Training and development (cardiology)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their training including medical school.

The approved postgraduate training programme for cardiology is available from the GMC. A small proportion of the trainees in cardiovascular medicine are training less than full time.

You will need to complete a two-year core medical training after the two-year foundation programme. Core training has a choice of two pathways

  • internal medicine stage 1, which is a three-year programme

  • acute care common stem – ACCS (acute medicine), which is a four-year programme

An MRCP (UK) or equivalent qualification is required for entry at ST3. Not all applicants who meet the required standard to continue will necessarily be offered a post due to the level of competition. View the competition ratios on the specialty training website.

Specialty training in cardiology (ST3-7) normally takes five years although two thirds of trainees undertake research which adds a minimum of two years. Successful completion of specialty training (ST3-7) will enable you to gain a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) and to be registered on the Specialist Register in cardiovascular medicine.

Getting in tips

These tips will give you some ideas to add to your CV. Whether you're a medical student, foundation trainee or doing your core specialty training, there's information below to help you. 

    • join your university medical society
    • attend conferences for medical students – this will give you an opportunity to network and meet your future colleagues
    • get involved with the GMC (General Medical Council). For example medical students can participate in visits to medical schools as part of the GMC’s quality assurance process
    • consider joining the specialist society for your chosen specialty as a student member, eg the British Cardiovascular Society
    • consider becoming a student member of the British Medical Association (BMA), the trade union and professional association for doctors. The BMA also offers careers advice
    • make your specialty decisions in good time so that you can test it out before committing yourself, eg by using hospital visits and clinical placements arranged as part of your course to ask questions and observe people at work
    • choose the topic of your supervised research project carefully to test out your thinking
    • remember your first priority is to demonstrate that you have developed the personal, learning, clinical, practical and management skills needed by all doctors
    • talk to your clinical and educational supervisors about particular areas of interest to explore
    • use full placements to experience specialties that you might be interested in or apply for taster experiences if you can’t get a placement
    • don’t just look at the popular and more glamorous specialties when considering your career choice
    • talk with your peers about their career ideas and experiences – you may be able to help each other
    • listen to information and advice from more experienced doctors but make your own decisions
    • you must provisionally register with the GMC in year one of the Foundation Programme and become fully registered after successfully completing the first year
    • taking part in a clinical audit is important for your development as a doctor but you may be able to choose an audit project related to a specialty that interests you
    • ensure your Foundation e-portfolio has plenty of medical evidence and that this is kept properly up to date
    • try to gain teaching and management experience
    • look at competition ratios (ie the number of applicants to places) critically. Find out what is happening this year and spot any regional differences in competition ratios

    View the careers resources on the Foundation Programme website.

    • ensure a good grounding in acute general medicine
    • join the British Junior Cardiologists' Association (BJCA) as a starter member and get help with navigating your way through specialty training
    • speak to consultants about what the role is like
    • read as much information as you can on the websites of relevant professional bodies
    • impress interviewers by showing that your interest in the specialty is intrinsically motivated - that you are drawn to the work and not just attracted to it because you admire someone you have shadowed 
    • be prepared to move to where the vacancies are
    • continue to develop your practical and academic expertise
    • undertake a research project
    • try to get some of your work published and present at national and international meetings
    • join or start a journal club to critically evaluate academic research
    • teach junior colleagues
    • take on any management opportunities you are offered
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