How to Become a Cardiac Nurse in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a cardiac nurse. Learn about education requirements, job duties, licensure and certification requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What does a Cardiac Nurse do?

Cardiac nurses work with patients suffering from heart-related ailments, such as heart disease, congestive heart failure or angina. They are registered nurses who have completed a specialized nursing program, the national licensing exam and additional training in cardiac care. Using medical equipment, such as EKG, they supervise patients during cardiac surgery. Outside of surgery they may also monitor patients conditions, keeping medical records as they do. As a nurses they may also help create treatment plans and help patients' families understand diagnoses and treatments. The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Nursing
Key Skills Attention to detail, physical stamina, compassion, organizational skills
Licensure and/or Certification RN licensure is required; cardiac rehabilitation nursing and/or cardiac vascular nursing certifications may be preferred by employers
Job Growth (2014-2024) 16% (for all registered nurses)*
Median Salary (2016) $66,466**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Is a Cardiac Nurse?

Cardiac nurses aid patients suffering from heart disease and assist in the rehabilitation of patients who have undergone heart surgery. As a cardiac nurse, you may assist physicians and surgeons with surgeries or procedures. You'll provide education on management and prevention of heart disease or related conditions to patients.

Step 1: Earn an Associate Degree

An associate degree in nursing (ADN) is the first step to becoming a cardiac nurse. This program teaches you how to be a nurse's aide while also preparing you to sit for credentialing as a registered nurse.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing

The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is available through many colleges and broadens your knowledge of medical areas. These programs prepare you for working as a practical nurse (PN) and registered nurse (RN) through courses in human anatomy, physiology, pathology, ethics, medical terminology, medical assessment, medical coding, biology, nutrition and statistics.

Step 3: Get Licensed

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) offers certification examinations to become a PN and an RN (www.ncsbn.org). The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is given as two exams; the NCLEX-PN and the NCLEX-RN. The exams are corrected twice, once by the computer immediately after completed and again by the Pearson VUE company. This guarantees accurate results. NCSBN provides answers to questions, information on exams and registration options.

Step 4: Gain Experience In Cardiac Nursing

Since cardiac nursing is a specialty area, you'll need additional training. To receive this, clinical practice and continuing education hours towards certification should help. Various universities and organizations may provide training opportunities, including the American College of Cardiovascular Nurses (www.accn.net).

Step 5: Consider Certification

The American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) provides certification in cardiac rehabilitation nursing and cardiac vascular nursing (www.nursecredentialing.org). Certification requirements include holding an active RN license, two years of experience as an RN and a minimum number of clinical and continuing education hours. The American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine is another certifying agency for cardiac nurses (www.cvncertify.org).

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are a few alternative careers that relate to cardiac nursing. Other types of registered nurses may include critical care nurses who provide care to patients who are suffering from acute illnesses or injuries, nephrology nurses who specialize in the treatment of kidney-related issues and addiction nurses who help recovering addicts. Outside of nursing, physician assistants examine patients, help physicians make diagnostic decisions and implement treatment plans.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Maryville University

    Maryville University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Maryville University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Fortis College

    Fortis College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Fortis College:

    • Associate Programs
    • Certificates

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Arizona: Phoenix
    • Florida: Phoenix, Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie
    • Indiana: Phoenix, Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis
    • Ohio: Phoenix, Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Centerville, Cuyahoga Falls
    • Pennsylvania: Phoenix, Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Centerville, Cuyahoga Falls, Scranton
    • South Carolina: Phoenix, Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Centerville, Cuyahoga Falls, Scranton, Columbia
    • Tennessee: Phoenix, Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Centerville, Cuyahoga Falls, Scranton, Columbia, Nashville
    • Utah: Phoenix, Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Centerville, Cuyahoga Falls, Scranton, Columbia, Nashville, Salt Lake City
    • Virginia: Phoenix, Cutler Bay, Orange Park, Port St Lucie, Indianapolis, Centerville, Cuyahoga Falls, Scranton, Columbia, Nashville, Salt Lake City, Norfolk
  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • The George Washington University

    The George Washington University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next »