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Cardiologist

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Summary of occupation

Cardiologists are physicians certified to diagnose, treat and manage disorders of the cardiovascular or circulatory system - heart, arteries and veins.

Cardiologists have a high level of responsibility and carry out tasks including diagnosing heart abnormalities, using medical imaging, assisting cardiac surgeons, determining treatment plans and attending follow-up appointments with patients.

ANZSCO description: Investigates, diagnoses and treats diseases of the human heart(registration or licensing is required).
Alternative names: Internal Medical Specialist, Medical Practitioner, Physician, Specialist
Specialisations: Cardiothoracic surgeon, Echocardiologist, Electrophysiologist, Interventional cardiologist, Nuclear cardiologist
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A cardiologist needs:

  • to be very knowledgeable about the cardiovascular system
  • to be able to perform and interpret specialised tests and procedures
  • to have a high level of responsibility and the confidence to make decisions in emergencies
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • the confidence and sound knowledge to correctly diagnose and consult with patients
  • compassion, self-motivation and the ability to work under pressure for long hours
  • to be willing to undertake ongoing research.
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Working conditions

Cardiology can be a high pressured job, involving long hours and weekend work - although private consultants have more control over their hours.

Cardiologists usually work in small private offices or clinics, and are often assisted by a small staff of nurses and administrative personnel.

Frequent travel between their office and their appointed hospital is required, as is being 'on call' in case of an emergency.

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Salary details

​On average, cardiologists can expect to earn between $2 692 and $3 461 per week ($140 000 and $180 000 per year) depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

Cardiologists need to become familiar with different procedures including stress testing, cardiac catheterisation, radiology studies, ECG and a variety of other techniques to diagnose heart conditions.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a cardiologist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in cardiology.

Postgraduate courses in medicine are offered by the University of Notre Dame and the University of Western Australia. These degrees usually take four years to complete. Entry requirements include completion of a bachelor degree in any discipline. You must also sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT) and attend an interview at your chosen institution. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

On completion of the postgraduate medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency). To specialise in cardiology, doctors can apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship.​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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