- Earn a degree.
- Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).
- Attend medical school.
- Take the United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE).
- Complete a residency program.
- Get board-certified in your primary specialty.
- Complete a fellowship program.
- Search for available jobs.
So You Want to Be a CARDIOLOGIST [Ep. 3]
Average salary of a cardiologist
Cardiologists typically hold full-time jobs and put in more than 40 hours per week across multiple shifts. Cardiologists are typically physicians, making them one of the highest-paid professions.
What does a cardiologist do?
A doctor with expertise in preventing, identifying, and treating diseases of the heart and blood vessels is known as a cardiologist. High blood pressure (hypertension), peripheral arterial disease (PAD), peripheral vascular disease (PVD), coronary artery disease (CAD), arrhythmia, valvular heart disease, aneurysms, and heart failure are among the common conditions that cardiologists diagnose and treat. Depending on their level of training and cardiac specialty, a cardiologist may have a variety of duties, but they typically consist of the following:
How to become a cardiologist
Follow these steps to become a cardiologist:
1. Earn a degree
To become a cardiologist, one must first complete a four-year bachelor’s degree. The majority of people who want to work in medicine select a science or health-related degree. You can also decide to major in cardiovascular technology (CVT) if you already know that you want to become a cardiologist when you start your undergraduate program.
These programs’ typical coursework frequently places a strong emphasis on math and science-related subjects. It is crucial to do well in all of your undergraduate courses because your performance will be taken into account when applying to medical schools.
2. Take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
The Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) is a required multiple-choice test that evaluates your capacity for critical thought, problem-solving, and scientific knowledge. Most medical schools will demand that you include your MCAT results with your application. If you perform better on the MCAT, you will have more school options available to you because each school has a different minimum score requirement for admission to medical school.
3. Attend medical school
To become a cardiologist, the next step is to enroll in a four-year medical school program. Cardiologists can choose from either a Medical Doctor (M. D. ) Degree or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D. O. ) degree. You will take basic science classes in the first two years of medical school, including pathology, pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and biochemistry.
You will move into a hospital setting during your third year of medical school, where you will use the knowledge and abilities you have acquired throughout your program for the previous two years. This part of medical school involves rotating through a variety of specialties, including Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry, while being supervised by medical professionals.
4. Take the United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE)
You must obtain a medical license in order to practice medicine. There are several phases involved in obtaining a medical license. After completing your first two years of medical school, you will sit for your first medical licensing exam.
The USMLE Step 1 exam, the first step toward obtaining a license, is a demanding eight-hour test with more than 300 multiple-choice questions. The residency programs you are admitted to will be significantly impacted by your performance on this first medical license exam.
In your final year of medical school, you must take the USMLE Step 2 and USMLE Step 3 licensing exams. There are two distinct tests that make up the USMLE Step 2 exams. The clinical knowledge (CK) exam is the first test, and the clinical skills (CS) exam is the second. Each of these tests lasts eight to nine hours and is given on a different day.
The USMLE Step 3 exams consist of two distinct tests as well. The first test consists of 232 multiple-choice questions on the foundations of independent practice (FIP), and the second test is an advanced clinical medicine (ACM) exam with 180 multiple-choice questions and 13 case simulations. Each of these exams is taken on a different day. The duration of the first test is roughly seven hours, and the duration of the second test is roughly nine hours.
5. Complete a residency program
Since internal medicine residency training is required to become a cardiologist because cardiology is a subspecialty of that field. The duration of your Internal Medicine residency program is three years. Before beginning to focus on the heart or cardiovascular system, you will gain experience evaluating and managing a variety of medical conditions during this time.
In order to be a competitive candidate for a cardiology fellowship during your residency, it is crucial for you to focus on developing your CV and gathering professional references who will write recommendation letters for you. You will apply to a cardiology fellowship program during your third year of residency.
6. Get board-certified in your primary specialty
The American Board of Internal Medicine will certify you once your residency program in internal medicine is complete. If you want to become a pediatric cardiologist or a cardiac surgeon, you can also choose a different primary specialty to become board-certified in, such as surgery or pediatrics. You must first become board-certified in your primary specialty before becoming a board-certified cardiologist.
