I have been a CRNA for almost 5 years. While I agree you have no life during your CRNA training (2-3 Yrs depending on which program you choose), I must disagree with the idea of not having any sort of life after school while working. I love my job. It's very flexible. You can work part time or full time. If you choose full time, some places will let you work 3 12 hr shifts, 4 10 hour shifts, or 5 8 hour shifts. I currently work no weekends, no holidays, and no nights. I go on at least 3 vacations a year and earn the salary to support this lifestyle. Now there are definitely CRNA jobs out there where you will take call, work nights, weekends, etc. However, that's not the case everywhere. It just depends on what you want to do. Keep in mind the more hours you work, obviously the more money you will make. Those jobs paying 160k typically involve taking call, working weekends, and working more than 40 hours a week. A typical 40 hour work week will earn you around 110-120k depending on where you work in the country. Big cities pay less. Rural places pay more.
I agree with the other postings when they say if you're looking for big bucks and that's the only reason you are considering becoming a CRNA, then you will be disappointed. The primary reason I became a CRNA is because I enjoy taking care of people and providing excellent and safe care. I treat all my patients how I would want to be treated. Other than that, I also have an incredible attention to detail and I love to multitask...traits I think are valuable in the anesthesia profession. You must like the idea of taking responsibility. After all, you are responsible for a life while they are undergoing surgery. You should have a thick skin because surgeons can be rude...not all, but some and you need to always remember you are the patient's advocate. You must stand up for them when no one else seems to be doing so. Takes some backbone. As far as the training goes, yes, you must have a BSN degree first. Then work as a RN (getting paid a RN salary) for 1-2 years in an ICU...good training for anesthesia. After that, you can apply to CRNA school. CRNA school is tough, but in my opinion, well worth the 2 years of not having a life :-). Hope this helps you out. Happy to answer any questions you may have.