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The Real Poop

Janet Jackson once demanded, ''Gimme a beat.'' She didn't even say ''please.''

When you're a Grammy-winning musician, you don't have to ask nicely for a good beat. It's one of two professions that allows that sort of thing. Other than MMA fighting, of course..,but you'd probably like to avoid being punched in the face.

Yeah, we're talking about cardiology. Cardiologists (a.k.a. heart doctors) are all about good beats. Of course, nobody goes to a cardiologist when their heart is working properly. You're going to hear many more bad beats than good ones if you choose this career. But the chance to turn a bad beat into a good one—there's no beating that.

Good cardiologists are energetic, curious people who don't frazzle easily. They've got enough energy to be on their feet all day, see patient after patient without losing an ounce of sympathy or decorum, hit the gym after work, and then spend their evenings doing some research about the latest heart-related news. It's a high-stress job with very little downtime.

Seems legit. (Source)

The payoff is pretty sweet, though. How's $300,000 a year sound? Plus, you know, saving lives.

Private practice cardiologists start their days around 6:00AM, make it to the office by 8:00AM, and see patients all day. Echocardiograms? They can do them over and over. Stress tests? No problem. Electrocardiograms? They're amped. But it's not all testing in the office. Part of a cardiologist's day is spent making rounds at the hospital to consult with a patient after surgery or to check on an established patient who's had a heart attack or other heart-related event in order to discuss treatment plans.

Cardiologists are in high demand as heart-related diseases are on the rise. The number of people who are overweight is increasing, as are conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Plus, people are living longer, which increases the likelihood that they'll need specialized medical care. Hearts break all the time—and not just because Mufasa was killed in a wildebeest stampede.

Keep a stiff upper lip, folks.

Cardiologists must be highly energetic, and they must also practice what they preach. In other words, these doctors need to maintain their own physical fitness in order to set a good example for their patients. Imagine a large heart doctor, munching on a bacon cheeseburger, is...hey, stop daydreaming about bacon cheeseburgers for a second. Focus.

If this doctor tried to talk to someone about keeping their heart healthy by eating properly and staying fit, it probably wouldn't go too well. As busy as you'd be working in your cardiology practice, plan on making time to hit the gym or pound the pavement.

The good news if you're considering a cardiology career? There are top programs scattered all across the U.S (source).

From Cornell to the University of Alabama-Birmingham to Stanford, north to south, East Coast to West Coast, there's a top-rated cardiology program ready to help you reach your goal.

Cardiology is even more challenging than striking this pose...we're still working on touching our toes. (Source)

Becoming a cardiologist is challenging. First, you have to finish college, and then you have to complete medical school and get a license to practice medicine in the state where you live. Then, you'll go on to a three-year residency in general internal medicine before completing another three-year residency in cardiology. In other words, if you begin college at eighteen years old and progress on time through each stage, you'll be thirty-two years old before becoming a full-fledged cardiologist.

If just thinking about being thirty-two makes you say, "I just can't even...," trust us, it will be here much sooner than you think. Before you know it, you'll be old enough to yell at the neighborhood kids to get off your lawn.

Yes. Yes, you will.