Cardiac physiologists investigate and monitor the workings of the heart. They use equipment to record things such as heart rhythm and to measure electrical activity in the heart. Their findings help doctors to diagnose heart problems and decide on treatment. Cardiac physiologists also support patients who have pacemakers, making sure they work properly.
Also known as
- Cardiac Clinical Scientific Officer (CCSO)
- Medical Technical Officer - Cardiology
- Physiological Measurement Technician - Cardiology
- Cardiological Technician
- Clinical Physiologist - Cardiology
- Bank Cardiac Physiologist
- Chief Cardiac Physiologist
As a Cardiac Physiologist, you will perform a range of tests on people who are suspected of having heart problems and people who have been diagnosed with these.
Your findings will help Doctors to diagnose cardiac (heart) problems, decide on treatment, and monitor patients' progress.
You will also set up and use equipment, for example, to record heart rhythm, measure electrical activity in the heart, assess blood circulation and take blood pressure.
Specialist equipment is used by Cardiac Physiologists. An example of this is using ultrasound to assess the function of the heart. During a procedure called cardiac catheterisation, you measure pressure and oxygen within the heart.
You could also carry out tests on resting and walking patients. Part of your work includes taking and reporting recordings from electrocardiograms (ECGs) of the heart's electrical activity.
You will provide reports for, and discuss your findings with, specialist heart Doctors (Cardiologists). This also includes providing a service for other medical professionals.
Cardiac Physiologists also work closely with patients who have pacemakers, making sure they work properly and are comfortable.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Cardiac Physiologist, you'll need:
- an interest in science, technology and the workings of the heart
- a careful, thorough approach to your work, with attention to detail
- the ability to take precise measurements, interpret data and keep accurate records
- teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills to work with patients, Doctors and other Healthcare Workers
Pay and Opportunities
NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities. The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting - Band 6: £30,401 - £37,267
- With experience - Band 7: £37,570 - £43,772
- Senior Cardiac Physiologists - Band 9: £89,537 - £103,860
Hours of work
Cardiac Physiologists usually work a 37-hour week, Monday to Friday. Part-time work may be available. Some Cardiac Physiologists work shifts on a rota basis. Many Cardiac Physiologists also work on-call (outside normal working hours, both at night and at the weekend), mainly to deal quickly with patients having a heart attack.
Where could I work?
Most Cardiac Physiologists work in the NHS in specialist departments and specialised investigation laboratories. Other employers include private hospitals, GPs' practices and the armed forces.
Opportunities for Cardiac Physiologists occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on the NHS Jobs website, in local/national newspapers and on job boards.
Entry Routes and Training
Entry routes and training
To become a Cardiac Physiologist, you can take a three-year degree in healthcare science that allows you to specialise in cardiac physiology.
The Society for Cardiological Science and Technology (SCST) accredits degree courses.
Graduates with a first (undergraduate) degree in a relevant science subject (2:1 or above) can apply to the Scientist Training Programme (STP).
Each NHS organisation that advertises STP vacancies decides which degree subjects are relevant, but these could include physiology, pure or applied physics, engineering, biology or human biology. You'll be employed by a physiology department which will then arrange your clinical training for you. You'll also work towards a masters degree.
The Welsh Government funds the education and training for a range of health professional education courses, (details of the specific courses can be found at: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/undergraduate-education). To be eligible for a bursary you must commit to working in Wales following completion of your programme.
More information about the NHS Wales Bursary Scheme can be accessed on the Student awards Services website: http://www.nwssp.wales.nhs.uk/course-starts-on-or-after-1-september-20
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
Some entrants do need a degree to get into this career as a Cardiac Physiologist. Experience working in a caring environment will help you get into this career such as in a care home or a hospital.
You could specialise or go into a supervisory or management role. Some Cardiac Physiologists move into research or teaching posts.
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
This career is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to.
This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.
To enter a degree course in healthcare science (cardiac physiology), you'll usually need:
- 3 A levels, including at least one science subject or maths
- GCSEs at grade C/4 and above in your A level subjects
- a further 2/3 GCSEs (A*- C or 9 - 4), including English and maths
Equivalent qualifications, such as BTEC level 3 qualifications and the International Baccalaureate Diploma, might be acceptable for entry - please check college/university websites very carefully.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
If you don't have the qualifications you need to enter a degree in healthcare science (cardiac physiology), you might be able to start one after completing a college or university Access course, for example, Access to Science. You don't usually need any qualifications to start an Access course, although you should check this with the course provider.
- 11% of people in occupations such as cardiac physiologist work part-time.
- 4% have flexible hours.
- 5% of employees work on a temporary basis.
Professional institutions have the following roles:
- To support their members.
- To protect the public by keeping standards high in their professions.
The Society for Cardiological Science and Technology is the professional institution for this career.
NHS Wales Careers
Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare
Step into the NHS
Tel: 0345 6060655
Skills for Health
Skills for the health sector
Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP
Tel: 0117 9221155
NHS Education for Scotland (NES)
Address: Westport 102, West Port, Edinburgh EH3 9DN
Tel: 0131 6563200
Registration Council for Clinical Physiologists (RCCP)
Address: Hodgkin Huxley House, 30 Farringdon Lane, London EC1R 3AW
Tel: 020 7269 5710
Society for Cardiological Science and Technology (SCST)
Address: Executive Business Support (EBS), City Wharf, Davidson Road, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS14 9DZ
Tel: 0845 8386037