What Are the Requirements to Be a Cardiac Nurse?

A cardiac nurse works alongside a cardiologist to help diagnose heart conditions and cardiovascular ailments in patients. Read on to learn more about the education, licensing and certification requirements for cardiac nurses. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Education

Before you can work as a cardiac nurse, you must complete an approved nursing program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), your education options include enrolling in an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. In some cases, you could earn a diploma from a hospital, although this is very uncommon.

If you wish to work in advanced practice, you may also be required to complete a master's degree program in nursing, which typically requires a bachelor's degree in nursing and an RN license as a prerequisite. Degree options may include a Master of Nursing or Master of Science in Nursing. Some programs offer a specialized curriculum for registered nurses seeking to provide cardiovascular care.

Education programs in nursing typically include classroom and lab learning. There is also a clinical component, in which the skills learned are applied in a real-world setting under appropriate supervision.

Important Facts About Cardiac Nurses

Median Salary (2014) $66,640 (registered nurses)
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 16% (registered nurses)
Key Skills Compassionate, organized, critical thinking
Work Environment Hospitals, physicians' offices, government agencies

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Licensing

Once you've completed your nursing education, you must become licensed in your state. While state requirements may vary, all require that you qualify for and pass the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX-RN exam in order to work as a registered nurse.

Certification

The BLS noted that some employers might require professional certification in cardiac care or you may choose to earn voluntary certification to boost your resume. Certification is available through professional organizations, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American College of Cardiovascular Nurses.

The ANCC offers Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification. To be eligible, you need to have a current RN license and two years of work experience with at least 2,000 hours of clinical work in cardiac nursing in the last three years. You must also have completed 30 hours of continuing education in cardiac nursing in the last three years (www.nursecredentialing.org). A certification exam is also required. Periodic recertification requires continuing medical education training.

The American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine and Credentialing, Inc., offers board certification in cardiovascular nursing in cooperation with the American College of Cardiovascular Nurses (www.accn.net). Progressive certification levels are aimed at cardiac nurses working in non-acute care settings and critical care settings. A specialized exam is also available for qualified nurse practitioners. Board certification expires periodically and recertification requires a minimum number of continuing education hours.

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:

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