CRNA Vs Anesthesiologist: Job Description, Outlooks, Salary, Programs

Helping and saving patients’ lives through painful medical procedures and you want to take a role in administering anesthesia is a good and amazing career. But, there is a question as to which option to settle down for when it comes to your dream career.

The two main option to this particular field of career is CRNA or Anesthesiologist. So, it will be best if we show you the differences and job descriptions between CRNA vs Anesthesiologist.

As you read on, you see the difference between the two options, their job descriptions and everything you need to know about CRNA and Anesthesiologist and you can choose the one that best suits you. So, relax and carefully read through the article.

So, before we continue, let’s go through the table of content below to get an overview of what the article entails.

Who Are CRNA And Anesthesiologist?

CRNA in full is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. The practice of anesthesia is a recognized specialty within the profession of nursing, and nurse anesthetists are essential to the health care workforce. 

The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) administers anesthesia for all types of surgical cases, from the simplest to the most complex.

However, a nurse anesthetist gives anesthesia and related health care before or after surgery therapeutic, diagnostic, and obstetrical procedures. They also provide pain management and emergency services, such as airway management.

An anesthesiologist is a medical doctor who practices anesthesia. While anesthesiologists are physicians practicing in perioperative care, forming anesthetic plans, and the administration of anesthetics.

However, Anesthesiologists help ensure the safety of patients undergoing surgery. The anesthesiologist provides care for the patient to prevent the pain and distress they would otherwise experience. like general anesthesia, sedation or regional anesthesia.

What Are The Job Description An Anesthesiologist And CRNA?

The job description of an anesthesiologist and CRNA is a vital role in making sure their patients are free from pain before or after medical procedure or surgery.

Job Description An Anesthesiologist

Physicians’ anesthesiologists meet with you and your surgeon before surgery to check your health and make decisions to ensure your anesthesia care is as safe and effective as possible.

 They monitor your vital signs during surgery, like to know how well your heart and lungs are working while you’re unconscious.

Also, they take care of you after surgery to make sure you’re as comfortable and healthy as possible while you recover.

In addition, the anesthesiologists play a key role in taking care of patients who are having minor surgery or who may not require general anesthesia.

For instance, some women who are in labor and need to be awake and alert but require effective pain management. 

They also help patients who are in serious pain from an injury, chronic or recurring pain, like migraines or back problems.

Job Description Of A CRNA

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist(CRNA)is a type of advanced practice registered nurse that their primary responsibilities are to work with patients before, during, and after medical procedures to ensure they’re free of pain.

By so doing, they will know the amount and type of anesthesia needed in general, local, or regional as well as the method for administering anesthesia, which includes options like injections, inhalants, or oral medication.

Also, some CRNAs work within a broader scope, while others specialize in particular subfields such as obstetrics, pediatrics, cardiovascular, neurosurgery, and more.

The role of a CRNA might vary depending on setting where he or she works, but all CRNAs work directly with patients, families, and medical staff.

Also, CRNAs can work as part of a team under the supervision of doctors while some can work independently depending on the law of the state.

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Some of the job responsibilities of a CRNA are:

  • Providing the patient with education about the surgery and their recovery
  • Preparing the proper dose of anesthetic to meet the patient’s needs
  • Monitoring the patient’s vitals and anesthesia dose during surgery
  • Overseeing the patient’s safety during anesthesia recovery
  • Working to other medical staff to develop pain management programs
  • Making changes as needed to anesthesia levels during the procedure

Where Do CRNA And Anesthesiologists Work?

CRNAs and anesthesiologists can work in different medical field and setting like

  • Traditional hospitals
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Surgical centers
  • Dental offices
  • Pain management specialists
  • U.S. military facilities
  • Public health centers
  • Universities and colleges

Job Outlooks Of CRNA And Anesthesiologists

For those interested in pursuing healthcare careers, there are a wide variety of options that you can choose from. And some of the options seem really similar. For example, a nurse anesthetist and anesthesiologist. the differences between these two are pretty similar and unique.

However, The major difference between these two professions is that anesthesiologist are medical doctors that administer anesthesia.

While nurse anesthetists are registered nurses who may assist or collaborate with doctors in administering anesthesia or may work entirely independently as they administer anesthesia. 

Job Outlook For CRNAs

Working directly with patients to ensure their comfort and safety can be incredibly fulfilling. Furthermore, The demand for nurse anesthetists is expected to grow 26% by 2028, much faster than average job growth.

The field is seeing high demand as medical practices advance and more surgical and pain management options become available.

