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Anesthesiologist, Assistant Top Paying U.S. Jobs

Armen Hareyan's picture

Yesterday CNN published a survey of Top 50 Jobs In U.S. where both Anesthesiologists and Anesthesiologists assistants ranked very high in terms of salaries and pay.

The profession of Anesthesiologist is ranked as the 11th best job in the nation and the median salary is $292,000 dollars. Anesthesiologist assistant, which is also called Nurse Anesthetist is ranked as the 15th best job in America with a median salary of $157,000 dollars.

In fact the top salary the Anesthesiologists can get in USA reaches to $408,000 dollars according to the survey. I remember once I read that this was a top salary that a cardiologist may receive. However, here is what reflects this type of salary. It is the "inherent stress in a job that is literally about life and death."

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What surgeon does to a patient is of utmost importance. Yet, it is the Anesthesiologist who readies the patient through the operation safely. He he or she does not do the job right, what the surgeon does may be fatal for the life of the patient.

No wonder the job of the Nurse Anesthetist, or the Anesthesiologist assistant is of equal importance and ranked high in the job survey. The median salary of the Anesthesiologist assistant is $157,000 dollar. This type of assistant nurse may take home up to $214,000 dollar annually. Likes Anesthesiologists, to whom they report, these nurses make sure to not make a mistake. The high salaries and good training have helped to drop the failure rates to 1 in 200,000 in these professions.

For comparison the media hourly rate of a registered nurse (RN) that has 20 years or more experience ranges from 26 to 35 dollars hourly, according to Payscale. The starting median salary for RN ranges from $19 to 25 dollars.

Written by Armen Hareyan



Armen Hareyan's comments on nurse anesthetists and anesthesiologist assistants (AAs) are simply not correct. These healthcare providers are different and unique specialties. To become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), one is required to have a bachelor of science degree in nursing, become an RN, and have at least one year of acute care nursing experience before even applying to a 2-3 year master’s degree program in nurse anesthesia. After graduation they have to pass a national certification examination before becoming a CRNA. On the other hand, to enter an AA program one does not require any healthcare experience and can have a bachelor’s degree in English! Clearly they are relegated to “assistant” status and required by law to work under the scrutiny of a physician anesthesiologist for a reason. CRNAs, on the other hand, have no such requirements, and often work in facilities where there are no anesthesiologists. There are other important differences. AAs have been around for approximately 40 years, and yet there are still only six schools producing approximately 100 new AAs per year. While the exact number of AAs in the healthcare workforce is sketchy, the association that represents the profession claims there are fewer than 1,000 AAs in the United States. Only 12 states and the District of Columbia allow AAs to practice within their borders. In comparison, nurse anesthetists have been around since the Civil War, there are more than 100 nurse anesthesia education programs producing more than 2,000 new CRNAs annually, and there are more than 40,000 nurse anesthetists currently int he workforce. In addition, CRNAs can practice in every state and the District of Columbia, and in 15 states they are not required to be supervised by a doctor. In no state are they required to be supervised or directed by an anesthesiologist. Thank you for allowing me to set the record straight.
It's the same job and it comes back to the age old debate: (AA)Education vs (CRNA)Experience BSN track programs are 4yrs long which at the conclusion of the program leads to RN certification testing NCLEX. After that the RN has to work for a year doing clinical work before applying to a 2yr CRNA masters program. AA's are on the same undergrad track as Doctors. Majors are irrelevant for both as long as Pre-Med courses are taken (4yrs) which are not req. of nurses. AA's also must take the MCAT or GRE (school pending) to be admitted into a 2yr AA masters program. The AA program seems to be more difficult partly because it must make up for the lack of experience/training that RN's already possess going into their program. That would explain the online degree option for nurses. The recognition of these "Assistant" jobs is insulting to Nursing. Nurses have to jump through many hoops and pay their dues to ascend to those career levels. And with their lobbying power, its doubtful that Assistant jobs will be nationally recognized anytime soon. But when Hospitals realize that they won't have to pay for CRNA malpractice by hiring an AA then maybe things will change.
