Cardiac/Vascular Nurse

ANCC Cardiac/Vascular Nurse Certification continues to be offered online through the American Nurses Credentialing Center of ANA.

For those interested in purchasing the Cardiac/Vascular Review and Resource Manual, it can be ordered online or by calling 1-800-637-0323.

ANCC Cardiac/Vascular Nurse Certification Exam Information and Certification Renewal Application
1. Why should I become certified?
Certification validates your nursing specialty knowledge. It also builds confidence in you as a professional, demonstrating that you meet nationally recognized standards in your specialty. It can provide you with career advancement opportunities in your current position or in search for new employment. Many organizations offer certified nurses higher salaries and other benefits.

2. How long has the Cardiac/Vascular Nurse Certification exam been available?
The Cardiac/Vascular Nurse Certification exam has been available since May 2001.

3. Why is it both cardiac and vascular?
When developing new certification exams, ANA has to consider both the scope of the specialty being proposed, as well as the available market of nurses to sit for the exam. There is a large overlapping body of knowledge that both "cardiac" and "vascular" nurses use in their care of patients. Thus this content was combined into one exam.

4. Who can take the exam?
  • Hold a current, active RN license in a state or territory of the United States or hold the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country.
  • Have practiced the equivalent of 2 years full-time as a registered nurse.
  • Have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in cardiac-vascular nursing within the last 3 years.
  • Have completed 30 hours of continuing education in cardiac-vascular nursing within the last 3 years.
Apply from Outside the U.S.
Learn about additional requirements for candidates outside the U.S.  

5. This certification is RN-level. Can an Advanced Practice Nurse take the exam?
Yes. Since no additional cardiology exam exists at this time, an APN can certainly take this exam to document basic knowledge of cardiac/vascular nursing. But the exam will not reflect mastery of advanced practice knowledge and skills.

6. How can I find out what content is included on the exam?
You can download the Test Content Outline and Test Reference List, or view sample questions. 

7. Is there review material available to help prepare for the exam?
Yes, there is a Cardiac/Vascular Review and Resource Manual available through ANA/ANCC's Knowledge Center. It includes in depth content developed from the test content outline, as well as sample questions.

8. Are there review conferences I can attend?
Yes, there are several review sessions being planned through ANA/ANCC. Visit them online or call 800-284-2378 for the latest information.

9. What is the cost of the exam?
The cost is $340 for PCNA members and $395 for non-members.

10. Where is the exam offered?
The exam is computer-based. After your application is processed by ANA/ANCC and you are found to have met all the requirements, your name will be sent to The Chauncey Group International. They will then contact you directly regarding scheduling of the exam at a learning/testing center in your area. Over 300 test sites are available across the U.S. Visit their website for more information.

11. What about subspecialty exams?
The Commission on Certification at ANCC is currently reviewing additional methods beyond certification to recognize subspecialty practice. ANCC has not found it financially possible to continue adding certification exams for areas where the candidate pool is limited. Discussion will continue between PCNA and the certifying bodies regarding a specialty in dyslipidemia. Meanwhile, nurses are strongly encouraged to take the current Cardiac/Vascular Nurse exam, as it does demonstrate a broader scope of practice, and it will continue to be the prerequisite for any additional recognition or testing.

12. Will there ever be an advanced practice exam in Cardiac/Vascular Nursing?
There have been ongoing discussions regarding this level exam. Future development is first contingent upon adequate resources needed to maintain the quality of the current Cardiac/Vascular Nurse Exam. Secondly, there needs to be documentation that the candidate pool for the APN exam is large enough to maintain its financial soundness.

13. Who can I contact for more information?
Contact ANCC directly or call 1-800-284-2378