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Cardiovascular Radiologist: Education Requirements & Career Profile

Sep 17, 2019

Cardiovascular radiologists require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, responsibilities, and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Cardiovascular radiologists are required to be a doctor of medicine, have their medical license, be certified and to complete residencies and internships. This is a demanding field and the training for cardiovascular radiologists is rigorous. However, job growth is good, and the salary is high.

Essential Information

A cardiovascular radiologist is a medical doctor who has completed special training in cardiovascular imaging. They use a variety of imaging technologies to diagnose and treat heart-related disease. This field continues to expand with the introduction of new technologies.

Required Education Doctor of Medicine and required residencies and internships
Certification/Licensure Medical licensure, specialty board certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
Optional Additional Requirements Cardiovascular fellowship after completing medical school
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 7% for all physicians and surgeons*
Median Salary (2018) $203,880 or more for all physicians and surgeons*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Profile

Cardiovascular radiology is the medical subspecialty that uses imaging technology to create depictions of the human heart and related structures. These technologies include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT). Generally, MRI technology applies magnetic fields and radio frequency waves to the targeted body area to produce images. MRI technology provides relatively clear images of soft tissues, which makes it especially useful in the cardiovascular field. Generally, CT uses computers to compose images by consolidating many individual X-ray images taken from different directions.

Cardiovascular and interventional radiologists analyze and interpret imaging results as part of the diagnosis process. Their interpretations and diagnoses are then used to develop treatment plans. Some cardiovascular radiologists perform medical procedures that use imaging technology, such as image-guided biopsy. Other duties may include conferring with doctors, meeting with patients and managing staff technicians.

Educational Requirements

The training of a cardiovascular radiologist is rigorous. It typically includes completing a bachelor's degree in a field that can prepare students for medical school, such as biology or health science. Many universities offer undergraduates a pre-med curriculum to follow while pursuing the bachelor's degree. Completion of a pre-med program and faculty recommendation are required by some medical schools. Some students also obtain a master's degree before entering medical school.

Medical school is four years in length, and post-medical school residencies and internships may be 3-8 years in length. Doctors receive specialized training, such as in cardiology or radiology, during residencies and internships. After completing this specialized training, a doctor may further specialize in cardiovascular radiology by completing a fellowship, which is typically a 1-year program that provides focused training in the context of a cardiovascular imaging clinic.

All medical doctors must obtain a license to practice medicine. Licenses are issued upon passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which is a 3-part exam that assesses a doctor's ability to practice medicine effectively and safely. Additionally, cardiovascular radiologists obtain subspecialty board certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

Job Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment is expected to increase by 7% for physicians and surgeons from 2018-2028, which is faster than average.

Cardiovascular technologists are physicians who have completed many years of medical training, including a fellowship in cardiovascular imaging. In addition to passing a medical licensing exam, they must be board certified in their subspecialty. Jobs for all physicians and surgeons are expected grow at a faster than average rate from 2018-2028.

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