Career Guidance for CRNA

Nurses Career Support



I'm a 32 YOM  who's starting out as a new grad in the ER with a two-year commitment in CA. I was initially applying to ICU new grad programs in CA but no luck.

I am interested in pursuing CRNA school which requires at least 2-years of ICU experience preferably in ICUs that handle a lot of postop pts w/ vents/VADs/ECMOs etc (I.e. CVICU, SICU over MICU, NeuroICU, CCU) at level 1 trauma hospitals.

So this is my game plan so far:

- Finish my two-year commitment in the ER while getting TNCC, TCAR, ATCN, TCRN, CEN certifications. I know contracts are not enforceable in CA, but I'd feel bad about breaking this one as this hospital gave me my first chance when all other hospitals I applied to didn't even get me an interview.

- Network and shadow CRNAs in nearby trauma 1 hospitals

- Towards the end of my two-year contract, start applying to CVICU/SICU RN I-II positions at level 1 trauma hospitals (preferably "learning" hospitals). Consider acute care transition programs and out-of-state (I.e. illinois, ohio, arizona, etc)  at other hospitals for backup.

- While working ICU, get my CCRN certification and study for the GRE (if that's still a requirement for schools, goal score > 300)

- Start applying to CRNA schools at around 1.5 yrs ICU experience

If all goes according to plan, looking at getting into CRNA school in 3.5-4 yrs (~36-37 yrs old). Is there any way I can improve this plan to make it more streamlined? Am I missing anything? Appreciate any advice and thanks in advance!

Specializes in Nurse Anesthetist, CRNA.

I think that's a pretty solid plan! 😉

You can also grab a free copy of our 8 Steps to CRNA planning guide-- it's been updated for 2024 and beyond and is full of additional helpful insights. 

Grab that here:

One thing I will add- it doesn't have to be a Level 1 teaching hospital-- but spot on with needing those high-acuity patients. THAT matters more than level 🙂

We are rooting for you-- you GOT this!! 

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