Endoscopy nurses play an essential role in helping assess and diagnose gastroenterological and respiratory disorders. These nurses either work in specialty clinics or endoscopy units in hospitals, which may be self-contained or share facilities with gastroenterology, respiratory, or surgical units.
If you’re considering pursuing a career as an endoscopy nurse, this blog post covers everything you need to know about this specialty, including education, endoscopy nurse certifications, how long it takes to become an endoscopy nurse, and salary expectations once you begin working.
If you want to learn more about endoscopy nurse duties, why choose endoscopy nursing, what makes a good endoscopy nurse, and tips for new endoscopy nurses, check out Nursa’s ultimate guide on endoscopy nursing, which is part of Nursa’s complete nursing guides to dozens of specialties.
Steps to Becoming an Endoscopy Nurse
1. Get an Undergraduate Degree
The first step to becoming an endoscopy nurse is to pursue an undergraduate degree in nursing. Many hospitals and healthcare facilities require candidates to possess either an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN).
Here are the differences between an ADN and a BSN:
- Duration: An ADN takes around two years to complete, while a BSN takes four.
- Cost: An ADN can range from $3,000 to $30,000 depending on the type of school, whereas BSNs cost approximately $40,000 at an in-state university or up to $200,000 at private schools.
- Training: ADN programs predominantly focus on clinical techniques, while BSN programs offer more training and education beyond technical skills, such as training in management, research, and leadership, which are highly transferable skills and knowledge which can be applied outside of nursing or in nursing-adjacent jobs.
- Employment prospects: Both an ADN and a BSN can lead to a registered nurse license and qualify graduates for most entry-level nursing positions. However, those with BSNs are generally more appealing to most employers and typically earn higher salaries.
2. Become a Licensed Nurse
After passing the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN), you can become a licensed nurse.
Effective April 1, 2023, the NCSBN, or National Council of State Boards of Nursing made changes to the NCLEX-RN. You can learn about those exam changes and how to prepare for them here. We also have you covered when it comes to studying tips. Here are Nursa’s top study tips for nursing students preparing for the NCLEX-RN.
3. Gain Relevant Experience
Aside from RN licensure, many employers require nurses to have one to two years of RN work experience in Med/Surg, critical care, or gastroenterology units.
4. Get Certified
Most employers require Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certifications, and some require IV certification.
There aren’t graduate programs for gastroenterology, but nurses with extensive work experience in endoscopy can obtain advanced certifications. For example, the American Board of Certification for Gastroenterology Nurses (ABCGN) offers certification for endoscopy nurses, which is only available after two years of working full-time or the part-time equivalent of 4,000 hours of experience in an associated setting.
How Long Does It Take to Become an Endoscopy Nurse?
How long it takes to become an endoscopy nurse is dependent on the academic route, additional certifications one chooses to pursue, and whether the employer requires any work experience.
If you pursue a two-year ADN, and your employer needs one year of work experience before you can be an endoscopy nurse, it will take three years. If you complete a four-year BSN and your employer requires one year of work experience before you become an endoscopy nurse, it will take you five years. Some employers, however, may require two years of work experience, adding an extra year to each of the aforementioned timelines.
How Much Does It Cost to Become an Endoscopy Nurse?
Here is a breakdown of the costs associated with becoming an endoscopy nurse. As you’ll notice, the range is quite significant, depending on which route you prefer.
- ADN – Range of $3,000 to $30,000 between community college and private institutions
- BSN – Range of $40,000 to $200,000 between in-state universities and private institutions
- NCLEX-RN – $200 for the registration fee
- Certifications, if required: Basic Life Support (BLS) costs approximately $40 to $100 depending on whether you attend online or in-person classes; Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) costs $100 to $175, and IV certification costs $500 to $800.
- Optional certificate from ABCGN – $420 for Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (SGNA) members and $505 for non-members (not inclusive of additional study resources offered)
Final Thoughts | How to Become an Endoscopy Nurse
The journey to becoming an endoscopy nurse may be a long one, depending on which route you take, but many endoscopy nurses who love their jobs say it is well worth it as they work with amazing health teams, interact with patients, and are in awe of the technology used in endoscopy, which gives insights into the human body.
If you want to learn about endoscopy nurse duties, endoscopy nurse salaries, what makes a good endoscopy nurse, tips for new endoscopy nurses, and more, you’ll find all that information in Nursa’s guide on endoscopy nursing, which is part of Nursa’s complete nursing guides.