How to Become a Cardiologist

By Eric Hammer

One of the better paid jobs that you can get as a doctor is to become a cardiologist. In essence, a cardiologist is a specialized kind of doctor who works with people to ensure that their hearts are in good shape. There are actually several different ways to become a cardiologist, depending on the specific area of expertise you wish to pursue.

It is important however to note that as a cardiologist, you will not be performing open heart surgery. That kind of work is done by a cardiac surgeon who is specially trained for the job. Instead, the most basic kind of cardiologist simply performs various tests to find out what a person's heart is doing and helps them to find out exactly what they need to do from there. You'll need to be up on the latest medications and therapies, but you won't do more than administer things like stress tests and advise your patients.

A more involved kind of work is to become a cardiologist who does procedures. This again does not include actually performing surgery but may include things like heart catheterization. This kind of work involves a certain amount of work with the heart muscle itself to help unblock clogged arteries. You may also further specialize and become a cardiologist who performs angioplasty, a specialized procedure where a balloon or stent is inserted into the vein in order to open up blocked arteries and or keep them open.

How Much Can You Make?

While the training requirements to become a cardiologist are steep, the rewards are quite good - the average salary for a cardiologist ranges between $400,000-$500,000 per year according to

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Keep in mind that the training commitment to become a cardiologist is quite high. In addition to the standard requirements of medical school and becoming an internist, doing a residency for about three years, you'll need to do additional training for your cardiology certification, which could mean that you'll take as much as ten years to become a certified cardiologist.

Those interested in this kind of work may also be interested in becoming a cardiac surgeon - this is a person who actually does perform the open heart surgery which is much more invasive than anything that a cardiologist does.

It's important as well to remember that the technology in this field is constantly changing and as a result, you need to be prepared to keep up with the latest knowledge in the field so that you can properly advise your patients on the best course of treatment available to them. In essence, when you become a cardiologist, you must do so all over again every few years in order to keep up with the latest advancements and to know about the latest medicines available to your patients.

Qualifications / Requirements

In order to become a cardiologist, you will need a number of different kinds of schooling. First, you need to attend a premed program at your undergraduate school and then attend medical school. This will be followed by a three year requirement as a resident in internal medicine. After this, you'll need additional training to become a cardiologist.

First Steps

Start by attending a premed program at your undergraduate school and specify to your academic advisor that you are interested in pursuing a career in cardiology. Ask if there are specific courses they recommend for those interested in this profession.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about how to become a cardiologist:

About.Com: Cardiologist Physician Career - This is an excellent introduction to what it takes to become a cardiologist.

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