How do you become a Cardiac Physiologist?

The training of cardiac physiologists has changed a lot through the history of the profession. Personally I did a 4 year honours degree specifically in clinical physiology (cardiology), I worked at my training hospital for that time and was on day release to university for my lectures.

Today things are very different.

There are two main entry routes now, an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree. However there are now apprenticeships appearing at numerous hospitals.

The undergraduate degree is called the NHS practitioner training program (PTP) and is a three year degree. It initially covers a range of disciplines which you then go on to specialise in one area i.e. cardiology. This degree includes block placements within the NHS, training in your chosen field, but also time spent in other areas. Within cardiology you will learn how to perform an ECG and ECG interpretation, holter monitoring and analysis, exercise testing, left heart and right heart caths, and basic pacing.

Universities who offer the PTP with cardiology:

Anglia Ruskin University
University of Leeds
Manchester Metropolitan University
Middlesex University
University of Plymouth
University of Southampton
St Georges University
University of Sunderland
Swansea University
University of Ulster
University of west England, Bristol
University of Wolverhampton

You will need to apply directly to these universities and they will have set entry requirements.
The post graduate degree is called the NHS Scientist training programme (STP), this is a three year programme working towards a masters degree. For entry you must have a degree 2:1 or 1st in a pure or applied science area which is relevant to cardiology.
This training program is run by The National School of Healthcare Science, and you will have to apply directly to them for a place. For further information on applying see here

If you join this programme direct, you will learn all of the above from the PTP including echocardiography. You will be expected to choose a sub specialism in this case either pacing or echocardiography.
You can apply to the STP if you are an existing physiologist and nominated to do so by your employer.

As part of the STP you will have a paid employment at your training hospital, generally this is a band 6.

The apprenticeships are a new addition to our training. These will primarily appear via NHS jobs at specific hospitals, each will be slightly different depending on how it is funded. From what I have seen so far it is likely university fees are subsidised if not totally paid for, and you will earn a basic apprenticeship salary.

If you have any further queries about joining a training program please contact me, and I will endeavour to help you the best I can


All the best



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