How to Become an IV Infusion Nurse

Gayle Morris, MSN
Updated April 11, 2024
Have you considered becoming an IV infusion nurse? Check out the training, salary, and career advancement potential for this unique role.
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IV infusion nurses are highly skilled professionals with a unique role in the healthcare system. These nurses specialize in administering medications and fluids through an intravenous (IV) line. They are a valued resource, practice in a variety of settings, and care for patients from infancy through their senior years.

There are several steps to becoming an IV infusion nurse. Discover the education, licensure, experience, and certification you’ll need to practice as an infusion nurse.

How Long to Become
2-4 years

Degree Required

Job Outlook, 2022-2032
6% Growth for All RNs

Source: BLS

Popular Online RN-to-BSN Programs

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What Is an IV Infusion Nurse?

An IV infusion nurse is a registered nurse (RN) who specializes in administering IV fluids, including chemotherapy, antibiotics, blood products, and immunotherapy medications. They are also adept at drawing blood and placing central, midline, and peripheral intravenous access lines.

Although most RNs can establish a basic IV line, IV infusion nurses handle complicated or challenging placements and administrations. For example, the added training needed to become an IV infusion nurse enables them to place an IV in an infant, older person, dehydrated person, or someone with a more specialized medical situation.

IV infusion nurses can work in hospitals, clinics, home healthcare, cancer centers, infusion centers, and medical spas. Depending on your work setting, you may work nontraditional hours.

Steps to Becoming an IV Infusion Nurse

The first step to becoming an IV infusion nurse is to become an RN and earn a license to work in the state where you intend to practice. After earning a two or four-year degree, you’ll need to pass the NCLEX-RN examination and gain relevant nursing experience.

  1. 1

    Earn Your Degree

    You must complete either a two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from an accredited program. Most employers in healthcare prefer BSN-prepared nurses. Students starting with an ADN can enroll in an RN-to-BSN program to attain a more advanced degree. People with a bachelor’s degree in another field can consider an accelerated BSN program (ABSN), which can take as few as 18 months.

  2. 2

    Pass the NCLEX Exam to Receive RN Licensure

    The NCLEX-RN is a nationwide test to qualify nurses for licensure. The test covers four categories and uses an adaptive computerized model, meaning the length of the test depends on your performance. The exam can take up to four hours and requires that you correctly answer at least 75 out of 265 questions.

  3. 3

    Gain Experience in Infusion Therapy

    Many nurses begin their professional careers at the bedside, giving them an excellent foundation in patient communication and medication administration. For those who wish to become IV infusion nurses, consider continuing education units in pharmacology, IV medication therapy, and central venous catheter management. After gaining sufficient experience at the bedside, you can apply to work with the hospital’s IV infusion team to gain additional valuable experience.

IV Infusion Nurse Education

An ADN is the minimum degree required to become an IV infusion nurse, but most employers prefer BSN-prepared nurses. The shortest path to becoming an IV infusion nurse is to complete a two-year ADN program and then an 18-month RN-to-BSN program, since most employers prefer to hire BSN-prepared nurses.

ADN Degree

An ADN degree is the minimum education required to be eligible for the NCLEX and earn your RN license. An ADN degree may be best for those who need to enter the workforce quickly or cannot afford a four-year degree. Some ADN programs allow college students to changing their career path to transfer up to 32 credit hours. This may allow you to complete the program in as little as 15 months.

  • Admission Requirements: Requirements vary by school, but most programs require candidates to have a high school degree or GED certificate, health assessment, and background check. Some programs require prerequisite courses, an entrance exam, or a drug screen.
  • Program Curriculum: Curricula typically include pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, and nursing foundation courses. Students must also complete clinical hours.
  • Time to Complete: You can complete an ADN program within 15 to 24 months. The time varies depending on the number of transfer credits you may have.
  • Skills Learned: ADN students learn fundamental nursing skills, patient safety, infection control, and caring for certain specialty populations.

BSN Degree

Most employers seek BSN-prepared nurses because they need at least 80% of their nurses to hold a BSN to qualify for Magnet status and professional nursing organizations are pushing for BSN-prepared nurses. Yet, few studies even compare qualify of care between BSN-prepared nurses and nurses with other nursing degrees, let alone show evidence that BSN-prepared nurses provide better quality care.

