It™s a Good Time to be a Cardiologist
Demand for cardiologists is strong and likely to remain so, no matter where you are in your career. As Americans age, so does the physician workforce. According to the American Medical Association, there are 22,242 total cardiologists in the US but fewer than 7,000 of these cardiologists are below age 45, and, training programs have only graduated an average of 646 new cardiologists annually over the past three years.
So, unless you have your sights set on one of the more desirable and highly competitive locations - Boston, New York City, San Francisco - you can expect groups to be vying rather strenuously for your services. In a community of 100,000 that has, say, three cardiology groups, all are likely to be looking earnestly for new faces.
Significantly, the attractive candidate does not have to be a freshly minted cardiologist; it could be someone in the middle or later stages of a career. ├óÔé¼┼øIt really doesn™t matter what age you are,├óÔé¼┼Ñ says Cheryl DeVita, a senior consultant with Cejka Search, a nationally recognized healthcare executive and physician recruitment firm based in St. Louis. ├óÔé¼┼øIf you™re in a position where you want to make a change, you can find a practice willing to hire you.├óÔé¼┼Ñ
├óÔé¼┼øThat™s true even if you plan to retire in the next five years,├óÔé¼┼Ñ DeVita adds. ├óÔé¼┼øMost groups are ready and willing to hire the older physician.├óÔé¼┼Ñ At Cejka Search, in fact, about half of the candidates placed each year were not cardiologists just coming out of training programs but physicians already established in practice.
Faced with a market that favors the candidate, cardiology groups have become more flexible in a number of ways. Those that might have limited themselves to a few top candidates are broadening their vision and taking a look at the larger pool of talent.
One reason for the surge in demand for cardiologists: open-heart surgery programs - once the exclusive province of urban teaching hospitals ├óÔé¼ÔÇ£ have moved into the community hospital as well. As more hospitals initiate and then expand open-heart surgery programs, they™re working hard to build their own cardiology referral networks to feed into the center. Also much in demand are cardiologists who have done a year of training in pediatric cardiology and can ease smoothly into a hospital position.
Training for Cardiologists
The average Cardiology fellowship program is three years. Some have an additional year of research. All Cardiologists need to be Board Certified in Internal Medicine, then Cardiology.
This three-year Cardiology fellowship will typically produce an Invasive Cardiologist. Many candidates who plan early in their fellowship to do an interventional or electrophysiology (EP) year will apply to do two years of general cardiology and two years of advanced training (i.e. EP or interventional) instead of the traditional three years general, plus one year advanced, although not all programs offer this option.