Healthcare Salaries, Benefits and Career Prospects
Electrophysiologist Salary Info
Electrophysiologists study for years, but they make the big bucks. Find out what the average electrophysiologist salary includes, how much education it takes to reach among the highest wages in the field, and what exactly this medical position does.
If you’re considering a career practicing medicine on heart issues, you may consider becoming an electrophysiologist. An electrophysiologist salary is among some of the highest wages among doctors and out of the entire job market nationwide, and the position comes with added bonuses. Learn what an electrophysiologist does and how you can become one to start earning the money you deserve.
An electrophysiologist (EP) is a cardiology doctor who specializes in treatment plans to correct heart rhythm issues, which happens when your heart beats irregularly or too quickly and negatively impact your daily activities and lifestyle.
The job is very similar to a cardiologist, only these professionals specialize in treating every type of heart condition. Cardiologists mostly focus on the part of the heart responsible for pumping blood to the body’s vital organs, but it is the electrical pulses that electrophysiologists study responsible for getting the job done and sometimes they can fall out of sequence causing arrhythmias.
Because the field is more specialized, electrophysiologists require more training as well. Many cardiologists only have a single year of study in this realm, while EPs dedicate their careers to studying the electrical system in the heart and learning how to diagnose arrhythmias.
An EP will also diagnose other heart disorders, which can include irregular heartbeats like:
Tachycardia – rapid heartbeats
Bradycardia – Slow heartbeats
The most common type of arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat an EP will treat is known as atrial fibrillation (AFib), which happens if the upper chambers in the heart irregularly contract. AFib is extremely common in America, and it’s the most likely cause of patients forming blood clots that lead to deadly strokes.
Irregular heartbeats often have other symptoms, and you may have a heart condition without noticing any symptoms for years. An experienced EP will check your heart’s electrical activity to locate the abnormal heartbeat and determine a treatment plan. You should seek an EP immediately if you feel:
Shortness of breath
An EPs testing will take place in an EP lab under mild sedation, and the results will help determine the medicine you need and whether you’re at risk of problems associated with the heart such as sudden cardiac death from cardiac arrest or fainting. Further treatment options could include:
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
This position requires a large range of highly skilled proficiencies, from using medical instruments and computer technology to troubleshooting and diagnosing patients’ heart problems. All doctors also need communication and interpersonal skills, and they may need to contact vendors to report issues or regular maintenance with their instruments.
Because medicine is a field that requires constant learning, an EP may also mentor and supervise interns and younger EPs as their career advances. However, daily duties include:
Conducting on-call services
Performing testing on the heart
Completing invasive cardiology procedures, like implanting devices
To become an electrophysiologist, you need to complete medical school before heading to an electrophysiologist fellowship. You’ll start with a pre-med degree in college, followed by four years of medical school. Then, you become a cardiologist with three more years studying cardiology before facing another three years in the subspecialty of electrophysiology.
Board certification in cardiovascular disease or electrophysiology is also required before you can practice and begin earning a lucrative salary. Beginning a career in this field can take at least 14 years of higher education and training in total to complete. Typical internal medical practitioners only require eight years of education.
Many employers will also seek candidates who belong to professional organizations, and EPs must stay up to date on all vital medical data concerning their field. They may need to continue taking classes and attending conferences well into their career. Technology is ever-changing, and this field relies heavily on the technological advancements, so EPs must know what options are available.
After training, most EPs network with their colleagues to find positions in the job market. There are physician recruitment firms that may reach out to you with positions in heart device-related companies. However, most EPs find roles working in a hospital setting or an office. Typically, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, physicians who work in offices make more than those in hospitals.
The Heart Rhythm Society website is also a great source for new EPs searching for job opportunities.
How Much Does the Average Electrophysiologist Make?
While the BLS doesn’t have specific data for electrophysiologists alone, this professional typically earns a significantly higher average salary than noninvasive cardiology specialists. The average annual pay listed in the BLS for physicians and surgeons overall is over $208,000.
Although, an electrophysiologist salary is among the most lucrative positions in medicine, with median wages ranging between $500,000 to $1 million per year. Plastic surgeons, for comparison, only make around $211,390-$251,890 per year. This means the average EP can easily make among the top 10% of all physicians within their first year and progress with experience.
EPs can also own their personal practices, and nurse practitioners and advanced practice nurses can specialize in electrophysiology as well. According to Career Trend, the average EP salary regardless of experience-level is $595,157 per year.
There is also a shortage among all cardiologists in the job market, meaning there is a very strong job outlook for electrophysiologists. While the shortage is expected to resolve by 2025, a shortage in general cardiology jobs is expected to continue in the future. At the same time, the number of EPs is expected to double by 2036 as millennials begin to reach retirement age.
The main reason for this shortage is that nearly 40% of current general cardiologistsare over the age of 55 and expected to retire soon, leaving roles without enough people to fill their shoes. However, this may also make it easier for students to complete the education necessary to earn a lucrative career, as universities may offer scholarships or other incentives to get students into the field.
It’s important to note that electrophysiologists who have just finished their first year of residency or fellowships make much less than their experienced colleagues. During the first year, they can expect to make closer to the lower 10% of the average wages for this profession.
Specialties may also determine your salary, with invasive cardiovascular surgeries among the highest. EPs who work in pediatric cardiovascular surgery may also earn even more.
Salaries Based on Location
As newer electrophysiologists make varying wages than those who’ve held the position for a while, states will also vary in the salaries they offer. Some locations have a higher need for people in this role and will pay higher salaries to attract electrophysiologists to their state. Others will simply have a higher population, which means a greater need for doctors.
The top paying states for all types of physicians include:
Salaries don’t tell the entire story when it comes to medical positions. Jobs in this field often come with added bonuses as well that are not considered in average salary information, including:
Paid relocation expenses
In a Forbes article published in 2012, five electrophysiologists working as clinical professors or associate professors at Ohio State University received base salaries of $651,000 to $658,000, but when the school asked them to arrange a cardiac electrophysiology program that treats patients on location, they were given bonuses around $1.3 million.
Similar Career Paths
A cardiologist, who instead focuses on the heart pumps instead of the electric pulse, is the closest career path to an EP. Their education takes at least three years less to complete, and you will study the same processes – just in a slightly less specialized way.
It’s not uncommon for doctors who specialize in cardiology to later return to school and specialize in the more invasive electrophysiology. Cardiologists can earn extra training to become an EP sometimes in as little as a year or two and begin earning a more lucrative salary.
There are many other lucrative specialties and positions in the medical field and pursuing a career as a doctor will lead to high salaries and high student loans. Keep in mind that financial aid and scholarship options are available, as well as student loan forgiveness programs. They can help cut back your debt and help you keep more money in your pocket each year.