Are you passionate about helping people and making a career in medicine? Then, you may find a career as a cardiologist very rewarding.
Cardiologists assess, diagnose and treat diseases involving the human heart. They perform a variety of preventive measures, including diet, lifestyle, and medication, to help their patients lead a healthy life.
To work as a Cardiologist, you need a medical degree in cardiology and complete two years of internship and residency. You must also obtain a fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and register with the Medical Board of Australia to work as a Cardiologist.
Understanding the Cardiologist's career path can help you decide whether it is the right profession. This blog discusses how to become a cardiologist, their skills and salary, and answer some commonly asked questions about pursuing this profession.
1. What Is A Cardiologist?
Cardiologists are doctors with specialized knowledge and training to treat heart and blood vessel ailments, such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, heart failure, peripheral arterial disease, heart rhythm disorders, peripheral vascular disease, valvular heart disease, heart defects and infections, and more.
They provide high-quality service to their patients, which includes listening to their symptoms, following up with tests, delivering diagnoses, and supervising the treatment.
Cardiologists perform relevant prevention strategies to help patients manage their cardiovascular defects and disorders and improve their quality of life.
2. What Do Cardiologists Do?
The actual tasks and duties of a cardiologist may vary based on their level of experience and their cardiac specialty but typically include:
Diagnose and treat patients to determine the nature and extent of problems in their cardiovascular system.
Perform lab tests such as pulmonary hypertension, ECG, x-rays, blood tests, and cardiac biopsies; and diagnostic and preventive procedures such as cardiovascular surgery, heart catheterizations, angioplasty, inserting pacemakers, etc.
Perform calcium scoring or treadmill stress tests to evaluate calcium deposits in the coronary arteries of their patient.
Analyse test reports and other medical information to arrive at an accurate diagnosis
Prescribe and administer drugs, treatment, and procedures
Maintain a record of patient's medical information and data
Convey information on cardiovascular ailments to the patient and their families.
Admit or refer patients to hospitals
Consult other medical specialists for the best treatment
Take part in medical meetings with other medical staff to determine available treatment methods.
3. Cardiologist Skills For Success
To become a good cardiologist, you need a mix of soft skills and hard skills:
Technical Knowledge and Skills
Advanced knowledge of cardiovascular imaging interpretation
Good understanding of cardiovascular anatomy, disease concepts, anticoagulation medication, and imaging techniques
Proficiency in using advanced medical technology and tools to perform non-surgical procedures like a percutaneous coronary intervention.
Effective communication skills to describe complicated medical procedures to patients from a non-medical background.
Familiarity with procedures, including cardiac catheterization, radiology studies, stress testing, ECG, etc., to diagnose heart conditions.
Computer skills to maintain accurate patient records concerning ongoing treatment and options.
Excellent attention to detail
Strong analytical skills
Good interpersonal skills to communicate with patients from different backgrounds
Able to follow correct procedures and strict safety and privacy protocols
Stay calm during stressful and challenging situations
Strong teamwork and collaboration skills
Able to work independently with minimal supervision
Physical stamina and dexterity
Good visuospatial reasoning
Ability to make quick decisions
Critical thinking skills
Able to understand their patients' challenges
Able to write clearly and effectively when preparing medical reports or writing patient prescriptions.
4. Steps To Become A Cardiologist In Australia
A Cardiologist is a qualified medical doctor with a specialization in cardiology. If you are keen to pursue this career, then here are the steps to get started:
Step 1: Complete your Year 12 with one or more prerequisite subjects such as Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology.
Step 2: Complete a university-level Medical Degree.
Step 3 – Complete two years of Internship and Residency programs while working in the public hospital system.
Step 4: After you become a medical doctor, undertake further training in Cardiology, i.e., three years of full-time equivalent Advanced Training in Cardiology training at the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
It is a supervised training wherein the trainee gets in-depth knowledge of the prevention, examination, therapy of, and research into cardiovascular disease. The skills you develop through work-based learning and assessment tools prepare you for independent practice as a consultant.
Step 5: Successful trainees will receive the Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP).
Step 6: Register with the Medical Board of Australia to work in different regions of Australia.
Step 7: After gaining experience, you may specialise in a specific area of cardiology, such as interventional procedures, electrophysiology, and echocardiography.
5. Job Outlook For Cardiologists In Australia
ANZSCO Occupation Group: 253312: Cardiologists
Cardiology is a specialization in the medical field that aims to treat medical conditions related to the heart and cardiovascular system.
According to a survey, a million people worldwide each year suffer from one or more heart ailments and conditions that become their primary cause of death.
