Are you a nursing student who dreams of becoming a nurse anesthetist in Texas?
Or perhaps you are already an RN who is looking to develop your career as a CRNA?
If so, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the process of becoming a CRNA.
It requires years of hard work and high expenses. Not to mention a lot of complicated steps to get there!
Although we admit that becoming a CRNA is no easy task, we are here to simplify the process for you.
We’ll give you the steps on how to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Texas in 5 simple, doable steps.
Think of the steps as short-term goals. Enjoy each step of the way without being too overwhelmed with your long-term goal.
Aside from giving you a simple guide, we’ll also answer questions, such as:
- Are CRNAs in demand in Texas?
- What are the job opportunities for a CRNA in Texas?
- How much does a CRNA earn in Texas?
We have a lot to discuss, so if you’re ready, let’s dive in!
How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in 5 Simple Steps
Here are the five steps to becoming a nurse anesthetist:
- Become an RN in Texas
- Take a Master’s or Doctorate in Nurse Anesthetics
- Get Your National Certification
- Apply for Your CRNA License in Texas
- Maintain Your RN and CRNA License in Texas
Step #1: Become an RN in Texas
To become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, you first have to become a Registered Nurse.
This is the foundational requirement for all aspiring CRNAs.
You can read a full article on how to become an RN in Texas here, but let’s talk about some important points.
Enroll in an Approved RN Program
The first step to becoming an RN is to enroll in a program that is approved or accredited by the Texas Board of Nursing.
There are two types of RN programs you can choose from – an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
An ADN will take you about 2 years to complete, while a BSN will take you about 4 years to complete.
Although both programs can qualify you to become an RN, the BSN will give you more career opportunities in the future. It’s also easier and faster to proceed to an advanced degree with a BSN because you cover more coursework than in an ADN.
However, if you are an RN-ADN, you can still proceed to a more advanced degree by taking a bridge program.
Get Your RN License in Texas
Once you graduate from your nursing school, you can apply for your RN license in Texas.
There are two basic ways to apply for a license in Texas – through examination or endorsement.
All aspiring RNs need to pass the NCLEX-RN exam.
To take the exam you need to submit some requirements, such as a completed application form, your transcript of records from your nursing school, exam and application fees, and a criminal background check.
Texas also has a unique requirement where you need to pass a nursing jurisprudence exam before you can take the NCLEX-RN.
Once the Texas BON authorizes you to test, you can schedule your exam with Pearson Vue and take the NCLEX.
Another way to become an RN in Texas is through endorsement.
This process is for those who are already RNs in another state but would like to become an RN in Texas.
You need to submit similar requirements to the BON, but instead of taking the NCLEX, you need to show your active RN license from your state of origin.
Nurse Licensure Compact
Texas is part of the nursing licensure compact. This compact allows RNs to practice in other compact states without having to apply as an RN through endorsement.
So, if your state of origin is a nursing compact state, then you can apply to become an APRN in Texas without having to become an RN in Texas first.
Before you can enroll in a CRNA program, you have to gain experience as an RN in an acute or critical care environment, such as the ICU.
Aside from gaining the necessary experience, this is a good time for you to determine if you want to proceed to nurse anesthetics.
Step #2: Take a Master’s or Doctorate in Nurse Anesthetics
If you are already an RN in Texas or an RN with a compact nursing license, then it’s time to proceed to step 2.
All aspiring CRNAs need to enroll in an accredited master’s or doctorate in nurse anesthetics.
By 2025, however, a master’s will no longer be acceptable to become a CRNA. A doctorate will be required for aspiring CRNAs.
This is because nurse anesthetists require a lot of specialized knowledge and skills and TONS of clinical experience.
It is important to enroll in a program that is approved by the Texas Board of Nursing or accredited by a national accrediting body recognized by the Board and the Department of Education.
Currently, five schools in Texas offer CRNA programs. These include:
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Texas Christian University
- Texas Wesleyan University
- The University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center
- US Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing
The programs are usually divided into two major phases – the didactic phase and the clinical phase.