Furthermore, there is a nursing shortage around the country, meaning highly trained nurses like nurse anesthetists are difficult to come by. 

Job Outlook Of Anesthesiologists

The job outlook for anesthesiologists is 15% growth by 2026. So, this doubles the pace of the national average for job outlook.

As healthcare needs continue to grow, as medical procedures and surgeries continue to become safer and a good option for healing, anesthesiologists will continue to be in high demand.

What Are The Salaries Of CRNA And Anesthesiologists?

Nurse anesthetists are one of the highest-paying jobs for nurses. This is largely due to the high skill-set certified registered nurse anesthetists need in order to do this specific nursing job well.

However, Nurse anesthetists are highly trained and skilled, which means they are well-compensated. CRNAs can expect an average annual salary of about $174,000 or $84 per hour. Which is much, much higher than the national average salary.

The location where you work, the nursing education you have, and your nursing experience will greatly influence your average salary as a CRNA.

Anesthesiologists, as medical doctors have amazingly high pay. They earn an average annual salary of $267,000 per year or $128 per hour. Doctors in general have much higher pay than the national average because of all the extensive schooling and training that they require.

The location where you work and your experience will directly impact how much you can make as an anesthesiologist.

What Are The Anesthesiology And CRNA Programs?

As an anesthesiologist, you’ll manage patients that have been rendered unconscious or insensible to pain and stress during a variety of medical procedures, including surgeries and obstetric interventions.

It’s important to note that most medical students won’t be exposed to anesthesiology until their fourth year in medical school, so if you have an interest in anesthesiology, look for medical schools or universities that will get you that exposure early on, or give you access to it.

List Of Anesthesiology And CRNA Programs

  • Columbia University
  • Harvard University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Stanford University
  • University Of California, Los Angeles
  • The University Of California, San Francisco
  • University Of Michigan Ann Agbor
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Washington University, St Louis

 Columbia University

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) is the graduate medical school of Columbia University, located at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in Washington Heights, Manhattan.

Founded in 1767, the College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first medical school in the United States to award the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.

VP&S strives to be the best by consistently focusing on its top four goals which are clinical care, research, education, and campus and community life.

The college offers degrees in various medical and healthcare fields, as well as 7 dual-degree programs, providing students with ample opportunity to learn and succeed.

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Students are encouraged to develop their interests and acquire important career skills through electives, a scholarly project, extracurricular activities, and independent research.

Harvard University

Harvard Medical School (HMS) is the graduate medical school of Harvard University and is located in Boston, Massachusetts.

Founded in 1782, HMS has an esteemed history and its faculty have been at the forefront of major medical discoveries and innovations.

With a class size of 165, the MD program is highly competitive, with a median matriculant GPA of 3.9 and a median MCAT score of 519.

Harvard medical students enrolled in the Core Clerkship in Surgery will spend a minimum of one week rotating with the department of anesthesia in a hospital setting.

There is also an opportunity for a four-week elective clinical clerkship in anesthesiology for fourth-year medical students. In 2019, 6 Harvard Medical School students matched into anesthesiology residency programs.

Johns Hopkins University

Founded in 1876, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is located in Baltimore, Maryland, sharing its campus with Johns Hopkins Hospital, which was established in 1889.

It is part of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (JHMI) Campus, which also includes the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the School of Nursing.

Johns Hopkins was the first medical school to require its students to have an undergraduate degree and the first to admit women.

A historically standout institution, the school has always ranked in the top 3 according to U.S. News and World Report in the number of competitive research grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Stanford University

Founded in 1858 by Dr. Elias Samuel Cooper, Stanford Medicine boasts the highest funding per researcher ratio in the country today. Stanford Medicine consistently ranks among the top medical schools in the country. 

As part of the Critical Care Core Clerkship, medical students at Stanford gain exposure to a variety of practices in anesthesiology.

Students also get to participate in patient management in the operating room and have an opportunity to experience a number of clerkships in subspecialty areas. 

University Of California, Los Angeles

The David Geffen School of Medicine is one of the youngest elite medical schools in the United States, founded in 1951.

It is the second medical school in the University of California system—the first was UCSF School of Medicine. The school’s reputation relative to its age is a testament to its strength as an institution.

The anesthesiology department at UCLA Medical School oversees the preoperative care of about 50,000 surgeries and procedures, and over 200 third- and fourth-year medical students complete anesthesiology rotations each year.

Each student spends two weeks of the mandatory third-year surgery clerkship in the anesthesiology subspecialty rotation, and interested students can choose from two fourth-year sub-internships: one in anesthesiology, and one in surgery and critical care medicine. Also, so you’ll likely need a top MCAT score to be competitive.

