Cardiology Careers

From Cardiologist to Cardiac Perfusionist

Cardiologist Doctor in the Operation Room
UygarGeographic / Getty Images

Each year, February is designated as National Heart Month to raise awareness of heart disease, which is the number one killer in America.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 25 seconds someone has a coronary event, and one person dies from one per minute. Each year in the U.S., about 600,000 people die of heart disease, and about 935,000 suffer a heart attack.

Professionals who work in the field of cardiology have the important job of keeping hearts healthy, repairing damaged hearts, and helping to prevent, diagnose, and treat cardiovascular problems and diseases in millions of patients.

Cardiology Careers

Cardiology careers are available in allied health, nursing, and for physicians and surgeons. In fact, cardiologists are among the most highly compensated physicians.

If you are passionate about heart health, you may want to explore one of the many exciting careers in cardiology:

Cardiologist - A cardiologist is a doctor with special training and skill in finding, treating and preventing diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

Cardiac Perfusionist - Cardiac Perfusionists are not doctors, or nurses. Cardiac perfusion is an allied health career. A cardiac perfusionist, also known as a Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP), is a specialized medical professional who operates what you may know as the “heart-lung” machine.

The heart-lung machine keeps a patient’s blood pumping, and basically takes the place of the patient’s heart, while open-heart surgery is taking place.

The heart-lung machine circulates, oxygenates, and purifies the patient’s blood while the patient is in surgery.

Cardiac perfusion is needed for a variety of surgeries including organ transplant, heart bypass, and other cardiac surgeries.

Cardiovascular Technologist - Cardiovascular technologists (CVT) help cardiologists with cardiac catheterizations for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Catheterizations are used to examine the arteries for blockages and repair them with the use of medical devices such as stents or balloons when applicable.

Cardiology Professional Associations 

If you are a medical professional who works in the field of cardiology or cardiovascular health, or if you are interested in working in the field of cardiology, these societies and professional associations could be an excellent resource for you.

These societies encompass just about any type of professional who works in the cardiology field including nurses, technologists, and physicians such as cardiologists and cardiac surgeons. The societies provide journals, continuing medical education (CME) credits, certifications, and a variety of other benefits. Here are just a few:

American Heart Association (AHA) - The American Heart Association is the "grand-daddy" of all cardiology-related associations. 

American College of Cardiology - The American College of Cardiology consists of doctors and nurses primarily.

Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) - According to the Heart Failure Society of American (HFSA) website, this society "represents the first organized effort by heart failure experts from the Americas to provide a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure, and congestive heart failure (CHF) research and patient care."

Alliance of Cardiovascular Professionals (ACP) - According to the ACVP website, this association consists of "over 3,000 professionals involved in all levels of cardiovascular service (administration, management, nursing, and technology), and involved in all specialties (invasive, noninvasive, echo, cardiopulmonary)."