Comparison: CAA, CRNA Training/Practice

Description Certified Anesthesiologist Assistants Nurse Anesthetists

Description of Practice

Medically directed by a physician Anesthesiologist

Supervision by physician of unspecified specialty (excluding Opt-Out states)

Model of Practice

Anesthesia Care Team

Anesthesia Care Team, supervision by any physician, or independent practice without supervision (Opt Out states)

Distribution of Providers

1500+ Certified AAs in 16 states (plus District of Columbia and Guam) and Veteran’s Administration

36,000 CRNAs in all 50 states and Veteran’s Administration

Programs 10 (in 7 states, plus District of Columbia) 114 (in 37 states, plus DC and PR)
Program Length 24-28 months 24-36 months
Type of Program

Master’s degree (specific degree title unique to each program)

Masters degree (specific degree title unique to each program)

Certifying Body

National Commission for Certification of Anesthesiologist Assistants; National Board of Medical Examiners

Council on Certification of Nurse Anesthetists

National Organization

American Academy of Anesthesiologist Assistants (AAAA)

American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)

Admission Requirements

BS Degree Premedical curriculum GPA > 3.0

Completion of Medical College Admissions Test

(MCAT) or Graduate Record Exam (GRE),

dependent on each program’s individual

requirements; Previous health care experience

preferable; Personal interview

BN Degree Science curriculum for general

practice nursing GPA 3.0

Licensure as a registered nurse Minimum one

year of nursing experience in acute care setting

Personal interview

Program Requirements

Academic faculty with medical school appointment; Medical Director is a board-certified physician Anesthesiologist; Programs located in academic facilities that meet anesthesia residency requirements for physicians

Faculty includes MDs, CRNAs, and graduate nurses; Program Director must possess a master’s degree

Program Accreditation

Commission for Accreditation of Allied Health

Education Programs (CAAHEP)

Accreditation Review Committee for Anesthesiologist Assistants (ARC-AA)

Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Programs

Didactic Education

56-132 didactic hours (depends on program)

34-80 didactic hours (depends on program)

Clinical Education

Minimum of 2000 clinical hours (average > 2500 hrs)

Minimum of 550 cases (average ~1000+ hours)

Clinical Rotations

All sub-specialties of anesthesia All sub-specialties of anesthesia
Advanced Skills Regional anesthesia and invasive line placement Regional anesthesia and invasive line placement

Clinical Instructors

 CAAs, CRNAs, Anesthesiologists, Anesthesiologist Residents in training  CRNAs and Anesthesiologists
Recertification  40 CMEs submitted biennially + sit for Continued Demonstration of Qualifications Exam (CDQ) every 6 years; Set by the National Board of Medical Examiners  40 CMEs submitted biannually (every 10 year recertification exam will commence in 2015)

Graduation Requirements

3.0 GPA or better; good class standing; All course semester and clinical requirements completed

All course semester and clinical requirements completed