This degree is for people who can commit to completing a four-year degree. BSN-prepared nurses may receive higher pay, have more job opportunities, and a shorter path to advanced nursing roles. This is the minimum degree to be eligible for most graduate-level programs.

  • Admission Requirements: Admission requirements differ based on the program. For example, RN-to-BSN and ABSN programs require two years of prerequisite coursework. Students applying directly from high school usually must submit a personal statement or essay, letters of recommendation, and have a 3.0 GPA.
  • Program Curriculum: BSN candidates complete a variety of coursework, including math, anatomy, physiology, genetics, sociology, nursing skills, nursing leadership, statistics, and public health. All students must complete clinical hours in public health and within a hospital setting.
  • Time to Complete: A full-time student can complete a BSN program in four years. Some programs offer part-time options for working students, and others may offer an accelerated schedule.
  • Skills Learned: BSN-prepared nurses have more time in the classroom and more clinical hours than an ADN-prepared nurse. Additional coursework includes learning leadership, case management, critical thinking, decision-making, and health promotion.

IV Infusion Nurse Licensure and Certification

The minimum educational requirement to become an IV infusion nurse is an RN license with an ADN or BSN degree. You can also specialize as an IV infusion nurse with a master of science in nursing (MSN) degree, but this is optional.

RN licensing requirements vary by state. It is crucial to check with your state’s board of nursing to determine the requirements, documentation, application, and fee needed to renew your license.

The Infusion Nurses Certification Corporation (INCC) offers the only certification in this specialty. The certified registered nurse infusion (CRNI) is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and the Accreditation Board for Specialty Nursing Certification (ABSNC).

Certification is available but optional in this career. However, earning your specialty certification demonstrates your commitment to professional development and indicates advanced knowledge in infusion. Eligibility includes an active and unencumbered RN license and 1,600 hours of infusion experience in the past two years. CRNI recertification is necessary every three years. It requires 1,000 hours of work experience in the past three years and an active RN license.

Working as an IV Infusion Nurse

The number of people with chronic illnesses is expected to increase by 99.5% from 71.5 million in 2020 to 142.6 million in 2050. Many people with chronic illnesses require advanced care during hospitalization or homecare, which can include IV infusion. After becoming an IV infusion nurse, you can work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, homecare, and cancer centers.

After acquiring at least two years of bedside nursing experience, consider looking within your hospital for an IV infusion nurse position. You might also search online job boards or consider an IV infusion nurse internship. If one is unavailable within your hospital, consider proposing a limited unpaid internship to obtain experience that improves your potential for employment.

The job outlook is the same as for all RNs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for RNs is projected to grow 6% from 2022 to 2032. The median annual salary for IV infusion nurses in 2024 was $82,000, according to Payscale data from January 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming an IV Infusion Nurse

How many years does it take to become an IV infusion nurse?

It takes about 4-6 years to become an IV infusion nurse, depending on whether you get an ADN or BSN first. This includes 2-4 years to complete your nursing degree and two years of bedside nursing and IV infusion experience.

What is the quickest way to become an IV infusion nurse?

The fastest way to become an IV infusion nurse is to earn your ADN degree in two years, complete an RN-to-BSN program in two years while working, and gain two years of bedside experience. The final step is completing several continuing education offerings and acquiring experience with IV infusion and medication administration over about nine months. This pathway takes about six months less time than attending a traditional BSN program first.

How hard is it to become an IV infusion nurse?

Becoming an IV infusion nurse is just as difficult as becoming an RN. Nursing students must be adept in various subjects and skills, including math, science, sociology, communication, and leadership, in addition to direct IV infusion-related skills and experiences.

Do IV infusion nurses get paid well?

Yes, IV infusion nurses can be paid well, depending on your years of experience, geographical location, certification, and work setting. Payscale reports the median annual salary is $82,000 for IV infusion nurses.

Is infusion nursing stressful?

This depends on your work setting and expectations. Many IV infusion nurses work in outpatient clinics or specialty services. These settings typically adhere to more traditional working hours during the day with weekends off. For this reason, your job may be less stressful than a traditional RN position.