4: Enroll in an Advanced Nursing Degree
  • Step #5: Pass the National Certification Exam (NCE)
  • Step #6: Apply for Licensure in Tennessee

Let’s discuss each one!

How to Become a CRNA in Tennessee Step #1: Complete a BSN Program

To become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Tennessee, you must have an active RN license in Tennessee.  

Check out this article if you want a more detailed guide on becoming an RN in Tennessee.

For now, we’ll go over the most critical steps. 

There are two options to obtain your nursing degree, getting an ADN or BSN degree. However, it’s worth mentioning that CRNA programs only accept candidates who completed a BSN program. 

The BSN program takes four years to complete and provides a more comprehensive nursing education. It usually covers advanced topics such as evidence-based research, laboratory practices, and management. 

But, if you already have an ADN and want to advance in your career, you can take an ADN-to-BSN bridge program, which takes around two years. 

Another thing, before you enroll in a nursing program, make sure that the school is accredited or approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing

How to Become a CRNA in Tennessee Step #2: Obtain Your RN License

Now that you’ve completed your nursing program, you’re one step closer to becoming an RN in Tennessee. 

Licensure by Examination

Upon graduating from a nursing program, you must take and pass the NCLEX-RN. You must register with Pearson Vue and pay the $200 exam fee.

But before you can take the NCLEX, you need to apply for your initial licensure to the Tennessee Board of Nursing to receive your Authorization to Test (ATT). You’ll be required to upload the following on their online platform:

  • Background check 
  • Official transcript from your nursing school to be mailed directly to the BON
  • Signed and notarized Declaration of Citizenship form 
  • One passport photograph with date and signature 

If you pass the exam, the Board will issue and verify your RN license within six weeks. On the other hand, if you fail the exam, you can just retake it provided you pay for the exam fee again. 

Licensure by Endorsement

Do you already have an active RN license from a noncompact state?

If you answered yes, then you can obtain your Tennessee license by endorsement. You can complete your application online.

You will need to upload and submit the following:

But if you come from a compact state and have a multistate license, then you can make use of your license without having to apply for a new one. Tennessee is also a compact state. 

How to Become a CRNA in Tennessee Step #3: Gain Critical Care Experience

Now that you’re an RN, you need to gain critical care experience first since this is one of the primary requirements to get into an advanced nursing program. 

Depending on the program you choose, you may be required to have at least one to two years of experience.

This step is crucial to help you gain the necessary skills and knowledge to manage complex medical situations. Moreover, becoming a CRNA requires an advanced level of expertise and the ability to assess a patient’s condition quickly.

And those are just some of the skills that you’ll gain as an RN in critical care. 

How to Become a Tennessee Step #4: Enroll in an Advanced Nursing Degree

You can’t be a nurse anesthetist just yet. 

You need to first enroll in an accredited advanced nursing program and graduate with a doctorate degree. 

The nurse anesthetist program may take three to four years to complete, for a full-time student. The program must include these core courses:

  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Advanced health assessment
  • Advanced physiology/pathophysiology 

To qualify for a nurse anesthetist program in Tennessee, you must:

  • Have a BSN degree
  • GPA of 3.0
  • Active TN RN license
  • Have one to two years of critical care experience 

Some schools may also require active certifications in PALS, ACLS, and BLS. So, it’s best to check the admission requirements of your preferred school. Just make sure that they are accredited by the TN Board of Nursing

But, here’s the thing, meeting the admission requirements does not guarantee you a spot in the program. Most schools require an interview to get to know you better. 

How to Become a CRNA in North Dakota Step #5: Pass the National Certification Exam (NCE)

After completing your advanced nursing program, you must become a certified nurse anesthetist by passing the National Certification Exam (NCE).

The Tennessee Board of Nursing acknowledges the National Board of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA) for APRN certification.  

The NCE qualifying exam includes the following topics:

  • Basic Science
  • Advanced Principles of Anesthesia
  • Technology, Equipment, and Instruction
  • Basic Principles of Anesthesia

If you pass the NCE, you can now apply for your APRN license in Tennessee. You also need to request NBCRNA to send the certificate verification to

How to Become a CRNA in North Dakota Step #6: Apply for Licensure in Tennessee

The last step is to apply for your APRN license in Tennessee. 

Before you apply, you also need to request your official electronic transcript from your advanced nursing program and send it to

You can apply online and upload the following documents in PDF format:

If you have a positive criminal history, you need to upload the following:

  • Letter of explanation
  • Certified copies of judgment, warrant of arrest, and completion of judgment

You also need to pay for the $210 application fee. 

The Board will review your application and notify you of the results within six weeks.

If approved, you will receive your license and can start practicing as a fully-fledged CRNA!

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Nurse Anesthetist in Tennessee

What are the skills that aspiring CRNAs must have?

If you want to become a CRNA in Tennessee, you must have the following skills:

  • Advanced clinical assessment and decision-making skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Proficient in handling/operating anesthesia equipment and technology
  • Strong communication skills
  • Advanced Anatomy and pharmacology knowledge
  • Empathetic 
  • Emotional stability

How do I renew my APRN license in Tennessee?

Your APRN license expires every two years. You will receive an email notification 45 days prior to the expiration date. 

However, you may apply for renewal up to 120 days prior to the expiration date. 

You can submit your renewal application online and pay the renewal fee of $110. 

You must provide evidence of:

  • Current national certification from NBCRNA
  • 2 contact hours of CE of controlled substance prescription practices, including TN Chronic Pain Guidelines for APRNS with Certificate of Fitness (CF)
  • 5 contact hours of continuing education for active APRNs (10 contact hours if not an active APRN)

TN APRNs must complete 5 hours of continuing education to renew their licenses. However, if you’re not an active APRN, you are required to complete 10 hours of continuing education. 

How much, on average, do CRNAs in Tennessee make?

Based on the Bureau of Labor and Statistics 2022 report, CRNAs in Tennessee make an average of $174,170 per year or around $83.74 per hour.


As you can see, becoming a CRNA takes dedication and commitment. 

It may be difficult at first, but the professional and personal rewards you will receive afterwards are unlike any other.

And as you start your journey, remember that your commitment to excellence will lead you to success. Your journey may be a roller coaster ride, but your goal is within your reach.

So, take the knowledge from this guide and embrace the challenge.

Best of luck on this incredible journey, and may your future as a Nurse Anesthetist in Tennessee be filled with success and fulfillment!

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