The Student Room Group

Cardiac Physiology

I'm just wondering whether there are any cardiac physiologists on this and their thoughts and opinions on the career. I've been looking around the internet and there's very little information about it as opposed to other healthcare careers. I just want to know the actual salary, is it a difficult career in terms of learning the mechanisms, and how long does it take to be promoted for a higher position? (I don't mind whether you are at uni or working as one)
Original post by Drew Wolf
is it a difficult career in terms of learning the mechanisms,

I'm not a cardiologist, but I can safely say 'yes' to this.

Whether it's more or less difficult than other specialisms is a different matter and, I suspect, depends on who you ask and what their specialism happens to be!
Original post by Drew Wolf
I'm just wondering whether there are any cardiac physiologists on this and their thoughts and opinions on the career. I've been looking around the internet and there's very little information about it as opposed to other healthcare careers. I just want to know the actual salary, is it a difficult career in terms of learning the mechanisms, and how long does it take to be promoted for a higher position? (I don't mind whether you are at uni or working as one)

Hiya!
I just started doing this at uni this year, so I'm not too knowledgeable about it, but this is what I got from talking to the older years and staff when I was applying and wondering the same thing. (There really should be more about it online! )

My lecturers did practice in the field and they can safely say they that they definitely enjoyed their careers so far. Some of them still practise part of the time and the other times they're at my uni teaching us. The salary differs regionally, but from what I've been told, once you qualify, you're eligible to start at band 5 on the nhs salary. Tbh, at the time I didn't really know what band 5 meant, but, what I did was Google 'cardiac physiologist jobs' (followed by the city I'm in) and then you can get a rough idea. With career progression and promotion, I do think that it takes a long time. I did see a senior cardiac physiologist working in the hospital but he was kinda old, so I think it's safe to say, that it takes a long time, as with any career. However, there is a clear path of progression and some hospitals after you've gotten a job with them, do pay for you to take courses to help you with that progression like doing echocardiography courses etc, to allow you to be 'promoted' or move up the bands. I think in terms of getting a job and starting, it's a good idea to do a cardiac physiology degree that's accredited for example by the hcpc. There are also now some apprenticeship type courses too btw! E.g. in middlesex university.

Back in september I talked to some people who had just graduated from uni, and qualified as well, and they all had found jobs within 6 months of leaving university and were relatively happy. One person even said that you can qualify here and work in Australia too if you wanted to. With the salary, for many years, you probably won't be well off or rich, but unless you're doctor, i think that's the same for all of us in the allied health professions in the nhs.

I really have no idea if it's a difficult career I'm terms of learning mechanisms, But so far in uni, all I know is that theres a lot of science and medical-based learning through lectures and that we have to do a lot of graph reading, learning how equipment works, how to work well and be part of the nhs, clinical skills and that we are going to learn a lot of it on placement in actual hospitals for several weeks too (over the 3 years). I do also know that atm, there is demand for cardiac physiologists, so that's good.

The only website that I found to be really helpful was the prospects website:
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/case-studies/apprentice-cardiac-physiologist-aneliese-lagan
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/clinical-scientist-cardiac-sciences
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/physiology

If you aren't applying for this ucas cycle, it would be good to shadow one in a hospital first to get a better idea or contact universities who offer the course directly with these questions and they'd be happy to answer them :smile:
(edited 4 years ago)
Reply 3
Original post by kawaii sashimi
Hiya!
I just started doing this at uni this year, so I'm not too knowledgeable about it, but this is what I got from talking to the older years and staff when I was applying and wondering the same thing. (There really should be more about it online! )

My lecturers did practice in the field and they can safely say they that they definitely enjoyed their careers so far. Some of them still practise part of the time and the other times they're at my uni teaching us. The salary differs regionally, but from what I've been told, once you qualify, you're eligible to start at band 5 on the nhs salary. Tbh, at the time I didn't really know what band 5 meant, but, what I did was Google 'cardiac physiologist jobs' (followed by the city I'm in) and then you can get a rough idea. With career progression and promotion, I do think that it takes a long time. I did see a senior cardiac physiologist working in the hospital but he was kinda old, so I think it's safe to say, that it takes a long time, as with any career. However, there is a clear path of progression and some hospitals after you've gotten a job with them, do pay for you to take courses to help you with that progression like doing echocardiography courses etc, to allow you to be 'promoted' or move up the bands. I think in terms of getting a job and starting, it's a good idea to do a cardiac physiology degree that's accredited for example by the hcpc. There are also now some apprenticeship type courses too btw! E.g. in middlesex university.

