Cardiologist Vs. Neurologist

May 30, 2020

Comparing Cardiologists to Neurologists

Cardiologists focus on heart and circulatory system issues, while neurologists main attention is on brain and nervous system health. The degree requirements and career outlooks are the same for these doctors, but readers will see there are differences between their salaries and regular duties.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2020)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Cardiologists Doctoral or professional degree $275,946 (Physician/ Doctor, Cardiologist) 8% (Physicians and Surgeons, all other)
Neurologists Doctoral or professional degree $219,816 (Physician/ Doctor, Neurologist) 8% (Physicians and Surgeons, all other)

Sources: *Payscale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Cardiologists vs. Neurologists

These doctors both attend pre-medical school, medical school, residencies, and specialty training for a combined ten years to specialize in their fields. They may work alongside teams of technicians who perform tests, as well as general practitioners who refer patients to them. During their typical work days, both will meet with patients in order to discuss their symptoms and possible treatments, updating patient charts at every step. One major difference, however, is that cardiologists may perform surgeries, while neurologists do not.


Those experiencing chest pains or shortness of breath may be referred to a cardiologist. These specialists focus on the health of hearts, arteries, and veins, especially for individuals with hearth rhythm issues or those who have survived a heart attack. Non-invasive cardiologists interpret the results of various tests, including echocardiograms and MRI scans. They may also observe stress tests to determine the health of someone's vascular system during strenuous activity. Interventional cardiologists, however, perform cardiac catheterizations or major bypass surgery on the heart.

Job responsibilities of a cardiologist include:

  • Educating the public on heart disease prevention, including dietary choices
  • Recommending a pacemaker or stent to treat a circulation issue
  • Checking for arterial blockages by feeding a scope into a patient's heart
  • Following-up with patients recovering in the cardiovascular intensive care unit


Someone struggling with vision, coordination, and language skills may see a neurologist for testing. These doctors treat nervous system disorders related to the brain and spinal cord. By examining the patient's reflexes, movement, and eyes, neurologists can determine if the patient needs further testing. The kinds of tests ordered and interpreted by neurologists include lumbar punctures to obtain spinal fluid and electroencephalography, which produces images of the brain. After finding abnormalities in the tests, neurologists may diagnose individuals with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's, or as having had a stroke.

Job responsibilities of a neurologist include:

  • Gathering samples of blood to test for the causes behind a neurological disorder
  • Planning treatment, which may include antibiotics, or referring the patient to a neurosurgeon
  • Supervising technicians in neurophysiology laboratories and neurology units of hospitals
  • Guiding residents of internal medicine

Related Careers

If a career as a cardiologist interests you, some research into a career as a cardiac sonographer may be beneficial, since both monitor hearts. On the other hand, if a position as a neurologist seems compelling, you could explore a position as a neurosurgeon, as both attempt to correct brain and spinal cord injuries.

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