Due to the growing cases of heart disease, there is an immense need for skilled cardiologists to bring about a significant health impact within their communities.
In Australia, the job growth rate in Cardiology is faster than the national average growth rate for all professions. It shows cardiologists should experience good career opportunities and job stability now and in the future.
Aspiring cardiologists usually ask - do cardiologists have free time? No. It is a very hectic job wherein cardiologists often spend long hours performing complex surgeries under high-pressure situations.
Around 87% of Cardiologists work full-time for an average of 53 hours per week compared to the all-jobs average of 44 hours per week.
Around 97.2% of Cardiologists work in the health care and social assistance industry. The remaining percentage is employed in:
Public administration and safety - 1.1%
Education and training - 0.6%
Professional, scientific and technical services - 0.5%
Employment Across Australia
Around 82% of Cardiologists work in capital cities in Australia. The following areas have the most significant number of workers:
Melbourne - Inner
Melbourne - Inner East
Sydney - North Sydney and Hornsby
Sydney - Eastern Suburbs
Adelaide - Central and Hills
State-wise employment percentage of Cardiologists:
NSW - 31.1%
VIC - 26.3%
QLD - 20.5%
SA - 9.3%
WA - 9.5%
TAS - 1.6%
NT - 0.5%
ACT - 1.3%
What Age Are Most Cardiologists?
The average age of Cardiologists is 47 years which is higher than 40 years in all other jobs. You will find a maximum share of workers between the ages of 35 and 44.
Females constitute 16% of the workforce which is 32 percentage points below the average of all other jobs, i.e., 48%.
Where Does A Cardiologist Work?
Though cardiologists may find employment across every region of Australia, they primarily work in capital cities and larger towns.
Their typical work areas include public and private hospitals and extensive healthcare facilities. Experienced cardiologists even operate as a specialist in their practice.
6. Related Careers In Australia
A qualification in Cardiology opens up the door to pursue various potential job roles, including:
Assistant cardiology supervisor
Cardiovascular Technologist (Catheterization Lab)
Cardiac Monitor Technician
Cardiac Catheterization Technologist
Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory Registered Nurse
7. Work Environment Of A Cardiologist
Their usual shift starts as regular business hours but primarily extends into working between 50 and 60 hours a week or more. Cardiologists employed in a hospital or on-call may require work in the evenings, weekends, and holidays.
Those working within a private physician practice often work in the association of a medical group comprising nurses and administrative personnel in connection with one or more hospitals.
8. Is Cardiology A Stressful Job?
Yes. Cardiologists usually spend a considerable time on their feet and may require travelling between their office and their appointed hospital.
9. How Many Years Does It Take To Become A Cardiologist Doctor?
To prepare for a career as a Cardiologist Doctor, you need dedication to an extensive duration of education and training. It usually takes 14 years to earn a bachelor's degree, attend medical school/university and complete a residency and fellowship program.
Cardiologist Doctors may require additional one or two years to complete subspecialty fellowship programs.
10. How Long Does A Cardiologist Work A Day?
Cardiologists usually work full-time for over 40 hours per week on various shifts.
11. How Long Is Cardiology Training In Australia?
Advanced Training in Cardiology (Adult) Program requires 36 months of full-time equivalent (FTE) training.
12. Which Subject Is Best For Cardiologist?
Often students ask whether cardiologists need math. Yes. Students who aspire to pursue this career must complete their Year 12 education with one or more prerequisite subjects, including Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.
13. How Hard Is It To Become A Cardiologist In Australia?
Like any other career in the medical field, becoming a cardiologist also requires a commitment to several years of learning and training.
You must first become a qualified medical practitioner by studying for a double degree in medicine, i.e., Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine. Alternatively, learn a degree in any discipline, followed by a Master's degree in medicine, i.e., Doctor of Medicine.
After you become a medical doctor, you need to specialize in cardiology by undertaking further training at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and receiving the fellowship.
However, specialist training is available only to those doctors who have worked in the public hospital system for at least two years (internship and residency).
After finishing the specialist training, medical doctors must register themselves with the Medical Board of Australia to work as a cardiologist in Australia.
This entire process can take you around 14 years to complete. Only candidates willing to commit to this long and gruelling learning journey should pursue this career.
Cardiology is a highly competitive medical science specialisation requiring hardworking, passionate, and capable individuals to treat heart patients.
Though the occupation is highly challenging and demanding, it is both emotionally and financially fulfilling and rewarding career options for deserving candidates.
The above steps will help you pursue and succeed in your career aspirations.
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