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CRNA: Accreditation Entity: Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), which is independent from the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) and an autonomous council. The COA is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

AA: Accreditation Entity: CAAHEP, which is recognized by the CHEA.


CRNA: Program Length: 24 to 36 months

AA: Program Length: 24 to 28 months


CRNA: Degree Granted: Master’s degree. May receive doctoral degree (

AA: Degree Granted: Master’s degree


CRNA: Admissions Requirements: COA accreditation standards require four years of professional nursing education; a baccalaureate; RN licensure; and at least one year of acute care experience as a professional RN during which the RN developed as an independent decision-maker capable of interpreting and using advanced monitoring techniques based on knowledge of physiological and pharmacological principles. Actual admission requirements of COA-accredited programs are commonly more stringent than COA standards. Emphasis is commonly placed on, for example, a history of high academic performance, completion of intense undergraduate science curriculum, evidence of study of statistics, proof of verbal ability and writing skills, and experience as an RN in acute care settings. Most applicants have acquired extensive clinical experience in areas such as coronary, respiratory, postanesthesia, and surgical intensive care units before they begin their nurse anesthesia programs.

CRNA: Pre-Program Nursing Competencies: The National Council of State Boards of Nursing NCLEX-RN Examination, successful passage of which is a prerequisite to become licensed as an RN (a prerequisite for nurse anesthesia programs), validates the following nursing competencies: Safe, Effective Care Environment -- Management of Care, Safety and Infection Control; Health Promotion and Maintenance; Psychosocial Integrity; Physiological Integrity -- Basic Care and Comfort, Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies, Reduction of Risk Potential, Physiological Adaptation.

AA: Pre-Program Health or Patient Care Education, Experience, or Credentials: preferred.


CRNA: Pre-Program Acute Care Nursing Competencies: The acute care RN has proven patient care experience with a foundation of nursing competencies. The acute care nursing prerequisite means that the nurse anesthesia student applicant must have competencies through experience with acutely/critically ill patients in hospitals, in the following areas: patient assessment (collecting relevant patient health data); diagnoses (analyzing assessment data in determining diagnoses); outcome identification (identifying individualized, expected outcomes for the critically ill patient); planning (developing a care plan that prescribes interventions to attain expected outcomes); implementation (implementing interventions identified in the care plan (e.g., delivered in a manner that minimizes complications and life-threatening situations)); evaluation (evaluating the patient's progress toward attaining expected outcomes). (American Association of Critical Care Nurses Standards of Care for Acute and Critical Care Nursing)

AA: Pre-Program Acute Healthcare Competencies: Student Anesthesiologist Assistants are not required to enter their educational program with comparable credentials but are required to compete with the CRNA's course curriculum.
AA: Admissions Requirements: Baccalaureate degree in the sciences or arts from an accredited institution all medical prerequisettes must be completed with above average grades. Being a Nurse is not a requirement.


CRNA: Prerequisite Coursework: Examples of courses commonly required include anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, and pharmacology; sociology and psychology; and statistics. Also baccalaureate-prepared RNs are generally well grounded in philosophy, ethics, economics, communications, telecommunications, and English composition.

AA: Prerequisite Coursework: Must take science including anatomy, physiology, microbiology, chemistry, and pharmacology; sociology and psychology; and statistics as well as upper level math courses (Calculus) that would qualify student to pursue graduate study in medical sciences. Many types of majors are acceptable for admission. Typical desirable undergraduate majors include biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, engineering, and any of the health professions.