Top 5 Online Nurse Anesthetist Programs with No GRE

Becoming a nurse is known to be a strong career choice for many reasons: high job demand, pay, and the ability to positively serve the community.

If you decide to earn your master’s degree in nursing (MSN) or even your doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree, you can make an ever bigger impact by becoming a certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA).

A CRNA performs the majority of job duties that an anesthesiologist does, but at a lower cost. By offering similar services at a lower salary, anesthesia services are able to be offered to many underserved areas. Common duties for CRNAs are:

  • Provide anesthesia services before, during and after all types of surgical procedures.
  • Provide emergency and pain management services with various anesthetics.
  • Review patient history with patient as well as review his or her medical records to determine if there are any allergies to be aware of before surgery.

That is the reason that CRNAs are in such demand today in the US. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirms this, noting that the demand for CRNAs will increase by 19% by 2024, which is much faster than average.

How to Become a CRNA

You must be an RN with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing, and then graduate from a CRNA program with either your master’s or doctoral degree, and then pass your national examination to become a licensed CRNA.

At this time, an MSN degree is generally still accepted by most health care employers to work as a CRNA. It is expected in the next 10 years that it will become a standard requirement to have a DNP degree to practice as a CRNA.

What You Can Do with a Nurse Anesthetist Degree

Obviously, you will become a CRNA with this degree, but consider some of the below facts about the CRNA field. You will have the opportunity to work in many types of areas and help all types of people:

  • CRNAs provide 43 million anesthetics to American patients each year.
  • CRNAs are main providers of anesthesia in the rural areas of America. In fact, in some states, CRNAs are the only ones who provide anesthesia services in rural hospitals.
  • CRNAs perform most of the same duties as anesthesiologists, and data suggests that there is little to no difference in the quality of care.
  • CRNAs work in every setting where anesthesia services are needed. These include hospital surgery centers, delivery rooms, ambulatory surgical facilities, dentists offices, plastic surgeons and more.


There are approximately 115 accredited nurse anesthesia programs in the US at present. A limited number of them are available online. As you are reviewing which program to possibly attend, checking accreditation is important.

First you should look for accreditation for the university by one of these bodies:

  • Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC-CIHE) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

Licensing and Certification

After you have earned your MSN or DNP degree, you must pass the National Certification Examination that is administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA).

For nursing professionals who are interested in becoming a CRNA, we recommend that you consider the online nurse anesthetist programs below.

#1 Drexel University

Drexel University offers a Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia that consists of 28 months and 90 credit hours. After you complete this program, you may then sit for your national certification examination that is given by the NBCRNA.

The core MSN and research classes are mostly provided online, and there are some virtual class requirements where all students in the same cohort take the class simultaneously. If you are in the Philadelphia area, you can take the blended classes in person,  or you can attend the classes via video conferencing.

After you take your core classes, you will then take part in a nurse anesthesia clinical practicum. You will be under the supervision of CRNAs in your area.

You will learn how to best administer the most common types of anesthesia. You may also engage in additional sub specialty clinical rotations in other areas that you find of interest, such as pediatrics, cardiac and neosurgical.

Some of your required nurse anesthesia classes include these:

  • Basic Principles of Nurse Anesthesia
  • Advanced Clinical Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning
  • Chemistry and Physics
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Clinical Practicum
  • Clinical Residency I and II

More information:

  • Campus: Philadelphia PA; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Tuition: $917 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 28 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Programs Offered: MSN

#2 Baylor University

Baylor University features a highly regarding Doctor of Nursing Practice nurse anesthesia program that can be completed largely online. You have to be an RN with at least a bachelor’s degree for admission. You also can enter the program  with a Master of Science in Nursing, which will allow you to take fewer classes in the DNP program.

This DNP program will provide you with a complete graduate learning experience for RNs in how to administer all forms of anesthesia, with the end result being able to work as a highly qualified CRNA. This is a 36 month program and you will earn your DNP from the Baylor College of Medicine.

This program has two phases:

  • 18 month online class work
  • 18 month clinical practicum

The didactic part of the program has classes in basic and clinical sciences, health care delivery and policy, translational research, management and leadership.

The clinical phase will provide you with in depth clinical education in general, regional and local anesthetics. After you have completed all of your DNP degree requirements, you will then be eligible to take your national certification examination.

Nurses who have an MSN already will be able to take fewer classes and complete the program in 24 months. Most of the classes in this program are made to be done entirely online with minimal to no on campus time.

More information:

  • Campus: Houston TX; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: $827 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: DNP

#3 University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota features an accredited Master of Science in Nursing program that results in the RN becoming a CRNA in approximately 30 months.

This MSN program has been accredited since it was begun in 1986

Require classes in this MSN program are as follows:

  • N500 Theories and Concepts in Nursing
  • N504 Advanced Pharmacology I
  • N510 Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology I
  • N521 Foundations of Anesthesia Practice
  • N585 Advanced Health Assessment
  • N506 Advanced Pharmacology II
  • N507 Anesthesia Seminar & Clinical Practicum I
  • N511 Advanced Physiology/Pathophysiology II
  • BIMD510 Basic Biomedical Statistics
  • ANAT591 Anatomy for Anesthetists

More information:

  • Campus: Grand Forks ND; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $525 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 28 months
  • On Campus Requirements: No
  • Programs Offered: MSN

#4 University of Arizona

The University of Arizona has an outstanding BS to DNP degree program for nurse anesthetists. This program has online and face to face classes, as well as an intensive clinical learning component that can be completed in 36 months.

You also may enter this program with an MSN degree, and this will allow you to complete the degree with approximately 71 credits. If you enter the program with a BSN degree, you will need to complete the program with approximately 89 credits.

DNP students who have not had a graduate statistics course in the last five years must enroll in one during the first fall semester.

More information:

  • Campus: Tucson AZ; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Colleges and Schools
  • Tuition: $850 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 28 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Programs Offered: MSN

#5 University of Iowa

The University of Iowa offers a three year DNP program online that is designed for an RN who already has an MSN degree.

Many nurses with an MSN degree who want to be CRNAs decide to get their DNP degree; this is because the American Association of Colleges of Nursing have recommended that the DNP degree be the required degree for CRNAs in the future.

You will take mostly online classes with limited on campus time in your first year, and then in the second year you begin your clinical education. This can be done in your local area or on campus.

Required classes include:

  • Applied Epidemiology
  • Evaluating Evidence for Practice
  • Quality and Safety
  • Clinical Decision Making Advance Practice
  • Clinical Leadership Project
  • Health Policy, Law and Advocacy
  • Emerging Science

More information:

  • Campus: Iowa City IA; online
  • Type: Non-Profit
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Tuition: $650 per credit hour
  • GRE/GMAT Required: No
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 36 months
  • On Campus Requirements: Yes
  • Programs Offered: DNP

Earning your MSN or DNP degree to become a CRNA is a very wise investment in your education and future. Do your research on possible online CRNA programs and then talk to a representative of each one to see which is the best fit for you.