Telemetry Nursing Training, Degree and Certificate Program Info

Registered nurses who want to become telemetry nurses need to complete two short training programs, offered by many community colleges and medical academies. Schools rarely, if ever, offer training in the form of a certificate or degree program. Learn about typical programs of study, career options for nurses who complete these programs and professional certification opportunities.

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Essential Information

Telemetry nurse training consists of telemetry and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) training. Training programs in each area usually must be completed separately. Telemetry training teaches students to use an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) machine to monitor the condition of a patient's heart and provide information that helps a physician make a diagnosis. Program content covers the application of electrodes to the skin and analysis of normal, abnormal and emergent heart rhythms. ACLS training teaches students to respond effectively when patients go into cardiac arrest.

Telemetry and ACLS training may both be completed in less than a year. Graduates of these training programs may qualify for professional certification that shows their proficiency in this field.

Education Prerequisites

Admission to telemetry training requires only a high school diploma or GED certificate for first time students. Entry to an ACLS program requires training in basic life support. Most employers require telemetry nurses to have a bachelor's degree in registered nursing (BSN).

Program Coursework

Some telemetry training programs also cover medical systems and medical terminology in separate courses. Academic topics covered in telemetry and ACLS courses are likely to include:

  • Heart anatomy
  • Disease progression
  • Cardiac rhythms
  • Cardiac pharmacology
  • Airway management
  • Case scenarios

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Nurses who finish telemetry training and ACLS programs are qualified to become a telemetry nurse. Hospitals are their primary employer. Figures for this specialty were not available as of May 2013, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) foresees 19% growth in employment of registered nurses over the 2012-2022 decade. As of May 2013, registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $66,220, per the BLS. According to PayScale.com, as of July 2014, registered nurses with telemetry skill training earned an annual median wage of $59,535.

Continuing Education Information

Most hospitals require nurses to have American Heart Association certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) before they are allowed to work as telemetry nurses. ACLS certification courses and exams are available from several heart association affiliates, such as A.C.T.N.T. Healthcare Services (www.actnt.com) or the ACLS Training Center (www.acls.net).

Telemetry nurses can also obtain a Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) certification from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). PCCN certification requires candidates to be licensed as registered nurses or advanced practice nurses and to pass a 125 question multiple-choice exam.

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