Cardiology Degree Programs and Course Information

Cardiologists are board-certified physicians who specialize in heart problems, issues, and procedures involving the arteries and veins. Training is a fellowship applied for after becoming a medical doctor (M.D.) with internal medicine certification.

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Essential Information

In a typical 3-year cardiology fellowship, studies combine research with lab exercises and clinical experiences wherein students will work directly with patients in actual healthcare settings. Among the skills they can expect to learn are performing heart catheterizations and EKG tests. These program admissions are generally competitive and thus require multiple prerequisites. Once completed, passing a certification exam in cardiology will be required before graduates can begin working in the field. Prerequisites include graduation from accredited medical school, residency, satisfactory internal medicine board certification exam score, program interview, personal statement, curriculum vitae, medical school transcripts,and letters of recommendation. Patient care, lab work, and research opportunities are also often required.

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Fellowship Programs in Cardiology

These programs are extremely intensive. They require students to engage in patient care, lab work and research opportunities. Students learn about specific topics for a predetermined length of time, as set by a rotation schedule. Subjects may include:

  • Heart catheterization
  • Pharmacological therapies
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrophysiology
  • Cardiovascular research
  • Prevention of cardiovascular disease

Salary and Employment Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes cardiologists in the overall category of physicians and surgeons ( Employment for physicians and surgeons is expected to grow 14% from 2014 to 2024, according to BLS data, which is faster than the national average. In 2015, the BLS listed the average annual wage for surgeons and physicians as $197,700.

Continuing Education Information

Students can take the American Board of Internal Medicine cardiology examination once they have completed their fellowship. If they achieve a passing score, they become board-certified cardiologists. There will continue to be state-specific medical board requirements that must be fulfilled to keep certification current, including annual participation in continuing education activities. Additionally, physicians can choose to pursue a cardiology subspecialty such as interventional cardiology or nuclear cardiology. This usually requires at least one year of further study.

Cardiology training comes in the form of a post-M.D. fellowship that involves a lot of hands-on experience. Students will be exposed to a number of different areas through a rotation system and must take the American Board of Internal Medicine cardiology examination to become board certified.

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