People who aren’t in the medical profession might assume that “nurse” is a catch-all term—but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are many different specializations and certifications in nursing, one of which is telemetry.
Telemetry nurses are responsible for watching over patients who may have a high risk of heart-related complications. This specialized work involves checking blood pressure, oxygen levels, and interpreting heart-monitoring devices.
How can you become certified for a career in this field? Find out more in this complete guide to telemetry nurse certification.
How Do You Get Certified in Telemetry Nursing?
If you’ve got your sights set on a specialization in telemetry nursing, you might be wondering what sort of prerequisites may be necessary in order to get there. While you may be eager to start caring for patients right away while earning a well-deserved telemetry nurse salary, there are some telemetry nurse requirements you need to meet before you can officially scrub in.
You Need a Nursing Degree
For starters, you won’t be able to simply get a degree in telemetry nursing. First, you’ll need to obtain your regular nursing degree, then choose your specialized field after. To be qualified for telemetry nursing certification, you’ll likely need to have:1
- An ADN or a BSN – You studied nursing all through college, and now your hard work is about to pay off. To be eligible for most of the necessary nursing exams, you’ll need a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN).
- Passed the NCLEX-RN – The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) is the test you’ll need to pass to start your work as an entry-level nurse. There are two variations of the test: one for practical nurses and another for registered nurses.
After you’ve completed your nursing degree and have passed the NCLEX-RN, you’re ready to take the next step in your nursing care profession: applying for certification.
Becoming Credentialed in Telemetry
Since it’s possible to obtain more than one telemetry certification, the process for becoming a telemetry certified nurse isn’t the same across the board. Rather, it will depend on which organization you certify with and which specialization your heart wants to follow.
One of the most popular places to apply for your cardiac telemetry nurse certification is the American Association for Critical Care Nurses (AACN) which offers the following specializations:
- CMC (Cardiac Medicine Certification) – If your mission in life is to lend a hand in dire circumstances, then this telemetry specialization as a critical care nurse is the patient care choice for you. A CMC certified nurse can offer care to cardiac patients who are critically ill, providing lifesaving support.2
- CSC (Cardiac Surgery Certification) – On the other hand, your vision of comforting patients might focus more on nursing them back to health after operations. In that case, you might want to opt for the CSC telemetry nursing certification, which will allow you to tend to cardiac patients in their first 48 hours after surgery.2
Average Timeline for Prospective Telemetry Nurses
Between obtaining a degree, passing the NCLEX-RN, and getting credentialed in telemetry, it can be tough to say exactly how long it will take before you can add everything you need to your telemetry nurse resume. However, to help you manage your expectations before diving headlong into the field, let’s consider this possible timeline:
- 2-4 years – Depending on whether you’ve chosen to obtain an ADN or a BSN, full-time students should expect to set aside between two and four years on average. That said, some students may prefer to chip away at their degrees while maintaining a full- or part-time job on the side. In this case, students should prepare to extend the average length of study based on how many credits they’re available to take on per semester.
- 1-2 months – This is the minimum amount of study time recommended in order to prepare for the NCLEX-RN exam. Whether or not students pass this exam on the first attempt will affect how quickly they can jump start their career in the field of telemetry.3
- 1750+ hours – In order to be eligible for telemetry certification, candidates are typically required to have a certain number of hours of hands-on experience tending to cardiac patients. Remember that the minimum number of hours may vary depending on the specific credentials you wish to obtain.4
- 6 months – In most cases, nurses hoping to earn their certification in telemetry will be allowed three attempts at the exam within a span of six months. If unsuccessful, candidates will be required to wait an additional six months before trying again.
Note: Since telemetry nurses are expected to keep up with changing technology within their field, they’ll typically be required to renew their certifications about every two to three years.5
While the journey to obtain your telemetry certification might seem long, the destination is well worth it. Nothing compares to finally accomplishing your dream of providing care and comfort to the patients who need you most.
Preparing for Your Telemetry Certification
The first step in preparing for your telemetry certification is choosing which certification is right for you. Whether you choose CMC, CSC, or another relevant certification, be sure to set yourself up for success by:
- Researching the specifics of each exam type
- Creating a plan of study that aligns with your current schedule
- Building a study group that allows you and other prospective telemetry nurses to combine forces and lean on each other for advice
- Enrolling in an exam preparation course and participating in practice exams that give you a better understanding of the type of questions that will be asked
Take the First Steps in Your Nursing Career with Host Healthcare
Even if you’ve been dreaming of being a registered nurse since you were small, it can be easy to imagine the big picture and feel lost when it comes down to the details of going into a specific field. Fortunately, the path to telemetry nursing is relatively straightforward: First, complete a nursing degree, pass your entry-level exam, get on-the-job experience, and lastly, complete your certification.
Once you’ve earned your certification in telemetry, there’s no better place to kick off your career as a registered nurse than at Host Healthcare. We’re a top-tier travel healthcare company that pledges to support our Travelers and offer them the care they deserve throughout their travel nursing career. That way, you can get back to doing what you do best: providing lifesaving comfort and care.
Apply for travel nursing jobs with Host Healthcare today, and let us help you help patients in need.
- “Become A Telemetry Nurse: Steps, Salary, Career Opportunities – University Of St. Augustine For Health Sciences”. University Of St. Augustine For Health Sciences, https://www.usa.edu/blog/telemetry-nurse/
- “CSC (Adult).” American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, https://www.aacn.org/certification/get-certified/csc-adult
- Brittany Hamstra BSN. “How to Pass the NCLEX the First Time: 11 Tips from Real Nurses.” Nurse.org, https://nurse.org/articles/how-to-pass-nclex-the-first-time/
- “CMC (Adult).” American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, https://www.aacn.org/certification/get-certified/csc-adult
- Telemetry Certification For RNs, LPNs and Nurses.” National Telemetry Association, 30 Nov. 2021, https://nationaltelemetryassociation.org/for-nurses/
- “What Is A Telemetry Nurse?”. Indeed Career Guide, 2022, https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/telemetry-nurse