7. Complete a fellowship program
To become a cardiologist, you must finish a cardiology fellowship program. The final three years of your cardiology fellowship program will be required. You will gain knowledge of how to avoid, recognize, treat, and manage a variety of cardiac conditions during this time. Along with conducting clinical research, you will broaden your knowledge to develop a thorough understanding of the field of cardiology. You will also learn how to perform cardiac procedures like heart catheterization and echocardiography.
After completing your cardiology fellowship program, you are a cardiologist prepared to start your own independent practice. But some cardiologists opt to continue their education in a cutting-edge cardiology subspecialty like cardiac surgery, heart failure, electrophysiology, or interventional cardiology. You will need to complete an additional fellowship program, which can last between one and three years, to pursue these advanced cardiology subspecialties.
8. Search for available jobs
Before creating your resume and curriculum vitae (CV), it is crucial to conduct research to find the cardiologist positions you are interested in. This will allow you to use the job descriptions to create a resume that will position you as a strong candidate.
9. Create a resume and CV
A CV is something that cardiologists frequently have, so you should make sure that yours is up to date as well. You can go back to the job posting once you’ve finished your CV and resume and use the online application process to submit your application.
Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked inquiries about being a cardiologist include the following:
How long does it take to become a cardiologist?
A career in medicine necessitates commitment to a protracted period of education and training to get ready for your job. A person will typically need about 14 years to complete their undergraduate degree, medical school, residency, and fellowship programs. Additionally, cardiologists may complete one to two additional one- to two-year subspecialty fellowship programs.
Do cardiologists do surgery?
A cardiologist is primarily in charge of preventing, diagnosing, and treating heart conditions with medication. When complex surgery is required to address a cardiovascular heart problem, cardiologists refer their patients to a cardiothoracic surgeon instead of performing heart surgery themselves. Cardiologists may occasionally carry out both straightforward and complex procedures, including pacemaker implantation, catheter-directed ablations, percutaneous coronary interventions, and more. A cardiologist may also be in charge of the post-cardiothoracic surgery care and treatment of patients. Additionally, to ensure the patient receives continuity of care, cardiologists collaborate with primary care doctors.
What is the job outlook for a cardiologist?
The U. S. Cardiologists are categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of the medical and surgical profession. The number of jobs in the medical and surgical fields are expected to increase by 7% between 2018 and 2028. This rate of job growth is higher than the overall average for all occupations. This implies that physicians, including cardiologists, should have stable employment and good career prospects.
What is the work environment of a cardiologist?
In a private medical practice, a medical group, or in connection with one or more hospitals, a cardiologist can work independently. Cardiologists may move around a lot throughout the course of the day as they commute between a doctor’s office and a hospital work environment.
What type of shifts do cardiologists work?
Cardiologists frequently put in long, erratic hours to make sure they can see patients when they need to. A cardiologist’s shift usually starts during regular business hours but frequently goes over 50 to 60 hours per week. Evenings, weekends, and holidays may also be part of a cardiologist’s shift, particularly if they are on call or employed by a hospital.
How many years does it take to become a cardiology?
Being a cardiologist can take 14 years or longer of schooling, so it takes time. The benefit is a rewarding and in-demand career caring for the body’s most important organ.
What is the fastest way to become a cardiologist?
- Get a bachelor’s degree.
- Complete the MCAT.
- Enter medical school.
- Pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
- Complete your residency.
- Obtain a fellowship program.
- Acquire Licensure.
- Become Certified.
Is being a cardiologist hard?
To become a cardiologist is not an easy task. It’s challenging to complete medical school, residency, and then be accepted into the most demanding fellowship program available.
Is becoming a cardiologist worth it?
Patients with heart disease or other cardiovascular conditions, such as high blood pressure, are examined, diagnosed, and treated by cardiologists. Being a cardiologist has many benefits, including a high earning potential and the potential to improve patients’ health.