Cath Lab Nurse Salary Guide

Cardiac cath lab nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who specialize in helping with cardiac catheterizations used for diagnostic purposes or to perform procedures. These procedures happen in special cath labs rather than operating rooms. Cath lab RNs prepare patients and equipment, then assist and monitor the patient during the procedure. After the cardiac catheterization procedure, the RN handles patient education and discharge.

How do you become a cardiac cath lab RN?

Every cardiac cath lab nurse starts by completing an accredited nursing program and passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to earn their state licensure. Gaining general nursing experience prepares you for becoming a cardiac cath lab RN. Candidates need experience in cardiovascular health, which might happen in a trauma center, cardiac clinic or other healthcare settings that provide cardiac care. Although it's not always necessary, some healthcare facilities require cath lab nurses to obtain a certification in cardiac vascular nursing.

What credentials/licensing does a cardiac cath lab RN require?

You must have a valid RN license to work as a cardiac cath lab nurse. While not always required, the Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification offered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center is a credential that can advance your career. To take the credentialing exam, RNs need at least 2,000 hours of clinical cardiovascular work and 30 cardiovascular continuing education units within the previous 3 years. Another beneficial certification that some facilities may require is Advanced Cardiac Life Support through the American Heart Association.

Average Cath Lab Nurse Salary


The average salary for a Cath Lab Nurse is $45.73 per hour. This is 5% higher than the nursing US average of $43.26.

Last updated on October 3, 2023. Based on active jobs on

Salaries for Cath Lab Nurse compared to Registered Nurse National Averages


5% higher than the nursing US average.


United States

Where do Cath Lab Nurses get paid the most?
StateAverage Hourly SalaryMax Hourly Salary
New York$41$54
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How can you increase your pay as a cardiac cath lab RN?

Earning an advanced degree, such as a bachelor's or master's degree, often helps you make more as a cardiac cath lab RN. Once you find a position in a cath lab, work toward your Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification to negotiate higher pay or find a better-paying job.

How much does a staff cardiac cath lab RN make?

The average pay for a cardiac cath lab RN was $43.77 per hour, based on data from Vivian Health on May 2, 2023. Compared to the average U.S. nursing pay rate of $39.90 per hour, cardiac cath lab nurses earn about 9% more.

Is cardiac cath lab nursing a growing career?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) groups all RNs together when reporting data on job outlooks. According to this data, RN employment should grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031. New applicants should have lots of opportunities between new positions and vacancies from current cath lab RNs.

What types of employers/facilities have the most cardiac cath lab RNs?

Cardiac cath lab RNs work in facilities with cardiac cath labs, which usually include hospitals and cardiac care centers. Based on BLS data for overall RN employment, hospitals employ the largest number of RNs overall, followed by physicians' offices, home health care services, outpatient care centers and skilled nursing facilities.

Which employers/facilities have the highest pay?

Pay levels tend to vary based on the type of facility. BLS data on combined RN salaries shows nurses earned the most in outpatient care centers in May 2022 at $46.73 per hour. Hospitals ranked as the second-best-paying employers for RNs at $43.56 hourly. This data is good news for cardiac cath lab RNs because they often work in those types of facilities.

How does cardiac cath lab RN pay compare to similar healthcare jobs?

Cardiac cath lab RN positions pay more than many other nursing specialties. For example, progressive care RNs made an average of $39.95 per hour, based on Vivian Health's data on May 2, 2023. Nurses taking on additional responsibilities often see higher pay rates. For example, the average nurse manager's pay was $44.04 per hour during this period, slightly more than the average cardiac cath lab wage of $43.77.

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Cath Lab Nurse FAQs

How much does a Cardiac Cath Lab RN make?

Cardiac catheterization laboratory nurses, also called cardiac cath lab nurses or CCL nurses, assist cardiologists during catheterization procedures. They deal solely with heart disease and defects and play a vital role in a patient’s cardiac care team. CCL nurses typically work in cardiac cath labs at large hospitals, but they also may work in outpatient cath labs and private clinics. Cardiac cath lab nurses are some of the most specialized RNs, so they are among the highest RN salaries.

What is a Cardiac Cath Lab RN?

Cardiac cath lab nurses are registered nurses who specialize in assisting with diagnostic, interventional, and therapeutic procedures on patients with various heart conditions. They primarily assist with catheterizations, but they also may help with angioplasties, pacemaker or defibrillator implants, stent placements, and other cardiac-related procedures.

The educational requirements for CCL nurses include earning an associate or a bachelor’s degree from a nursing program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). Most CCL nurses pursue a BSN to remain competitive for job opportunities and increase their base salary. All graduates must pass the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Cardiac cath lab nurses also must complete rigorous post-licensure training and clinical experience.

How a Cardiac Cath Lab RN salary is based?

Two factors that greatly influence how a CCL RN’s salary is based are location and number of years of experience. The more years an RN has worked in the cardiac cath lab field, the greater their level of experience. It also increases their skill level and provides more opportunities to learn additional skills, which can all impact their base salary.

Location includes work setting and where the facility is physically located in the nation. CCL nurses who work in hospitals tend to earn more per hour than those working in outpatient facilities or private practices, but this can vary. Geographically, salaries tend to be higher in the northern states compared to many southern states, except in north-central states, and nurses in California typically earn more than those in most other states.

CCL nurse salaries also may be based on education level. While RNs only need an ADN to enter the field, BSNs are often the preferred education level desired by many employers. Therefore, BSN holders may have a higher starting wage than those with an ADN, and RNs with advanced degrees almost always earn more than those with BSNs.

Whether CCL nurses have key certifications can also play a role in base salaries. Facilities always require CCL nurses to have Basic Life Support certification and most, if not all, require Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certification. If an RN doesn’t already have these certifications, it could impact their starting salary.

How to increase your Cardiac Cath Lab RN salary?

As with other nursing jobs, potential earnings increase with additional education and professional certifications. Many employers offer cardiac cath lab training programs that allow CCL nurses to gain practical experience and further education. These programs are usually intense and last about six months, depending on the facility and state. The goal is to gain advanced critical care skills and extensive knowledge of cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, hemodynamics, arrhythmias, cardiac pharmacology, 12-lead EKG, and emergency cardiac interventions. Once you finish the program, you become a more competitive candidate for CCL nursing positions and can potentially demand a higher salary.

Although professional certification isn’t usually required, it can give your paycheck a bump. The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (CV-BC) through a competency-based examination. You must have practiced the equivalent of two years full-time as an RN with a minimum of 2,000 hours in clinical practice in a cardiac-vascular nursing role and completed 30 hours of continuing education in cardiac-vascular nursing within the last three years.

You might also consider earning Cardiac Medicine Certification (CMC), a subspecialty certification offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses for RNs who provide direct care to adult cardiac patients in areas like the cardiac cath lab. You must possess a current nationally accredited clinical nursing specialty certification, such as the CV-BC, to attach your CMC credential.

Where can I learn more about working as a Cath Lab Nurse?

Take a look at Vivian's Cath Lab Nurse Career Guide for more information, including required education, responsibilities, pros and cons and more.