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Breaking Down Differences between CRNA W-2 and 1099 Job Opportunities

Breaking Down Differences between CRNA W-2 and 1099 Job Opportunities

August 16, 2023

The determination of whether a CRNA is classified as an employee or an independent contractor depends on several factors, including the level of control exercised by the employer over the CRNA's work, the degree of independence in performing the job, and the presence of a written contract between the parties.

It is worth noting that misclassifying employees as independent contractors can have legal and financial consequences for employers. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has specific guidelines and criteria to determine whether an individual should be classified as an employee or an independent contractor. Employers who misclassify employees may be subject to penalties and fines.

When comparing W-2 and 1099 job offers for CRNAs there are several factors to consider. Both types of employment arrangements have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to carefully evaluate each offer based on your individual circumstances and preferences.



A W-2 employment arrangement refers to being hired as a CRNA employee by a healthcare facility, group, or organization. In this case, the employer is responsible for withholding taxes from your paycheck, providing benefits, and offering certain protections under labor laws. Here are some key points to consider when comparing W-2 offers:

  1. Stability and Security: W-2 employment typically provides more stability and job security compared to 1099 arrangements. As an employee, you may have access to benefits such as health insurance, company-sponsored retirement plans, paid time off, and professional development opportunities.

  2. Tax Withholding: With a W-2 position, your employer will withhold taxes from your paycheck, including federal income tax, state and/or local income tax (if applicable), Social Security tax, and Medicare tax. This can simplify your tax obligations as the employer takes care of the calculations and payments.

  3. Employer Benefits and Contributions: In a W-2 arrangement, employers often contribute towards benefits such as health insurance premiums, retirement plans (e.g., 401(k), 403(b)), continuing education reimbursement, and other perks. These contributions can add significant value to your overall compensation package.

  4. Legal Protections: As an employee, you are entitled to certain legal protections under labor laws, including malpractice insurance and workers' compensation coverage in case of work-related injuries or illnesses.

  5. Limited Flexibility: W-2 employment generally offers less flexibility in terms of setting your own schedule or choosing assignments. You may be required to work specific shifts or adhere to a predetermined schedule set by the employer.



A 1099 independent contractor arrangement involves working as a self-employed CRNA or through a staffing agency. In this case, you are responsible for paying your own taxes and do not receive benefits from the employer. Here are some factors to consider when comparing 1099 offers:

  1. Higher Earning Potential: Independent contractors often have the potential to earn higher hourly rates compared to W-2 employees. This is because they are responsible for covering their own taxes, benefits, and other business expenses.

  2. Flexibility and Autonomy: As a 1099 contractor, you have more control over your schedule and assignments. You can negotiate contracts, choose which facilities or organizations to work with, and have the freedom to take on additional work outside of your primary contract.

  3. Tax Considerations: Unlike W-2 employees, independent contractors are responsible for calculating and paying their own taxes. This includes federal income tax, state and/or local income tax (if applicable), self-employment tax (which covers Social Security and Medicare contributions), and potentially estimated quarterly tax payments to the IRS and state(s) in which you have earned income.

  4. No Employer Provided Benefits: As an independent contractor, you will not receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, or paid time off from the employer. It is important to factor in the cost of obtaining these benefits independently when comparing offers.

  5. Business Expenses: Independent contractors can deduct certain business expenses related to their work, such as professional liability insurance, continuing education costs, travel expenses, and equipment purchases. These deductions can help offset some of the additional costs associated with being self-employed.


When comparing W-2 and 1099 job offers as a CRNA, it is crucial to carefully evaluate the specific terms and conditions of each offer. Consider factors such as compensation, benefits, job security, flexibility, tax implications, as well as your personal preferences before making a decision.  You will need to compute the value of your current benefits as a W-2 and then break that down into an hourly rate to see if the 1099 position is equivalent or better.  This process takes some work, but this will be the real determinant as to whether a transition to 1099 makes financial sense.

Consider working with a professional who understands the unique elements of CRNA industry. With decades of experience working exclusively with CRNAs, CRNA Financial Planning® has the knowledge to help you save more of your hard-earned money and plan for life after anesthesia. Schedule an introductory phone call to discuss your current situation and needs. You can also call our office at 855.304.3748 or email us at

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific financial or tax advice or recommendations for any individual.

Investment Advice offered through Private Advisor Group LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor