How to Become a Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Article at a Glance

    • Cardiothoracic surgeons focus their efforts on the organs, bony structure and tissues that form the chest cavity.
    • Many years of schooling are required to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. Patience and intense focus are keys to remaining dedicated and consistent.
    • To be successful as a cardiothoracic surgeon, a person must possess physical skills, leadership abilities, and emotional capacity.
    • Cardiothoracic surgery is comprised of four main areas: general surgery, heart and lung transplants, surgery specific to adults, and congenital surgery. Within those areas, a surgeon can choose an area of the chest cavity to focus on.
    • The earnings potential and personal fulfillment for a cardiothoracic surgeon may more than offsets the years of schooling and associated expenses.
    • Advances in cardiothoracic surgery make this young and growing medical field safer than it has ever been. Four specific advances have improved survival rates for patients.


become a cardiothoracic surgeon

What is the focus of a cardiothoracic surgeon?

To become a cardiothoracic surgeon, you first have to be interested in the organs, bony structures and tissues that form the chest cavity. A cardiothoracic surgeon treats and provides surgical interventions for diseases occurring in these areas.

Cardiac and thoracic surgery are separate surgical specialties in some countries. But in the United States and the United Kingdom, they are usually combined. When considered separately, cardiac surgery involves surgery to the heart and large blood vessels. Thoracic surgery involves surgery to the lungs and other structures within the chest cavity.

Education needed to become a cardiothoracic surgeon

The path to become a cardiothoracic surgeon is long, but rewarding. The first step is education.

Most students endeavoring to become cardiothoracic surgeons follow a road similar to this:

  • Obtain a 4-year undergraduate degree in pre-med with an emphasis on science.
  • Attend and graduate from a 4-year medical school.
  • Complete a 5-year general surgery residency program.
  • Enter a 2- or 3-year cardiothoracic surgery residency program, or enter a 6-year integrated cardiothoracic surgery residency.

Residencies in all surgeries and surgical specialties are competitive, so doing very well in medical school is vital if you want to be selected.

Some cardiothoracic surgeons choose to do additional training in a subspecialized area like heart and lung surgeries. However, with one exception, additional training in a specific area is option. The single exception is congenital heart surgery, which mandates completion of an additional 1-year fellowship.

What are the attributes that I need to become a cardiothoracic surgeon?

Cardiothoracic surgery is a highly demanding role for which you need a unique blend of skills and personal qualities. You will also need significant leadership expertise. In addition to the characteristics possessed by all successful surgeons, a cardiothoracic surgeon also requires skills in the following areas.


  • Exceptional hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
  • High perception of spatial relationships among and between objects.
  • Ability to work long hours without a break.
  • Undivided focus in spite of potential distractions.


  • The capacity to remain calm and level-headed in very stressful situations.
  • The aptitude to monitor developing conditions in and out of the operating room.
  • The foresight to anticipate potential issues and complications.
  • The ability to thrive under pressure.
  • The desire and proficiency to lead and direct a team.
  • The capability to inspire confidence in others.


  • The resilience to cope with unexpectedly changing circumstances.
  • A supportive disposition for the patient, their family, and your team in sometimes problematic circumstances.

What types of conditions do cardiothoracic surgeons treat?

Since the late 1940s, cardiothoracic surgery has experience brisk growth and fast-moving technological changes. The specialty is considered young and evolving as science and research reveal more about the cardiothoracic area of the body.

The field of cardiothoracic surgery includes:

  • Adult cardiac surgery.
  • Congenital cardiac surgery.
  • General thoracic surgery.
  • Heart and lung transplant surgery.

Cardiac surgeons perform the following types of surgeries:

  • Aortic surgery – replaces enlarged or damaged blood vessels leaving the heart.
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery – bypasses narrowed coronary arteries, restoring blood flow to the heart.
  • Heart valve surgery – repairs and replaces usually thin or leaking heart valves.

Surgeries completed by thoracic surgeons include:

  • Pectus surgery – repairs chest wall deformities.
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) – treats some thoracic disorders without opening the chest.
  • Lung surgery – inflates collapsed lungs and removes abnormal tissues from them.

Congenital cardiac surgeons treat diseases and correct physical conditions present in babies and children who have suffered with them from birth. These surgeons repair the following types of conditions:

  • When the aortic or aortic and pulmonary valve is narrower than usual.
  • When there is a a hole between two of the heart’s chambers.
  • When the arteries are transposed.