This is all ridiculous!! Saying/implying that these "assistant" jobs should not be recognized is somewhat childish and absurd. Why does it matter what names they are given? The bottom line is that AAs and CRNAs provide the same care PERIOD! Another bottom line is that if a patient had a choice, none would choose an AA or a CRNA to be their anesthetist. Most students choose AA because they don't want to spend another 8 or so..years to become MDs and for CRNA, they just want to improve their pay because realistically very few people would care for all that stress that comes with the job. Ever wondered why most anesthesiologists are jerks?? So everybody get over your egos. AAs are exactly the same as CRNAs, only difference is the route they took to get there. It would be nice if everybody stopped beckering and trying to trump another person's job. All everybody wants is to make a good living...
The poster did not say "AA jobs should not be recognized" but rather that because of the strong nurse lobbying, AA's weren't likely to be nationally recognized anytime soon which was not only a true statement, but a common sense statement as well. Today (2015) I think only 14 states allow AA's and those interested can read up on the technical "conditions" that any particular state has regarding AA's. I think all professional schools should stand alone, meaning, I think there should be one professional graduate-school track to anesthesia practice outside of being a licensed M.D./D.O.. It does not help patients to be limited to CRNA when AA's could be also available in various states that currently do not allow for AA's.
Completely different profession. I (CRNA) can work without an anesthesiologist....i am only required to work with a physician of which i would anyway as they are performing surgery anyway. In fact CRNAs requirements for any physician supervision is now lifted in a third of the country. An AA will never be able to, in fact they must follow tefra regulations for reimbursement, and are not even recognized in all states=no reimbursement. I have no ill feeling for AAs except they call themselfs anesthetists, leaving out "assistants" when in fact that implies independence of practice. Missouri strictly prohibits AAs from using the title Anesthetist. They were created to protect Anesthesiologist jobs by the ASA. We may have similar jobs but they CANNOT practice independently in any way. CRNAs provide a more useful service to society and the rural areas where AAs have no autonomy. Saying an AA and CRNA the same is like saying an Anesthesiologist and a CRNA are the same. We just are not. We all have an important role but we are not equal nor the same.
No, it's not a "different profession". It's the same profession with different regulatory red tape is the truth of the matter. CRNA's are not by default better trained than AA's or vice versa and where you attend school and the types of case experience after school will mostly dictate the skill set... same with attorneys, accountants, pilots, and most other professions requiring highly regulated licensure/certification. The only reason AA's don't provide the EXACT same service as CRNA's is do to politics not a difference in skill set or training, which is why CRNAs and AA usually get paid exactly the same in similar locales under similar conditions. Let's not get ridiculous here. The CRNA track should be discontinued and one professional degree in Anesthesia should be the only alternative to an actual physician anesthesiologist. Anesthesia providers (non-physician) should be required to attend anesthesia school like PharmD students attend a dedicated pharmacy school, etc., and should be separated from nursing.
This constant mantra from some of the nursing community that implies PAs and AAs are supervised by MDs due to inferior education or ability is ludicrous. The " independent status" that you repeatedly tout is a political and administrative house of cards. The only reason NPs and CNAs are classified this way, is because of the juggernaut that is the nursing lobby. You may tell yourself that CNA and NP programs are more academically rigorous to PA and AA programs, to justify your perceived superiority. However it simply is not true. There are deficient mid-level providers across the whole spectrum, as there are stellar providers. However, to infer or imply that PAs or AAs are subordinate to their nursing counterparts is offensive.
This comment sounds like it was written by a CRNA. I will not even begin to discuss the biased, omitted, pertinent information. Yes, I am aware that the CRNAs are doing everything that they to deter the AA's competitive practice.
So many fallacies in cbetpr's comment that it's beyond ridiculous. The bottom line is that you don't have to have a particular undergrad degree to major most medical jobs, CRNA is one of the few (you might want to ask yourself why). You can be an English or Basket Weaving major before going to medical, law, chiro, pods, PA, optomisty, Pharm D, etc., school(s)... you just need the requisite prerequisite knowledge base to do well on the MCAT... and you don't need practical medical experience to do that. Generally speaking, the requirements are less academically rigorous to get into CRNA school than it is to an AA school. Dispute that. If you want to "set the record straight", please outline the difference in pay and patient outcomes between AA and CRNA. I sure we'll all come to the same conclusion... as far as industry is concerned, they're the same and few in industry care about what amounts to petty differences that don't affect patient outcomes enough to warrant mentioning. That's the bottom line.
