Due to the numerous and expensive years of education and training, as well as because of the importance of the organ that they deal with – the human heart –, the medical doctors who are specialized in cardiology enjoy wages that are among the highest incomes earned in the healthcare system of any country. These professionals are best paid in the United States of America, where the average cardiologist salary was, in 2016, about $217,000 per year, as indicated on payscale.com, and this is expected to increase slightly in 2017.
The earnings of these “heart physicians” vary according to their level of experience, the sector of employment, the sub-specialties in which they are trained, the number of hours that they work during a month and the bonuses they get. The highest salaries are earned in the private sector.
Cardiologist Job Description
The cardiologists are the medical doctors specialized in dealing with the problems of the human heart. In diagnosing and treating the cardiac disorders, these physicians use both noninvasive and invasive methods, as well as various medical appliances. Some of the heart disorders and problems that are dealt with by these professionals are: cardiac arrhythmia, heart failure, congenital heart defects, atherosclerosis, etc.
The patients of these medical doctors are usually sent to perform several diagnostic tests, like: echocardiogram, electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG), blood tests, cardiovascular MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), coronary computed tomographic angiography, etc. Sometimes, the cardiologists themselves perform some medical tests and they can also insert valves and stents.
The more diagnostic tests and medical procedures they are trained in, the greatest is their salary. However, these physicians must not be confused with the cardiovascular technologists and technicians, who are specialized in manipulating the sophisticated medical equipment, such as echocardiographs and electrocardiographs.
These physicians treat patients of all ages, from newborn babies to the elderlies, and some of them are specialized in diagnosing and treating the heart problems of only the children (pediatric specialty) or only the old persons (geriatrics). They work in various healthcare settings, especially in hospitals and clinics.
What Does a Cardiologist Do ?
The patients usually get to the cardiologists being sent by their family doctors, where they go when they have symptoms like: heart palpitations, difficulty of breath, etc. The physicians specialized in cardiac problems ask their patients to describe how they feel and then perform some tests on them or sent them to have some medical diagnostic tests, which help them to identify the health problems they must treat.
After diagnosing the cardiac illness or disorder, they try to treat it. If the problem exceeds their competence, these health professionals may sent their patients to other physicians, like cardiac surgeons, etc. The treatment provided by the cardiologists consists in taking some medications or even in undergoing some medical procedures.
Just like the other physicians and surgeons, the health professionals specialized in heart problems must also explain to their patients or to their family members the disorders or illnesses that they discovered and the treatment path or procedures that they must follow. They also need to communicate with the technicians and technologists who conduct the diagnostic tests and procedures. That’s why these medical doctors should have good communication skills and patience. The numerous skills that these professionals must have justify the huge cardiologist income.
When they perform invasive procedures, they must monitor the health status of their patients, while they recover from these interventions. These professionals must also advise their clients about how to prevent or treat their cardiac problems, and even how to maintain or improve the health status of their heart.
How to Become a Cardiologist
In most countries, the cardiologist is a physician specialized in diagnosing, treating, preventing or ameliorating the problems of the human heart. This means that the candidates for this position must graduate from a medical school and then specialize in cardiology.
To be more precise, in the United States of America, the education and training path for this profession begins by completing four or more years of undergraduate school, during which the students should take courses in the fields that are related to medicine, such as: biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, etc.
After earning a Bachelor’s degree, the candidates must complete four years of an accredited medical school. Then, three years of residency in internal medicine are required.
Next, they must specialize in cardiology, by completing a fellowship in this specialty; this fellowship takes, in general, three years. After that, if they want, they can specialize in other sub-specialties, like pediatrics or cardiac surgery.
As indicated on bls.gov, the most important skills that these medical doctors should have are:
- patience – they must listen to their patients while they explain how they feel and they also need to teach them how to prevent cardiac illnesses or how to improve their health status;
- good communication skills – they are important because these doctors must talk not only to their patients, but also to other cardiovascular technologists or technicians; if they communicate well with other people, they can have more clients and, therefore, their cardiologist salary will be higher, especially in the private sector or if they are self-employed;
- problem-solving skills – based on the knowledge they have and on the results of the diagnostic tests, these physicians must identify the health problem, and, if the status of the patient is critical, they need to do this very quickly;
- proficiency – they must be very well prepared and trained in this specialty and in the other sub-specialties that they might practice, because any mistake can seriously affect the health of their patients, since the heart and the cardiovascular system are so important;
- organizational skills – they are essential especially if these practitioners are self-employed.