A cardiothoracic surgeon’s earning potential

Cardiothoracic surgery is not for the faint-of-heart. Long years of training, working, studying, and practical surgical experience require intense focus. A residency as well as years practicing as a cardiothoracic surgeon are required. That’s how you become the best surgeon you can be in this delicate specialty. Given the time and financial resources needed, you may be interested in knowing what the return could be on your investment.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2016, physicians practicing primary care earned a total median annual compensation of $251,578. Physicians practicing in medical specialties received a total yearly median salary of $425,509. It is important to note that BLS figures may not include the income of doctors and surgeons in private practice.

Earning potential may increase with additional certifications. To become certified in cardiothoracic surgery you must complete a specialty residency and pass exams from the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS). The ABTS administers the same tests for all heart surgeons and thoracic surgeons, regardless of their scope of practice. If you wish, after achieving general certification, you can qualify as a subspecialist in congenital heart surgery through passing an additional exam.

Besides earnings, cardiothoracic surgeons often see some immediate and life-changing results of their work. When patients are able to return to most, if not all of their activities, the work becomes emotionally rewarding and filled with purpose.

Watch this video of a cardiothoracic surgeon opening up a patient’s chest cavity:

Advances in cardiothoracic surgery

The heart has intrigued mankind throughout history, ascribing to the heart mystical and spiritual attributes. As an organ, the heart has always occupied an elevated place in the human body. To some extent it’s because the heart, like the brain, is a vital organ. In other cases it’s because we associate the heart with many emotions transcending our ability to put them into words. So the heart becomes mystical and almost unknowable in nature.

Consequently, the ability to repair the heart is important if for no other reason than the need to stay alive. If the heart stops functioning, a person will soon lose consciousness and will die within minutes without medical intervention. In the early days of surgery, heart surgery was very challenging. When conducted, there was a high death rate. Several advances have improved its surgical procedures and survival rates. A few are:

  • Heart-lung machine. The heart-lung machine is a medical apparatus that can take over the functions of the heart for many hours (operated by a perfusionist) giving the heart surgeon hours of time to operate on the heart with very little or no bleeding.
  • Cooling techniques. The development of mechanisms cooling down the temperature of the heart during a surgical procedure gives the cardiac surgeon more time to perform quality surgery on a heart that is motionless. At the conclusion of surgery, the heart is warmed and “restarted,” which resumes the pumping functions of the heart.
  • Replacing aortic valves without surgery [1]. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) offers a way to fix stiff, narrowed aortic valves without open-heart surgery. The technique delivers the new valve through a thin tube called a catheter that is threaded into an artery in the groin and gently maneuvered into the heart. People who have undergone TAVR had a higher one-year survival rate than people who had surgery to replace the valve. Currently, TAVR is approved for people considered too sick or high risk for valve replacement surgery.
  • Wireless sensors for severe heart failure [1]. A new device helps doctors keep tabs on people with acute heart failure by measuring pressure in the pulmonary artery, which transports blood from the heart to the lungs. The CardioMEMS HF System is implanted in the pulmonary artery. From there it wirelessly sends data to a doctor, who can then adjust the person’s treatment as needed—often without an office visit. The goal is to prevent hospitalization for flare-ups of heart failure symptoms.

The following is a quote from one of the pioneers in the field of cardiothoracic surgery. Nicholas T. Kouchoukos, M.D. “If you are a student or resident with intelligence, drive, and stamina, who loves challenges, hard work and positive outcomes, who is results-oriented, loves working with your hands as well as your brain, and enjoys caring for others and interacting with highly competent physicians and other health care professionals, you should strongly consider becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon…” Click here for full article.

Best wishes for your success!

[1] This year’s top 10 advances in cardiovascular disease, December 2014, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.

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    Comments : 107 thoughts on “How to Become a Cardiothoracic Surgeon”

    1. Hello, I’m Kobe from Australia and I am a year 11 student. I want to be a doctor specifically a Cardiothoracic surgeon. I have selected Math Methods, Biology, and Chemistry as my prerequisite. The problem is I am not an A-straight student. I frequently get B or sometimes C on my subject. Is it possible for a highschool student to get into a medical school even tho he/she isn’t an A-straight student?

