Is becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon right for me?

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What do cardiothoracic surgeons do?
Career Satisfaction
Are cardiothoracic surgeons happy with their careers?
What are cardiothoracic surgeons like?

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How to become a Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Those who want to become a cardiothoracic surgeon will need to get a bachelor's degree in a science, such as biology or chemistry. After passing the MCAT exam, four years of medical school need to be completed, followed by a five to seven year general surgery residency. Once finished the residency, a two or three year cardiothoracic surgery fellowship is required.

It is important to note that the cardiothoracic surgery fellowship certification is based on the number of surgeries performed as the operating surgeon, not the time spent in the program. This is in addition to passing rigorous board certification tests. Recently, however, many programs now offer the option for an integrated six year cardiothoracic residency (in place of the general surgery residency plus cardiothoracic residency).

Some cardiothoracic surgeons choose to do additional training in a sub-specialized area but this is optional with the exception of congenital heart surgery, which does require the completion of a one-year fellowship.