A career in nursing is a popular choice for students who want to enter a healthcare profession. The demand for nurses has increased over the years, and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are some of the most sought-after specialists in the field. This article will help you find the cheapest CRNA schools that can help you start a rewarding career.
For each of the most affordable CRNA schools listed in this article, you’ll find additional information concerning the program’s tuition rate, a quick overview of the core coursework and clinical practicum experiences it offers, and its accrediting body. Later in the article, you’ll learn about the highest-paying careers the cheapest CRNA degrees qualify you for.
What Are the Most Affordable CRNA Schools in the US?
The most affordable CRNA schools in the US are Florida State University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Each of the nurse anesthetist programs offered at these universities is taught by experienced and highly respected professors.
How Much Do the Cheapest CRNA Schools Cost?
The cheapest CRNA schools’ cost between $5,000 and $15,000 per semester or between $25,000 and $55,000 per program. Many of the cheapest schools offering a nursing anesthesia program also provide discounts to students who complete certain requirements early. In addition, loans, scholarships, and grants are available to help with the cost of education.
Cheapest CRNA Schools Costs Breakdown
- Tuition and fees. Tuition costs and fees are the biggest factors affecting the overall cost of attendance for nurse anesthetist programs. Some nurse anesthetist programs charge tuition per semester and others by credit hour. School fees can include out-of-state student fees, health insurance fees, and technology fees.
- Clinical fees. Students in the CRNA field are required to complete a clinical practicum. While students do need to pay for these clinical hours, most schools will offer clinicals out of their teaching hospital, which usually doesn’t cost much. Private institutions usually charge more in clinical fees than public institutions.
- Textbooks. College textbooks can often make affordable tuition significantly less affordable. Unfortunately, as a nursing student, you will most likely be required to purchase many of them. To save on the cost of textbooks, you should consider buying the digital versions or purchasing them second-hand.
- Uniforms. Nursing students are required to buy a uniform, which they wear when completing their clinical practicums or clinical internships. Depending on the quality you prefer, these uniforms can be expensive.
- Living expenses. Living expenses are often the second highest contributor to student debt. Depending on the city in which you’re studying, and if you’re coming from out of town or are living with your parents, your housing costs can make up a significant part of your budget.
Why You Should Attend a CRNA School
You should attend a CRNA school because it will give you the skills and knowledge needed to complete your National Certification exam and work in the healthcare industry in a critical care setting. When you graduate from a CRNA school, the degree you receive certifies that you completed the coursework necessary to sit for the National Certification Exam.
Almost all employers will require you to have passed the National Certification examination before hiring you. Additionally, if you plan to work in a hospital setting, you may need to take additional classes in anesthesia pharmacology to learn about specific medications and their effects on patients.
Best CRNA School Career Options
There are many different career options available to graduates of CRNA schools. Some of the best career options are anesthesiologist, nurse practitioner, and nurse anesthetist, as they receive high pay and have an extremely high job outlook. In fact, the job outlook for a degree in nurse anesthesia is 45% from 2020-2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Anesthesiologists perform surgeries and administer anesthesia. Nurse practitioners provide primary health care services to patients. On the other hand, nurse anesthetists work under the direction of physicians and administer anesthesia during surgical procedures. Other common positions include nurse midwives, nurse educators, and nurse researchers.
The average salary for a CRNA graduate is $169,000 per year, according to data provided by PayScale. The actual salary of CRNA graduates depends on their location, experience, position, level of education, and employer. Naturally, the higher your level of education and experience, the higher your earning potential will be.
Can You Attend CRNA School for Free?
Yes, you can attend CRNA school for free. While this option isn’t always possible, some programs allow you to enroll without paying fees. One way to do this is to agree to fulfill active-duty military service in exchange for free tuition and a full-time salary for the duration of your studies.
Another option is to look into scholarships offered by your state medical association. While full-ride scholarships are generally very difficult to find, applying for and receiving a large number of scholarships and grants can help you cover a major part of your tuition. INn addition, choosing to attend school in-state is one of the best ways to study for the lowest cost possible.
Cheapest CRNA Schools That Won’t Break the Bank
|School||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||Graduation Rate|
|Florida State University||$5,656||$18,786||83%|
|University of North Carolina at Charlotte||$7,188||$20,622||66%|
|University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston||$8,524||$32,673||N/A|
|University of Alabama at Birmingham||$8,568||$20,400||62%|
|University of North Dakota||$10,596||$15,037||62%|
|Rhode Island College||$10,702||$25,900||46%|
|University of South Carolina||$12,688||$33,928||78%|
|University of Michigan – Flint||$12,750||$29,974||36%|
|Michigan State University||$14,750||$40,562||82%|
What Are the Cheapest CRNA Schools? A Deep Dive
Paying for CRNA School With Financial Aid
Becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist can be expensive. Luckily, there are ways you can make paying for your schooling easier. When deciding how to finance your education, talk to a financial aid officer at your school to discuss your options.
