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The Future of Doctorate Titles for CRNAs

By: Carol Ko | Updated on June 07, 2021

The Future of Doctorate Titles for CRNAs

By 2025, all new CRNAs will need to have obtained their doctorate. What does this mean for you and your practice?

Amid the increased demand for Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs), what’s required to pursue this career path is changing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for CRNAs to grow by 45% from 2019 to 2029, with an average of 2,900 openings for nurse anesthetists each year. But even though jobs will be more abundant than ever, what’s required to become a CRNA will grow a bit more complex by 2025, as new CRNAs will need a doctorate degree to practice.

Why are the requirements changing?

Discussions about CRNAs needing a doctorate in order to be licensed date back 17 years to 2004 and are based on the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)’s recommendation. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) supported its position, setting the proposed change in motion in 2007. Because this change has been such a long time coming, many experienced CRNAs haven’t spent much time considering what this change might mean for their careers, but with 2025 quickly approaching, most will be soon.

What does this mean for CRNAs who are already practicing?

The short answer to this question is it really depends. Although those who are or will become a licensed CRNA before the year 2025 will not be required to return to school to pursue their doctorate, some might consider it, depending on where they’d like to practice in the future. Even though doctorates for those licensed before 2025 will not be required to continue to practice, healthcare facilities have the freedom to choose to only hire CRNAs who have their doctorate degree. That doesn’t mean they will, though. As with any career, your previous experience will always be valuable.

How can LocumTenens.com help you navigate these changes?

If you’re a licensed CRNA and want to continue to pursue positions which do not require a doctorate degree, our recruiters will work to find you a position that meets your preferences. There are many benefits to a locum tenens model of employment and having a recruiter who serves as your advocate while you’re on the hunt for a new job is just one of them!

Are you struggling with making the decision of returning back to school or continuing to practice? Consider speaking with a locum tenens recruiter about what kind of positions are available to you across the country given your current level of education and compare what you might expect to pay to continue your education with what you could make as a locum tenens clinician. Every clinician is in a unique position and will need to make decisions that align with their individual circumstances and future goals.

How can working as a locum tenens CRNA accelerate your path to earnings and autonomy?

Speak with a recruiter

If you do choose to return to school to pursue your doctorate, you might consider a couple locum tenens shifts a month or as your schedule allows. Although most CRNAs choose not work while they are in school due to time constraints, and some programs preclude you from working while attending, your circumstances might be different when you return to school than they were the first time around. Another appeal of locum tenens work is the flexibility this model of employment entails. You can work as little or as much as you want, and a recruiter can help find you hours that do not interfere with other commitments.

After graduation, many CRNAs choose locum tenens work to help pay down their student debt, and our recruiters will be ready to help you land your ideal assignment as soon as you graduate.

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About the author

Carol Ko

Managing Director, Anesthesia

Carol started with LocumTenens.com August 2005. For the past 16 years, she has devoted her work life to serving the recruiting needs of Anesthesia clinicians all over the country. Her experience and career as a full-time recruiter has taught her countless humbling lessons on building lifelong relationships with hundreds of highly qualified clinicians. Now as Managing Director of Recruiting, Carol leads the Anesthesia recruiting team by applying her wisdom to new opportunities. She sees every day as an occasion to learn new ways to improve upon even our best days serving our clinician base.