Top CRNA Colleges in Montana: Pursuing a Career in Nurse Anesthesia

If you have a passion for nursing and aspire to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), Montana offers several reputable colleges that provide excellent education and training in this field. CRNAs play a vital role in patient care, administering anesthesia and ensuring the safe management of pain during medical procedures. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about CRNA, and some of the top CRNA colleges in Montana, highlighting their programs, admission requirements, and other essential information.

What is CRNA All About?

CRNA stands for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. They play a vital role in successful surgeries and making other medical procedures pain-free.

CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who administer anesthesia and other medications. They monitor patients who are undergoing anesthesia and ensure their safety and comfort.

A CRNA is a registered nurse who has specialized training in anesthesia. They administer and provide anesthesia-related care to patients before, during, and after surgery. CRNAs work closely with the surgical team to ensure the well-being of patients.

Why Pursue a Career as A Nurse Anesthetist

Studying a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) program can offer several benefits and opportunities. Here are some reasons why you should consider pursuing a career in CRNA:

1. Broad range of practice: As a CRNA, you will have the opportunity to work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, surgical centers, and clinics. This allows for a diverse and fulfilling career.

2. Autonomy and professional respect: CRNAs are highly trained professionals who work independently in providing anesthesia care. They are respected members of the healthcare team and have a significant role in ensuring patient safety during surgical procedures.

3. High demand: There is a growing demand for CRNAs due to the increasing number of surgeries and the need for anesthesia services. This high demand translates into excellent job prospects and career stability.

4. High earning potential: CRNAs are among the highest-paid nursing professionals. The advanced level of education and expertise they possess allows them to command competitive salaries.

5. Flexible schedules: CRNAs often have the flexibility to choose their work schedules, which can be beneficial for achieving a work-life balance.

6. Meaningful and interesting work: Being a CRNA involves providing anesthesia care to patients during surgical procedures, ensuring their comfort and safety. Nurse Anesthesia is a rewarding and fulfilling career path for those who enjoy making a difference in patients’ lives.

The Importance of Choosing the Right CRNA College

Selecting the right CRNA college is a critical step in your journey toward becoming a nurse anesthetist. It’s important to consider factors such as graduates’ success, accreditation, clinical experiences, faculty expertise, and curriculum.

Choosing a reputable CRNA college ensures that you receive the necessary education and training to excel in your future career.

To help you make a good decision, we have a list of the top universities to study Nurse Anesthesia.

1. Montana State University

Montana State University offers a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with a specialization in Nurse Anesthesia.

The program is designed to be completed in 36 months and provides students with a combination of didactic coursework and clinical experiences.

The CRNA program at Montana State University is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), ensuring that it meets the highest standards of quality and effectiveness.

Admission Requirements:

•Applicants must possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited institution.

Some applicants may be considered if they hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

•Candidates must hold a current, unrestricted Registered Nurse (RN) license. Licensure requirements vary by state, so it is essential to check the specific requirements of Montana.

•SU’s CRNA program typically requires a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

•Additionally, applicants may be required to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, although this requirement can vary.


The CRNA program at MSU is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of anesthesia practice, patient care, and advanced clinical skills. The curriculum includes a wide range of courses, such as Advanced Anatomy and Physiology, Principles of Anesthesia, Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthesia, Anesthetic Management, Research Methods in Nurse Anesthesia, Clinical Residency.

Clinical Training: Clinical experiences play a crucial role in the CRNA program at MSU. Students gain hands-on experience in a variety of clinical settings under the guidance of experienced anesthesia professionals.

These clinical rotations provide opportunities for students to apply theoretical knowledge, develop critical thinking skills, and enhance their clinical judgment.

2. University of Montana:

The University of Montana offers a Nurse Anesthesia program in collaboration with Montana Tech.

The program is designed to be completed in 28 months and leads to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

Admission requirements may include a BSN, a minimum GPA, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and a current RN license.


The CRNA program at University of Montana is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of anesthesia practice, patient care, and advanced clinical skills. The curriculum includes a wide range of courses, such as Advanced Anatomy and Physiology, Principles of Anesthesia, Pharmacology for Nurse Anesthesia, Anesthetic Management, Research Methods in Nurse Anesthesia.

