Training and development (paediatric 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.

Training for paediatric cardiology is administered by the Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB), on behalf of the three Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom, although there are strong links with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Training to become a paediatric cardiologist takes a minimum of eight years after completion of foundation training.

There are two possible routes into higher specialty training in paediatric cardiology at ST4 level.

  • option 1 - core paediatric training ST1-3
  • option 2 - core medical training (CMT) CT1-2, or ACCS (acute medicine) CT1-3 followed by level 1 training in paediatrics (basic paediatric competences)

Most trainees enter paediatric cardiology from core paediatric training. For those choosing option 2, level 1 paediatric competences could be achieved during a 12 month period of paediatric training after completion of CMT or ACCS. If this is not possible the LETB must arrange a fixed term training in paediatrics, which is usually 12 months and should include training in neonatal paediatrics, perhaps for six months.

Before entering higher training you will either need membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, MRCPCH, or membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom MRCP (UK)

Specialty training in paediatric cardiology ST4-8

Specialty training takes a minimum of five years and depends on achievement of training competences. 

The length of training can vary, for example it is possible to train flexibly if you fulfil the criteria for Less than Full Time Training, (LTFT).

You should take MRCP(UK) Parts 1 and 2 and PACES examinations by the end of ST2, and the full MRCP(UK) diploma must be obtained before progressing to ST3.

You will need evidence of experience in paediatrics including managing patients on intake. Applicants from general medicine will need experience in general paediatrics and neonatal medicine. Experience of managing patients (adults or children) with cardiac diseases including emergencies is also desirable.

Experience of extra-curricular activities, achievements and interests relevant to paediatric cardiology are also desirable.

Selection panels also look for evidence of academic and research achievements, which as well as additional academic qualifications include prizes, awards, distinctions, publications and presentations. An understanding of research, audit and teaching is also important as is evidence of the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. Good leadership and organisational skills are also important.

An intercalated degree and or higher academic qualifications (such as a PhD or MD) are also desirable.

The JRCPTB provides information on the curriculum for paediatric cardiology.

Getting in tips

It is important to develop your practical skills and interest in paediatric cardiology as early as you can. This will also give you valuable experience to add to your CV.

    • attend conferences on cardiology/paediatric cardiology/paediatrics – this will give you an opportunity to network and meet your future colleagues
    • undertake a placement in cardiology/paediatric cardiology/paediatrics
    • undertake a student selected module or project in cardiology/paediatric cardiology/paediatrics and choose an elective in one of these areas
    • undertake an elective in cardiology/paediatric cardiology/paediatrics
    • make contact with the cardiology/paediatric cardiology/paediatrics department in your hospital and find out how you can get involved
    • aim to get a rotation in cardiology/paediatric cardiology/paediatrics
    • attend relevant conferences
    • try to ensure your e-portfolio has relevant experience with cardiology/paediatric cardiology/paediatrics and that this is kept properly up-to-date
    • try to gain teaching and management experience
    • undertake a relevant research project
    • try to get some of your work published and present at national and international meetings
    • teach junior colleagues
    • take on any management opportunities you are offered
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