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Average Salary: $300,000

Expected Lifetime Earnings: $12,524,400

So, what does being a cardiologist do for your bank account? It's a fair question, considering how long it takes to get there. Some of what you can make, money-wise, depends on what type of cardiologist—invasive or non-invasive—you become. Private practice non-invasive heart doctors are among the best paid in the industry, earning $300,000+ per year (source).

Even though medical school is expensive, paying off your student loans with that kind of cash coming in shouldn't take too many years. It also means you can finally afford to throw out that 101 Ways to Make Ramen Noodles cookbook. If you're a cardiologist, you probably already threw out those recipes a long time ago.

No more food experiments for you. (Source)

Don't get excited about becoming an epicure, though. Any kind of cooking will have to take a backseat to your career as a heart doctor. There's no time to learn the ins and outs of wild mushroom gathering when your days are jam-packed seeing patients and keeping up with the latest medical and pharmaceutical advancements. There are always new things to learn, new treatment regimens to investigate, new drug therapies and protocols to understand, and endless rounds to make at the hospital.

Your dedication will be rewarded, though. You'll know you've helped hundreds of people get healthier by taking care of their hearts with diet, exercise, and medication. Just don't get too busy telling others how to stay healthy and forget to take care of yourself. If you want to keep making the big bucks, you need to set an example for your patients by keeping balance in your life, getting enough rest, and staying in shape.

Exhausting, right? We're getting tired just thinking about it. But that's why cardiologists get paid the big bucks.

While $300,000 a year is very nice, it's not Oprah money. Make sure you know about the business side of owning your own practice to CYA—cover your assets. The way you choose to run your business can mean the difference between losing some money if you're hit with a malpractice suit, and losing everything you own. Get your business knowledge on at Shmoop.