Are you a person that enjoys to have excitement and challenging experiences everyday while helping others through healthcare? If you are, you may want to consider what it takes to become a cardiologist .
These are physicians that have made the choice to specialize in cardiology as their lifelong emphasis in medicine.
Cardiologists diagnose and treat disorders related to the heart and cardiovascular system in the human body.
Some cardiologists perform hands-on interventions while others may only see patients in their office, the choice is up to the individual practicing physician.
These physicians are considered to be in a specialty; they may be called upon to consult with another doctor as an expert in their field.
Many practicing cardiologists work in a group with rotating call, depending on the needs of the location.
Education Requirements to Become a Cardiologist
The path to become a cardiologist involves a long-term commitment in terms of education.
All physicians go through a four year baccalaureate program, four years of medical school and about four to six years of residency.
High school students should focus their curriculum on classes that will prepare them well for college.
Some suggestions are computer science, chemistry, biology and math.
During this time a student should also consult with different colleges to view their entrance requirements and make progress to be accepted to a four year college.
There is not a preferred college major in order to apply to a medical school.
It is important that the student choose a major that they enjoy and will do well academically.
Increasing amounts of medical students have their Bachelors degree in history, arts, computers, marketing, sociology and music.
Before applying to medical school, the proper pre-requisite courses will need to be taken to fulfill these requirements as well as taking the MCAT, doing volunteer work, research and shadowing a physician.
Contact schools offering the degree of M.D or D.O.
for their specific admission criteria.
Cardiologist Job Description
Since cardiologists are specialists in the field of medicine, their job description may be slightly different than that of a general practice physician.
Their amount of time they spend doing different duties will also be dependent on the location, public need, amount of doctors in the area and the institution they choose to work.
Typically, those who work in a group practice will rotate the responsibilities for on-call hours and coverage for their more acute patients.
Using this model a patient may see any of the doctors within the group while their regular physician may be out.
While specific duties of a cardiologist will differ from one individual to the next, here are some common items among them:
- Perform patient assessments
- Documenting findings in a chart
- Consulting with other physicians
- Manage their medical business
- Educate patients on their medical condition
- Order and interpret clinical tests
- Perform treatment interventions
Cardiologists can choose to take on additional specialty training to perform cardiac catheterizations and pacemaker placement.
It is important to note that cardiologists are not surgeons; heart surgery is done by a cardiothoracic surgeon with the appropriate training.
Cardiologist Salary and Career Path
When deciding to become a cardiologist, there is no doubt that income has come into some type of discussion at some point in time.
As with any professional, the amount of money that a doctor makes will depend on the amount of cases they handle, the location, what types of insurance patients use and other responsibilities they have.
The annual median for a cardiologist is around $220, 000 a year.
The top 10% of cardiologists can earn up to $300,000 a year for their services.
Nearly all cardiologists work in patient care with a few working as educators and researchers.
Common places to work are in public and private hospitals, clinics, private practices and universities.
Similar roles to a cardiologist include:
There are many reasons to become a cardiologist: a need to help others, a need to educate others and being part of a larger healthcare system.
The educational requirements to become any type of doctor will be long and challenging, it is best to start with success in mind from the very beginning of the journey.
There are lots of cardiologists who take on-call hours which can contribute to long hours.
The profession is demanding in general, but those who can keep up with the responsibilities will be given a rewarding career.