Just felt the need to set cbeptr straight on what I am sure are just honest oversights (nothing to do with nurses bias...). First off, most AA students are not English majors, and if they are, they have completed a rigorous pre-requisite science course load before they apply. AA students are required to complete basically the same pre-med course work to get into graduate school that med students have to take. Unlike nursing school, AA students must take pre-med level chemistry, organic chem, biochem, physics, and calculus (among others), no "survey of" courses are allowed. Applicants also are required to take the MCAT/GRE in order to be accepted. And although not specifically required, most students have some degree of health care experience, i.e. formers nurses, RTs, perfusionists, ER tech/OR tech, etc. Second, AAs are allowed to practice in 18 states currently, and in all 50 states if it is at a VA hospital...with more states on the way. The only real difference in practice rights is due to the lack of a monstrous political machine that the nursing lobby has. Most CRNAs and AAs work in the ACT (anesthesia care team) setting. And whenever a CRNA and AA are employed at the same facility, they have the same job description, responsibilities, and pay (assuming equal years in the field). A small number of CRNAs do practice independently (as a result of political lobbying, not a difference in skill set), but they are by far the minority. Both AAs and CRNAs are quality midlevel providers of anesthesia and have a high degree of responsibility in the OR. Oh, I guess there IS one other difference between the two....you can't get your AA degree online. Record NOW set straight.
Thumbs up from an AA-student, who has been a primary care Physician Assistant for the past 6 years.
There is no online degree to become a Nurse Anesthetist. There are online RN-BSN completion degrees for practicing nurses who did not have the theory and leadership training in their ADN programs. This online degree in no way replaces clinical experience. Many schools of nursing anesthesia are master's level at a minimum with many programs switching over to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) curriculum, 3 years training beyond baccalureate. Students applying in most cases must also take the GRE and have, at a minimum, 1 year Critical Care experience (ICU) and almost all do not accept ER or PACU as experience. Most schools expect longer than one year unless you have an outstanding undergraduate GPA and rock the interview. As far as the course requsities, undergrad nursing students still complete organic chemistry, microbiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, physics. RNs by no means have a lousy science preparation. My concerns with the Anesthesia Assistant track is that a CRNA student simply has much more clinical experience on board. AAs also do not have as much oversight governing their practice. You can take all the pre-med science you want, it doesn't give you that nursing instinct. As someone mentioned previously, CRNAs have the ability to practice independently, with that they accept risks of practicing anesthesia (purchasing malpractice insurance etc.) With these types of limitation in the AA practice on top of the fact that the shear numbers of AAs are so small compared to CRNAs, I don't see a national governing board coming any time soon. Although I do agree, if both CRNA and AA are working under the direction of an MDA, they should be compensated equally for doing the same job.
Wow, there a lot of misconceptions out there regarding the field of anesthesia. I'm a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). I practice with 3 other CRNAs providing all aspects of anesthesia care. I work completely on my own license. No anesthesiologist, no physician supervision, period. We collaborate and discuss with the surgeon as needed but the surgeon bears no liability for anesthesia given by a CRNA or an anesthesiologist. The only supervision requirement for some CRNAs in selected states refers to Medicare reimbursements. Anesthesiology Assistants (AAs) work solely under the direction of an anesthesiologist who according to the Medicare guidelines can supervise up to 4 AAs at a time. AAs can begin their 2 yr program having never even set foot in a hospital or cared for a critically ill patient! CRNAs are required to have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing, GRE entrance testing, and a minimum of 1 year of critical care (ICU) With most applicants averaging 5 or more years. Most CRNA programs are 2/12-3 years in length followed by a National Board examination before becoming certified. It is a wonderful field and immensely gratifying. Thanks for reading, hope it helped.
