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Whereas anesthesiologists' incomes for California, New York, and Illinois are clustered close to the bottom of the country according to the BLS, CRNA's working in those states rank much higher. In fact, California CRNA's make it into the top ten in the country in income for their profession.
If you then rank the incomes based on buying power, again the big blue states fall down the list due to their higher taxes and cost of living.
But if you look at the top of the rankings, Nevada and Wisconsin show substantial income and buying power. The average CRNA salary of $221,000 in Nevada translates to an equivalent of $225,000 when adjusted for cost of living. In Wisconsin, a $200,000 salary becomes $215,000 due to its extremely low cost of living.
How substantial is a cost of living adjusted salary of $215,000? In fact it is greater than the average adjusted income of anesthesiologists living in CT, IL, MD, DC, NJ, MA, CA, NY, and MS. These expensive (not counting Mississippi) coastal states pay their anesthesiologists less than CRNA's who reside in cheaper states like WI and NV. In addition, CRNA's in Nevada make competitive incomes, within $10,000, of anesthesiologists in these other states: MN, VT, WA, VA, DE, NH, CO, AK.
With all the extra liability and reimbursement issues that anesthesiologists face, it makes one wonder why we didn't just become nurse anesthetists. It's pretty clear from the government's own statistics that the income disparity hardly justifies the extra responsibilities of having an M.D. appended to the back of our names.