A U N E D N P student practices on a patient simulator

About UNE's D.N.P.

UNE’s Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia program, located in Portland, Maine, produces highly-skilled, well-rounded D.N.P.s with extensive experience in every category of medical procedure in which anesthesia is called for. You will have access to hands-on training, first in our high-tech simulation center and then through extensive clinical training in rural settings, at CRNA-only sites, and in all of the surgical specialties, including neurosurgery, open-heart surgery, and obstetrics. In addition to mastering medical procedures related to anesthesia, you will graduate with research experience as well as vast knowledge of health care systems, special patient populations, and health care policy — all of which equip you to pursue a range of professional avenues, including clinical practitioner, business owner, independent contractor, chief nurse anesthetist, researcher, educator, or an executive-level administrator.

The 36-Month D.N.P. Experience

UNE’s Portland, Maine-based D.N.P. degree program operates on a 36-month, full-time calendar, beginning each September with a new entering class. For the first two semesters, you may continue your employment, as you will take online classes, coming to campus for long weekends just once or twice per semester. You will be on campus full-time beginning with the summer semester. After two semesters of on-campus didactic courses, you will, in the fifth semester, proceed to the clinically-based portion of the program, comprising five semesters that emphasize advanced coursework, simulation lab experiences, clinical training within our 38 partner hospitals throughout Northern New England, and completion of a scholarly research project. Through a breadth of clinical experiences and participation in more than 600 anesthesia cases, you will achieve clinical competency and will be eligible to take the National Certification Exam.

Learn more about the D.N.P. curriculum

Two U N E D N P students practice on a patient simulator

Why U.N.E. for your D.N.P. Degree

  • Where you get your training matters. At 94% and 95% in 2019 and 2020, respectively, our M.S.N.A. degree program graduates’ first-time NCE pass rates were 10 percentage points above the national average. Learn more about the exam and UNE pass rates.
  • You benefit by attending a comprehensive health sciences university that is nationally recognized for excellence in preparing students for collaborative, interprofessional, team-based care. Reap the rewards of training alongside future physicians, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, dentists, and other health professionals.
  • Our interactive, state-of-the-art classrooms offer the latest media and medical instruction technology to our D.N.P program candidates, while our Interprofessional Simulation and Innovation Center is equipped with several high fidelity patient simulators with which you will practice your skills and build confidence in the work that you will perform in your profession.
  • From our caring and communicative faculty members who are willing to go the extra mile for you to our skilled tutors in the Student Academic Success Center and our mentoring program that pairs incoming D.N.P. degree candidates with advanced nurse anesthesia students, you can be assured that you will be in a supportive environment with people who value you as a person as well as your professional success. With our low attrition rate and our high first-time NCE pass rate, the proof that we care about our students is in the numbers.

Meet current D.N.P. students

Kayla Mitchell ’25

Ben Kinsella ’25

Mark O'Brien ’25

Earn Your D.N.P. in Portland, Maine

UNE D.N.P. students study on our Portland, Maine campus, a classic New England quad with brick buildings and tall trees. Portland, named “America’s Most Livable City” by Forbes and “Foodiest Small Town in America” by Bon Appetit, is the city on every list. A rustic port hosts a cool cultural scene — with outdoor adventure all around. UNE’s campus is just 10 minutes from downtown. Take a Virtual Tour >

Portland harbor near the UNE health professions campus in Portland, Maine.

Quality Academics, Respected Degrees

Best Colleges: National
U.S. News & World Report
Best Colleges
Princeton Review
Best Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia? (D.N.P.-N.A.)

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) is the highest level of nursing practice degrees, preparing nurse leaders to improve patient outcomes. A Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia, or D.N.P.-N.A. is the highest practice degree for certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA). As a CRNA with your D.N.P.-N.A. degree, you are able to work in a variety of settings that benefit from your level of expertise and skill in anesthesia.

