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Cardiac Nurse Specialist Training and Degree Program Options

Registered nurses who are interested in cardiovascular disorders may train to become cardiac nurse specialists (CNS) in this area through Master of Science in nursing degree programs with a concentration in cardiovascular care.

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Essential Information

The courses in this program explore the role of a CNS in assessing, diagnosing and treating patients with cardiovascular illness and disease. Graduates are eligible to earn certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


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Cardiac Nurse Specialist Training

Prospective students must have a bachelor's degree and a current registered nursing license. The program normally takes four semesters of full-time study. Many programs offer courses in the afternoon and evening, as well as online courses sometimes. Coursework prepares nurses for advanced practice nursing through clinical courses in cardiac/vascular nursing, primary care and pathophysiology. Topics of discussion in the coursework include:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Risk assessment
  • Health assessment
  • Cardiac abnormalities
  • Differential diagnosis

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the of registered nurses in general was expected to grow much faster than average, at 16% between the years 2014 and 2024. The median salary of registered nurses as of 2015 was $67,490.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates are eligible to sit for the CNS Core and Cardiac Nursing Specialist examination, which is available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). CNSs are required to complete clinical and continuing education credits every five years to maintain certification. Because licensing requirements vary by state, graduates should refer to their state boards of nursing for specific licensing requirements.

Cardiac nurse specialty training programs provide coursework in cardiovascular disease, cardiac abnormalities, as well as risk and health assessments. Students will complete clinical training to gain experience in the field.

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