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How Much Do Cardiac Nurses Make?

Maura Deering, J.D.
Updated June 27, 2023
    This guide breaks down average cardiovascular nurse salaries by education level, geographic location, and experience.
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    Female black patient lying down on hospital bed while nurse is checking her heart beat with stethoscopeCredit: Hispanolistic / E+ / Getty Images

    In This Article

    Average Salary for Cardiac Nurses | Cardiac Nurse Salary Disparities by Gender | Highest-Paying and Lowest-Paying States for Cardiac Nurses | How Do Cardiac Nurse Salaries Compare to Other Nurses? | Ways to Increase Pay As a Cardiac Nurse | Frequently Asked Questions | Learn More

    Cardiac nurses focus on cardiovascular health, working with cardiologists to care for patients with heart conditions and assist with surgeries. Using the most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and other sources, this guide provides information on average salaries and factors that affect compensation, such as certification and education level.

    We’ve also broken the numbers down by gender and location to compare cardiac nurse pay with other nursing specialties.

    Average Salary for Cardiac Nurses

    Cardiac nurses hold registered nurse (RN) licenses and, at minimum, obtain education at the associate level. The BLS data shows registered nurses made a median annual salary of $77,600 in 2021. As the following information illustrates, however, cardiac nurse salary increases correspond with higher education levels.

    According to the salaries of nurses surveyed by Medscape in 2020, the biggest jump, at 14%, occurs between the bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and master of science in nursing (MSN) levels.


    Bachelor of Science in Nursing


    Doctor of Nursing Practice

    Source: MedScape

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    Cardiac Nurse Salary Disparities by Gender

    Male nurses comprise only 9.4% of the total number of RNs, but they earn higher paychecks than their female counterparts in nearly half of all specialty areas. For example, a survey conducted by the Journal of Nursing Regulation found that male cardiac nurses earn close to $15,000 more per year than female cardiac nurses.

    Highest-Paying and Lowest-Paying States for Cardiac Nurses in 2020

    While the BLS does not provide state salary data specifically for cardiac nurses, RN pay rates show comparable compensation trends based on geographic location. Cardiac nursing is an RN specialty and, in most states, cardiac nurses earn similar wages to RNs overall.

    The BLS lists the states with the highest average RN salaries as California ($124,000) and Hawaii ($106,530), followed by Oregon, Washington D.C., and Alaska, where RNs make over $97,000. Puerto Rico’s average annual wage for registered nurses is $35,690 as of 2021. RNs in Alabama, South Dakota, Mississippi, Iowa, and Arkansas all make less than $68,000.

    Urban locales in top-ranked California fill the list of the 10 highest-paying metropolitan areas, led by cities in the San Jose-Sunnyvale, where RNs can earn around $155,230.

    How Do Cardiac Nurse Salaries Compare to Other Nurses?

    The chart below lists the average annual salaries of other popular nursing specialties. Cardiac nurses can expect to earn around $70,000 on average — similar to hospice nurses. Compensation rates also depend on education and certification.

    Four Ways to Increase Pay As an Cardiac Nurse

    The median RN salary for the top 10% of earners reaches $120,250 a year, with the bottom 10% earning a median salary around $59,450. Along with certification and education, average salary rates and ranges correlate with the amount and type of nursing experience. The following section explores the factors that affect salaries and how RNs, including cardiac nurses, can maximize their earning potential.

    Frequently Asked Questions: Cardiac Nurse Salaries

    How much does a cardiovascular RN make?

    The 2020 workforce survey reports a median RN salary of $70,000, and the Medscape survey lists a base compensation rate of $77,000. The BLS cites a median annual pay of $77,600 for RNs, which includes cardiac nurses.

    What does a cardiovascular nurse do?

    Working with cardiologists, cardiac nurses treat acute and chronic heart conditions, such as heart failure, heart attacks, and cardiac arrest. They assess patients and employ treatments like defibrillation, catheterization, and advanced cardiac life support. Cardiac nurses may also assist with heart surgeries.

    Do nurses make six figures?

    Cardiac nurses with advanced degrees, along with individuals who work in California and Hawaii, can earn more than $100,000. APRNs and nurses in leadership positions, including nurse educators, administrators, and managers, also commonly earn six-figure salaries. RNs average well over $100,000 in cities like San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.

    What level of education is required to be a cardiovascular nurse?

    Cardiac nurses comprise a specialization of RNs who become eligible for licensure with a nursing diploma, associate degree in nursing (ADN), or BSN. Nursing diplomas and ADNs typically lead to entry-level RN positions, while individuals with BSNs or MSNs usually enter nursing in more advanced positions.

    Learn More About Cardiac Nurses

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