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Cardiology Nurse: Salary, Job Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cardiology nurse. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about job duties and outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Cardiology nurses are registered nurses who work with patients suffering from medical conditions of the heart, such as coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. These nurses generally work in either a healthcare or research setting. All cardiology nurses must become registered nurses, which involves completing an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and passing a national exam. Cardiology nurses may further their careers by completing a graduate degree program or a voluntary certification with a professional organization like the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Required EducationAssociate's degree
Additional Requirements State nursing license; Certification from a professional organization may be required by some employers
Projected Job Growth* (2012-2022) 19% for registered nurses
Median Salary* (2013) $66,220 annually for registered nurses

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Job Duties

Cardiology nurses diagnose and treat conditions that affect the pulmonary or systems. They may focus on preventative medicine and patient education or assist with diagnostics, such as electrocardiograms and other specialized tests.

Cardiology nurses may take on a variety of roles. At the advanced level, clinical nurse specialists work in hospitals and other medical facilities, conducting research and taking a lead in patient education and preventative techniques. Registered nurses treat and educate patients in a clinical setting, keeping records of medical histories and performing diagnostics. They work with patients and their families to teach them how to manage cardiovascular disease, educate them on dietary and other measures of minimizing heart risk and help patients with postoperative rehabilitation.

Education Requirements

The most common way to pursue a nursing education is to obtain a 4-year bachelor's or 2-year associate degree in nursing at a college or university, though a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is recommended for advancement. Nursing education involves a combination of classroom experience and supervised clinical experience.

Licensure and Certification

After graduation, prospective nurses must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a registered nursing license. Nurses interested in specializing in cardiology may apply for voluntary certification with the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine. Requirements for certification include active RN licensure, with at least two years of RN experience and 2,000 hours of clinical cardiac nursing experience. If applicants meet these requirements, they may sit for an exam and become board-certified.

Advancement in Cardiovascular Nursing

Becoming an advanced practice cardiology nurse involves obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing in the specialty field of cardiac nursing. Options include cardiac nurse practitioner and cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist programs. Coursework is augmented with a practicum and a residency in cardiac nursing, providing hands-on experience working with cardiac patients.

Salary Information and Job Outlook for Cardiology Nurses

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't maintain data specifically for cardiology nurses. However, it reported that in 2013 the median annual wage of registered nurses in general was $66,220. The BLS reported that job opportunities all across the registered nursing field were expected to be excellent from 2012-2022, increasing by 19% over the decade.

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