      Also, I want to know more about the path on becoming a doctor. Since i am still in year 11, i want to know more about the subjects that i will be taking before going to a University. Is there a book or an online classes that you can recommend for me to take while i am still in year 11 so that i can get ready and gain knowledge about the subject that i will be taking?
      (like i want to learn more about the basics of medicine before going to University, i want to be ready.)

      I am currently in Year 11 and turning 17 this August. How many years of study do i need to take in order for me to become a Cardiothoracic surgeon or Cardiologist. (can you please put it like 4 years undergrad, 4 years med school, something like this)
      Do you think i can become a Cardiothoracic Surgeon at the age of 26-28? Or atleast become a cardiologist?

      I would really appreciate if you answer all my questions. It would really mean a lot to me. Thank you!

      • Hi Kobe – good to see someone who has clear life-goals at an early age. Focus on maths and the various science subjects as a general rule, but communication (languages are also important).
        In the mean time – you may consider our Foundation Medical Course
        All goes well you could reach your goal at about 28 years of age.
        Dr Anton

    2. Hey! I’m Zerin from Paris, France. This year i will be passing my O levels (which we call brevet here). i gotta choose my specialties next year (biology, history, maths etc etc) . My dream is to study at harvard and become a cardiologist so i have some common questions,
      1. What is the difference between a cardiologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon?
      2. How many years of studies are necessary? ( i mean from 1st year of university until getting my doctors licence)
      3. What is the median monthly salary of a surgeon in this field?
      4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a surgeon?( your personal opinion)
      5. Is it possible to become a skilled good doctor in this field if i’m a girl and wanna get married before my 30’s?
      6. is there any gender discrimination in the hospitals between colleagues?

      i would highly appreciate if you take your time to reply to all these questions. It means a lot to me!!!

      • Hi Z, we are “snowed-under” with things to deal with during the COVID19 pandemic – I will have to defer the answer to a later date – apologies. Dr A

    3. What is the 4 year pre medical school about . Can I work in the hospital after this .
      What is the medical school and how different is it from pre medical school?

      • In the USA (and many other countries) medicine is a post-grad degree. The premed degree is like any other 4 year degree – but one needs specifics classes called the premed prerequisites. This degree is the basis of your further studies and does not qualify you to work in a hospital. Medical school is where you study medicine – it is a lot different from premed! And before medical school prepare for the MCAT exam!

    4. I just turned 16 on December 18th. and I have wanted to become a doctor since I was 5 while other girls wanted to become princesses, and when I was little some even wanted to be Dora. 2 years ago my great grandpa died of congestive heart failure then at that point I decided I was going to become a cardiovascular surgeon, but I am scared I will fail! i don’t have a rich family so i will work to pay for college. This is the one thing in the world I want most. I have A’s and B’s but i have a hard time sometimes. What will i need to look forward to studying in college. (MY college classes). Is Life As A Surgeon as exciting as it looks?

      • Hi Abigail
        Your passion will make a way for you and will open doors for you.
        Keep on pursuing and pushing forward – most of the time it is not easy.
        Surgery is exciting indeed – but it has its difficult moments. Complications, losing a patient and dealing with the emotions.
        But again – if one is passionate it makes all the difference!

    5. i have a question, i’m currently 13 and this is gonna sound rly weird because i’m young but i have a huge interest in being a cardiothoracic surgeon in the future. currently i’m in grade 8 and in grade 7 my grades were really bad like 50%’s right now my grades in science are really high and so are in language i’ve defenitly done better but math is pretty challenging? will i need to be good in algebra to be a future cardiothoracic surgeon? I’m also a hard worker and is really eager to learn so do you think i can make it as a cardiothoracic surgeon if i worked hard? it’s been my dream for so long but i don’t think i have what it takes 🙁

      • Very few things are impossible if you keep on pursuing your dreams and work very hard.
        Yes you will need to be good in algebra – as you will be competing with other students who excel in maths.
        You are young – and have time to work on the weak areas in your academic profile…

    6. That helps to know because this year i am taking 6 classes. # i have B’s on and 3 i have A’s on i have an 85.6%/B in algebra.

    7. That helps to know because this year i am taking 6 classes. # i have B’s on and 3 i have A’s on i have an 85.6%/B in algebra.

    8. I also get A’s and B’s. will that effect me. I have most of my life planned out, and for the last year I have decided and researched all I can to try and earn my spot as a cardiovascular Surgeon.

