Cardiology is a medical specialism concerning abnormalities of the heart. A cardiologist typically manages patients with cardiovascular conditions such as angina, arrhythmias, hypertension, myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, and congenital heart disease.
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Entry Route into Cardiology
Trainees must have completed a two-year Foundation Programme before completing one of the following two-year general medical training programmes:
To apply for higher specialist training at ST3 level, trainees should have completed membership examinations for the relevant Royal College.
Job Progression as a Cardiologist
Core and higher speciality training generally takes five years (ST3-7), but two thirds of trainees also take time for research, extending the length by at least two years. For the most part, cardiologists develop subspeciality interests for their Certificate of Completion of Training, including stroke medicine, cardiac imaging, electrophysiology, interventional cardiology, and congenital heart disease. Dual-CCT training in cardiology and General Internal Medicine is also possible.
Trainees can apply for consultant positions six months before obtaining their CCT, and there are opportunities to work in management as a clinical lead, or a clinical or medical director. There are also formal opportunities to become involved in the education and training of junior doctors by working as
- a director of medical education overseeing postgraduate medical training,
- a training programme director responsible for the education of trainee doctors in the local region, or
- an associate dean responsible for managing the training programme.
Academic Cardiology Roles
Trainees interested in an academic career can apply for an academic clinical fellowship. Alternatively, trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level.
Competition for Cardiology Posts
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 2.4 in the first round, with 326 applications for 128 NTN posts and 8 LAT posts, with 68% of applicants applying for Cardiology only.
In December 2017, there were
- 1,279 consultants,
- 37 associate specialists,
- 90 speciality doctors,
- 5 staff grades,
- 856 speciality registrars,
- 360 core trainees,
- 132 F2 trainees, and
- 215 F1 trainees.
Salaries in Cardiology
The starting salary for junior doctors in England ranges from £26,614 to £46,208, from £37,923 to £87,521 for speciality doctors, and consultants can expect to earn between £76,761 and £103,490. There are additional supplements for on-call work, antisocial hours, and other commitments and situations. For additional information, please check our page on pay scales.
A Day in the Life of a Cardiologist
Most of the work involves managing patients on the wards, running outpatient clinics, and laboratory work. In addition to this, consultants may be involved in clinical management meetings, teaching junior staff and research. Common procedures that cardiologists may need to perform include coronary angioplasties, echocardiograms, cardiac catheterisations and pacemaker implantation. There is also a significant amount of on-call work, with almost 70% of consultants reporting routine weekends on-call.