Cardiologists play a vital role in the health care system today and have helped many people with heart conditions live normal lives again. A career as cardiologist comes with some advantages, including high pay and prestige. It also has a few drawbacks, such as working long hours and being on call at potentially inconvenient times that may disrupt your plans.
A cardiologist performs a number of different diagnostic tests such as an electrocardiogram or x-rays to determine the condition of the heart and the arteries around it. An electrocardiogram is a test that checks to see if a heartbeat is steady or irregular. Cardiologists diagnose heart conditions and then prescribe the proper course of treatment to remedy the problems.
One of the biggest potential drawbacks of a career in cardiology is the work schedule. Because there are typically not that many qualified cardiologists in a particular region, you may have to put in many hours to see all of the patients that need your help. Some cardiologists work in excess of 60 hours per week on a regular basis. In addition to working long hours, you may be on-call for emergencies during your down time.
One of the benefits of being a cardiologist is the amount of money that you can earn. Cardiologists are some of the most well-compensated workers in the world. As of 2014, the median salary for a cardiologist is approximately $420,991 per year according to Becker's Hospital Review. Besides receiving a large salary, cardiologists also enjoy a solid benefits package that includes retirement benefits and health coverage.
Cardiology has extensive educational requirements. You'll need a four-year bachelor's degree plus an additional four years of medical school. Then you'll have to complete a residency program that could take anywhere from four to eight years.
Cost and Deferred Wages
Your four years of college plus four years of medical school will most likely be very costly. After that, you'll still won't be earning a cardiologist's salary until you complete a residency and are able to practice on your own. You may end up with a large amount of debt before you actually start your high-earning years.
2016 Salary Information for Physicians and Surgeons
Physicians and surgeons earned a median annual salary of $204,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, physicians and surgeons earned a 25th percentile salary of $131,980, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $261,170, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 713,800 people were employed in the U.S. as physicians and surgeons.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Physicians and Surgeons
- Duke University School of Medicine: Fellowships in Cardiovascular Disease
- Becker's Hospital Review: 200 Statistics on Physician Compensation
- John Hopkins School of Medicine: Cardiology Training Programs
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physicians and Surgeons
- Career Trend: Physicians and Surgeons
- Monkey Business Images/Monkey Business/Getty Images