Crna vs. Anesthesiologist (Everything you need to know)

Crna vs. Anesthesiologist

There are discoveries that some individuals prefer to do jobs that help people indirectly; while others like to indulge in jobs that affect people’s lives directly.

Usually, people doing jobs like engineers, agriculturists, etc, are indirectly trying to affect our lives. However, most people who indulge in the professions relating to medicine and teaching are said to impact people’s lives directly.

One of such areas in which you can affect people’s life directly is the CRNA and the anesthesiology. These two professions are actually quite crucial, and they are usually well respected and appreciated both materially and non-materially.

This cruciality comes as a result of the responsibility assigned to people in these two professions.

People who undertake this profession are tasked with providing care to all people; they are known for relieving pains when you are being ushered to a new life or passing away from this life.

They are otherwise known as pain relievers and caregivers.

The need for these two professions comes with the need to relieve pain during surgery or other medical procedures.

It has been discovered that many surgeries would not be feasible or would cause unmanageable pain for patients without anesthesia. So this means that they hold the key to major surgeries.

However, as much as the two professions are related, they are distinct in their way.

Let’s look at both of them individually, as in-depth knowledge of the two subject matters will help us to be able to compare them.

Crna vs. Anesthesiologist

What is CRNA?

The CRNA, an acronym for “certified registered nurses anesthetist,” is defined by Wikipedia as an advanced practice nurse who administers anesthesia for surgery or other medical procedures.

They specialize in administering anesthesia to people of various ages in various medical facilities.

Nurses in the CRNA are usually given various levels of autonomy depending on the state they are located in.

While some states grant complete autonomy to the CRNA, others insist anesthesiologists supervise them.

Educational/Basic Requirements

However, being a CRNA will take a level of educational work. It is expected that you should obtain a degree(bachelor’s degree) in nursing science for you to become a CRNA.

However, it is possible for people who study health-related courses to apply for nursing anesthesia.

It is also expected that before you become a CRNA, you should be licensed as a registered nurse.

Being registered as a nurse is not enough as you are expected to have at least two years of experience as a registered nurse before you get into the CRNA school.


Generally, it is required that you have spent 12 months in an emergency unit, intensive care unit, or any other critical unit.

It is expected that before you are eligible to complete some CRNA programs, you should have some level of apprenticeship under someone who is a practicing CRNA.

The above requirements eventually qualify you to study a CRNA master’s degree program, which will probably take about three years to complete.

During these three years, you would get the opportunity to practice the things you learned from the CRNA school.

After this program, the final step is usually to take a state-administered exam to enable you to obtain your license and certificate to practice this.

Only after completing these programs will you be free to practice.

However, it’s also important to note that within the periods of 2022 and 2025, you will need to obtain a doctoral degree or a Ph.D. degree before you are granted licensure.

Read this: Advanced degree – Major tips and facts

Crna vs. Anesthesiologist


Wikipedia defines an anesthesiologist as “a physician who specializes in the total perioperative care of patients before, during and after surgery.

It encompasses anesthesia, intensive care medicine, critical emergency medicine, and pain medicine.” 

An anesthesiologist is a physician who has chosen to study and practice anesthesiology, usually after completing medical school (obtain your doctoral degree in medicine MD or DO).

Educational/Basic Requirements

To become an anesthesiologist often takes a minimum of 12 years, you might wonder that’s too long, but that’s usually what is associated with the medical profession.

The length of medicine programs is not eloped by anesthesiologists. They go through similar lengths, if not more when compared to other fields of study.

The anesthesiologist is expected to obtain a bachelor’s degree in medicine, which will usually cost about four years.

After completing the bachelor’s degree, it is expected that an application to a medical school is made.


Once accepted into the med school, the next four years would be spent in the medical school studying medicine generally, after which you will be subjected to testing from the medical board.

The following 4 years will be carried out with a mixture of internship/residency and academic work.

With the first year being filled with mainly academic work, subsequent years usually involve apprenticeship under an already practicing anesthesiologist to help you feel how the job works.

After this program, you can choose to pursue a fellowship in a specific anesthesiology specialty of your choice ranging from surgery, cardiac, radiology, etc.

Read this: How long does it take to get a teaching degree?

Crna vs. Anesthesiologist

Similarities Between CRNA And Anesthesiologist

Generally, the two occupations are pretty similar, especially when you consider that they can cater to the same type of patient and the same type of conditions.

They are also usually open to similar employment opportunities in either administration, clinical areas, management, etc.

A CRNA and anesthesiologist have a similar range of specialty areas that you can choose to embrace, such as pain management, dental surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, etc.

Crna vs. Anesthesiologist

Differences Between CRNA And Anesthesiologist

1. The first major difference is that the members of the CRNA are nurses, while those in the Anesthesiologist category are usually doctors/physicians.

2. Another difference is in the length of their program; anesthesiologists spend more years studying than those who are just CRNA.

3. The annual salaries available to anesthesiologists are usually more within the range of $300k-$400k, while that of CRNA lies between $100k-$200k.

4. The absolute difference between these two occupations is who can study which.

According to a generally accepted means of testing known as the Myers-Briggs personality test, people who test out to be “ISFJs,” reflecting “Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging” personalities are better suited as anesthesiologists.

While those who appear to be “ESFJs,” reflecting “Extroverted Sensing Feeling Judging” personalities are better suited to be CRNA.


In general, the two occupations are quite demanding but also quite rewarding. Honestly, you might often be confused about which to study.

It is pretty simple, try and discover who you are and what you want (your personality) and then choose.

I can confidently tell you that the differences between them are not much; hence it’s more of a decision you have to make based on how you feel.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

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