Cardiac nurses and cardiac catheterization nurses are highly specialized in cardiac care and procedural treatments for patients with various cardiovascular diseases. They work very closely with cardiologists as well as the rest of the interdisciplinary team to ensure proper care is delivered rapidly and safely. Because they are highly specialized, certification is almost essential for their role.

Why Do I Need a Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification?

As stated earlier, cardiac vascular nursing is extremely specialized. There are specific assessments required, medications, and interventions that are implemented that one wouldn't find in other specialties in nursing. For this reason, certification is often required for employment as a cardiac nurse or cath-lab nurse. Certification also demonstrates a high level of competence in the field of cardiovascular care, which helps provide high-quality care to patients and establish trust as well.

Where Can I Get a Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification?

There are several organizations that offer certification in the cardiac vascular specialty. They are listed below:

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Certificate Name: Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification

Credential Awarded: RN-BC

Cost: Non-Member: $395, American Nurses Association member: $270, Society for Vascular Nursing members: $340, Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association members: $340

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

Requirements for certification from ANCC include the following:

  • Hold a current RN license (or equivalent from another country)
  • Have practiced the equivalent of 2 years full time as a registered nurse
  • Have had a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in cardiovascular nursing within the last 3 years
  • Have completed 30 continuing education hours in cardiovascular nursing within the last 3 years

The American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine (ABCM)

Certificate Name: Cardiovascular Nurse-Level I and Level II

Credential Awarded: CVRN-BC

Cost: For Level I certification:

  • Non-members: $349
  • ACCN, ACCNP, SCM members: $297

For Level II certification:

  • Non-Members: $349.95
  • Members: $297.46
  • Those certified as a Level I and who wish to sit for the Level II exam: $249.95

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

Requirements to sit for the level I or II exam are very similar. Requirements include:

  • Current RN or NP license
  • Have at least 1-2 years of acute care experience in cardiac care to include CCU/CVICU, Cardiac cath labs, interventional cardiology, etc.
  • Continuing education hours are not required for initial certification but are required for recertification.

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN)

Certificate Name: Cardiac Medicine, Cardiac Surgery

Credential Awarded: CMC, CSC

Cost: AACN Members: $130. Non-Members: $215

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

The requirements for certification through AACN are as below:

  • Valid, unencumbered RN or APRN license
  • A current nationally accredited nursing specialty certification (for APRNs)
  • Have a minimum of 1,750 hours of RN/APRN direct clinical experience in acute or critical care within the previous two years. 875 of those hours must have been in the most recent year preceding application, and must have been in acute/critical care. Or,
  • Have practiced as an RN or APRN for at least five years with a minimum of 2,000 hours in the direct care of acute/critically ill patients, with 144 of those hours accrued in the year preceding application. 1,000 of those hours MUST be in the care of acute/critical patients

*Note: for the CSC certification, the care must have been in acutely/critically ill adult cardiac surgery patients within the first 48 hours post-operatively

American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR)

Certificate Name: Certified Cardiac Rehabilitation Professional

Credential Awarded: CCRP

Cost: Early bird registration fees:

  • AACVPR Member: $310
  • Non-member: $359

Regular Application Pricing:

  • AAVVPR Member: $360
  • Non-member: $409

Certification Requirements & Eligibility

This unique certification is the only comprehensive certification in cardiac rehabilitation and has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center for inclusion on their Magnet Recognition Program list. Requirements to sit for this certification include:

  • Have a minimum of 1,200 clinical hours in cardiac rehabilitation
  • Have a minimum of a bachelor's degree or higher in a health-related field from an accredited college/ university, or be licensed as an RN

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