The Cardiology Job Market in 2022
With an unabating demand for cardiologists and not enough clinicians to meet patient needs, the cardiology job market remains strong.
“In general, there is a shortage of cardiologists, and it is only going to get worse,” said Jesse Adams III, MD, FACC, chair of the American College of Cardiology Cardiovascular Management Council and medical director, Kentuckiana CV Governance Committee, Baptist Health in Louisville.
Adams reported 26.5 percent of cardiologists are older than 61 years of age, and the number of cardiologists coming out of training does not compare to the number of cardiologists planning to retire in the next five to 10 years.
“The predicted shortage will be worse,” he added. “We have an aging cardiology workforce.”
There also is an aging patient population in the United States, and they are more likely to require cardiology care than young adults, boosting demand.
Exacerbating the problem, many early career cardiologists work a reduced schedule so they can enjoy a greater work–life balance, reported Edward T.A. Fry, MD, a cardiologist with Ascension in Indianapolis in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Also, 30 percent of cardiology fellows pursue additional subspecialty training, resulting in fewer general cardiologists.
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Cardiology job market varies by subspecialties
“Across the country, general cardiologists can find a job anywhere they want to go,” Adams reported. “That is the area that has the greatest need.”
Among noninterventional cardiology, the subspecialties of advanced congestive heart failure, cardio-oncology and cardio-obstetrics are gaining interest and shifting new cardiologists into subspecialties, reducing the pool of general cardiologists entering practices. Additionally, such highly specialized physicians have fewer jobs to choose from than general cardiologists.
The interventional cardiology job market also remains strong, but that market is saturated for the subset of structural cardiologists, who perform transcatheter aortic valve replacements and other structural heart repairs. Structural heart is a recent subspecialty and most practicing in it today are younger than general cardiologists. Since these specialists are not going anywhere, they are not leaving vacancies for upcoming clinicians.
“There are fellows finishing their training in structural heart in top-tier centers in the United States, and they are struggling to find jobs,” Adams said.
Another difficulty with the structural cardiology field is that they perform far fewer procedures, perhaps two to three cases per week, while a general cardiologist might see 25 patients per day and an interventional cardiologist perform six to 10 diagnostic or interventional catheterizations daily, Adams explained.
Adams reported that electrophysiology (EP) cardiologist jobs are solid.
There are three key components to a job: namely where do you live, what do you do and what you get paid,” Adams said. “Historically, you pick the two most important to you. Now EP is like that.”
The COVID-19 pandemic affected cardiology, with fewer patients seeking care, but volume has rebounded.
Cardiologist compensation on the rise
Shortages lead to high incomes for cardiologist jobs.
The new AMN Healthcare 2022 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives reported an eight percent year-over-year increase in starting salaries for noninterventional cardiologists and a 16 percent increase for interventional cardiologists. The average starting salary for noninterventional cardiologists was $484,000, with a high of $1 million. For interventional cardiologists, starting pay was an average of $527,000, with a high of $668,000. These figures do not include sign-on bonuses and other compensation.
Cardiology ranked sixth in “absolute demand,” noted the AMN Healthcare researchers, reflecting the number of search assignments or openings as a percent of all providers in a given specialty. Interventional cardiology ranked highest in the average net annual hospital revenue generated by physicians in a specialty, at $3.48 million, in 2019.
The Medscape Cardiologist Compensation Report 2022 reported similar income for cardiologists at an average of $490,000 annually, up seven percent from $459,000 in 2021. It found 57 percent of physicians had an incentive bonus, with an average of $85,000 for cardiologists. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they felt fairly compensated, and 88 percent would choose cardiology as a career again. Thirty-four percent said they find their relationships with patients the most rewarding aspect of their jobs, followed by 23 percent who find being good at what they do the most rewarding. Twenty-six percent reported that the myriad of rules and regulations is the most challenging aspect of practicing cardiology.
With a strong cardiology job market, opportunities exist from coast to coast.