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

Becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon is a long and rigorous process that requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for medicine. Here is a detailed description of the steps involved in becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon:

  • Earn a Bachelor's Degree: To become a cardiothoracic surgeon, the first step is to earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. While there is no specific undergraduate major required to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, most students choose to major in pre-med, biology, or a related field.
  • Attend Medical School: After completing a bachelor's degree, the next step is to attend medical school. Medical school typically takes four years to complete and involves classroom instruction, clinical rotations, and hands-on training. During medical school, students will learn about anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and other medical disciplines.
  • Complete a Residency: After graduating from medical school, aspiring cardiothoracic surgeons must complete a residency program in surgery. This residency typically lasts five years and includes both classroom instruction and practical training in a hospital or clinic setting. During this time, residents will gain experience in all aspects of surgery, including cardiothoracic surgery.
  • Complete a Fellowship: After completing a surgery residency, aspiring cardiothoracic surgeons must complete a fellowship program in cardiothoracic surgery. This fellowship typically lasts two to three years and provides specialized training in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of heart, lung, and other thoracic diseases. During the fellowship, the surgeon will work alongside experienced cardiothoracic surgeons and gain hands-on experience in complex surgical procedures.
  • Obtain Licensure and Certification: In order to practice as a cardiothoracic surgeon, one must be licensed by the state in which they wish to practice. Licensure requirements vary by state but typically involve passing a state medical board examination. Additionally, many cardiothoracic surgeons choose to obtain board certification from the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, which requires passing a rigorous exam.

Board Certification
Board certification for cardiothoracic surgeons is a credential that indicates that a surgeon has completed a rigorous training program and has passed a certification examination in the field of cardiothoracic surgery. This certification is awarded by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS), which is a specialty board recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

To become board-certified, a cardiothoracic surgeon must meet several requirements, including completing a minimum of five years of residency training in surgery, completing an additional two to three years of fellowship training specifically in cardiothoracic surgery, and passing a comprehensive written and oral examination.

Board certification indicates that a surgeon has the knowledge and skills necessary to provide high-quality care in the field of cardiothoracic surgery. It is an important credential for patients to consider when choosing a surgeon, as it demonstrates a commitment to continuing education and professional development in this highly specialized area of medicine.