How to Become a Cardiovascular Nurse:
The Definitive Guide

A Cardiovascular Nurse is someone who takes great care in treating the hearts of their patients.

These patients can be suffering from chronic conditions like congestive heart failure, as well as conducting research and taking the lead on keeping records for patients.

Being a Cardiovascular Nurse is a hard job, but someone has to do it, so why not you?

If you are interested in helping people heal their hearts, then working as a Cardiovascular Nurse might be just the career that you are looking for.

What is a Cardiovascular Nurse?

You can expect a Cardiovascular Nurse to know a lot about the cardiovascular system, including the heart.

Working with such an important muscle in the body can be an overwhelming prospect, but Cardiovascular Nurses make it look easy.

As a Cardiovascular Nurse, you’ll likely work in a medical facility to treat patients with a variety of heart issues.

These issues can include coronary artery disease, angina, or even taking care of someone after bypass surgery.

A Cardiovascular Nurse will ensure the health of the patient, help administer medications, and assess any other issues.

Keeping proper notes and providing information to doctors is also a large role in this career.


A typical Cardiovascular Nurse will spend much of their day thinking about other people’s hearts.

There are plenty of things that a Cardiovascular Nurse does, and some of these things may include:

  • Diagnose and treat conditions
  • Conduct research
  • Education patients
  • Provide preventative measures
  • Keep records
  • Perform diagnostics

As a Cardiovascular Nurse, you will also be working with families of the patients, providing updates and education to them as well.


The average salary for a Cardiovascular Nurse in the United States is around $68,000 a year.

A typical salary for someone who is just starting out in their career as a Cardiovascular Nurse is around $64,000 a year.

With more education, certifications, and specializations within the career, a Cardiovascular Nurse can expect to make up to $73,000 a year.

These averages will also be factored into the location of the facility in which the Cardiovascular Nurse works, as well as what type of facility.

Nurses that work in hospitals in larger populations will likely make more on average than nurses who work in smaller towns or outpatient centers, for example.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $77,460


Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$94,820
New Hampshire$73,880
New Jersey$84,280
New Mexico$73,300
New York$87,840
North Carolina$66,440
North Dakota$66,290
Rhode Island$82,310
South Carolina$64,840
South Dakota$59,540
West Virginia$63,220
Puerto Rico$35,040
Virgin Islands$68,500

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $113,240.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $113,240
Hawaii - $104,060
District of Columbia - $94,820
Massachusetts - $93,160
Oregon - $92,960
* Employment conditions in your area may vary. * Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.

How to Become a Cardiovascular Nurse

Step 1Get Your High School Diploma or GED

In order to be eligible for any type of nursing program, you must first have a high school diploma or a GED.

This is so that colleges can be sure that you know all of the required information.

You’ll want to make sure you have knowledge in subjects like:

  • Chemistry and Biology
  • Math
  • Life Science
  • Psychology

Most college programs will only accept those that have a 2.0 GPA or higher, so keep that in mind when working toward your high school diploma or college degree.

Sometimes it’s possible to take general education college classes in high school or get credit for college with AP classes.

Step 2Gain a Bachelor's Degree

Once you are accepted into a nursing program, you’ll want to make sure it’s accredited.

A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is the degree that you are going to want to strive for in your pursuit of becoming a Cardiovascular Nurse.

Most colleges in the United States offer nursing programs, and many of them are also given online.

One thing to keep in mind when looking for schools is where and how you must do clinical education.

Clinical education is putting work-related knowledge into practice.

This can be done by practicing on real patients or through simulated scenarios.

Some of the courses that you can expect to take in a typical Bachelors of Science in Nursing program include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Clinical Microbiology
  • Psychology and Humanities
  • Health Assessment
  • Leadership and Professional Image
  • Human Growth and Development

A typical Bachelors’s degree can take around four years to complete.

Step 3Become Registered

After the completion of a nursing program, it’s time to become registered in the state you intend to work.

This basically means that you are legally allowed to practice nursing on people.

In order to become registered, you must take the NCLEX-RN exam and pass it with at least a 75% out of 100.

Before taking the exam, you’ll need to register with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

Upon passing, you will be a registered nurse!

You will not be eligible to work in the United States after a certain number of years without registering.

An RN license is good for two years, beyond that, you must retake the exam.

Step 4Get Certified

In order to get the most out of a career as a Cardiovascular Nurse, it may be a good idea to gain certification in certain specialties.