Anesthesiologist Assistants are licensed to practice in 18 states (more every year, and more schools opening), and have the same job descriptions and responsibilities as CRNA’s. mg1270 was entirely correct in his previous statements. cbetpr: In response to your earlier comments physician assistants are also assistants and look at what they are licensed to do. The “Assistants” I believe you were referring to are Anesthesia Technicians, Certified Anesthesia Technicians and Certified Anesthesia Technologists (please use a web browser to research and educate yourself about these professions). What mg1270 stated was entirely correct, research Anesthesia Assistants online. You will find that just because it is not something you are familiar with does not mean it does not exist. The education received AA-C’s is believed to be by many physicians to be superior to that of CRNA’s. Anesthesia Assistants were created by Anesthesiologists to help assist them, with the idea that a medical education, not a nursing education was best to prepare people to assist them in their delivery of Anesthesia. AA-C’s must have a pre med education, meeting the same requirements as students applying to medical school (most Anethsia Assitnat programs are as hard to get into as many medical schools). Most AA-C programs require the MCAT, and those that don’t require the GRE. As mg1270 stated many AA-C students are former RRT, RT, paramedics, PA-C’s and other allied health professionals. There is no reason nurses should have a monopoly on mid level Anesthesia care. Studies on the performance of AA-C’s vs. CRNA’s starting clinicals show an initial advantage to those with more healthcare experience (i.e. nurses), but within a matter of weeks that difference has disappeared. Read a little bit before making statements about things you are not well read-well informed on.
AA programs were the brain child of anesthesiologists, not to control the content of the education as you infer, but to attempt to limit the scope of practice for CRNA's . It was a purely political move. CRNA programs are some of the most rigorous programs into which entrance can be gained. There are approximately one hundred CRNA programs in the USA and most accept only 8 to 30 students per year, a much more stringent selection process than most medical schools or AA programs. CRNA programs admit only Registered Nurses with years of clinical practice whereas anyone can enter into an AA program. And most importantly CRNA's practice on their own licenses, Anesthesia Assistants need to be medically directed by an Anesthesiologist and practice under the umbrella of the Anesthesiologists license.
Sure... "anyone can enter into an AA program" who has above a 3.4 GPA, an MCAT score from the mid to upper 20s or higher, completed the same prerequisite science classes required by medical schools, and competes with hundreds of applicants for a class size of 20. I guess you must think getting into a CRNA program, where they accept any passing grade on prerequisites, the most difficult then? Even more than medical schools?
i know this article is old but which school offer CRNA as an online programs since mg1270 mentioned that "there IS one other difference between the two....you can't get your AA degree online."
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists are not anesthesia assistants. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists can and do provide anesthesia services without physician supervision or direction in 18 different states. In the remaining states the law mandates that they work under the supervision of a physician. The term physician includes a very wide definition. In those particular states, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) can provide anesthesia services for a plastic surgeon, gastroenterologist, maxillofacial surgeon, dentist, podiatrist or anesthesiologist which include a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO). Confused yet? Wait, there's more. There are states in the country which were training physician's assistants to provide anesthesia services for anesthesiologists. Anesthesia physician's assistants providing anesthesiology services must work under the supervision and direction of an anesthesiologist. In contrast, CRNA's do not, unless they choose to work for an anesthesiologist practice. There's more. There are people who call themselves anesthesia assistants. They are neither anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, physician assistants, nor registered nurses. They work specifically under the direction and supervision of anesthesiologists when providing anesthesia services. Lastly, there are certified anesthesia technologists. They do not provide anesthesia but help anesthesilogists and nurse anesthetists with equipment and procedures in the operating room . Last but not least, there are registered nurses who provide " concious sedation" for certain procedures under the direction and supervision of non anesthesia provider physicians. Good luck trying to figure all this out. So next time someone is going to provide anesthesia services for you, ask a lot of questions. Y.
Nurse anesthetists are always supervised by a physician. You might say that they are not, but in the fine print a physician is taking responsibility for them. Now out in the middle of nowhere where an anesthesiologist might not be present, but the Crna is still supervised by some physician. This could be a family practice doc a surgeon or any type of doc. Bottom line is some physician is still taking responsibilty for that Crna. Just because an anesthesiologist is not there does not mean they are practicing alone and the supervising doc may not know what is going on with the anesthetic and never comes to the facility, but they are still being supervised. Read the fine print
Your statement about supvision is not accurate. In 2001 Medicare issued a final rule stating that the Governor of each state could "opt out" of this supervision requirement if allowed by state law and deemed in the best interest of the citizens of their state. This has been done in 17 states. Both the original article and many of the comments are incorrect in many ways. I would recommend discounting most of what is stated or at least taking with a BIG grain of salt. Even in states where supervision is still required liability is a separate issue that is oft misconstrued. If a surgeon "supervises" a CRNA they are not liable for his or her misdeeds unless that surgeon actively directed the care. Yes...I am a CRNA. There is so much overlap between these three job classifications that many health professionals do not understand our roles--let alone the general public.
