Pediatric Cardiology 2015 Workforce Assessment

Study Questions:

What is the status of the pediatric cardiology workforce in the United States?


A survey was administered to members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery and to board-certified or board-eligible pediatric cardiologists. A generic portion of the survey addressed training, clinical practice, and demographic characteristics. An additional 41 questions were specific to pediatric cardiologists. Specific questions pertaining to trainees and job searches were asked only of fellowship program directors, while questions regarding plans for physician staffing and hiring were asked only of division or department chiefs.


A total of 2,897 individuals were contacted, with a response rate of 28% (823 surveys). The response rate for program directors was 87%, while the response rate for division chiefs was 71%. Program directors reported that in the academic years of 2013/2014 and 2014/2015, 140 of 237 (59%) fellows completing a 3-year categorical fellowship pursued additional training. Of the remaining 97 graduates who directly entered the workforce, 51 (53%) joined an academic practice, while 46 (36%) joined a private practice. As compared with 141 open categorical fellowship positions per year, responses from division chiefs estimated 135 job openings per year over the next 2 years. The most difficult fields for job placement included cardiac catheterization, electrophysiology, and general cardiology, while the easiest fields were critical care cardiology, heart failure/transplant, and adult congenital cardiology.


The authors concluded that the pediatric cardiology field is currently very competitive and that training programs should avoid an increase in fellowship training positions until the next survey is performed.


The current study suggests a tightening of the job market for newly trained pediatric cardiologists, particularly for those trained in electrophysiology and interventional catheterization. There has been a significant increase in pediatric cardiology fellowship positions in the last decade, increasing from 61 positions in 2004 to 141 positions in 2015. This increase is likely multifactorial, but may be in part due to work hour restrictions resulting in a larger number of fellows required to fulfill clinical duties at academic centers. There also appears to be a mismatch between candidate skillsets and available positions, with the greatest availability in adult congenital heart disease, cardiac intensive care, and heart failure/transplant. The data support close monitoring of the workforce over the next several years, with a goal of matching the number of training positions to anticipated job openings.

Keywords: Cardiac Catheterization, Cardiac Surgical Procedures, Critical Care, Electrophysiology, Education, Employment, Fellowships and Scholarships, Health Workforce, Heart Defects, Congenital, Heart Failure, Pediatrics, Private Practice

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