This will allow you to stand out in the crowd among other hopeful Cardiovascular Nurses.

One of the main certifications for a Cardiovascular Nurse is called the Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification.

The ANCC Cardiac Vascular Nursing board certification exam is competency-based, as well as computer-based.

In order to be eligible to take the exam for this certification, you must:

  • Hold a current, active RN license
  • Have 2 years of work experience as a registered nurse
  • 2,000 hours of clinical practice within the last three years
  • 30 hours of continued cardiac vascular education

The exam costs around $55 to take and the certification is good for five years.


Most nursing positions in the United States require at least an Associates’s degree, but to become a Cardiovascular Nurse, you must have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

With a Bachelors in Nursing, you can work in nearly any health facility in the United States.

Though every curriculum is different, many universities require that prospective nurses take courses like:

  • Assessment of Health and Illness
  • Anatomy
  • Psychology
  • Leadership and Management
  • Community Care
  • Nursing Care

Becoming a registered nurse with a Bachelors’s degree opens many doors for future employment.

You’ll also need a Bachelors’s degree to pursue any higher steps, such as a Masters in Nursing, Doctoral degree, or to become a Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

It’s even possible to find nursing programs online nowadays.

When it comes to Cardiovascular Nurses, a little more education is required.

The heart is the most important muscle in the body and requires around 2,000 extra clinical hours and 30 hours of ongoing education.

Some people also decide to pursue a Master’s degree in Nursing or Cardiovascular Nursing.

This type of degree can take another two years to obtain.

With a Master’s degree in Nursing, specific cardiovascular training can be acquired.

A Masters program in Cardiovascular Nursing may have courses that include:

  • Geriatrics
  • Healthcare Financing
  • Emergency Stabilization
  • EKG Interpretation

Although it is important to gain a good education, one of the things to keep in mind with a nursing program is that doing clinical and internships is a necessity.

In order to get on the job training and learn how to work in the field, clinical is required.

If you go to an online school, make sure you are able to do physical work in the real world so that you can gain the proper education.

Most times, employers look for Bachelors degrees and will often not hire those who do not have one.

Video About The Career


There are several certifications that a Cardiovascular Nurse may achieve.

Some of them can be given through private organizations, but the ones that we’d like to talk about today are national certifications.

The first certification is Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification.

The ANCC Cardiac-Vascular Nursing board certification exam is competency and computer-based, which means that it bases the questions off of your answers, and can be taken by registered nurses.

In order to gain certification, you must take the exam in three hours or less and have competency in the following areas:

  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Planning, Implementation, and Outcomes
  • Evidence-based tools
  • Developmental stages
  • Special risk factors and behaviors
  • Patient advocation

There are 175 questions on the test, but only 150 of them are scored.

You must have at least 80% to pass the exam.

Another certification called the Adult Cardiac Medicine Certification is quite important as well.

This certification is for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients.

In order to take this exam, you must:

  • Be a registered nurse in the United States
  • Have 1,750 hours of experience
  • Have a professional associate as a clinical supervisor

This exam is also available online and is competency-based.

Some of the information that you’ll need to know for this exam includes:

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome
  • Heart Failure
  • Vascular Issues
  • Endocrine system
  • Pulmonary
  • Therapeutic interventions

This certification must be renewed every 2 to 5 years, and an exam will be required for renewal.

There are many other certifications that are available to Cardiovascular Nurses, these include:

  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
  • Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
  • Neonatal Advanced Life Support (NALS)
  • Pediatric Early Assessment, Recognition, and Stabilization (PEARS)

Whether or not you apply for certifications is up to you, some people enjoy having specialties, while others do not think it is necessary.

What’s important is that the work done by a Cardiovascular Nurse is very important, time-sensitive, and something that should be taken seriously.

Certification Example:

Cardiovascular Nurse Certificate

Average Training Program Duration: 4+ Years

Popular Degree Programs

Job Outlook

Within the next ten years, the job outlook for a Cardiovascular Nurse will grow around 12 percent.

With more hospitals and other medical facilities opening up around the country, there are even more jobs for nurses popping up every day.

With the rise in technological advancements surrounding the heart, a career as a Cardiovascular Nurse can be very rewarding.

Many nurses that were of the baby boomer generation are planning on retiring within the next decade, which also opens up more opportunities for newer nurses stepping on the scene.

The time to become a nurse is now, as the future looks bright for this career field.