I agree with Yuri Dominguez completely. Anesthesia assistants are not, nor will ever be Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists. I have worked with these AA students and I would never let one touch me. They can have a four year degree in anything and apply for AA school. They lack knowledge and experience, even after their two years of school, to function as an anesthesia assistant. One might think that they are assisting the anesthesiologist in the operating room, but actually the AA is the person providing anesthesia. It's very sad that the general public does not know to ask all these questions about anesthesia and assume they are in the care of an anesthesiologist.
You sound like another bitter nurse that is mad that you do not make as much as an AA. Obv if you read the title and see AA and CRNA you will probably know the difference. Plus they have totally different responsibilities. Wow what a conclusion you guys have made of course an AA will never be an RNA. But hey you worked with students you must know all about them lol.
You have NO idea what you're talking about; just because you worked with someone who was not qualified I can tell you there are PLENTY of nurses out there I can put in that SAME category. They CANNOT have a degree in anything; it HAS To be premedical class work as well as having taken the MCAT or GRE if they do not already have a master's degree which, BTW MANY of them do already have before going onto to school for an AA. Which is ALSO A VERY INTENSE RIGOROUS program with more clinical hours than a nurse anesthetist has to complete; plus they are required to pass the same exams and maintain the same qualifications throughout their career. So please know what you are talking about before you say anything so ridiculous and WRONG!
What you also failed to say is that an Medical Doctor (M.D.); or D.O.; also attorneys, and PharmD students can have a degree in "anything". Would you shutter at the thought of an Ortho surgeon putting pins in your foot just because he/she has an undergrad in 20th Century Fiction/Literature.... even if they scored 97th percentile on the MCAT? The bottom line is that having a BSN (bachelor Science Nursing) has virtually nothing to do with anesthesia... just like having a degree in music doesn't. What is true is that (like med school) at least one AA school requires the MCAT and requisite science/math knowledge before setting foot in the school. That is not the case for most CRNA schools. What should be discussed here is any differences in hands on hours and types of case experiences that may or may not differ between the two programs. Mentioning that a BSN is required for CRNA school is about as worthless as mentioning that an undergrad degree is required for most ABA law schools. Unless an anesthesia school requires a technical degree in the bio or physical sciences that require a full range of hard sciences/math (chemistry, physics, calculus, etc.) it, a "degree" isn't worth wasting breath over because any one can simply earn a degree, and frankly earning a BSN is considerably easier than earning an Associates degree in Electrical Engineering, Chemistry, or Physics from most good community colleges... ;) Seeing both AA's and CRNA's in action, my take is that both lots are highly competent- bad apples present in any occupation, however I don't think you'd typically find too much difference in skill between CRNA and AA. I'd look at the particular school that they came from; that makes a difference, just like it does in most professions.
Anesthesiologists are physicians who are licensed to practice medicine. As discussed in the article, we prepare patients for surgery but we are also perioperative physicians who evaluate patients preoperatively and formulate a safe and optimal plan based on the nature of the procedure, the patient's coexisting medical diseases, patient and surgeon preference. We treat intraoperative emergencies and postoperative complications, and we also manage the systems and personnel that support these activities. Because it is optimal to have an anesthesiologist (MD) involved in the care of surgical patients, the anesthesia care team, or ACT, is commonly used. With this model, certain aspects of care, like monitoring, for example, are delegated to the AA or CRNA. The anesthetic skills, capabilities, and responsibilities of AAs and CRNAs are identical. The only 3 differences - 1)prerequisites for training, 2)preformance of regional blocks and invasive lines, 3) supervision. Both AAs and CRNAs are longstanding members of the anesthesia care team but responsibility rests with the anesthesiologist. Hope this helps anyone who is considering a career either as an anesthesiologist, anesthesiology assistant, or nurse anesthetist.