Cardiologist Education, Training and Certifications
In the USA, the education that is required for the cardiologists is gained especially during the four years of college and the first two years of the medical school. The necessary training is acquired during the last two years of the medical school, during the residency program and especially during the fellowship.
In the United States, the certifications are not mandatory for these physicians; however, all physicians must be licensed in the state where they practice; passing a national licensure exam is also required for all physicians and surgeons, as indicated on bls.gov, the website of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Pros and Cons of Being a Cardiologist
The medical profession that is focused on dealing with the cardiac problems has certain advantages, like:
- it offers important satisfactions, when helping the patients to get rid of their heart problems and regaining their cardiac health;
- it is engaging, since it involves identifying the causes and solutions of the heart conditions;
- it allows the access to advanced diagnostic technologies and equipment;
- it is highly respected, due to the huge importance of the organ that it deals with (the human heart) and also because of the numerous years these professionals need to study and train, in order to earn the right to legally practice this profession;
- it is very well compensated, since the cardiologist salaries are pretty high.
The main disadvantages of this occupation are:
- long, expensive and difficult education and training path;
- working under pressure sometimes.
Cardiologist Job Growth
The job prospects for this profession are good, as the populations of most countries get old and the cardiac problems affect mostly the elders. Moreover, the health reforms in some countries include in the insurance plans some diagnostic tests related to the cardiovascular system; therefore, more people are expected to afford and request the opinions and services of these “heart physicians”, which will cause an increase of the number of these jobs. As indicated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics on their website, the employment of all the physicians and surgeons in the USA is expected to grow with 14% between 2014 and 2024.
Cardiologist Salary – How Much Do Cardiologists Make?
The same factors which influence the level of the earnings in every field of activity affect also the salary of the cardiologists. These factors are:
- the country or state where these professionals work; the United States of America offer, probably, the highest wages for these physicians, especially in the public sector;
- the number of sub-specialties in which these practitioners are trained;
- the types of the sub-specialties mastered;
- the sector where they are employed; in general, those who practice in the private sector enjoy higher earnings than the salaries paid in the public sector;
- the bonuses and primes that are offered;
- the number of the hours that are worked during a month;
- the number of years of experience or, to be more precise, the number of hours of practice – the greatest this number is, the greatest is the income of these practitioners.
Cardiologist Salary in the USA
We don’t have any statistical relevant data for 2017, so we’ll focus in this article on the salary stats for 2016. According to payscale.com, in the United States, the average cardiologist salary was $217,000 per year in 2016, which is equivalent to an hourly income of about $104. And as we said earlier, this is expected to increase slightly in 2017.
The median pay for these professionals is around $230,000 per annum, which means that half of the “heart doctors” who work in the USA earn over $230,000/year, while the other half of them enjoy an annual income that is inferior to $230,000.
The best paid 10% of this profession earn over $440,000 per year and the lowest paid 10% take home under $75,000/year.
Cardiologist Salary in the UK
Those who ask themselves “how much does a cardiologist make per hour in the United Kingdom?” should know that, in 2016, their hourly income was averaging £52 (65 USD).
Their mean annual pay is around £109,000 ($136,000), while the median wage is approximately £103,000 (128,000 US dollars) per year. So, 50% of the “heart specialists” working in the UK are compensated with under £103,000 per annum, while the other 50% of them earn over £103,000/year.
The annual wages of these professionals range, in the UK, between £50,000 and £170,000.
Cardiologist Salary in Canada
In Canada, the cardiologist income varies from C$75,000 to C$500,000 per year. This means between 57,000 USD and 380,000 USD.
The median pay for this profession is somewhere around 230,000 CAD (175,000 US dollars) per annum, which indicates that the minimum annual income of half of the heart doctors working in Canada would be 230,000 CAD, while the other half of them earn under 230,000 CAD per year.
Cardiologist Salary in Australia
The salary of the cardiologists working in Australia ranges between 80,000 AUD (61,000 USD) and 220,000 AUD (169,000 USD) per year.
The median income of these practitioners is somewhere in the region of 145,000 AUD, which means that fifty percent of these medical doctors who work in Australia earn over 145,000 AUD per year, and the other fifty percent of them take home, in a year, wages that are inferior to 145,000 AUD, but superior to 80,000 AUD.
Those wondering “how much does a cardiologist make?” should know that the salaries of these highly trained practitioners are among the highest wages paid in the healthcare system, which is something very correct, since they have to study and train so many years, their studies are so expensive and the human organ that they deal with – the heart – is so important. They are best paid in the United States of America, but in all countries they enjoy some of the highest incomes of all the health professionals.