How did you choose your school?

Students SRNA


Ok, I am totally in awe to those of you that have chosen a school, or a few schools to apply to. I have no idea how you have done this! I printed out the list from aana, and have started going thu each schools websites to try to narrow it down. There are a few that I x'd out just on location, as I really can't see moving my family there. Other than that I am sort of taking notes, and listing things like how far could clinical rotations are (and whether the schools pays for your housing when you are there), resident competition, how many average hours of clinical the student does, are all types of cases and regionals taught, price, and i hate to say it, whether there are a ton of research courses/thesis/major presentations with having to defend papers. can you say I hate presentations? I know they will require some, but defending positions, or having to do it in front of a bunch of practicing crna's just makes me want to run for the hills...

so anyway, how did you all pick? mainly location? i am a travel nurse now, we don't like where our perm home is, and haven't found anywhere we would like to call home forever, so I guess that is why location isn't as big a deal to me, we can go anywhere...

please shed some light! I am up to my eyeballs in info! and having a hard time narrowing down, still have 89 possibles on the list, although I haven't investigated all the schools yet.



13 Posts

I'm starting in august, and was accepted into three schools. I chose after going to the interviews for each and meeting the faculty and asking questions. I guess I have to say that I just got a 'feel' for the schools then as I had researched the things that you listed earlier and based my applying on those. I told my wife after I left the school's interview in which I am going to attend that if I got in there I would go if it was ok with her (because we would have to move.)

The things that decided it for me where that the faculty was all CRNA's, they put a very heavy focus on the fact that while we would get to do clinicals in all types of facilities (large/small hospitals), their main goal was to teach us to become independant practicers of anesthesia (i.e. small hospital without anesthesiologist), and we would get to travel to different clinical sites (26 or so sites which is great, but traveling not fun...don't have kids yet so this wasn't a problem.) Oh yea, and state school=less loans.

Good luck on your choices, you'll know the school you want to go to when you meet the faculty I bet!


135 Posts

I live in Texas and luckily there are 4 CRNA schools here (not counting the Army program, which makes 5!). All are accredited. Three of them are private (so they cost more!).

When I applied, I only met criteria for two of the schools. I didn't have CCRN and two of the schools REQUIRED it, so obviously I didn't apply to them.

Of the two schools I applied to, one was less expensive, the other "more well known" (and more expensive) so I was really going to be happy either way. I got into the more expensive one. . . which is awesome because I didn't think I'd have a chance at that school. . . but um, yeah, it's more expensive. YAY student loans!!!!

If you get accepted to more than one school, you really have to think about the feeling you got in the interview. Interviewing really is a two way process. The school wants to see if you are a fit for them, but you are also interviewing the school in a way.

Where are you located? do you want to go to school in your areas or are you looking for something out of state? Some schools are through the nursing department, some are in public health/allied health departments, some are in medical schools. Those are things to consider as well when you're looking at where to apply. For me, I liked the one through the medical school because I felt it focused more on hard science and physiology instead of spending time with more nursing theory classes. Not that they aren't important, I just felt that for what I'll be doing (giving anesthesia) I'd rather have the hard science. That's just me. Perhaps I will regret it later :)

Good luck to you! There is lots of info on these boards and on the internet. Ask lots of questions. Sometimes you get answers that seem "mean" but most people aren't mean, they just don't sugar coat the info.

wow guys thanks for the info! so i guess i have to narrow on my own and go with the feelings on the interview. We don't care where we go, so that is part of the problem, not worried about only picking a school within a certain region. I also am drawn to the less nursing theory courses, although I agree that they are important, for some reason I read the descriptions of these classes and see papers papers papers and presentations. So thanks for giving me another criteria to narrow it down. And with today's climate money is an issue since loans are hard to come by. thanks again, and any others feel free to chime in!


25 Posts

A few things to think about when choosing a school:

Major factors

1. Do you want a front loaded (~12 months of classes followed by 17 months of clinicals) or integrated program (start clinicals right away at the beginning of the program)?

2. How many clinical sites will you go to and where are they located. Less clinical sites (8 up to 12+) means you will be exposed to a lot but have a much more difficult time getting into a rhythm. You also have to put a ton of energy into learning the system, personalities, etc that doesn't necessarily translate to learning more about anesthesia. Also look into travel distances as some may be significant which will cut into your study time.

3. Does the hospital have an anesthesia residency? If so, how do they guarantee that SRNAs get the experiences they need. Ideally, you find a place with high acuity of patients/cases and no residents.

4. What type of degree do you want? MSN, MSNA, MS biology, MAE (masters of anesthesia education) or do you care?

5. Philosophy of program: support students versus weed-out

6. How many students are in your class and does the school have enough clinical sites to support all their students (read: one student per case)

7. Find out who is going to provide a majority of your clinical instruction. Are you going to work primarily with CRNAs or docs? Will you be paired with a CRNA or used as free labor with minimal instruction from an anesthesiologist? I went to a school where I had a ton of one-on-one instruction from amazing CRNAs who valued the art of anesthesia. Because I got to know my clinical instructors so well, I had a ton of independence my last year but still had them available to me if I needed help.

Other factors:

1. Tuition costs and value of education.

2. Name recognition of program - this may or may not matter to people but ultimately it does matter where you went to school on some level.

3. Cost of living in area


thanks so much for the great info one crna! I do not have any idea if it matters what type of degree is actually granted-any thoughts on how it impacts practice in the real world? Or makes a difference if there is something you want to go on to do? I can see more in depth the dilemma of greater sites greater range of exposure vs smaller number of sites with more relations with the supervising crnas and autonomy. I would have never thought of that! As to the school's vs weed out, how am I suppose to figure this out? I assume if I just outright asked I couldn't expect an outright answer...questioning current/former students? I def do not want to have long commutes to clin sites...

I also do not know the benefits of either a front-loaded or integrated program, although the second is a draw to me, as it seems that you might get in the groove in the OR quicker...

Hoping you are able to reply, thanks!

bumping to see if any others want to share their thoughts...still having a tough time choosing, although narrowing it down!


25 Posts

The benefits of a front loaded program compared to an intergrated program basically boils down to a few things.

A front loaded program gives you a year off from nursing rotation/clinicals.

1. This can be a good thing because you will have more time to study and be more able to focus on the classes.

2. It is a downside if you are a newer nurse, where a year off from CCRN is going to hurt you or set you behind you classmates/make you "rusty" etc.

3. If you choose an intergrated program, which (I may be incorrect but I think) are usually the shorter 26-28 mo programs you will have continuous experience which IMO helps you get into the feel of anesthesia and keeps you from having to "relearn" CC skills. But if you have been an ICU nurse for years, I am sure that wouldn't be a problem.

4. The intergrated programs for me, are the way to go. However as one crna pointed out, some places have off cite and multiple cite clinicals and that could really harm you if your traveling is cutting into your study time.

On a different note, I chose my program because it is the shortest, one of the least expensive in my area, the living expenses here are very reasonable, and the clincals are all in two hospitals. I also liked that the class size is very small, they dont even fill all the slots some years and so you get prime one-on-one time with your CRNA clinical instructors. I have read that my school is a weed-out school instead of a support school, so I hope that isnt a pitfall down the road.

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