Clinical Training: Clinical experiences play a crucial role in the CRNA program at University of Montana. Students gain hands-on experience in a variety of clinical settings under the guidance of experienced anesthesia professionals.

CRNA Requirements in Montana

To become a CRNA in Montana, there are several requirements you must fulfill. These requirements are similar to those in other states and include the following:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing: You will need to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited institution. This degree provides the foundation for your nursing education and prepares you for advanced practice roles.
  • Registered Nurse Licensure in Montana: After completing your BSN, you must obtain licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) in Montana. This involves passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) and meeting any additional state-specific requirements.
  • Acute/Critical Care Experience: Most CRNA programs require applicants to have a minimum of one year of full-time experience in an acute or critical care setting, such as an intensive care unit (ICU) or emergency department (ED). This experience helps build the necessary clinical skills and knowledge required for advanced anesthesia practice.
  • Nurse Anesthesia Educational Program: Once you have gained the required experience, you can apply to an accredited nurse anesthesia educational program. These programs offer the necessary didactic and clinical training to become a CRNA. While Montana have limited in-state programs, nearby states like Maryland, North Dakota, and New Jersey offer various options.
  • National Certification Examination: After completing your nurse anesthesia educational program, you must pass the National Certification Examination (NCE) administered by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Successful completion of this exam is required to practice as a CRNA.

Considerations for Choosing a CRNA College in Montana

When choosing a CRNA college in Montana, there are several important factors to consider. These factors include accreditation, faculty expertise, clinical opportunities, and alumni success.

Accreditation is a crucial aspect to consider when selecting a CRNA college. Accreditation ensures that the program meets the highest standards of quality and prepares students for the challenges of the profession. The COA is the accrediting body for nurse anesthesia programs in the United States. It is important to choose a CRNA college that holds accreditation from the COA, as it guarantees that the program meets the necessary educational standards.

Faculty expertise is another vital consideration. Look for colleges that have experienced faculty members who are actively engaged in clinical practice and research. Faculty members with extensive experience in the field can provide valuable insights and mentorship to students, enhancing the learning experience.

Clinical opportunities play a significant role in the education of CRNAs. Look for colleges that provide a wide range of clinical rotations at reputable healthcare institutions. The opportunity to work with diverse patient populations and gain exposure to different clinical settings will greatly enhance your learning and prepare you for the challenges of anesthesia practice.

Alumni success is an important indicator of a college’s reputation and the quality of its program. Research the achievements of alumni from the CRNA colleges you are considering. Find out if they have successfully passed their certification exams and secured desirable employment opportunities. Alumni success can give you confidence in the program’s ability to provide a strong foundation for your future career

Finding Employment as a CRNA in Montana

Once you have completed your education, gained the necessary experience, and obtained your certification as a CRNA, you can begin your job search in Montana.

The healthcare industry in Montana offers various employment opportunities for qualified CRNAs.

To find employment as a CRNA in Montana, you can explore job listings on online job boards, healthcare websites, and professional networking platforms.

It’s also beneficial to network with other healthcare professionals, attend industry conferences, and join professional organizations to stay updated on job openings and connect with potential employers.

The average salary for a Certified Nurse Anesthetist in Montana is $215,169. However, the salary range typically falls between $200,068 and $232,294. Hence making it one of the favourable states in the country to work as a nurse anesthetist.

When applying for CRNA positions, carefully review the job requirements and tailor your application to showcase your relevant skills, experience, and qualifications. A well-crafted resume and cover letter highlighting your achievements and passion for the field can make a strong impression on potential employers.


Pursuing a career as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) in Montana requires dedication, hard work, and quality education. The CRNA colleges mentioned above offer comprehensive programs that equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in this field. When choosing a CRNA college, consider factors such as program length, admission requirements, location, and your own career goals. Research each college thoroughly to find the one that aligns with your aspirations. Good luck on your journey to becoming a CRNA!

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