Cardiologist Salary Guide
Cardiologists literally hold the fate of the one of the most important organs in the human body in their hands. The path from starting a career in cardiology to becoming a certified cardiologist is not without stressful, risky, and demanding situations. That is why a cardiologist salary tends to be on the hefty side. Several factors that affect those earnings include the specialty chosen, extra education, location, years of experience, and other similar factors. The field of cardiology is growing fast due to the rise of many heart-related problems plaguing the U.S. Everything from hypertension to heart disease is on the rise. That is why cardiology is a crucial medical field that is in dire need of experienced professionals.
A cardiologist diagnoses, prevents, and treats conditions, defects, and diseases of the cardiovascular system and heart. They must manage and treat many different diseases in the heart and surrounding structures like the arteries. They also perform exams to check items like the lungs, blood pressure, blood vessels, weight, and heart. Additional tests, such as ECGs, blood tests, and X-rays are also performed.
A cardiologists salary varies greatly due to the different specialties and duties. For instance, non-invasive cardiologists specialize in non-surgical procedures. They are the specialists that prescribe medication, recommend diet modifications, and perform diagnostic tests. Invasive cardiologists perform catheterization, or a procedure in the arteries that detects blockages, and they practice patient care just like non-invasive cardiologists. Interventional cardiologists do the same procedures as both invasive and non-invasive cardiologists, along with some advanced cardiovascular procedures like coronary thrombectomy and angioplasty.
Pediatric cardiologists specialize in analysis and treatment of cardiovascular defects, conditions, and diseases in children, teenagers, and infants. They have to manage the diseases and conditions, refer the critical patients to cardiac surgeons, perform physicals, and conduct tests that include X-rays, blood tests, stress tests, electrocardiograms and Doppler electrocardiography.
Electrophysiologists or “EPs” are cardiologists that deal with bio-electrical heart impulses that control the heartbeat. They watch for irregular heartbeats and anything that has the ability to cause cardiac arrest. One of their specialties that pediatric cardiologists also perform is echocardiograms, which are painless, non-invasive procedures that create heart images using sound waves. EPs also treat heart arrhythmias, perform surgical procedures like pacemaker and defibrillator insertion and ablation, and they prescribe drug therapy to reduce the chances of heart failure.
There are many more sub-specialties in the field, such as nuclear cardiologists, echocardiologists, etc. No matter the specialty, cardiologists work in groups or their own private practices, in hospitals, in the military, in clinics, and other areas that require cardiology.
A cardiologist salary is dependent on many factors. Not only does the amount earned depend on the specialty, but also the area they practice in. Those that work in rural areas make less than those in urban and suburban areas. Their amount of experience and the facility they work in affects how much they make.
Those that are hired to work in clinics most likely have a different salary than those that open their own practice. Those specialists that perform Locum Tenens, or contract work, tend to have salaries that greatly differ from those in permanent positions. Regardless of those factors, the median cardiologist salary is about $403,000 a year and about $106.66 an hour.
These numbers are all rough estimates. The five states with the highest salaries for cardiologists include Minnesota ($206,000), South Dakota ($204,000), Indiana (203,000), New Hampshire ($201,000), and Nevada ($200,000). Those that just start in the field generally earn between $402,000 and $272,000 per year. Those that five or more years of experience tend to earn between $300,000 and $400,000 yearly. Pediatric cardiologists generally earn between $189,000 and $230,900 per year. An invasive cardiologist earns between $272,000 and $402,000 yearly on average. Electrophysiologists earn between $375,000 and $437,500 a year. Competitive interventional cardiologists that work with successful profit-sharing partners have the ability to earn around $800,000 a year. Hourly wages are greatly divided among cardiologists with the higher half earning about $200.00 an hour and the lower half earning about $70.00 an hour.
It takes tremendous work to become a cardiologist and earn a cardiologist salary that reflects your efforts. The process typically takes about 14 years, but it varies. The tests and method requirements vary based on specialty and area. After high school, a Bachelor’s Degree from undergraduate school is needed, and then entrance to an accredited medical school. You must take courses in anatomy, biology, physics, and physiology during your four years of undergraduate school. While three years are usually required, many medical schools require full undergraduate degrees.
Once you finish undergraduate school, you need four years of medical school. It is challenging to get into medical school as administrators carefully inspect your experience, volunteer work, grades, and other items. The MCAT, or Medical Admission Test, is of utmost importance since it affects whether or not you get into medical school. Being prepared for the entrance interview is crucial, too. Once you enter medical school, you learn about internal medicine, disease treatment, prevention and diagnosis, and perform labs. Cardiology is learned later. Upon finishing, you receive an M.D. or Medical Doctor Degree. Then, you must choose your specialty and do a residency.
The residency generally lasts about three years. It involves dealing with actual patients and handling responsibilities that increase the further you progress in the program. You must also pass your state’s licensing exam. Once you are state-licensed, you need ABIM, or American Board of Internal Medicine, certification. You obtain this by going to an accredited medical school and meeting their residency standards. You need to pass another exam to become licensed in your specialty, and do an additional residency in one of many cardiology fellowships to become a cardiologist.
This fellowship residency lasts between two and five years. It involves doing cardiac tests like EKGs and cardiac catheterizations. You become an internist after this, which typically lasts a year. Then, you take the ABIM test to become a certified cardiologist. Some specialties like interventional cardiology and electrophysiology require a couple additional years of study.
It takes an individual with special qualities and skills to handle a field like cardiology. This job is exacting and demanding. Long hours and weekend work are the norm, along with high amounts of pressure. There is generally a lot of traveling between offices, clinics, and other locations. You are usually on-call for emergencies, so hours tend to be determined by the need for your services. This is also why a cardiologist salary fluctuates greatly. You must excel at everything you do because you have a lot of responsibilities. You must do well in both school and at work. You must be detail-oriented since there are going to be life and death decisions to make for your patients. You need to be confident in your decisions. You need to stay personally motivated and be prepared to serve patients all the time.
Great communication and interpersonal skills are a must. A great bedside manner is important because delivering bad news is part of the job. You need the ability to encourage patients to make wise decisions for their health. Emotional stability is essential to being a cardiologist since you see plenty of tragedy, but have to make critical decisions quickly. Striving for excellence and having a willingness to take on ongoing research is vital. Also, keep in mind that this field requires ongoing education to keep up with the work.
This field is growing due to the increase in cardiovascular problems and diseases in the U.S. The number of specialties and research work in cardiology has risen drastically, which opens up numerous positions. Regardless, it is a tough field to enter. Not everyone is able to handle the numerous years of education and ongoing education. Some just cannot handle the pressure.
This is one career where it is easy to get overworked. Despite the stress this career has the ability to create, it is incredibly rewarding and worthwhile if the person is passionate about it. Those that apply themselves and invest their time in their experience, training, certification, and education have the ability to earn a substantial cardiologist salary. Volunteer work, job shadowing, mentorships, and the like open up many employment opportunities. These are considered favorable to potential employers. Joining professional cardiology associations like the American Heart Association (AHA) or the American College of Cardiology (ACC) possibly provides some great information. These associations contain a wealth of educational, volunteer, and career resources and opportunities.
Apprenticeships and internships are excellent ways to obtain experience working in the field. The number of employment opportunities increases with more experience. There are jobs in administration, team leading, opening private practices, going into practices with profit partners, and other opportunities. Certified cardiologists have the option to do Locum Tenens work while looking for a more permanent position since this is an effective way to earn a supplemental income. There are also various websites, online forums, and online groups that post open cardiology positions where interested applicants post their resumes for potential employers to see.