Colorado is well-known for offering a wide variety of activities for the outdoors enthusiast and the tourist, but it is also a state where each city has its own unique personality. From sophisticated urban living, to quaint historic towns, to rugged outdoor locales, Colorado seems to offer something for everyone. Living and working in the state of Colorado can be an adventure. If you are looking into becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist you may be wondering what types if options are available in Colorado for schooling and employment. This page will help you begin your research into a career as a CRNA in Colorado.
CRNA Education in Colorado
If you are considering a career as a CRNA, you likely have questions about the educational process and what you can expect from a typical CRNA program. According to The Colorado Association of Nurse Anesthetists (CoANA), CRNA education programs generally include two key components. The first is a classroom curriculum which places an emphasis on “anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, and pharmacology” all as they relate specifically to the practice of anesthesia. The second is a large clinical component which takes place outside of the classroom and provides the CRNA in training with experience in many different anesthesia techniques and procedures. The clinical training also gives the students a chance to practice anesthesia services for many different types of procedures such as surgery or obstetric services.
The layout of CRNA programs varies between schools, but they usually offer the classroom and clinical components in one of two ways. They will either begin with classroom work and then move on to clinical work in the second half of the program, or they will have classroom and clinical work integrated simultaneously throughout the length of the program. There are benefits and challenges to each of these options. If these differences are important to you, be sure to look into this aspect of the program when researching potential CRNA schools.
Colorado CRNA Jobs
There are many different types of locations where CRNAs can practice in Colorado. They can work in typical settings such as medical centers and hospitals, but they can also work to provide anesthetics at dental clinics, offices of podiatry, or in ambulatory surgery centers. CoANA reports that Colorado CRNAs provide anesthesia services in 99.9% of Colorado’s counties that offer such services. According to a state statistical map provided by CoANA, of all the counties that have facilities which perform surgical procedures, there is only one county in Colorado where there are no practicing CRNAs.
The Colorado Association of Nurse Anesthetists also states that CRNAs are the only anesthesia providers in 71% of the rural hospitals in Colorado. Studies show there is no difference in the safety of anesthesia services when they are provided by an independent CRNA, a physician-supervised CRNA, or by an anesthesiologist. CRNAs are highly skilled at providing safe and effective anesthetics with or without the direct supervision of a physician anesthesiologist. CRNAs are often a more cost-effective choice for medical facilities that need to watch their budget closely. This is often especially true for rural hospitals. A rural hospital may have to choose between hiring an anesthesiologist or not being able to perform surgeries and procedures which their patients need. Instead of hiring an anesthesiologist, these facilities can hire a CRNA, whose salary is less than that of an anesthesiologist, and be able to provide the surgical services that their patients require. Without CRNAs practicing in rural areas, patients in need of surgery would have to travel to more populous locations which can be a hassle for them as well as for their family members or caretakers.
The Annual Mean Wage of a Colorado CRNA
The annual mean wage range for a CRNA practicing full-time in the state of Colorado is $168,230-$221,240 (according to a May 2020 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). This wage range is among the highest in the country and is similar to the range of pay for CRNAs in Wyoming, Arizona, and Nevada.
CRNA Schools in Colorado
There are currently no CRNA schools or programs located solely in the state of Colorado; however, residents of Colorado have the option of a distance learning program to become a CRNA as outlined briefly below.
Texas Wesleyan University- Distance Program (Requires some time on-campus in Fort Worth, Texas however the main location in Colorado in the city of Denver.)
Graduate Programs of Nurse Anesthesia Building
1201 Wesleyan Street
Fort Worth, TX 76105