How to Become a Heart Doctor


Heart doctors, also known as cardiologists, specialize in the treatment of the heart. Cardiologists work in a variety of environments, including private, university and public hospitals. These professionals also work at private practices. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for doctors will increase 22 percent from 2008 to 2018. However, to become a cardiologist, you must complete a bachelor's degree, medical school and several years of residency.

  • Complete a bachelor's degree. The first step to becoming a cardiologist is earning a bachelor's degree, which takes four years to complete. Medical schools prefer candidates with coursework in chemistry (organic and inorganic) and mathematics. Partner with the premedicine counselors to choose the right course of study.

  • Perform well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Take the MCAT during your junior year of study. You can reserve a seat for the test online. You can also order practice tests and create a plan of study.

  • Attend medical school. Medical school requires four years to complete. One way to find medical schools is to contact the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). As of 2008, the LCME had accredited 120 medical schools in the United States.

  • Apply for a medical license in your state. Contact your state's medical board. Getting licensed typically requires passing an exam administered by your state. This must be completed before applying for a residency.

  • Complete a residency in internal medicine. Doctors interested in cardiology must first complete a residency in internal medicine. Partner with your medical school advisers to find positions in your area.

  • Complete a residency in cardiology. After finishing a residency in internal medicine, complete a cardiology residency. This typically takes three years to complete.

  • Register to take the cardiology exam with the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Passing this exam will make you a board certified cardiologist.

Tips & Warnings

  • Acceptance to medical school is difficult. Having a high grade-point average, strong MCAT scores and extracurricular activities will make getting accepted easier.
  • Residencies may require irregular work hours and schedules. Cardiology residents may work evenings, holidays and weekends.

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