Are you feeling lost?
You want to become a nurse anesthetist, but you’re not quite sure how.
There’s a lot of information out there and it can get all muddled up in your mind.
You’ve probably heard that you need to take the NCLEX and the NCE. Which comes first?
Should you take a master’s or a doctorate?
Do you need to have a national certification?
These are just some of the questions you may have.
With all these things to keep in mind, it’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed.
It doesn’t help that different states have different requirements!
But that’s exactly why we’re here!
We’ll tell you how to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in Alaska using 5 steps.
Our guide will be simple but comprehensive enough to set you up for the journey.
We’ll also answer the following FAQs:
- How long does it take to complete the Nurse Anesthetist program in Alaska?
- How much do CRNAs in Alaska earn?
We’ll be honest, becoming a CRNA requires rigorous training and years of dedication.
It’s not for the faint of heart.
But if you’ve been dreaming of a career that combines the excitement of working in a fast-paced medical environment with the satisfaction of helping others, then keep reading!
By the end of this article, you’ll have a roadmap to achieve your dreams.
How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Alaska in 5 Simple Steps
To become licensed as a CRNA, you must take the following steps:
Step#1: Become a Registered Nurse and Gain Experience
Step#2: Complete a Doctoral Degree
Step#3: Pass the CRNA Certification Exam
Step#4: Apply for a CRNA License from the Alaska BON
Step#5: Maintain License and Certification
Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse and Gain Experience
CRNA stands for Certified REGISTERED NURSE Anesthetist.
This clearly indicates that you first have to become a Registered Nurse (RN) before you can specialize as a Nurse Anesthetist.
But how do you become an RN in Alaska?
Well, you must do the following:
- Earn a nursing diploma from an accredited nursing program. This can be either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
NOTE: Since your goal is to become a CRNA, it’s best to earn a BSN.
- Pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This is the national standard for RN licensure.
- Apply for RN licensure in Alaska through the Alaska Board of Nursing. You will need to submit your educational transcripts, proof of passing the NCLEX-RN exam, complete a background check, and pay the fees.
Remember, after becoming an RN, you’ll need to gain experience in a critical care setting. This is part of your pathway to becoming a CRNA.
Step #2: Complete a Doctoral Degree
Becoming an RN is already a GREAT achievement.
But if you want to go further and become an Advanced Practice Nurse, you need to invest more time and energy.
And that makes a lot of sense because nurse anesthetics require a highly specialized skill set!
To ensure this, prospective Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) must meet the appropriate educational requirements.
For aspiring practitioners, you need an advanced degree from an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program.
Previously, a master’s degree was enough to qualify you to become a CRNA. However, aspiring CRNAs will be required to obtain a doctoral degree by 2025.
This means that if you try to get into a nurse anesthesia program this year, you will need to enroll in a doctoral program already.
You must also make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by an accrediting agency approved by the United States Department of Education and the Alaska Board of Nursing.
You can expect classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction in specialty areas such as:
- Clinical anesthesia
- Anesthesia equipment management
- Professional issues related to nursing anesthesia practice
- Research Methodology
In addition to meeting rigorous academic standards, you will also need to complete a certain number of hours of clinical experience across a variety of settings, including general surgery, cardiac surgery, obstetrical care, and pediatrics.
Step #3: Pass the CRNA Certification Exam
The exam is given by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).
It typically has a minimum of 100 computerized questions, but you may receive up to 170 depending on your performance.
The exam covers a wide range of topics related to nursing anesthesia including:
- Physiology, pharmacology
- Patient assessment and management
- Safety measures
- and more
You can see this handbook from the NBCRNA for a breakdown of the exam types and content areas.
If you complete the examination successfully, CONGRATULATIONS!
Verification of your certification will be sent to you by the state board of nursing.
Step #4: Apply for a CRNA License from the Alaska BON
There are two ways you can submit your application to the Alaska BON: online or by mail.
If you choose to go online, here are the steps to do it:
- Create a MyAlaska Account: Open MyAlaska and create an account to open the online application page.
- Notary Signature Page: Submit a notarized signature page (Form #08-4028, page 4 ONLY) to start the online application. The notarized signature page is an official acknowledgment of your intent to apply for licensure in Alaska.