* The numbers are based on all registered nurses and are not exclusive to cardiovascular nurses.

Employment Growth Projection: 12%


That's a higher than average projected growth of 371,500 jobs.

Should You Become a Cardiovascular Nurse?

Overall Satisfaction

Overall Satisfaction: High

It seems that Cardiovascular Nurses who work in facilities like outpatient care centers or clinics have higher job satisfaction than nurses who work in hospitals and more stressful areas.

The difference could be due to hours worked, the number of patients, and staff on call for the various facilities.

Nurses who worked in hospitals had less control over how long they work or which hours they worked.

Among most Cardiovascular Nurses, the job is very fulfilling and creates a lasting impression.

Average Salary

Average Salary: High

The average salary for a Cardiovascular Nurse is around $68,000 a year in the United States.

It is possible to make up to $73,000 as a Cardiovascular Nurse.

This can be done through continued education, certifications, and experience within the career.

Those that are just starting out as Cardiovascular Nurses can expect a salary of around $64,000 a year to begin.

The population of workplace location, as well as the type of facility, can also play a role in how much salary a Cardiovascular Nurse can make.

Larger populations will provide more income than smaller populations and facilities.

Job Growth Outlook

Job Growth Outlook: High

The job growth outlook for a Cardiovascular Nurse is outstanding for the next decade.

It seems that there will always be a need for nurses, especially Cardiovascular nurses.

The career looks to grow around 12 percent over the next ten years.

With more outpatient facilities opening up for heart patients and technological advances in medicine, more Cardiovascular Nurses will be needed.

There will be a need to replace workers who are retiring within the next decade as well, which means more jobs opening up in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other facilities.

Education Duration

Education Duration: 4+ Years

It can take a while to become a Cardiovascular Nurse, but it is worth it.

First, you will need to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

A Bachelors’s degree typically takes around four years to complete.

Then, it is important to become a registered nurse.

After registering, having work experience is imperative.

Once you have some work time under your belt, it’s time to start a Master’s degree.

There are several different types of Masters degrees that a person interested in Cardiovascular Nursing can obtain.

A Masters in Cardiac Nursing is one of the main degrees.

This can take around two years to complete.

All in all, it can take from seven to ten years to become a Cardiovascular Nurse.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

The heart is the most important organ in the human body and should be taken great care of.

In order to be a Cardiovascular Nurse, you should have certain skills.

These may include:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Monitoring skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Crisis management abilities
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment
  • Physical stamina
  • Emotional stability

There may be certain physical jobs that a nurse will have to do throughout the day, so it is important to stay fit and make sure that you are able to carry heavy loads.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the average salary of a Cardiovascular Nurse?

The average salary for a Cardiovascular Nurse in the United States is $68,000 a year.

Those that are just starting out in the field may make less, at around $64,000 a year.

With experience, education, and certifications, some Cardiovascular Nurses may make up to $73,000 a year.

Location and population can affect the salary in particular areas.

Q. How long does it take to become a Cardiovascular Nurse?

The thing about nursing is that you can always learn more, so depending on how much education you want to receive is up to you.

This means you sort of get to decide how long it takes to become a Cardiovascular nurse.

If you want to work as a nurse with a Bachelors’s degree, that will take you around four years to complete.

In order to gain a Master’s degree, that’s another two years.

Education can take anywhere from 4-8 years to complete, and possibly even beyond that!

Q. What does a Cardiovascular Nurse do?

A Cardiovascular Nurse takes care of the most important part of the human body, the heart.

These lovely people make sure that those suffering from heart issues are getting the care that they need.

With both ongoing issues and emergency situations, a Cardiovascular Nurse helps deal with them all.

Most nurses work in hospitals or outpatient facilities, where they treat patients for heart problems or help with care after bypass surgery.

Q. What is the demand for Cardiovascular Nurses?

One of the great things about nursing is that there will always be jobs, although, this is a bad thing for patients.

Cardiovascular Nurses are in demand due to health complications and other issues from poor diet and diseases.

With the baby boomer population getting older, more Cardiovascular Nurses will be needed in hospitals, doctors’ offices, outpatient and inpatient care centers.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Cardiovascular Nurse?

A typical Nursing Bachelors’s degree can cost from $15,000 to $40,000 depending on the university attended.

The average Master’s degree program can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000.

Add in the cost of certifications, training, and any other supplies for school, and that can cost around $2,500.

It may cost around $100,000 to become a Cardiovascular nurse.

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