Explore Hot Cardiology Careers in Virginia

Starting Fresh: Explore Hot Cardiology Careers in Virginia

Posted on Feb 29, 2024

With the demand for heart care on the rise, starting a career in cardiology can be a smart choice for those looking to support community health in a field with strong professional growth opportunities! Use our guide to understand popular cardiology careers in Virginia, cardiology career salaries, and more.

Explore hot cardiology careers and more on On Board Virginia’s job board!

What is Cardiology?

Cardiology is a medical field that studies and treats heart disorders, including the surrounding vascular system (the circulatory system that includes the heart, blood vessels, and blood). Medical professionals specializing in cardiology work to ensure that a patient’s heart can properly process oxygen and nutrients in their blood.

Cardiology can be:

Invasive – Requiring open or minimal surgery.

Non-Invasive – Treatment that doesn’t involve surgery.

Interventional – Non-surgical treatment using a catheter.

Is Cardiology a Good Career Choice? Rising Demand in Virginia

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Virginia, with about 16,654 deaths recorded in 2021. While this ranks lower than the overall national death rate, the Virginia Department of Health still prioritizes public heart health.

Medical experts predict that demand for cardiology careers will only continue to increase as the aging population grows and people live longer. One Merritt Hawkins report in 2022 notes that cardiology was the eighth most requested specialty searched in 2021/2022, suggesting that healthcare facilities needed cardiologists.

Cardiology careers also present ample room for professional growth. Cardiologists have one of the highest physician starting salaries according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, Washington, DC, Arlington, and Alexandria report an annual mean wage of $475,580 (about $228 per hour). Competitive salary options and the potential to expand into subspecialties make a career in cardiology an enticing choice!

Finding Careers in Cardiology

Modern cardiology careers aren’t limited to cardiologists. Cardiology spans several career paths, from medical technicians (like sonographers) to cardiac nurses and surgeons.

Keep in mind that each career path may have different education requirements. The salary ranges can vary widely depending on location, experience, and living costs.

Cardiova​​scular Technician

A cardiovascular technician (also known as a cardiographic technician or an EKG technician) uses electrocardiogram (EKG) equipment to run diagnostic tests on patients. They’re responsible for monitoring a patient’s heart and blood pressure and relaying the data to a physician.

The average annual salary for a cardiovascular technician in Virginia is $42,400.

A high school diploma or equivalent is required. Many employers prefer EKG technicians to complete an accredited training program. You can become a Certified EKG Technician (CET) by taking a two-hour exam, which can help you stand out. Many hospitals also offer on-the-job training for newly trained techs.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist

A cardiac rehabilitation specialist (also called a cardiac rehab specialist or respiratory rehab therapist) works with patients recovering from heart attacks or heart surgery. They develop rehabilitation plans using specialized exercises to help patients improve their cardiovascular health. That might include education on nutrition, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and more.

The average annual salary for a cardiac rehabilitation specialist in Virginia is $49,000.

A bachelor’s degree in a health-related field, a current registered nurse (RN) license, or a current registered respiratory therapist (RRT) credential. After gaining experience, cardiac rehabilitation specialists can get additional credentials to stand out, such as the Certified Cardiac Rehabilitation Professional (CCRP) Certification.

Cardiovascular Technologist

A cardiovascular technologist works in a cardiac catheterization lab to support hospitals. They can perform more complex procedures compared to cardiovascular technicians, though their duties may overlap.

The average annual salary for a cardiovascular technologist in Virginia is $66,000, which may increase with a specialty.

Most employers require an associate degree from an accredited cardiovascular technologist program, though some may require a bachelor’s degree. Cardiovascular technologists can also earn additional certificates, including the Registered Cardiac Sonographer (RCS) Certification and the Registered Cardiovascular Invasive Specialist (RCIS) Certification.

Cardiac Nurse

A cardiac nurse is an RN specializing in cardiac care. They work under cardiologists to treat patients with heart conditions, administer heart medications, and even assist with heart surgery.

The average annual salary for a cardiac nurse in Virginia is $77,700.

A two-year ADN or a four-year BSN is required, as well as passing the NCLEX-RN to become an RN. From there, RNs can take entry-level cardiac nursing roles to gain experience while pursuing continued education.

An experienced cardiac nurse can earn additional certifications to stand out, including the Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (CV-BC), the Cardiac Surgery Certification (CSC), and the Cardiac Medicine Certification (CMC). Some may advance to a Nurse Practitioner role.


A cardiologist is a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats heart and blood vessel diseases. After evaluating a patient’s condition, they create treatment plans to help individuals improve their heart health.

The average annual salary for a cardiologist in Virginia is between $347,000–$518,700, depending on experience and specialization.

It takes a minimum of 10 years to become a cardiologist, including four years of medical school, three years of residency, and three years of a cardiology fellowship. Even after becoming licensed to practice, cardiologists must keep up with modern cardiology practices. Cardiologists can choose to specialize in different niches to stand out.

Cardiothoracic Surgeon

A cardiothoracic surgeon is a medical doctor who can perform surgical procedures on the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs within your chest. They are different from cardiac surgeons who specialize in the heart and the connecting major blood vessels.

The average annual salary for a cardiothoracic surgeon in Virginia is between $415,000–$650,000, depending on experience and specialization.

It takes a minimum of 10 years to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, including four years of medical school and 6–8 years of surgical training in a cardiothoracic surgery residency program. Cardiothoracic surgeons can continue to specialize in specific areas to stand out.

Ready to Start Your Career in Cardiology?

With the aging population and Virginia’s focus on heart health, cardiology careers are projected to be in high demand! Cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons study and practice for years to master their disciplines. Other positions like technicians, nurses, and cardiac rehabilitation specialists can also provide fulfilling careers in cardiology and require different training and expertise.

Whichever path you choose, a good medical program can help you get started on the right foot! Use On Board Virginia’s map of healthcare programs to find the right program for you.