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How to Become a Cardiologist in Canada

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Cardiology is a branch of medicine that addresses disorders of the cardiovascular system, such as congenital heart defects, clogged arteries and hypertension. According to a report by the Canadian Cardiovascular Society in 2010, a rapidly aging population and the rise in conditions such as high cholesterol have led to high demand for cardiologists in Canada. To become a cardiologist, you must obtain a medical degree followed by postgraduate specialty residency training in internal medicine culminating in a comprehensive examination. This is followed by sub-specialty residency training in adult or pediatric cardiology and a certification examination.

Earn an undergraduate degree with a high grade-point average (GPA). Depending on the admission policies of the medical school, the undergraduate dregrees may be three-year or four-year programs. In general, any major is acceptable if prerequisite coursework in physics, chemistry and biology is fulfilled. The coursework needed for admission varies, so arrange your studies according to the medical school you want to attend. Admission into medical school is competitive. Consider participating in extracurricular activities and volunteer work to improve you admission credentials.

Apply to medical school and complete a medical degree. A number of Canadian medical schools require candidates to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) directed by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Further requirements may include interviews, personal statements of interest and letters of reference. Be aware of current admission requirements of the medical school of your choice. There are 17 medical-degree programs in the country requiring three to five years of basic medical training. Consult the Association of Universities and Colleges in Canada for information on scholarships and funding options.

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Complete postgraduate specialty training and certification in internal medicine. Prior to training in the sub-specialty of cardiology, candidates must obtain a specialty in internal medicine, consisting of four years of approved residency training. This is followed by a certification exam administered by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada consisting of two three-hour written exams followed by an oral test based on clinical case scenarios.

Complete postgraduate sub-specialty training and certification in cardiology. The content of this training depends on whether you choose to sub-specialize in adult or pediatric cardiology. In both cases, three years of resident training in an approved adult cardiology or pediatric cardiology residency program is required, consisting of a combination of clinical, laboratory and research training. Candidates must request a training assessment directed by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Following completion of this residency training, candidates receive notification of their eligibility to take the exam, which is offered once a year and consists of a three-hour written paper, a practical graphic component and an oral test based on case scenarios.

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