Cardiologist Vs. Radiologist

Jan 02, 2019

Learn about the duties of a cardiologist specializing in the heart and those of a radiologist, who specializes in medical imaging technology and radiation treatment. Look at the training requirements for doctors and compare yearly salaries for these two specialists.

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Comparing Cardiologists to Radiologists

Cardiologists and radiologists are both doctors who consult with patients, develop plans of treatment, communicate with teams of other physicians, and work with medical images. The primary difference between the two is that radiologists specialize in medical imaging or treatment that uses radiation, while cardiologists are specialists in issues regarding the heart.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)**
Cardiologist Medical Degree and Added Internal Medicine Training; 3-7 year Residency $245,692 13% (for all physicians and surgeons)
Radiologist Medical Degree; 3-7 year Residency $295,337 13% (for all physicians and surgeons)

Source: *PayScale.Com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Cardiologists vs. Radiologists

While both cardiologists and radiologists are doctors who work in hospitals or offices, their daily responsibilities and goals are quite different. Cardiologists test, diagnose, and treat patients dealing with the issues regarding blood and the heart, also known as the cardiovascular system. Radiologists interpret medical images of patients and may recommend the initial steps of treatment, if necessary. As with most doctors, it is vital for both to have strong communication skills, since they must be able to clearly explain potentially complicated medical issues to patients and work with teams of other doctors and nurses.


The simplest way to describe a cardiologist is by saying they are a doctor of the heart. Cardiologists listen to the concerns of their patients and then work with them by ordering tests, recommending treatment plans, and effectively explaining their diagnoses. Cardiologists work with other doctors in order to determine the best plan of treatment, and some install pacemakers or assist in other types of cardiovascular surgeries. To find work in this field, a medical degree, additional training in internal medicine, and a cardiology residency are required.

Job responsibilities of a cardiologist include:

  • Explain preventative care plans to patients
  • Prescribe medicine when needed
  • Maintain patient records
  • Oversee and interpret imaging and biopsy results


Radiologists are doctors who are experts in medical imaging technology and use radiation, such as x-rays. Radiologists often deliver radiation treatments for conditions like cancer and also produce images, analyze the results, and work with other physicians to determine the next steps of treatment for the patient. These doctors may work in a hospital, clinic, or an office that specializes in radiology. A medical degree and a residency in radiology are required, and board certification may be preferred.

Job responsibilities of a radiologist include:

  • Stay up to date with the latest medical imaging technology
  • Ensure the comfort of patients
  • Explain the pros and cons of testing that involves radiation
  • Oversee the work of imaging technicians

Related Careers

If you are interested in working with medical imaging without obtaining a medical degree, you may enjoy working as a medical imaging technician. If heart-health and preventative care sound intriguing, becoming a nutritionist is one available option.

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