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
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
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
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.
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.