The following information is designed for the foreign nursing graduate and/or foreign nurse anesthesia graduate who desires to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in the United States.
State laws, Medicare and Medicaid, hospital accreditation and hospital privileges require that a nurse anesthetist be recognized as a CRNA and meet the requirements for Continuous Professional Certification (i.e., Recertification) as required by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). These requirements are found online at www.nbcrna.com
To practice as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist requires the following steps.
- Obtain a license as a Registered Nurse in one of the fifty (50) states, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico. To obtain information regarding licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) contact the following:
Commission for Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS)
3600 Market Street, Suite 400
Philadelphia, PA 91904-2651
Telephone: +1(215) 222-8454
Applicant Inquiries: +1(215) 349-8767
Fax: +1(215) 622-0425
Cable: CGFNS, Philadelphia, USA
Web site: www.cgfns.org
Upon successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination (N-CLEX), the following steps are required:
- The individual must apply to an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program in the U.S. The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA) accredits all U.S. nurse anesthesia educational programs. The US Department of Education recognizes the COA as the official accrediting agency for nurse anesthesia educational programs. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, a non-governmental organization, also recognizes COA.
All U.S. nurse anesthesia educational programs are at the Master’s or Doctoral degree level and therefore require a Baccalaureate Degree for entry. The Baccalaureate degree must be in nursing or a related science. Programs require a minimum of one to two years full-time nursing experience in a critical care setting.
Graduates of foreign nurse anesthesia programs who are licensed as a registered nurse in the U.S. should work with COA accredited nurse anesthesia programs to meet the educational program requirements. U.S. programs vary in length from 24-42 months and are at the Master’s or Doctoral level. As of January 1, 2025, all U.S. nurse anesthesia programs must award a doctoral degree for entry into nurse anesthesia practice. The COA publishes a list of accredited nurse anesthesia programs on its website at home.coa.us.com/.
Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs
222 South Prospect Avenue
Park Ridge, IL 60068
Telephone: +1(847) 655-1160
Fax: +1(847) 692-7137
- Upon successful completion of a nurse anesthesia educational program accredited by the COA, the individual must successfully complete the National Certification Examination (NCE) administered by the NBCRNA. The NCE is offered continually throughout the U.S. Upon successful completion of the NCE, the individual is entitled to use the credential CRNA. Information regarding the NCE is found online at nbcrna.com.
National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists
8725 W. Higgins Road, Suite 525
Chicago, IL 60631
Telephone: +1(708) 667-0111
Fax: +1(708) 669-7636
- After becoming a CRNA, the individual must maintain certification through the Continued Professional Certification (CPC) program administered by the NBCRNA. Requirements for the CPC program are found online at nbcrna.com.