Coursework and Clinical Experience
Some of the courses you can expect to take include:
- advanced anatomy,
- physical exam & differential diagnosis,
- advanced pharmacology & chemistry,
- essentials of anesthesia practice,
- basic & advanced principles of anesthesia practice,
- health policy,
- finance & practice management,
- healthcare informatics, and
- evidence-based principles.
The minimum number of clinical hours is 500, but you can expect to achieve much more than that in the course of your education program.
Step #3: Get Your National Certification
After you graduate from your program, you can qualify to take the national certification examination offered by the NBCRNA (National Board of Certification & Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists).
NBCRNA is the only organization that offers the national exam for CRNAs.
All aspiring CRNAs NEED to pass this exam to become licensed.
Here is a comprehensive handbook from NBCRNA that discusses the requirements to take the exam, as well as the exam itself.
The exam is a computer adaptive test (CAT). You will be expected to answer a minimum of 100 questions, with a maximum of 170 questions.
The types of questions include:
- multiple choice questions
- multiple correct responses
- drag and drop
- hot spot
The content of the exam will cover four major content areas:
- Basic Sciences (25%)
- Equipment, Instrumentation, and Technology (15%)
- Basics Principles of Anesthesia (30%)
- Advanced Principles of Anesthesia (30%)
Although the exam may seem overwhelming, it is your last major hurdle to becoming a CRNA.
Step #4: Apply for Your CRNA License in Texas
Once you have passed your national exam, you can apply for your CRNA license in Texas through the Texas Board of Nursing.
You can find the application forms here.
The requirements for application include:
- a $100 application fee ($150 if you are applying with prescriptive authority)
- your Texas RN license or your RN license from another nursing compact state
- certification of completion of your CRNA educational program approved by the Board
- your national certification from the NBCRNA with the expiration date
- completion of a minimum of 400 hours of practice within the last 24 calendar months or completion of your advanced practice nursing educational program within the last 24 calendar months
- completion of a minimum of 20 contact hours of continuing nursing education within the last 24 calendar months or completion of your advanced practice nursing educational program within the last 24 calendar months.
After processing these requirements, all you have to do is wait to receive your official Texas CRNA license.
Step #5: Maintain Your RN and CRNA License in Texas
Once you are a CRNA, you will find a lot of job opportunities available for you!
You can now fully enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
But don’t forget to renew your RN and CRNA licenses every two years!
To renew your license, you need 20 contact hours of continuing education related to your advanced practice role and population focus area.
These 20 contact hours will be credited to both your RN and CRNA licenses. In other words, you only need to complete 20 contact hours for both licenses, rather than 20 contact hours for each license.
You may also renew your CRNA license by renewing or maintaining your national certificate within the licensing period and meeting the applicable targeted continuing education requirements.
You will be expected to pay $68 for your RN renewal and $129 for your CRNA renewal. You can check the fees here.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Become a CRNA in Texas
Now that we’ve covered the 5 basic steps to becoming a CRNA, let’s answer some important questions.
Are CRNAs in demand in Texas?
YES! According to the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce Studies, the demand for CRNAs is projected to grow by 56.3% from 2015 to 2030. It is also projected that this demand will go unmet by 17.7%.
TXANA reports that 97% of all Texas counties depend on CRNAs for surgical or obstetrical services. Only 5 counties in Texas rely on anesthesiologists, but the rest of the counties have CRNAs available to provide anesthesia-related care.
CRNAs play a massive role in Texas.
Texas also has the highest level of employment for nurse anesthetists.
What are the job opportunities for a CRNA in Texas?
Nurse anesthetists have a lot of job opportunities. They can work in hospitals, surgical centers, or in private offices of surgeons or MDs. They can also work independently or be part of an anesthesia care team.
This table from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the areas with the highest level of employment for CRNAs.
How much does a CRNA earn in Texas?
According to the BLS, the mean annual wage for a CRNA in Texas is $ 197,540.
And there you have it!
We’ve discussed the 5 steps to becoming a CRNA.
We’ve also discovered that CRNAs are in high demand in Texas, that they have a lot of job opportunities (including independent practice), and that they can earn a very high annual income.
Although the process to become a CRNA is long and difficult, it is also worth it.
We hope you found this article helpful on your CRNA journey!
We wish you all the best!