The University Of California, San Francisco

The UCSF School of Medicine is located in San Francisco, California and is the medical school of the University of California San Francisco.

The school was founded in 1864 as Toland Medical College and joined the UC system in 1873. It’s affiliated with UCSF Medical Center, and students train at the seven hospitals that make up UCSF Health.

However, Students are also able to take advantage of opportunities at 12 affiliated hospitals and organizations in the Bay Area and Fresno, including Children’s Hospital Oakland, the Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. UCSF School of Medicine is the oldest medical school in California.

In addition to training medical professionals, UCSF School of Medicine holds at its core a large focus on research, discovery, and technology development.

UCSF’s medical school sits at the forefront of patient care in the 21st century.

The UCSF Department of Anesthesia is one of the largest anesthesia residencies in the US, providing many clerkship opportunities for current medical students.

University Of Michigan Ann Agbor

At Michigan, medical students begin spending time in the clinical world earlier than in a traditional medical school curriculum, with clinical exposure on a regular basis throughout the M1 year. 

Michigan offers multiple anesthesiology rotations, including pediatric and advanced clinical anesthesiology. 

The entering class in 2019 had an average GPA of 3.78 and a class average MCAT percentile of 90.77. 13 Michigan Medicine seniors matched into CRNA and anesthesiology residencies across the country.

University of Pennsylvania

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania, and is commonly referred to at Penn Med.

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Founded in 1765, it is located in the heart of Philadelphia.

In addition to its MD program, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania also houses a PhD program, an MD/PhD dual-degree program, a Master’s program, and several post-doctoral degree programs.

About 15% of each incoming class is admitted directly into the MD/Ph.D. program, which is intended for students who have already identified a medical research career path.

The Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most innovative universities, with more than $800 million in annual sponsored research.

The highly competitive Ivy received over 6,800 applications for its entering class of 162 in 2019. Perelman’s Class of 2023 had a median MCAT score of 517 and a mean GPA of 3.76.

Washington University, St Louis

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was founded in 1891 and is known for its commitment to patient care, research, and education.

Washington University School of Medicine is world-renowned for its achievements in the medical field. WashU in St. Louis, Missouri offers CRNA and eight anesthesiology electives for 4th-year medical students to choose from, including Anesthesia for Neurosurgery, Cardiothoracic Anesthesiology, Obstetrical Anesthesia, and Pediatric Anesthesia.

Admission is highly competitive—124 students enrolled in 2018 from 4716 applicants.

How Long Is CRNA Program?

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) are responsible for the entirety of the anesthesia procedure, including determining technique, drugs, and dosage, along with managing and monitoring a patient’s pain levels and vital functions.

However, this career is categorized as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) role because it requires graduate-level educational and clinical training.

Generally, a CRNA needs to complete at least seven years of postsecondary education and training: bachelor’s degree (3-4 years), master’s degree (2-3 years), and training in critical care nursing (at least one year).

How Long Does It Take To Become An Anesthesiologist?

Anesthesiologists play an important role in the surgery process and are responsible for administering anesthesia and monitoring vital signs throughout a medical procedure. So, becoming an anesthesiologist requires several years of education and training.

Most paths to becoming an anesthesiologist take around 12 years to complete. This includes four years of an undergraduate program, four years of medical school and four years in a residency

However, There are some programs that allow students to complete their undergraduate studies and medical schooling in six years, which would shorten the time it takes to become an anesthesiologist.


In conclusion CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who administer anesthesia and other medications. They also monitor patients who are receiving and later recovering from anesthesia. Also, CRNAs care for patients from all walks of life. 

While, anesthesiologists are physicians specializing in perioperative care, developing anesthetic plans, and the administration of anesthetics. Anesthesiologists help ensure the safety of patients undergoing surgery. The anesthesiologist provides care for the patient to prevent the pain and distress they would otherwise experience.


How long does it take to become an anesthesiologist?

To become an anesthesiologist take around 12 years to complete. This includes four years of an undergraduate program, four years of medical school and four years in a residency.

Can a CRNA become an anesthesiologist?

Yes, CRNAs have the same options for the practice of medicine that any medical student does. If she wants to remain in her current field, she could choose to become an anesthesiologist.

What are the job duties of a nurse anesthetist?

– Completing patient assessments.
– Providing the patient with education about the surgery and their recovery.
– Preparing the proper dose of anesthetic to meet the patient’s needs.
– Administering medication through a variety of methods.
– Monitoring the patient’s vitals and anesthesia dose during surgery.



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