Cardiac Nurse Practitioner

Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Role

A cardiac nurse practitioner’s duties include in-depth cardiovascular assessments, working closely with physicians and providing health education to patients and families. Assessing patients for acute and chronic illness, managing those illnesses with medications and other treatments and monitoring for results are among the responsibilities. cardiac nurse practitioners also are responsible for interpreting lab work data, radiology and other test data, and acting on those findings.

Cardiac nurse practitioners deal with patient populations that are experiencing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and arrhythmias (irregularities in heart rate). cardiac nurse practitioners may work in a variety of settings, including private practice cardiology offices, family medicine or acute-care clinics and hospitals. New and evolving cardiac techniques make this field more challenging than ever, and advanced practice RNs play a key role in bringing quality cardiac care to patients in underserved, rural and urban settings.

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Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.
  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study
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  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

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Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Salary

In May 2018, nurse practitioners earned an average of $107,030 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS does not specify kinds of nurse practitioners, unfortunately. However, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists working in state, local, and private hospitals reportedly earned over $120,000/year. A number of factors influence cardiac nurse practitioner salary, including education and training, geographic location and work setting.

How to Become a Cardiac Nurse

While there is one cardiac certification exclusively for nurse practitioners, cardiac nursing positions require nurses who have advanced practice experience in cardiac care. Those interested in advanced practice cardiac nursing also should enroll in a nurse practitioner program with a cardiac subspecialty.

Cardiac Nurse Requirements

  1. Become a registered nurse. In order to apply to a nurse practitioner program, one must have completed a degree in registered nursing and be certified as a registered nurse in a U.S. state or territory. Passing the NCLEX-RN examination is required for certification as a registered nurse.
  2. Practice as an RN for two years, work 2,000 hours in cardiac nursing within three years, and complete 30 continuing education hours in cardiac nursing within three years.
  3. Apply to take the cardiac nursing exam administered by the ACCN or ABCM to earn cardiac nursing certification. More information about certification can be found at the bottom of this page.
  4. Apply for state certification as a cardiac nurse in the state in which you wish to practice.
  5. Certification must be renewed every five years. In addition to renewing certification through the board, renewal through the state is also required and additional fulfillment of continuing education contact hours may be necessary.

Nurse Practitioner Eligibility Requirements

Apply to and complete a nurse practitioner programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and have a cardiac subspecialty of concentration. These programs must be master’s, postgraduate or doctoral programs. More information on nurse practitioner programs and coursework requirements can be found below.

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Earn an MS in Nursing online from Georgetown University.
  • Earn your MS in Nursing in as few as 19 months
  • Choose from one of four APRN specialty areas: AG-ACNP, FNP, NM/WHNP, or WHNP
  • Gain hands-on clinical experience in evidence-based practice
Earn a Master of Science in Nursing online from Simmons University.
  • Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Preparation to pursue certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Part-time, full-time, and extended plans of study
Earn your MSN online from Top-Ranked USC
  • Prepares RNs to pursue board certification as family nurse practitioners
  • Earn a CCNE-accredited MSN in as few as 21 months
  • Choose from part-time and full-time study options

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Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Programs

The first step to becoming a cardiac nurse practitioner is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Bachelor-prepared registered nurses are now recommended as a necessity by several professional nursing organizations. Because nurse practitioner programs are part of graduate training for nurses, applicants must hold at least a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and two years of recent experience in caring for patients with cardiac and vascular conditions before applying for a master’s in nursing or doctoral (DNP or Ph.D.) program.

In some cases, a “cardiac nurse practitioner program” may be difficult to locate—some schools will offer acute care nurse practitioner programs with an emphasis in cardiology. These programs will provide students with courses in statistics, ethics, research, pharmacology and advanced assessment for all adults and also offer focused cardiovascular courses.

Depending on the path chosen, it may take two to four years to complete the candidate’s initial nursing degree. RNs who enroll in a cardiac nurse practitioner education program can expect to spend two years, or slightly more, in coursework credits and clinical experience. The number of credit hours the student carries and other commitments can influence training time, and attending on a part-time basis will significantly impact time to degree completion. Students interested in part-time attendance should check with their institution to see if the option is available.

Online Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Programs

For working registered nurses who do not want to put their careers on pause or uproot their lives to attend an on-campus program at a university far from where they live, online nurse practitioner programs with a concentration in cardiology can be a flexible and high-quality option.

When looking for an online nurse practitioner program, make sure that it offers interactive features such as live classes, rigorous coursework and excellent placement services that will help you get the most out of your education. Some universities offer online programs that are identical to their on-campus programs, allowing students to earn a degree from a university they know and whose reputation they trust, without having to relocate. Online programs are growing in popularity and are a great way to become a cardiac nurse practitioner.

Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Certification

American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine (ABCM) - Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner - Board Certified (CVNP-BC)

The ABCM posits having the only cardiology exam for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. After the completion of a, average, four hour exam and 175 questions, nurse practitioners can earn a certification as a CVNP-BC.


American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) - Cardiac Medicine Certification (CMC)

Eligibility:

  • Current, unencumbered RN or APRN license in the U.S.
  • Current nationally accredited clinical nursing specialty certification
  • One of the following option:
    • 1,750 hours of direct care as a RN or APRN for acutely/critically ill adult patients in the last two years, with 875 accrued in most recent year before application and 875 in the care of acutely/critically ill adult cardiac patients; or
    • practice as an RN or APRN for at least five years with a minimum of 2,000 hours of direct care with acutely/critically ill adult patients, with 144 accrued in the most recent year before application. Half of the total hours need to be in the care of acutely/critically ill adult cardiac patients

Fees:

  • AACN Members: $130
  • Nonmembers: $215

AACN - Cardiac Surgery Certification

Eligibility:

  • Current, unencumbered RN or APRN license in the U.S.
  • Current nationally accredited clinical nursing specialty certification
  • One of the following option:
    • 1,750 hours of direct care as a RN or APRN for acutely/critically ill adult patients in the last two years, with 875 accrued in most recent year before application and 875 in the care of acutely/critically ill adult cardiac surgery patients within first 48 hours post-operation; or
    • practice as an RN or APRN for at least five years with a minimum of 2,000 hours of direct care with acutely/critically ill adult patients, with 144 accrued in the most recent year before application. Half of the total hours need to be in the care of acutely/critically ill adult cardiac surgery patients within first 48 hours post-operation

Fees:

  • AACN Members: $130
  • Nonmembers: $215

This page was last updated on February 4, 2020.

State Nursing Certification Information