- Official Transcripts: Provide official transcripts directly from your graduate program, indicating successful completion of your course of study in accordance with 12 AAC 44.400 (a)(1)(A).
Note: Copies that come directly from the applicant are not accepted.
- National Certification: The Alaska BON requires proof of current national certification in your role and population focus. This proof must come directly from the certifying body. As before, copies from the applicant are not accepted.
- Professional Reference: Provide a completed Reference Form (Form #08-4028a) from one of the three references listed on your application. This person should be qualified to verify your competency to practice as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).
If you want to send your application through mail, here’s what you want to do:
- Application: Print out the application form on the Alaska Board of Nursing website and fill the pages with the correct information.
- Pay Fees: Settle your fees with a check, which must be paid to the “State of Alaska.” The total fee is $500. For a detailed breakdown, check here.
- Official Transcripts: Similar to the previous requirements, official transcripts must be sent directly from your graduate program. This should show the successful completion of a course of study.
- National Certification: A verification of your current national certification in your role and population focus must be sent directly from the certifying body to the Alaska BON. Copies sent by the applicant will not be accepted.
- Professional Reference: Submit a filled-out Professional Reference form (Form #08-4028a) completed by one of the three references listed on your application.
- Mail out everything: you must send it to the address on the application form.
Once all these materials have been received and reviewed by the division, your application for an APRN license in Alaska can be processed.
Make sure to double-check all information and ensure your documents are correctly filled out and sent from the appropriate sources to avoid any delays in the application process.
Step #5: Maintain License and Certification
Once you become a CRNA, you can start working as one and enjoy the benefits of it.
But don’t forget that you need to maintain your license to continue practicing as a CRNA!
In Alaska, you need to renew BOTH your RN license and your CRNA license every two years.
You must also maintain a current national certification as a CRNA from the NBCRNA.
To maintain your national CRNA license and certification, you’ll need to stay up-to-date with the NBCRNA’s Continued Professional Certification (CPC) Program.
This program has an eight-year cycle divided into two four-year periods.
Every two years, you’ll complete an online check-in to confirm that your state license is in good standing and that you have been practicing as a nurse anesthetist.
You must take the CPC Assessment exam at the end of each eight-year cycle.
This test consists of 150 questions designed to assess your knowledge of the four Core Modules of nurse anesthesia:
- Airway management
- General principles for anesthesia practice
Note that this is not a pass/fail exam.
It measures your performance against established standards for CRNAs.
If you don’t meet current board standards, you must complete additional continuing education credits to maintain your certification.
Aside from maintaining your national certificate, you must also submit an employment verification form that shows that you have worked as a CRNA for at least 320 hours in the last 2 years.
There are more requirements for those who have prescriptive authority or a federal DEA registration number. You can check the CE requirements for renewal here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Alaska
And there you have it!
We’ve seen the 4 steps to becoming a nurse anesthetist.
That wasn’t so bad, was it?
But you may still have more questions, so let’s go through some FAQs.
How long does it take to complete the Nurse Anesthetist program in Alaska?
The duration of a Nurse Anesthetist program, which leads to either a Master’s or Doctoral degree, generally spans about 2 to 4 years (25 to 51 months) for full-time students.
However, this can vary based on factors such as the specific structure of the program at the university, whether you’re studying on a full-time or part-time basis, and the number of clinical hours required by the program.
How much do CRNAs earn in Alaska?
As of June 2023, the average salary for a Certified Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) working in Alaska is around $228,491. However, depending on various factors, the salary can generally fall within a range between $212,454 to $246,676.
The city you’re practicing in Alaska can significantly impact your earnings. In addition, your education level, any extra certifications you hold, any additional skills you’ve developed, and the length of time you’ve spent in your profession can all influence your income as a CRNA in Alaska.
Becoming a nurse anesthetist is no joke!
By this time, you’ve most probably seen that becoming a Nurse Anesthetist in Alaska requires dedication and hard work.
But the rewards are worth it!
With certification comes increased opportunities that may not have been available otherwise—as well as the potential for higher pay due to your specialized skill set.
If you’re looking for a rewarding career with great job prospects and long-term stability, becoming a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Alaska could be just what you’re looking for.
If you’re interested to learn more about How to Become a Nurse in other states, we have a rich collection of guides that can help.
Scroll through our blog today for more details!