All you need to know about working as a cardiac physiologist in the UK 

What is a cardiac physiologist?

Cardiac physiologists are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with heart disease. Their role responsibilities include setting up equipment, carrying out procedures and recording and analysing the results.

As a cardiac physiologist, you’re trained to notice impaired function of the heart: involving blood flow; myocardium structure; the electrical conduction system of the heart; the cardiac cycle and cardiac output. You’ll also be trained to notice how these interact and depend on one another, and how these affect other organs or systems within the body.

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Duties and responsibilities of a cardiac physiologist

Cardiac physiologists have many duties and responsibilities, such as cardiac tests, including:

  • Echocardiograms
  • ECGs
  • Holter monitors (24-hour ECG)
  • Blood pressure measurement
  • Tilt-table tests

Cardiac Physiologists may also work in the catheter lab assisting with angiogram and angioplasty procedures, or pacemaker/ ICD implantation.

Where do cardiac physiologists work?

Cardiac physiologists work in a variety of workplaces, including:

  • NHS hospitals
  • Private hospitals
  • Community hospitals
  • Private clinics
  • Mobile vans
  • Universities

What qualifications does a cardiac physiologist need?

To practise as a Cardiac Physiologist in the UK, you’ll need to have:

  • Minimum of five 9-4 (A*-C) grade GCSEs (or the equivalent), usually including maths, English and a double science GCSE; you should apply for at least two A levels (or the equivalent) at college or 6th form
  • Relevant post-graduate degree in specialist areas; if you’re a new graduate, you’ll need excellent references and practical experiences from your university
  • BSE, ARDMS, EACVI accreditation is desirable for Echocardiography roles
  • RCCP registration is desirable across all niches within cardiac physiology

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What is a cardiac physiologist’s salary?

  • Band 5: £28,407 to £34,581
  • Band 6: £35,392 to £42,618 
  • Band 7: £43,742 to £50,056

Banding works based on the skill set you have chosen to specify in. For example, an echocardiographer would usually look to be band 7+ level, cath lab/device physiologists can be Band 6/7+ and non-invasive physiologists can be band 5/6+.

Working as a locum cardiac physiologist

Working as a locum Cardiac Physiologist can differ to a full-time role in the following ways:

  • 6-12+ month contracts available
  • Can work weekends and evenings for enhanced rates
  • High expectations on a locum to come in and hit the ground running without a huge amount of training and/or supervision
  • You can pick where you want to work and what area of Physiology you want to work in
  • Gain experience using different computer systems and settings
  • Tend to avoid bureaucracy
  • Greater flexibility with hours
  • Paid per hour worked
  • Increased rate
  • 1 weeks’ notice if you wish is to try a different role
  • Weekly payments

Locum cardiac physiologist pay rate

  • Band 5: £18-24+ per hour
  • Band 6: £28-38+ per hour
  • Band 7: £38-45+ per hour

How to become a cardiac physiologist

To work as a cardiac physiologist in the UK, you’ll need to apply for an approved 3-year healthcare science degree where you can specialise in cardiac physiology, which includes placements in the NHS. To apply, you’ll typically need at least two A levels (or equivalent level 3 qualifications), including a science subject.

Healthcare science practitioner degree apprenticeships where you could specialise in cardiac physiology may be available in some parts of the country and you’ll usually need the same level of GCSEs and A levels or equivalent qualifications. Alternatively, you could take a science degree then apply for the NHS Scientist Training Programme.

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