Back in september I talked to some people who had just graduated from uni, and qualified as well, and they all had found jobs within 6 months of leaving university and were relatively happy. One person even said that you can qualify here and work in Australia too if you wanted to. With the salary, for many years, you probably won't be well off or rich, but unless you're doctor, i think that's the same for all of us in the allied health professions in the nhs.

I really have no idea if it's a difficult career I'm terms of learning mechanisms, But so far in uni, all I know is that theres a lot of science and medical-based learning through lectures and that we have to do a lot of graph reading, learning how equipment works, how to work well and be part of the nhs, clinical skills and that we are going to learn a lot of it on placement in actual hospitals for several weeks too (over the 3 years). I do also know that atm, there is demand for cardiac physiologists, so that's good.

The only website that I found to be really helpful was the prospects website:
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/case-studies/apprentice-cardiac-physiologist-aneliese-lagan
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/clinical-scientist-cardiac-sciences
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/physiology

If you aren't applying for this ucas cycle, it would be good to shadow one in a hospital first to get a better idea or contact universities who offer the course directly with these questions and they'd be happy to answer them :smile:

Thank you so much, this has been so useful. One thing I still don’t understand is whether cardiac physiologists are classed as clinical scientists? And what it means by specialised cardiac physiology does that include another degree?
Original post by Drew Wolf
Thank you so much, this has been so useful. One thing I still don’t understand is whether cardiac physiologists are classed as clinical scientists? And what it means by specialised cardiac physiology does that include another degree?


Cardiac physiology is one of a range of careers associated with the NHS Practitioner Training Programme (PTP), which trains healthcare scientists, namely physiologists and biomedical scientists, and a few other roles, in various specialisms, through the "Healthcare Sciences" degree programmes. There is a lot of information here: https://nshcs.hee.nhs.uk/programmes/ptp/

Some of those programmes specify the specialism from the start e.g. Healthcare Sciences (Cardiac Physiology), or Healthcare Sciences (Blood Sciences), while others allow you start in a more general area and choose a specialism after starting, e.g. Healthcare Sciences (Physiological Sciences) of Healthcare Sciences (Life Sciences). To become a cardiac physiologist you would need to complete a Healthcare Sciences (Cardiac Physiology) course, or a Healthcare Sciences (Physiological Sciences) and follow the cardiac physiology specialism track within that course. You will be specialised as a cardiac physiologist through either route by the end of the degree.

As above you will start off at band 5. I'm don't know much about progression for physiologists in the scheme; for biomedical scientists, I've been told normally to progress to band 6 requires the completion of the specialist portfolio once you are employed as a band 5 BMS in the NHS (which I understand is more or less inevitable, so is virtually an automatic progression). Progression to band 7 for BMSs apparently requires the completion of an appropriate MSc course, or to demonstrate equivalent achievement through a professional portfolio. This seems more of a mixed bag, since demonstrating masters level competence through a professional portfolio might take quite a while and be difficult in some ways, while the MSc route you would probably want to do while working which might be quite intense or limit your options of course provider/study mode.

Hope this helps, and good luck :smile: @RegisteredBMS was on the BMS side of the PTP, and is now working as a BMS in the NHS, might know how the physiological sciences side works to some extent?
(edited 4 years ago)
Reply 5
Original post by kawaii sashimi
Hiya!
I just started doing this at uni this year, so I'm not too knowledgeable about it, but this is what I got from talking to the older years and staff when I was applying and wondering the same thing. (There really should be more about it online! )

My lecturers did practice in the field and they can safely say they that they definitely enjoyed their careers so far. Some of them still practise part of the time and the other times they're at my uni teaching us. The salary differs regionally, but from what I've been told, once you qualify, you're eligible to start at band 5 on the nhs salary. Tbh, at the time I didn't really know what band 5 meant, but, what I did was Google 'cardiac physiologist jobs' (followed by the city I'm in) and then you can get a rough idea. With career progression and promotion, I do think that it takes a long time. I did see a senior cardiac physiologist working in the hospital but he was kinda old, so I think it's safe to say, that it takes a long time, as with any career. However, there is a clear path of progression and some hospitals after you've gotten a job with them, do pay for you to take courses to help you with that progression like doing echocardiography courses etc, to allow you to be 'promoted' or move up the bands. I think in terms of getting a job and starting, it's a good idea to do a cardiac physiology degree that's accredited for example by the hcpc. There are also now some apprenticeship type courses too btw! E.g. in middlesex university.

