How to become a cardiologist

Updated February 21, 2017

With the rise in diseases like hypertension and high cholesterol, cardiologists are needed now more than ever. They educate patients about the risks of stroke, heart attacks and heart failure. They're responsible for performing EKGs, treadmill stress tests, echocardiograms, cardiac catheterizations and angioplasties.

Get a bachelor's degree in an analytical subject like life sciences, chemistry, economics, engineering or psychology. It's not necessary to do a premed curriculum to succeed as a cardiologist.

Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to get into medical school. Check out the Liaison Committee of Medical Education (LCME), which accredits medical schools in the United States and Canada.

Concentrate on internal medicine in medical school. You learn about preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases affecting all organ systems. Cardiology specialization comes later.

Perform a three year residency program in internal medicine. This is a prerequisite for every cardiologist. You need to treat patients directly during your residency. Your level of responsibility increases as you progress through the program.

Acquire your license to practice medicine in your state. This is a prerequisite to getting certified as a cardiologist by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).

Get certified by the ABIM. This requires you attended an accredited medical school and meet certain standards in your residency program.

Complete three years of cardiology residency once certified as an internist. This includes performing cardiac catheterizations, EKGs and other cardiac tests.

Take the American Board of Internal Medicine test to get certified as a cardiologist.


Expect another couple of years of study for subspecialties like interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, echocardiography and nuclear cardiology.

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