There’s a strong career outlook for cardiologists in the next 10 years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects about 22,700 job openings for physicians and surgeons, including cardiologists, each year over the next decade. According to the bureau, these jobs may become available because of a growing and aging population that may require more physicians. New technology, such as telehealth options, may also allow physicians to see and treat more patients. Cardiologists can also expect to find jobs as other physicians leave the workforce to retire.
Cardiologists have several options if they want to advance in their careers. Some cardiologists choose to become medical directors, who oversee clinical operations for a facility. Others work to become the head of the cardiology department at their facility or hospital. Cardiologists can also advance in their careers by becoming faculty members at colleges or universities, where they can help medical students develop the skills to become a cardiologist. They can also work in education by transitioning to academic hospitals, where they can teach new doctors in residency programs.
A cardiologist can choose where they want to practice, such as a physician’s office or a hospital. They complete much of their work independently, though they also work as part of a team with other health care providers and nurses to provide quality care for patients. Most cardiologists work full-time schedules and may be part of on-call rotations. This type of environment can be ideal for people who want a stable schedule with some flexibility.
Cardiologists have high earning potential because they work in highly specialized positions that require years of education and training. A cardiology physician earns an average salary of $252,182 per year. Their average salary can vary based on their geographic location, employer and level of experience. Often, cardiologists can make higher salaries by gaining more experience, advancing in their careers or specializing in an area of cardiology, such as electrophysiology or cardiac imaging.
Like many other medical fields, cardiology is rapidly changing as physicians and researchers become more knowledgeable about the causes and treatments for various cardiovascular conditions. Stent and pacemaker technology continues to improve. Doctors are finding new ways to perform some procedures, such as valve replacements, in a less invasive way. Researchers continue to make advancements related to heart transplants and artificial organs. These changes in the industry help many cardiologists continue to find intellectual stimulation in their work.
Often, cardiologists’ jobs involve a combination of short- and long-term care. While they may spend part of their time treating patients during emergencies, they also provide continuing care for patients with a variety of medical conditions, such as heart failure. Providing this long-term care means cardiologists can develop relationships with their patients. Cardiologists can answer their patients’ questions and provide general support to help them make important health decisions. Many cardiologists find these relationships with their patients to be a fulfilling part of their jobs.
Cardiologists complete a variety of tasks in their jobs. They may spend part of their day conducting tests for patients, such as echocardiograms. During the rest of their workday, they may perform various patient procedures, such as coronary interventions or valve replacements. Cardiologists also spend much of their time working with patients to understand their symptoms or concerns so they can make the correct diagnosis. This variety of job tasks can keep many cardiologists engaged and satisfied with their work.
Cardiologists may have the chance to engage in research to develop theories, medicines or treatments to improve cardiovascular health. Some may participate in clinical trials to study new tests or treatments. Others may be part of a team to conduct in-depth research into a specific area of cardiology, such as the causes of arrhythmias or the impact genetics can have on high blood pressure. These research opportunities can allow cardiologists to make significant contributions to advancing the care and treatment of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.
While cardiology itself is a specialized field of medicine, many cardiologists choose to specialize further to develop new skills or advance their careers. They may also specialize in an area of cardiology if they want to work with certain patients. For example, some cardiologists specialize in pediatrics to help children who are born with heart conditions. Other common areas of specialty for cardiologists include interventional cardiology, structural cardiology, electrophysiology and cardiac imaging.
Cardiologists can help many of their patients improve their quality of life. These physicians can help patients experiencing shortness of breath or irregular heart rhythms. They can provide treatment options to help patients with congestive heart failure. Many times, they perform lifesaving techniques to help patients in emergency situations, such as heart attacks. Because cardiologists can have a direct impact on their patient’s health, many of these physicians consider their job to be rewarding.