CRNA application for an international BSN Graduate, is it possible to get in?

Nursing Students SRNA


Specializes in ICU.

Hi, I was hoping somebody can help me shine a light whether or not I should purse my CRNA dreams. I am an international graduate from the Philippines with a GPA of 3.4. Our program in the Philippines is very rigorous and the training is really hard (example, we have to complete 5 major OR cases, circumcise 5 kids, be in school for 4 years straight with Summer classes in between and etc.) and it's very rare that somebody can get a GPA of more than 3.6 . 

I have a total of 2 years of ICU experience in the Philippines. Nursing in the Ph is literally the same nursing here in the US except for the paper charting. We take care of patients with vents, titrate sedatives, paralytics, inotropes. do CRRT or dialysis, etc. 

Now I 5 months ICU experience here in the US in a smaller hospital and I will be moving to a Level 1 Hospital this month and was planning to work in their ICU for 7 more months to complete the 1 year minimum requirement.  Do you guys think that would be enough to get me through any school? (my top choice is old dominion university or VCU) considering that I'm an international graduate and a big bulk of my experience is outside the states? 

I was also planning to take classes like organic chemistry or statistics to kind of boost my GPA. Is that recommended or will that help at all?


Thank you ❤️

Specializes in Adult Critical Care.

I don't know whether or not you need a degree from a U.S. accredited nursing school to apply.  You're situation is unique and you will have to reach out to each CRNA program individually and ask the program director directly.  They are usually very responsive to questions.  

I would be aware that certain U.S. states have specific courses required for RN licensure regardless of origin of degree.  Chem and bio with a lab for example.  Non compact states like California come to mind.  That may limit states you can practice in after you become a CRNA, as you need both licenses to practice.

Your GPA is below average for a CRNA applicant.  Regardless of the context, that's going to put you at a disadvantage.   Half the people in my CRNA graduating class had 4.0's.  25% of them had MSN's.  Several of them were already NPs.  You can make up for it with large hospital (1-2 years) ICU RN experience, getting the CCRN, and/or doing well in additional science classes. 

Apply and see what happens.  It's like $100.  Worst thing that happens is they say no.  Best of luck to you.


Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired.

You will need to start by finding out what you need, if anything, to get an RN license in VA.  The AANA does not automatically disqualify someone for being a foreign grad but states that must be licensed in the states.  I have worked with many Philippino nurses and am old enough to remember Ferdinand Marcos and his traveling dialysis teams.  Funny how such an otherwise awful person created an excellent model for nursing education.  I wouldn't bother now with taking any extra courses now until you get that VA license.

Specializes in ACNP-BC, Adult Critical Care, Cardiology.

I'm not a CRNA, but I'm an NP. There are internationally trained RN's who have been accepted to CRNA programs, have graduated, and are in practice and I personally know a few. For someone who got their BSN in the Philippines, many programs will require a credentials evaluation service, sort of a non-biased middle entity that will determine that your BSN matches the curriculum required of the program. I'm familiar with nursing schools in the Philippines that do deflate grades and make it seem harder to pass as a way to weed out students so that the final graduating class has a higher chance of passing the national boards. That can be a disadvantage to you because CRNA programs look at undergrad GPA. You can maybe make up by doing pre-req's and getting a 4.0 from those to prove that you do have the ability. Good luck.

Specializes in Nurse Anesthetist, CRNA.

You can absolutely become a CRNA in the US! We've helped many international nurses in pursuit of CRNA 🙂

Great advice in this thread so I'll do my best not to repeat much-- first things first you want to get your BSN evaluated for equivalency. An organization called WES can do this if you need a place to start. 

This will also help you to know if you need to take additional classes to meet minimum requirements, or if you need to retake courses/take grad-level courses to boost your GPA. 

Secondly, before you do any of that with taking or retaking classes-- connect with your program(s) you're interested in. As someone else mentioned, most programs are pretty communicative. You can also attend open houses which we highly encourage. 

CRNA programs can calculate GPA a bit differently from program to program, so connecting with them prior to taking/retaking classes is essential to ensure you're not spending time/money/effort if it's not needed. 

Most programs do have a 1 year minimum in the ICU, so kudos to you for being aware of that and starting that process already. 

They are however more competitive than ever, so stressing that you're able to handle drips/vents in your personal statement and resume (plus interview when ready for that) will be beneficial. Of course, do your best to get these types of patients in your current and soon-to-be ICU in addition to the experience you have from the Philippines 😉 

You may want to grab a free copy of our 8 Steps to CRNA guide-- some steps you've already taken, but it's full of helpful tidbits and more advice into the entire process of CRNA school requirements, admissions and setting up for success in your program. Here's the link:

We're cheering you in-- you got this!! 

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