Nurse anesthetists work with a surgical team composed of surgeons, nurses, and other physicians including anesthesiologists to provide anesthetics to patients of all ages. A CRNA provides anesthesia in the operating room and many other departments in the hospital such as the emergency room, the ICU, outpatient facilities, radiology, and interventional procedural departments.

At UNE, you will obtain your CRNA education through our nurse anesthesia degree program in Portland, Maine, where you will have access to state-of-the-art facilities and resources. Upon graduation, you will be eligible to sit for the National Certifying Exam (NCE) to obtain your certification. Students from UNE’s Nurse Anesthesia program are well positioned for success on the NCE. First-time exam candidates from our D.N.P. degree program consistently outperform the national average pass rate, with 95% of our graduates typically passing the NCE on their first try.

What is the difference between a D.N.P.-N.A. and a CRNA?

A D.N.P.-N.A. (Doctor of Nursing practice in Nurse Anesthesia) is a doctorate degree you earn after completing a D.N.P. degree program. A CRNA (certified registered nurse anesthetist) is a credential you get after passing a national certification exam through the National Board of Certification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA). Since 2022, the minimum degree requirement for becoming a CRNA is a D.N.P.-N.A., or a D.N.P.

UNE’s nurse anesthesia programs are proven to prepare students for the board exams. At 94% and 95% respectively, our students’ first-time NCE pass rates in 2019 and 2020 were 10 percentage points above the national average. Learn more about the exam and UNE pass rates.

Do I need an M.S.N.A. before entering a D.N.P.-N.A. program?

At UNE, you do not need an M.S.N.A. or M.S.N. to enter our D.N.P.-N.A. program. Generally, there’s a list of degree, licensure, and experience requirements that you need to have before entering a D.N.P.-N.A. program. Some schools may require an advanced nursing degree.

UNE provides a select group of experienced, graduate-level nurses with the highest level of didactic, simulation lab, and clinical site experiences through our nurse anesthesia degree program.

What are the requirements for D.N.P.-N.A. school?

Every D.N.P. degree program has slightly different requirements. It’s a good idea to review the Nurse Anesthesia program admissions requirements of the specific D.N.P.-N.A. programs that interest you.

At UNE, the completion of a bachelor’s degree (or higher) in Nursing or completion of an associate degree in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science degree in a science-related field of study is required. UNE also requires current unencumbered RN licensure in your home state at the time of application. Various clinical experiences along with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 are some of the other requirements for admission to UNE’s D.N.P.-N.A. program.

UNE’s Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program has the mission to provide an academic environment that allows students to master the intellectual and technical skills necessary to become competent in the safe conduct of anesthesia. We strive to admit a select group of exceptional, graduate-level nurses who will learn at the highest level of didactic, simulation lab, and clinical site experiences.

What is the best D.N.P.-N.A. program for me?

When choosing a D.N.P.-N.A. program, you must consider where you will be provided with the best support. UNE’s 36-month Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia program checks that box. At UNE, we provide you with the intellectual and technical skills necessary to become a CRNA who is highly skilled in the safe administration of anesthesia. Our supportive faculty understands that when you succeed, the program succeeds. Supporting you in your studies is priority number one. 

While on campus, you will have the opportunity to participate in experiential learning through our state-of-the-art simulation center. After completing the on-campus portion of our D.N.P. program, you will participate in hundreds of anesthesia cases at our clinical sites throughout New England, including rural sites and CRNA-only sites.

UNE is also one of a handful of private universities with a comprehensive health education mission that includes medicine, pharmacy, dental medicine, nursing, and an array of allied health professions.

How much do D.N.P.-N.A.s make?

Although it is ever changing, the median annual Doctor of Nursing practice in Nurse Anesthesia salary was $205,770 in May 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. D.N.P.-N.A.s are generally one of the highest paid healthcare professionals. This high pay is directly related to the amount of responsibility you have as a nurse anesthetist.

Providers who seek to obtain a D.N.P. degree don’t just do it for the money. As a D.N.P.-N.A., you have the opportunity to take care of patients at their most vulnerable moments, and expand your practice in education, administration, and research that advances the science of anesthesia and further your ability to help others.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics