The Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) is the first advanced practice nursing specialty in the United States. The history of nurses administering anesthetics dates to the latter half of the 1800’s, continuing to the present day. The professional development of the specialty is closely tied to the evolution of the educational process by which nurses became trained nurse anesthetists. The study details the educational process of Nebraska nurse anesthetists ranging from apprenticeship training in the 1890’s to the advent of graduate level study in 1985. Evidence of several evolutionary steps is analyzed including; nursing student classroom and clinical experience in anesthetic techniques, hospital based certificate programs for registered nurses who specialized in anesthesia, baccalaureate level academic programs and master’s level academic programs. The Nebraska experience is placed within the national context of the development of the accreditation process and the national certification of nurse anesthetists. With the transition of nurse anesthesia education to the doctoral level, it is useful to review the historical development of these advanced practice nurses.