You may qualify for grants, scholarships, and other types of financial assistance that can cover some of your costs. Learn more about several of these financing options in more detail below.
Students interested in becoming registered nurse anesthetists can apply for federal award programs such as the National Health Service Corps and the Public Health Services Act Grant Program through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. These programs offer financial assistance to qualifying students who commit to working in public health following graduation.
Nursing students can opt to take federal student loans through the US Department of Education. The amount you can borrow depends on your income, credit history, and expected graduation date. Unlike scholarships, loans do need to be repaid. Federal loans have a six-month grace period post-graduation, which typically makes them better than private loans.
Private lenders, such as banks, credit unions, and loan companies, can often be used to finance higher education. Unlike federal loans, the repayment terms private lenders have on their loans vary significantly. The main disadvantage they have is that private loans typically carry high-interest rates.
Many employers offer work-study positions to their employees to help them advance in their field. These positions are designed to provide funds for those pursuing post-secondary education. With nurse anesthetist jobs being in high demand, the likelihood of finding work-study opportunities is equally high.
Best Schools For Your Area of Study
How to Apply for Federal Aid to Finance Your CRNA School Program
To apply for federal aid to finance your CRNA school program, there are a few steps you need to take. If you’re a student who wants to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, the following section will provide you with all of the information you need to apply for financial aid.
- Step 1. The first thing you should do before applying for federal financial assistance is determine whether you qualify. To do so, you’ll need to demonstrate financial need, be a US citizen or qualifying non-citizen, and be enrolled in a degree or certificate program at an accredited school. Some funding programs also have additional requirements.
- Step 2. Once you’ve determined that you are eligible, you’ll need to create an account on the FAFSA website and begin filling out your FAFSA form. You’ll need to submit information concerning the demographics you belong to, the schools you are applying to, your dependency status, and information concerning your parents or guardians.
- Step 3. Next, you’ll need to fill provide the financial information of both you and your parents. This is an extremely important step, as it is used by the IRS for tax purposes. Make sure to review all of the information you’ve included carefully and check for any mistakes. Once you’ve done so, you can sign the form.
- Step 4. Submit your FAFSA. It’s never too late to double-check that you haven’t missed any of the instructions when filling out the form. Confirm that your name, social security number, date of birth, parents’ details, and financial information is accurate.
- Step 5. After submitting your FAFSA, you should receive an award letter within two weeks. You will also get a confirmation email with details about your award. Contact the Financial Aid Office immediately if you don’t receive anything within this time frame.
Best CRNA Scholarships
- Palmer Carrier Scholarship | Amount: $5,000. This scholarship is offered through the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) Foundation and is given to nurse anesthetists pursuing a doctorate in the field. Candidates must apply before April 1st each year. Around 70 scholarships are awarded yearly.
- Dale O. Heimberger CRNA Memorial Scholarship | Amount: Varies. Annual grants for graduate students enrolled in the University of Akron’s College of Nursing’s Graduate Anesthesia Program. Students must demonstrate financial need and have a good academic record to qualify. The number of prizes and the sum of each award varies.
- Sprague Barbara I. DNAP Scholarship | Amount: Varies. The Rachor Family Foundation, Ltd. founded this scholarship. The merit-based award was established to aid qualified students with heavy tuition costs and promote the field of nurse anesthesia. It automatically renews for up to three years, as long as students do not fall outside of eligibility requirements.
- Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) Scholarships | Amount: Varies. There are many scholarships available for nurse anesthetists working for the DVA. Registered nurses working part-time or full-time for the VA for at least a year can receive up to $41,572 in tax-free education funds, which includes tuition, registration fees, and books.
- University of Chicago Hospitals | Amount: Covers tuition, books, and a living stipend. Students in the Anesthesia Nursing Program at the University of Chicago qualify for the Nursing at the Forefront Scholarship for Study in Anesthesia Nursing Award, which covers the full cost of tuition, books, and fees and provides a $1,000 monthly stipend for the duration of their clinical residency.
Best Online Associate Degrees
Best Online Bachelor’s Degrees
Cheapest Graduate Schools for CRNA
The cheapest graduate schools for CRNA have top-notch master’s and doctoral degree programs, great facilities, qualified faculty members, and a high acceptance rate. These graduate schools can help you hone your skills and earn a better-paying job.
