Industry Trends Physician

2022 cardiology salary report: Compensation, job satisfaction high among cardiologists

Illustration - cardiology salary report 2022

Medscape recently released its 2022 Cardiologist Compensation Report, an annual analysis that details cardiology salary trends, job satisfaction, supplemental income opportunities, administrative burden, and the aspects of the job found to be most rewarding and most challenging. Medscape surveyed more than 13,000 physicians in 2022 across nearly 30 specialties and found that while some physicians still report lingering financial impacts of the pandemic, cardiologists fared well financially compared to most physician specialties.

Average annual compensation and bonuses for cardiologists

Cardiologists reported an average salary of $490,000 in 2021, placing them among the top three specialties for income (behind orthopedics and plastic surgery). The average compensation for cardiologists increased approximately 7% over the prior year’s average earnings of $465,000.

Chart - How much did cardiologists earn

The Medscape survey found that approximately 57% of physicians received an incentive bonus last year. For cardiologists, the average incentive bonus in 2021 totaled $85,000 — an increase from the prior year average of $71,000.

Chart - cardiologists average incentive bonus

Despite these gains in compensation and bonuses, only a little more than half (57%) of cardiologists feel fairly compensated, a figure which places them toward the middle of physicians surveyed. One potential contributor to this sense of feeling unfairly compensated may be the methods used to calculate salary. Production bonuses that discourage extra time spent with a patient or other measures that don’t feel meaningful or relevant may have a negative impact on the sense of feeling fairly compensated.

Chart - which physicians feel fairly compensated

For Dr. Faisal Shamshad, an interventional cardiologist who works locum tenens full time, the freedom to spend more time with patients and follow through with their care was a major factor in his decision to pursue locums work.

“As a locums, I’m not under the pressure to generate a hospital’s relative value units, or RVUs,” says Shamshad. “Locums allows you to just focus on the medical part, which is why I went to medical school.”

Cardiologists’ administrative responsibilities

Cardiologists reported spending an average of 16.4 hours per week on administrative responsibilities, a figure which places cardiologists in the middle third of all physicians surveyed. This is slightly above the average administrative time reported by physicians overall (15.5 hours per week).

Chart - time cardiologists spend on paperwork and administration

For interventional cardiologist Dr. David Jessup, alleviating the administrative burden was a major factor in his decision to turn to locum tenens for his career.

“I can’t do administrative work,” Jessup says. “I never wanted to be a businessman. Locums really allows me the opportunity to be a doctor. I just show up and be the best doctor I can be.”

Supplemental income for cardiologists

Nearly three in 10 cardiologists reported taking extra work to supplement their full-time income. For most, this includes medical-related work or medical moonlighting, such as locum tenens work.

While cardiologists were somewhat less likely to take on extra work relative to physicians in general (36%), common reasons for pursuing supplemental work include early retirement, greater financial independence, and paying off student debt.

Chart - do cardiologists take extra work to supplement their income

Most rewarding, challenging aspects of cardiology

When it comes to the most rewarding aspects of their job, 34% of cardiologists credited relationships with and gratitude from patients as the most meaningful part of their work. Another 23% of cardiologists surveyed said finding answers and diagnoses was most gratifying and 21% felt satisfaction from the feeling of helping others and making the world a better place.

Chart - what is the most rewarding part of a cardiologist's job

Interventional cardiologist Dr. Gregory Kloehn knows something of the meaningful relationships forged through delivering care, particularly to underserved communities. Dr. Kloehn worked locums as an stop-gap between full-time positions by taking a locums assignment in a small community in desperate need of an interventional cardiologist.

“We stabilized a lot of patients, got them where they needed to be, or we treated them there. Working locums really meant a lot for patient care in that community.”

Among the aspects of their work they find most challenging, most cardiologists pointed to burdensome rules and regulations (26%), which is consistent with physicians overall. Cardiologists also cited demanding hours (21%) and the administrative burden of an EHR system (10%) among the most difficult parts of the job.

Chart - what is the most challenging part of a cardiologist's job

Job and specialty satisfaction

Despite the many challenges facing physicians since 2020, the report suggests high job and specialty satisfaction among cardiologists.

Eighty-one percent of cardiologists would choose a career in medicine again — the highest among all physicians surveyed. Further, 88% of cardiologists would choose their specialty again, placing them in the top third of physicians overall.

Chart - I would choose medicine again

Cardiologists are in high demand as locum tenens physicians. Give us a call at 954.343.3050 to learn more or view today’s locum tenens cardiologists job opportunities.

Chart images from Medscape.com

About the author

Allison Riley

Allison Riley is a public relations professional with more than 10 years experience in healthcare and corporate communications. She lives in New York City with her better half and two wonderful daughters. She and her girls are currently contending for world’s slowest recorded stair climb to a fifth-floor apartment, and she enjoys writing so she can just finish her sentence already.

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