How to Become a Cardiac Nurse

How to Become a Cardiac Nurse – Overview

Do you want to become a cardiac nurse? If you want to know how to become a cardiac nurse, you are at the right place. First, you should learn about cardiovascular diseases and how to get into this profession.

Cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death globally, with the World Health Organization reporting approximately 17.9 million deaths each year.

Congestive heart failure, arrhythmias, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease are conditions that affect the heart.

Cardiac nurses take cardiac patients with cardiac surgical procedures, rehabilitation, and post-cardiac surgery.

Cardiac nurses are registered nurses specialized in cardiovascular care, not to be confused with cardiac specialists or technicians who may have different roles and qualifications.

Who is A Cardiac Nurse

A cardiac nurse serves patients in the healthcare sector receiving treatment for cardiovascular conditions and diseases. They are RNs or registered nurses (RNs) who are specifically trained and certified in the cardiovascular field.

Skills Required to Become A Cardiac Nurse

Cardiac nurses need specific training on the heart and its function. These nurses require communication, critical thinking, organization, and teamwork skills. A reliable cardiac nurse requires the following technical skills:

  • Acute care
  • Critical care
  • Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS)
  • Treatment planning
  • Patient care
  • Life support
  • Catheterization
  • Pediatrics
  • Telemetry

These nurses must spend a lot of time educating patients and families about treatment plans; hence, you must be comfortable communicating with others.

Education Required for Cardiac Nurse Profession

To become a cardiac nurse, one must obtain an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), although many employers prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Before starting to work as a cardiac nurse, you must obtain registered nursing credentials, and the options are detailed below:

  • ADN or Associate Degree in Nursing from an accredited nursing school, completed in 18-24 months.
  • BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing, constructed in 4 years from an accredited college or university.
  • An ADN to BSN Bridge program further takes about 12-18 months.
  • An RN-BSN bridge program for registered nurses takes about 1-2 years to complete.

Although ADN is a minimum requirement, most employers prefer cardiology nurses with a BSN. Those who prefer higher roles like cardiology research should acquire an MSN or MSc in Nursing to work independently of cardiologists or supervisors when treating patients.

Licensure For Becoming A Cardiac Nurse

After completing an ADN or BSN program, graduates are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam tests knowledge and skills essential for entry-level nursing practice, not based on specialty. It may take up to six hours, including breaks.

The NCLEX exam examines the nurse’s abilities, knowledge, and cognitive skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving. If candidates do not pass the NCLEX-RN exam on the first attempt, they must wait a prescribed period, typically 45 days, before retaking it.

Preferred certifications

While certification is not always mandatory for cardiac nurses, obtaining certification, such as the Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (CV-BC), can demonstrate specialized expertise and is highly valued. AACN or The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, offers many certifications, which include:

  • CSC or Adult cardiac surgery certification enables cardiac nurses to provide direct care to critically ill cardiac surgery patients within 48 hours after cardiac surgical procedures. They can also work in post-anesthesia care units.
  • CMC Adult Cardiac Medicine certification, a specialty certification for RNs to directly care for acutely ill cardiac patients in cardiac care units, heart failure clinics, ICUs, and telemetry
  • RN-BC or Cardiac Rehabilitation Nursing Certification allows cardiac nurses to work with cardiac rehabilitation programs where heart patients recover from surgical procedures and treat various cardiac conditions.
  • CV-BC Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification, an extreme specialization that allows nurses to work in cardiac catheterization labs, makes them more viable candidates for open positions.

Eligibility criteria vary for these certifications; you may need to research before enrolling. Most certificates require at least two years of practical RN experience and 2,000 clinical practice hours in the last three years.

6 Steps to Become a Cardiac Practitioner

Becoming an experienced and trained cardiac nurse takes some years, which is difficult. Below, we will discuss the steps to answer the question of how to become a cardiac nurse:

1. Obtain Registered Nurse (RN) Status

Becoming an RN is the first step in the cardiac nurse’s journey. To be eligible for further career advancement, you must obtain an RN license and work for at least one year as an RN.

2. Complete Your CCTP – Cardiac Care Training Program

Although it isn’t a widely recognized certification, it may help advance your career and practice independently. This enables you to treat cardiac patients and emergencies. It furnishes surgical procedures to cardiovascular patients.

3. Attain Practical Experience

This is crucial to practical experience in any field, so get some after your training program. Research to determine the institution that can provide enough practical training to become an experienced cardiac nurse and acquire more knowledge on handling cardiac patients.

4. Get a Cardiovascular Credential

As you are sufficiently trained and practically experienced, enroll in a cardiovascular credential exam to get certified as a registered nurse. This proves that you have the necessary professional development skills in this field.

The Cardiovascular Credentialing International (CCI) offers the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) certification for technologists, not the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion, which certifies perfusionists.

5. Go For Post-Master’s Program Certificate

To become a cardiac nurse practitioner, you must obtain a Post-Master’s Certificate in adult or pediatric cardiology. It helps you gain more experience, get more information, and develop your skills for treating heart diseases.

6. Attain APN or Advanced Practice Nurse License

Your next move should be getting an advanced practice nurse license to prove your skills for handling heart care emergencies independently.

Experts recommend it to a cardiac nurse practitioner at the core of this career and to be hired by an institution for independent heart disease treatment.

The Roles and Duties of A Cardiac Nurse

Before becoming a practitioner in the field of cardiac nursing, you should know your roles and duties. Some of the important roles and duties include:

  • Assess cardiac patients’ health
  • Medication administration
  • Evaluate stress
  • Treat chronic health conditions
  • Monitor electrocardiogram
  • Provide post-surgical care following heart surgeries
  • Insert and remove IV drips
  • Monitor the use of a defibrillator

A Few Organizations, Societies, and Agencies to help in the USA

  • Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association
  • American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine
  • The Society of Pediatric Cardiovascular Nurses
  • Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
  • European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing


Cardiac nursing is a high-demand expertise where you work with cardiologists, surgeons, pharmacists, and other nurses to provide patients with the best possible heart care.

We hope we can adequately answer your question on “how to become a cardiac nurse” adequately. You serve humanity and earn money in this noble profession.

See Also

How to Become an IVF Nurse?

How to Become a Dermatology Nurse

Types of Nurses

Nurse Practitioner Salary

Nursing Schools in Las Vegas

Nursing Schools in Texas

How to Become a Clinical Nurse Specialist

Current Version
January 30, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 27, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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