      • It is not always the “straight A” students that reach their goals. I has to really works hard and had a mix of A’s, B’s and the odd C on occasion in my school career.

    9. My name is Abby, and I am 16 years old.Since I was five years old I have wanted to become a Surgeon. Last year I decided I wanted to be a cardiovascular surgeon. I imagine it will be a hard task to accomplish. But once I have accomplished 4 year collage, four years of medical school, a 5-year general surgery residency, and a 2-3 year specialized cardio or cardio-thoracic fellowship. All that work will be worth it, because then I know I worthy enough to save someone’s. So if you have any pointer in how i can succeed I would be very great full. ❤️

      • The basic pointers are common to any goal you set for yourself. A clear plan, and characteristics like self-discipline, tenaciousness, persistence and added to that a good and healthy value system. See for more on this.

    10. Hi,
      I’m a 15 year old in Australia who has always wanted to be a cardiac surgeon. Ever since I was a little girl I knew this is what I want to do. When people asked, “What do you want to be when your older?” Most kids said, “a princess or a mermaid…” But I always said, “a heart surgeon.” I am very passionate about helping people and hope one day to help my mum when she gets older. I have done extensive research about how to become a surgeon and so on… I was wondering what grades and extracurricular activities would be respected in grades 10, 11 and 12 to be able to do medicine in university? Also I want to know if it’s an issue that, in past years, I’ve gotten A’s and B’s… not straight A’s? Would I be able to become a cardiac surgeon, have 4 kids and a healthy relationship by the time i’m 30?
      Thanks, Isabella

      • Hi Isabella
        Great vision and amazing sense of purpose! 🙂
        Yes, you can reach all your goals – if you plan properly and give it your best effort.
        Hard work and tenaciousness are the decisive characteristics – so don’t worry about the B’s from time to time.
        What part of Australia do you reside?
        We organize premed programs in South Africa and USA – maybe you can attend something similar in Australia (Scitech offers a premed program in Perth in Jan).
        Kind regards and keep in contact, Dr Anton

      • There is every reason to believe you can become a heart surgeon and have a relationship and a family. Bear in mind that it takes about 15 years beyond high school to become a heart surgeon. If you are 18 when you graduate from high school, add 15 years and you’ll be around 33. However, after 8 years you’ll be a resident and a practicing doctor. You can establish a general timeline for yourself from that. I can’t speak to your desire to have four children in that same period of time. I’d recommend that you keep your ambitions flexible. As you get older, you will experience more of life and get a better perspective on how much time and energy it takes to achieve your dreams. Stay open minded about trying to achieve everything all at once. As far as your grades, getting into medical school is very competitive. The better your grades, the better your chances of being accepted. Appropriate and extracurricular activities would include volunteering at clinics and senior centers. Finding volunteer work for under-resourced populations is good, too. There are also many medical camps you can attend as a high school student. You can apply for summer internships in medical research. You can shadow physicians. All of these can round out your resume and experiences. I suggest you begin looking at medical schools that interest you. Read what their mission and values are. Those will give you a lot of information about the kinds of activities and characteristics they value in students. You can also look at the common application process. To get into college, and subsequently medical school, as part of your application packet, you have to write answers to prompts that they supply. Those prompts give you clues as to what they are looking for in students. The more you know, the better you can prepare yourself. Good luck.

    11. Hi,I’m luyandah currently in high school .I’ve always wanted to be a cardio thoracic surgeon but 15 yes of schooling is a lot. At what point during this long journey does one get paid or you first need to finish 15yrs of schooling until you get paid

      • Hi – depending on the specifics (country and training details) the first year after medical school one works at a hospital as an intern – and gets some remuneration for the medical services rendered – also during residency. The first 8 years (4 years premed and 4 years med school) one gets no salary of any sorts.

    12. thanks for the information….
      Im a girl and currently in my first year of med school. i want to become a heart surgeon but i also REALLY wanted to have a great and happy family too….can i ask for your opinion ? thanks !!

      • Although it is theoretically possible to have balance – Cardio-thoracic surgery requires absolute dedication, long and intense study period etc. which makes it difficult to maintain balance between work/career and time for self and family.

