Which CRNA Specialty is the Highest Paying?

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) command the highest salaries of any nursing specialty. Even though all nurses care for their patients with compassion, a nurse anesthetist must have exceptional judgment, skill, experience, and knowledge to effectively manage their patients' anesthesia needs. 

Would you like to know which CRNA speciality earns the highest salary? Continue reading to find out. 

Average Salary

According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, as of May 2022, the average salary for a nurse anesthetist is $195,610. A nurse anesthetist in the United States can expect to earn a median annual salary of $202,470, or $97.34 per hour. This is considerably more than the national average salary for registered nurses (currently $82,750). 

Depending on their level of expertise and the cost of living in their area, the highest-paid CRNAs can earn upwards of $250,000.

Which CRNA Specialty is the Highest Paying?

Anesthetists can be divided into five distinct subspecialties. They include:


Pediatric anesthesiologists are medical professionals who specialize in the safe administration of anesthesia and the continuous monitoring of a patient's vital signs throughout and immediately following surgery. CRNAs may be the only providers of anesthesia in rural areas, in contrast to large hospitals and urban facilities, where both CRNAs and anesthesiologists who specialize in pediatrics are often employed.

There is a growing need for pediatric anesthesiologists, some of whom choose to focus on critical care rather than hospital work. They frequently work in teams with other medical professionals such as nurses, technicians, technologists, and doctors.

Cosmetic Surgery

It is common practice for CRNAs who specialize in cosmetic surgery to consult with patients before administering anesthesia for a cosmetic procedure. A variety of anesthetic methods may be evaluated, and various treatment plans discussed. They also keep an eye out for adverse drug reactions.

The majority of certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) in the field of cosmetic surgery work in an office setting, such as a cosmetic surgery practice, alongside plastic surgeons and a team of nurses, PAs, and technicians.


Anesthesiologists who specialize in obstetrics administer anesthesia to expectant mothers to ease their discomfort. Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) with a focus on maternal and fetal anesthesia undergo the same rigorous critical care training as their non-specialized counterparts.

One of the most well-known treatments provided by CRNAs who specialize in obstetrics is the epidural. These medical experts can also provide chronic pain management for labor discomfort, in addition to general, local, and regional sedation.


Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) who specialize in cardiovascular care administer anesthesia to patients undergoing cardiothoracic procedures, heart transplants, and procedures involving the heart's valves and ventricles. Together with surgeons and surgical assistants, they ensure that patients are sedated in a way that prevents harm to their organs.

Anesthetists in this field must be certified in both basic and advanced cardiac life support by the American Heart Association in addition to holding a CRNA credential.


Certified registered nurse anesthetists in neurosurgery provide general or regional anesthesia for patients undergoing surgery on the brain or spine. Anesthesiologists and sedationists may be called upon before, during, and after procedures like brain tumor removal, blood clot retrieval, or deep brain stimulator implantation.

Certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs) in the field of neurosurgery frequently collaborate with Board-certified anesthesiologists, neurosurgeons, and radiology specialists to create a personalized sedation and post-operative care plan.

Anesthetist Nurse Salary

The demand for nurse anesthetists is expected to increase by 17.5% over the next few years, making it one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying jobs in the healthcare industry. While the rewards of a career as a nurse anesthetist can be great, the extensive training required to enter the field means that not everyone can become a CRNA.

According to the BLS, a nurse anesthetist's starting salary can be close to $132,000 (BLS). Higher-level nurse anesthetist positions can pay more than $202,000 annually.

Additionally, the BLS predicts a faster-than-average growth of 13% for nurse anesthetist positions between 2020 and 2030.


In comparison to the average salary of a registered nurse, CRNAs have one of the highest salaries in the nursing profession. CRNAs can earn anywhere from $70,000 to $250,000 or more per year, with the highest earners in the United States.

May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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