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Pediatric Cardiologist Education and Career Facts

A pediatric cardiologist focuses on problems of the heart and blood vessels in infants, children and young adults. Learn about what being a pediatric cardiologist looks like, what education you will need and whether certification is required.

What You Need to Know

A pediatric cardiologist is a licensed physician who provides care to patients with cardiovascular problems. He or she diagnoses and treats problems with the heart or blood vessels. They may also perform diagnostic tests such as cardiac catheterizations. Because they are pediatricians, they work with infants, children and young adults. Training to become a pediatric cardiologist includes a pediatric residency and voluntary fellowship.

Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 15% growth for all pediatricians
Education Graduation from medical school followed by 3-year residency in pediatrics and 3-year voluntary fellowship in pediatric cardiology
Certification Requires certification as both a general pediatrician and pediatric cardiologist

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Career Opportunities Exist for Pediatric Cardiologists?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), expects job opportunities for pediatricians in general to grow 15% during the 2016-2026 decade (www.bls.gov). According to Payscale in June 2018, pediatric cardiologists earned a median annual salary of $202,815.

What Education Do I Need?

To work as a pediatric cardiologist, you must first become a physician, then a board-certified pediatrician and finally a board-certified pediatric cardiologist. To become a physician, you must have a bachelor's degree and graduate from medical school to earn your Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. Medical school requires four years of study, the last two of which consist of clinical rotations. Upon graduation, to work as physician, you must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination.

After completing medical school and becoming licensed, you must complete a typically 3-year clinical rotation in pediatrics referred to as a 'residency'. These training programs are considered 'specialty' programs because they train you in a specific area of medicine, in this case pediatrics. In these programs, you complete rotations in neonatal intensive care, general inpatient pediatrics and adolescent medicine. Some programs may also include a rotation in sub-specialties of pediatrics, such as cardiology.

Subsequently, you must complete a 3-year residency in pediatric cardiology. These training programs are considered 'sub-specialty' programs because they train you in a sub-specialty of pediatrics, in this case cardiology. The first two years of these programs consist of clinical rotations. In the third year you conduct research in the field.

Some schools offer a 1-year voluntary sub-specialty pediatric cardiology program, known as a 'fellowship' program. These programs, which are attended after completion of the 3-year pediatric cardiology program, allow you to focus your studies on a further sub-specialty of pediatric cardiology. Examples of these sub-specialties include cardiac catheterization, cardiac ICU and cardiac transplantation.

Is Certification Required?

To work as a pediatric cardiologist, you must be certified both as a general pediatrician and as a pediatric cardiologist. Both certifications require passing an exam. You sit for the general pediatrician exam after completing your 3-year general pediatric residency. You sit for the pediatric cardiologist exam after completing the 3-year pediatric cardiology residency. To be eligible for either exam, you must be a licensed medical physician.