Note that all nursing anesthesia programs will have been transitioned to PhD programs by the end of 2022, as stipulated by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.
Most Affordable Schools for Master’s Degrees in CRNA
- Florida State University | Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia | $9,500/Semester. This 28-month program will be phased out in December 2022 and turned into a PhD program. Graduating students of the current cohort will be awarded a Doctor of Nursing Anesthesia Practice (DNAP) degree. It is one of the cheapest CRNA degree programs in the country.
- University of North Carolina – Charlotte | Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia | $10,225/Semester. This program’s curriculum is 67 credits long and can be completed in as little as 27 months if enrolled on a full-time basis. The Carolinas Medical Center and other related facilities host the program’s clinical experiences.
- Nova Southeastern University | Master of Science in Anesthesia | $52,618/Year. This is a 117-credit unit program offered over 27 months. NSU’s Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville campuses in Florida and Denver, Colorado respectively offer this high-quality program.
Most Affordable PhDs in CRNA Universities
- University of Alabama at Birmingham | Doctor of Nursing Practice | $5,148/Semester (in-state), $12,267/Semester (out-of-state). The International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists (IFNA) accredited the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Post-BSN to DNP Pathway for Nurse Anesthesia in 2021. This is one of the cheapest CRNA doctoral degree programs in the country.
- University of South Carolina | Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia | $7,545/Semester (in-state), $12,885/Semester (out-of-state). The first two semesters of this full-time program are delivered online in conjunction with the University of South Carolina’s College of Nursing. Students can postpone moving to South Carolina until after having completed the program’s introductory and basic didactic training.
- University of North Dakota | Doctor of Nursing Practice | $8,326/Semester. This program emphasizes the development of nurse anesthesia professionals and recognizes the need for their graduates to stay lifelong students. This allows their graduates to demonstrate a high level of personal and professional competence.
- Augusta University | Doctor of Nursing Practice | $6,750/Semester (in-state), $13,500/semester (out-of-state). This course combines online learning, high-fidelity simulated laboratories, and clinical experiences. It is taught by instructors who are presently working as APNs with prior online education expertise.
- University of Texas Health Center at Houston | Doctor of Nursing Practise | $50,079/Program. Pre-anesthetic examination and evaluation, anesthesia planning, anesthesia administration and monitoring, and post-anesthetic care are all covered in this program’s comprehensive curriculum.
Best Online Master’s Degrees
Best Online PhD Programs
How to Choose a Good and Affordable CRNA School
With the aging population and the current emphasis on preventive care, CRNA schools are in high demand. However, knowing how to pick a good and affordable CRNA school can be difficult. There are a few things you should consider, such as the program’s flexibility, reputation, and available financial opportunities, before deciding to enroll.
If you’re planning to attend school full-time and still work, look for an accredited CRNA program that offers online, evening, or weekend classes. These programs typically have a much more flexible schedule, allowing students to maintain more of their work and familial obligations as they study.
Reputation of the Program
Not all CRNA programs are the same. When comparing different programs, it’s a good idea to talk to graduates and current students about their experiences. This can give you a solid idea of what to expect from each of the programs you are considering. Having attended a highly ranked school or program can also give you an advantage during your job hunt post-graduation.
Financial Aid Opportunities
Some schools offer more financial aid opportunities than others, so speaking with each school’s financial aid office about what they offer can help you better determine which school will provide you with the best bang for your buck. Make sure to also consider your desired school’s total cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, books, and living expenses.
Tips for Saving Money While Attending CRNA School
- Have a clear budget. When making school plans, it’s important to have a defined budget in mind. While you’ll have school expenses no matter what, you may be able to save money by shopping around for cheaper alternatives. Make sure to include more than just the cost of tuition into your budget.
- Buy used textbooks. Another great way to save money is to buy used textbooks online. While this may require some research on your part, websites like eBay or Amazon often offer used textbooks at a reduced cost. You can also see if any upper-year students are willing to sell their textbooks from the previous year for a discounted rate.
- Borrow books from the library. One of the best ways you can save money on textbooks is to borrow them from your local library. While you’ll need to return them periodically, the library can give you free access to your required learning materials.
- Enroll in a college that is in your state. One of the easiest ways to make the cost of your tuition skyrocket is by attending a school outside of the state you reside. In-state tuition for most universities is a fraction of what it costs for out-of-state students.
- Look for schools with high student success rates. When you compare schools, it’s important to look at the success rates of their graduates. This will give you an idea of how well the school prepares its students for the real world. Make sure to also research what career services the school offers.
