Salary: Top paying specialties–Certified RN Anesthetist


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We’re not saying that money’s everything. However, if you’re at the start of your career or thinking about starting off on a new path, might we suggest gunning for a spot as a certified registered nurse anesthetist. Why? For the past two years (at least!), it’s been by far and away the highest paid nursing specialty.

So, for those not in-the-know, what is it? Well, a certified registered nurse anesthetist administers anesthesia to patients. They collaborate with surgeons, anesthesiologists, dentists and podiatrists to safely administer anesthesia medications.


“A certified registered nurse anesthetist cares for a patient before, during and after a medical procedure or surgery by performing a patient assessment, preparing the patient for anesthesia, administering and maintaining the anesthesia to ensure proper sedation and pain management, overseeing patient recovery from anesthesia and caring for the patient’s immediate post-operative needs.”

We’re just going out on a limb here, but we’re guessing that part of the high ticket price on these particular jobs is the high risk and high stress that likely comes with literally putting patients “under.” And just how much is the high ticket price? The low end is $105,000 per year, while the top earners make $131,000. The gig requires you to get certified and gain experience in critical care (it’s up to seven years of schooling and practice, for those counting) and is perfect for nurses who love to be hands-on.

What else? Nurse anesthetists are required to have a Bachelor’s of Science degree in nursing or other appropriate undergraduate degree and a master’s degree from one of the more than 100 graduate schools of nurse anesthesia. In addition, nurse anesthetists must hold a current license as a registered nurse.

Check out the full chart on top paying nurse specialties on our fun infographic. And if you’re a nurse anesthetist, let us know: Does the salary data above stack up?

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