In one of my previous articles on getting off the CRNA school waiting list, I listed some of the reasons an applicant might land on the dreaded but hopeful waiting list. As I like to call it.
One of those reasons is the applicant has not completed all the prerequisites. And as you know being placed on the waiting list means nothing unless you actually get accepted into the CRNA program. By not completing your prerequisites prior to interviewing could really hinder you from ever gaining admission to the program if they are waiting for you to get them completed.
I know you are thinking- but they will interview you despite the missing a few requirements? This is correct. Some CRNA schools may allow you to interview even if you haven’t completed some of the requirements. Of course, this is entirely up to the CRNA school itself. However, a huge component to CRNA school admission is careful planning and intervention on your part.
By being proactive you save yourself a ton of time, are more prepared and confident going into the interview. So, as you work towards becoming a CRNA there are definitely some things to mull over so you gain acceptance instead of being placed on the waiting list.
Things to consider
Have you fulfilled all of the CRNA school’s admissions prerequisites? Are you currently in the right class? Are you on track to finish up your prerequisites in time with a grade of B+ or higher? Do I really need to take the GRE? What courses or certifications will help you stand out from the rest of the applicants?
So, let’s break this down a little further and look at what things you can complete now so your chances of being placed on the waiting list are decreased.
Minimum Requirements for CRNA School
You will be required to complete certain prerequisites which are all different per CRNA school. Of course, the best time to start preparing for this is during your undergraduate education ideally. But if you are anything like me you may not have taken all those required courses due to switching careers or just life in general. This is alright because you can get started today.
But before going any further you need to have an idea of which school you plan to apply to so you are not just taking random prerequisites. Now is the time to be intentional with all your efforts going forward so you can be competitive later. So you get accepted into a CRNA school program ASAP!
As I’ve said before all CRNA schools are created differently, but overall they all have minimum requirements. Minimum requirements usually include:
- A current U.S issued RN (Registered Nurse) License
- 1- 2 years Critical Care/ ICU experience within the last 2 years
- Cumulative GPA and science GPA of 3.0 or better
- Minimum GRE score of 300 or better (if required)
- Certifications (BLS, ACLS, PALS)
The best resource to find out what is required would be to contact the individual school’s website or by reaching out to the admissions office at that school.
Standard CRNA School Course Prerequisites
There is a certain amount of preparation required prior to starting a CRNA program due to the intensity of the program. While the schools vary in terms of required prerequisites, there is some overlap between the programs. Below is a list of the most commonly required prerequisite courses:
- Anatomy and physiology
Before taking any course check with the CRNA school to see if it is required, the right course section, and whether you need to take it at a 4-year college versus a community college. I took the majority of my prerequisite courses at a local community college which saved me time and money. Your main goal is to strive for A’s on all your science courses going forward.
Is the GRE Required
Depending on how the individual CRNA program and how they weigh the results of the GRE (graduate record exam), they may require it before you even interview or prior to the start of the program. This exam can make or break your chance of getting into the program that you desire.
The GRE is a predictor of a student’s performance in graduate-level courses. Not all CRNA programs require you to take the GRE exam. The GRE tests your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills.
In general, you want to prepare ahead of time for this exam as it may be looked at closely by the admissions committee. So taking the exam early gives you time to retest if needed and still meet the application deadline because most CRNA programs accept the highest GRE score.
The GRE minimum combined score is usually >300. However, some CRNA programs prefer to see no less than 150 for the quantitative and the same for the verbal ability assessment. To get a head start preparing for this exam check out ETS.org
And as an ICU nurse, you already have your ACLS and BLS certifications which will also be required by the CRNA school. Now is a good time to start working on other certifications and get that all behind you. A pretty quick and easy one to get is the PALS certification.
Next, I would focus on the CCRN certification. According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the CCRN certification shows a mark of excellence and comprehensive national standard knowledge. The CCRN certification is required for some nurse anesthesia programs but either way, it will make you more competitive than the rest of the applicants.
Of course, passing the CCRN will take some preparation on your part. But it will definitely be worth it. There are some really great resources out there. One, in particular, is CCRN Academy which you can earn up to 30 contact hours, has video modules, and a 100% Money-Back Guarantee if you don’t pass on the first try.
There are also other nursing certifications you can obtain. Here is a list of other nursing certifications you can obtain. Remember the key is to be intentional here not just taking obtaining random certifications to pad your CV. The best approach to take is to get certifications in specialties you genuinely want to learn more about.
The incompletion of prerequisites is an easy fix and one you are in full control of. Take the pressure and stress off of yourself by being proactive and just getting them done.
Start by being intentional with your time and energy. Sit down and research the CRNA school you plan to apply to and make a list of what is required. From there what prerequisites you need to take. Again the goal here is to be strategic now so you can successfully be accepted into a CRNA program later.
P.S. Need a little help? For a complete guide that shows you exactly how to become a CRNA, grab a copy of the “Ultimate Guide to CRNA School Admission”. It’s FREE and will save you a ton of time and headaches since all the info you need is in one place.