Dr, your imput is very helpful and unbiased. I am miself considering a career as an AA, but with all these arguing and bitter comments from some people on this forum, I am a little disoriented. I am presently actively working on my Pre-med prerequisites and planning on taking the Mcat very soon, in order to apply for the Anesthesiologist Assistant program. That said, I still have few apprehensions about the Anethesiologist Assistant career. Due to the fact that AAs are not recongnized in all states in the US, I am wondering if this profession will be viable and will not disappear in the long run. I am also concerned about the job outlook for AA's. Would you please give me your opinion by you being Anesthesiologist, and please let me know if becoming an AA will be a good decision? When it comes to liking this profession, I am firmly set on that, but my concern is really about the availability of jobs in this field and the long term future of the profession. Thanks Olivier Beohon
Well said. Spoken like the typical arrogant anesthesiologist. Obviously you need to read the practice privelidges of the 2 specialties. Of course you will tell everyone there is no difference. Your desire is to continue to convince everyone that you are a necessity in the practice of anesthesia. You love AAs as you can control them. The truth everyone....law states that as an AA you will ALWAYS have to practice with an anesthesiologist telling you what to do. This doesnt mean you dont know what to do. Nothing says anywhere that a CRNA has to work with an anesthesiologist (yes, legally can function independently with any surgeon). See, AAs were created by the ASA out of fear of the cheaper and care equivalent CRNA. Studies show no discernible difference in outcomes of care between the two (anesthesiologist vs. CRNA). Then what's the difference you ask? The differences in Anesthesiogist have an extra two years of school (no your not a student as a resident) as when they go into medicine they do not know what specialty they want so they do rotations in specialites. Some are pertinent but many are not. Ex. derm, family practice, pathology etc. Did you know that they dont even have any anesthesia specific curriculum? No, journal club doesnt count! Even the anesthesia texts reveal that for doctors, it is a self taught specialty. Look at CRNAs and AAs programs, they actually are taught anesthesia, not thrown in a room day one residency with no clue (poor patients). A CRNA has already spent on average 5 years in critical care. They have actually treated patients and monitored them on a continuos basis, hours at a time at the bedside titrating medications as needed to keep patients alive. A medical student has never "treated a patient and first hand experienced immediate changes in patient condition and response to subtle titration. Afterall, what is anesthesia? Hands on second to second care of a critical patient. Lets then top that with the fact that anesthesiogists are not legally required to pass any anesthesia specific boards to demonstrate that they know even the most basics to provide safe anesthesia. Most take boards but only becauses its on the path to partnership = more cash. ( that is what its all about for them). The fact that greater than a 1/3 of the states have decided to remove any (surgeon)physician requirements should be revealing. Why did they removed physician requirements for CRNA's? Well, anesthesiologists have done a wonderful job in convincing surgeons that they carry liability if they're working with a cRNA only as a cRNA requires physician supervision. That is because CRNAs do not have prescriptive authority. Funny how on the ASA website even their legal counsel has stated that surgeons carry no higher liability working with the CRNA versus an anesthesiologist. They only take on responsibility when they try to direct the anesthetic. CRNA's are considered professionals and are responsible for their own actions. Here's the difference between you and me. My goal is not to talk down and say that you're not capable of providing good anesthesia though as I have presented things it's obvious who had the better structured education in anesthesia. I really don't care that you learned how to identify a suspicious mole or how to prepare a slide for a Gram stain. Of course I learned those things as well. This is about ANESTHESIA
My daughter is an RN. She makes under 30 dollars an hour. She has over two years working in a hospital as a CC Nurse for over 2 years now. She wants to go back to school to be come a Nurse Anesthetist but she was told by a Nurse Anesthestist of 20 years that the they are only hiring AA's. What would be best thing for her to do Go for her AA Or Nurse Anesthesia. Is one any easier or does one of them take less time? Can you be a Nurse Anesthetist and if they were not hiring could she just be an AA?
I would hope that they could soon bring the Anesthiologist Assistant Program In Massachusetts.
All this talk is a waste. If you already have a science degree just go to AA school and avoid the waste of time giving bed baths as a nurse. You get the same pay and if you like Miami like I do then it doesn't matter which state allows AA. More states are soon opening up anyways. Also things are changing to become a CRNA. It will change from a masters to a doctorate degree. So you need a masters in nursing or what ever before you can even get into CRNA school. I got better things to do like getting punched in my stomach. Plus I rather be called AA then a nurse:)