    13. Hi! I’m a high school student leaning towards cardiology- and more specifically, being a cardiothoracic surgeon. My only problem is that I cant help but feel a tiny bit squeamish when I watch those open heart surgery videos. It’s not that I have a problem with blood, but I feel weird watching it. Is this a problem? Or will i overcome it soon? And…i might not be the best at physics. I’m good but not great, so is that also a problem? Thanks!

      • Being squeamish – one gets used to it in time – so no problem.
        If I were you I will try my best to get physics from good to excellent.
        The heart/cardiovascular system is an amazing organ/system governed by the laws of physics (pressure/volumetrics/hydraulics, electrical activity etc…)

    14. Do you really need to finish “General Surgery” before you can go to Cardiothoracic Surgery or you can go straight to Cardiothoracic Surgery ?

      • Hi Elijah – the question is debatable – but the short answer is ‘yes’. One needs to understand the basic principles of surgery and medicine as a solid foundation to build one’s cardio-thoracic surgery skills on. The general surgery basis will veer toward cardio-thoracic – especially in later years of general surgery residency in most programs.

    15. Hello! this is Andin. Am currently an aspiring freshman in the university of Toledo. I completed high school with biology , chemistry and food science. i would really love to become a CT surgeon. Am not perfect in maths and physics but i believe i can make it with much effort and GOD on my side and am that girl who has always loved to make a difference.Do you think i should still go for it?

      • This is something only you can answer at the end of the day – it will take being very honest with yourself – analyzing your motives behind this desire.
        Also you want to go into one of the most competitive residencies – you need to excel in maths and physics. I will always urge you to follow your dreams – no matter the cost…

    16. hello sir
      i did my 12 from physics, chemistry and math. now i am studing in sydney in information technology. but i wanna be either cardiologist and cardiothoracic . but i dont know what to do and one more thing, i need to manage my expenses on my own. so please sir tell me what i need to do to achieve my ambition.
      deep regards
      Sanjay Gill

      • Hi Sanjay You need to go and discuss your situation to the career guidance department of one of the universities in Sydney – they will be able to give you the necessary information and guidance. Set good but achievable goals – take one step at a time and keep on pursuing your dream! Best, Dr Anton

    17. my name is Ernest, am 18 years old & am from Nigeria. am in the university of calabar medical school, level 200, studying medicine & surgery. just want to ask, what are the chances for me as a Nigerian to become a cardiacthoracic surgeon in the United states. i want to do my residency in the states. How possible is it?

      • The Apprentice Doctor assists High School Students towards a career in medicine – mainly in the USA. Your question is beyond the scope of our current sphere of knowledge and expertise. I am sure there is a way somehow. Try: Best!

    18. I have ADHD, how could this affect me, in working as a heart surgeon? I take medicine for focus and behavior, but when i forget to take it I am real fidgety, and hyper, which makes me unable to sleep with all the extra energy.

      • I think the years of study is the challenge – rather than being a heart surgeon per sé.
        You may need to make peace with the fact of taking medication all along your many years of study – and possible beyond.
        Keep on pursuing your dreams!

    19. Hello
      this is Arezu am high school student and i’m senior i really love to become cardiothoracic surgeon and that’s my dream since when i was freshman in high school. I didn’t do well in high school because of language and stress and depression and personal life but i’m doing perfect on this year . my question is this if i do well in collage and i’m attending to community collage and 4 years university would they still chose me to become cardiothroacic surgeon and I really need help with my collage major can you tell me what should i major in to become surgeon and what to study most to get into the medical field because i want to start studying and planing now what should i focus on most and what books should i get to study at home what tutoring should i attend to get better and reach to my dream. and what grades should i get that could help to get into the best medical school’s i have done alot of reaserch i comment to alot of websites but they havent respons back yet . i really need you help hope you reply back
      Thank you so much.

    20. hi i am hannah and i have a question. as a cardiac surgeon can u also administer drugs or do the work of a cardiologist

      • There is a fair amount over overlap between cardiac surgery and cardiology -thus cardiothoracic surgeons may administer drugs and cardiologist perform minor invasive procedures on a daily basis..

    21. I am in Zimbabwe and will be going for Advanced Level this year. I really wanna be a cardiothoracic surgeon.

      Would like to know the subjects I need to do: Maths, Biology and Chemistry. Question is: Do I need to do Physics. Also what grades do I need?

      • Yes – you need to understand fluid, volumentrics, hydraulics and a lot of other basic physics principles if you want to be a cadiothoracic surgeon.
        Grades – you compete with the best of the best for a place in med school – so that is the short answer – “excellent grades”.

