Are you planning to advance your nursing career?
Then becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) could be for you!
Well, that is if you have a passion for helping different kinds of patients, collaborating with top-notch healthcare professionals, and taking on high-level responsibility and autonomy…Not to mention enjoying a financially rewarding career.
But the road to becoming a CRNA in New Jersey can be daunting.
It involves years of education and experience, two national exams, and two hard-earned licenses!
And because there are a lot of requirements, the process can get blurry and confusing.
So, to help you out and lessen your headache, we’ve come up with a simple guide on how to become a nurse anesthetist (CRNA) in New Jersey.
We’ll cover everything you need to know in just 6 steps.
And, after guiding you through the process, we’ll also answer some FAQs.
If you’re ready to journey with us, let’s get right to it!
How to Become a Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in New Jersey in 5 Steps
Want to become a CRNA in New Jersey? Here’s a simple breakdown:
- Become a Registered Nurse
- Gain Critical Care Experience
- Complete a Graduate Program
- Get Certified through the NBCRNA
- Apply for Your CRNA Certificate in New Jersey
- Keep Your License and Certification Active
Let’s discuss each step.
Step #1: Become a Registered Nurse
CRNAs are Advanced Practice Nurses.
So, to become a CRNA, you first need to complete the basics and become a registered nurse.
You need to gain a bachelor’s degree in nursing and obtain your RN license in New Jersey.
Take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree
There are two educational paths to becoming an RN – an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
ADN programs only take two years to complete and this is why some people prefer this route.
But, to be accepted in a CRNA program, you need to complete a BSN degree.
A BSN degree is a four-year program where you will have an in-depth understanding of nursing practices, research, management, and medical procedures, among others.
Because of more thorough training, BSN graduates can pursue advanced nursing practice and take on leadership roles.
When choosing a BSN program, make sure that it is approved or accredited by the New Jersey Board of Nursing.
Obtain Your RN License
After completing your nursing education, it’s time to apply for an RN license.
To do so, you need to take and pass the NCLEX-RN.
You have to register with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, submit all the documents, and pay the fees so that you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT) form.
Once you pass the exam, you will be given your RN license.
But if you already have an active RN license in another state, then you can either apply for a New Jersey license through an endorsement or make use of a multistate license (since New Jersey is an NLC state).
To qualify, you just need to submit the required documents to the New Jersey Board of Nursing.
Read this article for more information on becoming an RN in New Jersey.
Step #2: Gain Critical Care Experience
Now that you’re a licensed RN in New Jersey, you can start working in an acute or critical care facility.
Most CRNA programs require at least one year of critical care experience, but others may require two or more years.
This will depend on the admission requirements of your chosen school.
Having experience working in a critical care facility will help you build a strong foundation and improve your knowledge of nursing care, clinical and medical procedures, management, and nursing ethics.
Moreover, this experience will help you prepare for the difficulties you will encounter as you advance in your career.
Step #3: Complete a Graduate Program
Becoming a CRNA seems like a long and bumpy road, but hang on, you’re almost there!
The next step is to complete a master’s or doctorate program to help you prepare to be a CRNA. The school you attend should be accredited by the Board.
To be accepted in a CRNA program, you must meet the following basic requirements:
- Hold a relevant bachelor’s degree
- 1-2 years of critical care experience
- Active RN license
- Letters of recommendation
- GPA of 3.0 or above
Take note that the requirements for admission will depend on your chosen CRNA program. If you’re planning to apply to more than one school, it’s worth noting the basic requirements.
Meeting the requirements does not mean you are automatically accepted into the CRNA program.
If you’re a potential candidate, schools will usually conduct an in-person interview to get to know you more on a personal and professional level. This will also help them decide whether you’re a good fit for the program or not.
On a more positive note, it’s your chance to share with them your passion and motivation for becoming a CRNA!
It’s important to note that by 2025, a master’s program will not be enough to qualify you to become a CRNA. You will need to complete a doctorate program by then.
Step #4: Get Certified from the NBCRNA
We’re thrilled that you’ve come this far to pursue your passion!
After completing your graduate program, you are required to take the National Certification Exam or NCE administered by the NBCRNA to get your national certification.
The NCE includes the following topics:
- Technology, Equipment, and Instruction – 15%
- Basic Science – 25%
- Basic Principles of Anesthesia – 30%
- Advanced Principles of Anesthesia – 30%
This exam consists of 100-170 test items.
You can take the NBCRNA Self-Evaluation Examination to help you prepare for the exam. There are also many online resources to help you out.
Once you pass this, you will become a nationally certified nurse anesthetist.
But to be able to practice in New Jersey, you need to apply with the Board of Nursing.
Step #5: Apply for Your CRNA Certificate in New Jersey
According to the New Jersey Association of Nurse Anesthetists, here are the state-specific requirements to practice as a CRNA in New Jersey:
- You need to be recognized as an Advanced Practice Nurse or APN by the state
- Graduate from an approved and recognized nurse anesthesia program
- Hold a certification by a national certifying agency that is recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies and/or the American Board of Nursing Specialists
If you’re an active RN in New Jersey and meet the requirements for becoming an Advanced Practice Nurse, you can submit a request for an APN application to the Board.
You can send them an email at APN@dca.lps.state.nj.us and include the following:
- Personal information including your full name, phone number, and address.
- University degree for your APN program
- Type of certification and your APN specialty
- Type of application (Initial Certification, Endorsement, or Reinstatement)
Once you send the email to the Board, they will send you the APN application form that you will download and submit to the Board with all required documents.
You can look at their checklist of requirements here.
Step #6: Keep Your License and Certification Active
To continue practicing as a CRNA in New Jersey, you need to renew your license and certificate. The renewal period for both will coincide.
To renew your RN license and APN certification, you need to complete 30 contact hours of continuing education every two years.
You can submit an application for renewal online on the Board’s Online Licensing System. The biennial renewal fee is $160, for RN and APN certifications.
You must renew your certification within 30 days, otherwise, it will be suspended and you will need to reinstate your license.
For more information on your CE requirements, you can read this guide.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a CRNA in New Jersey
Where can I take a CRNA program in New Jersey?
Two schools in New Jersey offer a CRNA program:
Degree Type: DNP
Length of Program: 36-48 months
Degree Type: MSN and Post-Master’s Certificate in Anesthesia
Length of Program: 27 months
What is the average annual salary of CRNAs in New Jersey?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual salary of CRNAs in New Jersey is $232,630 which is 13% higher than the national mean.
What are the best cities to work as a CRNA in New Jersey?
CRNAs are the highest-paid advanced practice nurses. Take note that the salary will depend on years of experience, location, and skills. But, here are the best cities in New Jersey to practice as a CRNA:
- Jersey City, NJ – annual average salary of $247,850
- Trenton, NJ – annual average salary of $237,410
- Camden, NJ – annual average salary of $228,320
We’ve covered what you need to know to become a CRNA in New Jersey.
You can use this guide as a roadmap for your journey.
The years of education and experience to become a CRNA can be overwhelming. So, keep reminding yourself of the reason why you want to pursue this career to keep you going.
A rewarding career, both professionally and personally, awaits you!
And the opportunities for career growth and advancement in this field are abundant.
We wish you the best on your journey!