Cheapest Online Schools for CRNA
CRNA programs are also readily found online. Make sure to confirm that the online program you are considering is approved by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs before applying. Below is a list of the cheapest online CRNA schools that can prepare you for your nursing career.
|University of Akron||$507.55/credit (resident), $813.43/credit (non-resident)||60%|
|University of Pittsburgh||$1,150/credit||84%|
|Arizona State University||$1,200/credit||66%|
Most Affordable Online CRNA Graduate Programs
- University of Akron | Post BSN to DNP Nurse Anesthesia Program | $507.55/credit (resident), $813.43/credit (non-resident). The 93-credit nurse anesthesia program includes fundamental graduate nursing courses in advanced physiology and pathophysiology, chemistry, physics, basic and advanced pharmacology, and anesthesia.
- Drexel University | DNP Nurse Anesthesia | $1.051/credit. This is a 39-month doctorate program with a clinical concentration. Its curriculum blends clinical experience with scientific and theoretical foundations. The program’s first three quarters are fully online. Students then finish the remaining 30 months on site.
- University of Pittsburgh | Nurse Anesthesia MSN to DNP Concentration | $1,150/credit. This 36-credit online PhD program focuses on clinical practice. It prepares nursing leaders for the highest level of clinical nursing practice after completing their education in the field. Only CRNAs with a master’s degree are eligible to apply.
- Arizona State University | DNP Nurse Anesthesia | $1,200/credit. Within 36 months of full-time study, students can graduate from the program’s nurse anesthesia specialty, which combines online, face-to-face, and clinical residency learning.
Will Attending an Online CRNA School Save Me Money?
Yes, attending online CRNA school can save you money, especially when it comes to transportation and accommodation costs. Online schools can be a good solution for those who want to attend nursing school but live far from a university offering a CRNA program. Further, online tuition also tends to be cheaper than in-person tuition.
Benefits of Online CRNA Programs
- Remote classes. If you live far from your university, it can be difficult to attend classes. Online CRNA schools allow you to study without having to move. Remote classes also tend to be more flexible, which often allows students to maintain a healthier study-life balance.
- You don’t have to stay in one location. In addition to being able to learn from home, many students attend online CRNA schools from all over the world, and some even travel while they study. Online CRNA schools often offer special events where online students can meet face-to-face.
- Cheaper tuition. Online CRNA schools are often cheaper than traditional university programs, especially for non-resident or international students. This is because they don’t have many of the costs that traditional universities incur, such as those related to maintaining facilities, providing food, or paying huge property taxes.
- Online credits. Every school has its own requirements and may have different credit policies. Some schools let students choose their credits, while others have set course schedules. Many online CRNA schools will accept transfer credits from other schools, as long as you earned a high enough grade.
- Personalized learning environment. Not everyone benefits from learning in a classroom setting. A big benefit to online learning is the ability to customize your learning environment to your heart’s content. Whether that’s from your bedroom, home office, or a nearby cafe.
Highest-Paying CRNA Careers
|CRNA Job||CRNA Degree||Average Salary|
|Nurse Anesthetists||Master’s degree||$123,780|
|Nurse Practitioners||Master’s degree||$123,780|
|Medical and Health Service Managers||Bachelor’s degree||$101,340|
|Registered Nurses||Bachelor’s degree||$77,600|
Best CRNA Jobs Explained
The best CRNA school jobs come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and there are various career routes to choose from. As you gain experience and develop your skills, you’ll be able to climb the ranks and increase your earning potential. In the section below, we break down the best career opportunities for CRNA school graduates.
CRNA Schools Ranking Methodology: How We Ranked the Most Affordable CRNA Schools
We chose the most affordable CRNA colleges based on tuition and general costs information from the schools’ official websites, the US Department of Education’s database of accredited schools, and the US Department of Education’s College Scorecard tool.
Additional Reading About CRNA
[query_class_embed] https://careerkarma.com/blog/crna/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/how-to-become-an-occupational-therapist/ https://careerkarma.com/blog/cheapest-nursing-schools/
Cheapest CRNA Schools FAQ
Yes, CRNA school is expensive but there are some affordable options. Schools like Florida State University, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Augusta University have some of the cheapest tuition in the country.
Yes, many schools offer financial aid to their students. There are also many nursing anesthetist specific-scholarships available offered by the federal government.
Yes, CRNA schools require clinical rotations as they are important to preparing students for the real world. The best CRNA programs allow students to complete clinical rotations in nearby hospitals and let them work with real patients. This helps them to feel more confident when they graduate and enter the workforce.
The minimum degree required for a CRNA school is General Nursing or a Bachelor’s Degree in General Nursing or in a related field of study. That being said, not all schools have the same admission requirements, so make sure to check those of your desired program.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.