Internist Vs. Cardiologist

There are a lot of similarities in the work that some doctors do. This article looks at the common duties internists and cardiologists share, as well as some of the different tasks they perform.

View popular schools

Comparing Internists to Cardiologists

Internists provide general medical care to patients. Cardiologists are internists who have specialized in one area of internal medicine. They need additional training and receive a notably higher salary than internists.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Internists Medical degree, license, residency $183,367 17%
Cardiologists Medical degree, license, residency, fellowship $244,377 13% (physicians and surgeons, all other)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Athletic Trainer
  • Cardiovascular Technologies
  • Electrocardiograph Tech. - ECG, EKG
  • Electroencephalographic Tech. - EEG, END
  • EMT and Paramedic
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Industrial Radiologic Technology
  • Medical Radiologic Therapist
  • Nuclear Medical Technologist
  • Perfusionist
  • Physician Assistant
  • Radiation Protection Technology
  • Radiological Science and Technologies
  • Respiratory Care Therapy
  • Surgical Technologies
  • Ultrasound and Sonography Technologies

Responsibilities of Internists vs. Cardiologists

Internists and cardiologists both evaluate patients and may order medical tests. Cardiologists also perform some medical tests themselves. Both internists and cardiologists identify their patient's condition and they may treat patients themselves or refer them to other medical specialists. The main distinction is that internists see patients with any kind of medical issue while cardiologists specialize in treating medical issues related to the heart. Individuals can make appointments with internists themselves but cardiologists typically see patients that are referred to them. Cardiologists may perform procedures on patients' arteries and other parts of their cardiovascular system.


Internists treat adults with a range of medical issues, including everything from headaches and sore throats to hypertension. There are many specialties in internal medicine that can be pursued with additional training, such as becoming an immunologist or a gastroenterologist. They may work in a medical office, clinic or hospital. Their hours may vary and if they work in a hospital it would be common for them to work any time of the day or night. They need to have strong problem-solving skills because they may see patients with different medical issues and need to be able to effectively diagnose them. They also need to be able to pay attention to detail so that they include all factors when reaching a diagnosis.

Job responsibilities of an internist include:

  • Examining patients
  • Traveling to hospitals to see patients
  • Sending patients to specialists
  • Having medical tests completed
  • Providing patients with healthcare information
  • Writing prescriptions


Issues with a person's cardiovascular system and heart are treated by medical specialists known as cardiologists. There are a number of different types of cardiologists and those that focus on non-invasive work primarily spend their days seeing patients in an office while others divide their working hours between an office and lab or hospital. In addition to non-invasive cardiologists there are invasive non-interventional cardiologists, interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists. Cardiologists should be compassionate and have good interpersonal skills because they treat patients with very serious medical conditions. They also need to have excellent fine motor skills to execute their tasks effectively.

Job responsibilities of a cardiologist include:

  • Assessing patients
  • Giving patients medical tests
  • Producing images of the heart
  • Educating patients about managing their condition with lifestyle changes
  • Performing cardiac cathertizations
  • Clearing arteries

Related Careers

Another option for aspiring internists is to pursue a different medical specialty and become a thoracic medicine specialist. Those considering cardiology may also be interested in becoming a cardiac surgeon because cardiac surgeons are qualified to operate on a person's heart.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma or GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • MS in Nursing
    • Master of Healthcare Administration
    • BS in Health Science
    • Bachelors of Science in Nursing - RN to BSN
    • BS in Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Associate in Medical Assisting

    What is your education level?

    • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Limited Medical Radiologic Technologist-Certificate
    • Medical Assistant-Certificate

    What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
    • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What year did you graduate high school?

  • What is your age?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?