Back in september I talked to some people who had just graduated from uni, and qualified as well, and they all had found jobs within 6 months of leaving university and were relatively happy. One person even said that you can qualify here and work in Australia too if you wanted to. With the salary, for many years, you probably won't be well off or rich, but unless you're doctor, i think that's the same for all of us in the allied health professions in the nhs.

I really have no idea if it's a difficult career I'm terms of learning mechanisms, But so far in uni, all I know is that theres a lot of science and medical-based learning through lectures and that we have to do a lot of graph reading, learning how equipment works, how to work well and be part of the nhs, clinical skills and that we are going to learn a lot of it on placement in actual hospitals for several weeks too (over the 3 years). I do also know that atm, there is demand for cardiac physiologists, so that's good.

The only website that I found to be really helpful was the prospects website:
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/case-studies/apprentice-cardiac-physiologist-aneliese-lagan
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/clinical-scientist-cardiac-sciences
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-advice/what-can-i-do-with-my-degree/physiology

If you aren't applying for this ucas cycle, it would be good to shadow one in a hospital first to get a better idea or contact universities who offer the course directly with these questions and they'd be happy to answer them :smile:

Hello again, I have one more question; how much maths and physics is involved in cardiac physiology? Is it a huge amount? Is it difficult?
Definitely go for it! I recently graduated in this degree and found a job before the degree even finished! The good thing about this course is that you will never be jobless! You start as a band 5 when you do the Bsc Hons at around £24.9k and usually within a year or two you will be promoted to band 6 in which you specialise in echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound) or devices (ICD,Pacemakers,Complex) or even Cath Lab (angiograms, PCI's, Device implants, EP studies etc..). Once you get accredited by the governing board of your chosen speciality you will become a band 7 and after 5 years of experience you can apply for a band 8 (managerial role). Overall, it is a very varied role and you still have a lot of patient contact. You wont get rich, but you will live a fairly comfortable life working a normal 9-5 unless you go to a trust that requires you to be on call (for PCI's). A lot about cardiac physiology is practical experience so you will learn as you go
Reply 7
Do you get paid while on placement?
Original post by Kheddy
Do you get paid while on placement?


health care students on placement do not get paid, so you're technically working for free.
Reply 9
OK thanks for letting me know
Original post by fxmoti_101
Definitely go for it! I recently graduated in this degree and found a job before the degree even finished! The good thing about this course is that you will never be jobless! You start as a band 5 when you do the Bsc Hons at around £24.9k and usually within a year or two you will be promoted to band 6 in which you specialise in echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound) or devices (ICD,Pacemakers,Complex) or even Cath Lab (angiograms, PCI's, Device implants, EP studies etc..). Once you get accredited by the governing board of your chosen speciality you will become a band 7 and after 5 years of experience you can apply for a band 8 (managerial role). Overall, it is a very varied role and you still have a lot of patient contact. You wont get rich, but you will live a fairly comfortable life working a normal 9-5 unless you go to a trust that requires you to be on call (for PCI's). A lot about cardiac physiology is practical experience so you will learn as you go


Hi - our daughter had her heart set on being a Doctor and is projected 3X A*'s - unfortunately she didn't do as well in the UCAT as needed and its not looking good. Your overview of career development is the best explanation we've seen so thatnkyou for taking the time as it really helps. Do you think you could ever reach Consultant level after starting with a 3 Year Cardiac Physiology Degree?
Reply 11
You can’t become a consultant without being a doctor first, cardiac physiologists are not doctors so no
Thankyou - appreciate your time in helping us - very difficult to get career information.
As an international student witg bsc(hons) cardiac care is it difficult to get band 5 cardiac physiologist role with a UK masters

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