    22. Hello
      For becoming a cardiac surgeon, do I have to learn both physics and chemistry or only one of them?

    23. I study 1st year MBBS in Medical College Kolkata, India.I want to become a cardiothoracic surgeon in US.Could u elaborate the procedures involving various examinations, USMLE n various colleges under this exam?

    24. hi its me again
      (you might see my comments quite a lot, sorry) I wanted to know whether you can choose what part of the chest you want to work with, by that I mean if I don’t want to do a heart surgery and I’d rather do surgeries on the lungs, oesophagus etc would they allow that ? and if yes, when studying for it would they still teach you how to do it or would they only teach you the parts you want to actually do a surgery on. Basically is there a choice?
      Many thanks

      • One can choose and “super-specialize” – and one’s colleagues will refer specifically if they need the best person on esophageal surgery for instance. Once you have your basic registration as a cardiothoracic surgeon you may choose a field of special interest.

    25. hiya … ok so I really want to become a cardothoracic surgeon but also a paediatrician so I’m not sure which one to choose, I’ve done research for both of them but I can’t decide, and do you have to choose triple sciences for both options,

    26. Hi! I want to become a Cardiothoracic Surgeon. And I was wondering if you can operate both on children and adults or you have to choose one or the other. Also I was wondering if you could perform thoracic, vascular, and cardio surgery’s just being a Cardiothoracic surgeon and would you have to do a different fellowship for each after the general surgery residency? One last thing would you recommend doing the 6-year program and UNC?

      • Cardiothoracic surgery involves all the structures within the thoracic cavity – in both adults and children – but if you want to focus in on pediatric patients you will have to do a cardiothoracic paeds fellowship/sub-specialty. Cardiothoracic surgery by its nature involves vascular surgery within tthe thorax – but then Vascular Surgery is a sub-specialty of general surgery. At the end of the day one are allowed to perform surgery of any kind within your specialty field – as long as you can prove that your properly trained and has the experience to perform it safely. Hope it helps!

    27. Hello Dr. Scheepers

      First, I greatly appreciate the information given regarding the Cardiothoracic Surgeon. It was concise and comprehensive. I am a high school senior and perspective freshman next year. It is really my passion to one become cardiothoracic surgeon. In my country, Somalia, there is no female cardiac surgeon and I want to be that female to fill the need. However, I currently arrived United States in 2012. Do you think there will be some obstacles regarding me being a newcomer which I will encounter along the way to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. Please also if you know of any medical programs I can participate I would really appreciate your help.

      Thank you.

      • Hi Fathi
        Thank you for registering for our For Future Doctors Camp in Tampa FL! You have a great vision and there is no reason you cannot succeed.
        Obstacles there will always be – but if you persist you will overcome them all! See you in Tampa in June – will send your letter of acceptance soon.
        Dr Anton

    28. hi
      i’m not sure about being a cardiothoracic surgeon as i want to have a family when i grow up … is this the right choice or not

    29. Hello everyone,
      I would like to thank a lot this info. Recently am from Germany. Am student doing my A-level ( Abitur ) I would like to get more information about University. My career is to be heart Surgeon. I hope you’ll reply me back and give me more information. Am already now in medicine way.

    30. I’m 23 yrs old planning on going to college during fall and well my ultimate goal is to become cardiothrotic surgeon. I know if all goes well I’ll be finish with medical school at age 33-34 and residency at age 40. Would you consider that to be too old??? Have you heard or seen of similar situation..
      Thanks for your feedback in advance

    31. Hi I am wondering what I can do in high school to prepare for med school and for cardiothoracic surgeries? Is there anything specific?

    32. Hi, I am still in high school but I’m one hundred percent sure that I want a future as a cardiothoracic surgeon. I would like to know what it would take to become one as supposed to grades and such. I really need some guidance on what I’m supposed to do after high school. I’m not sure what college I would like to attend that would be best for cardiothoracic surgeons or what would happen after that. I would also like to know about all the preparations. Thanks

    33. Hi,
      I am a freshmen and I want to become a Cardiothoracic Surgeon but I want to know if there is any possible route that I could take on shortening the amount of years it takes to become this surgeon, but with the same amount of knowledge provided in the 11-15 years? Is there a special medical school that would allow me to do this? I don’t want to spend the next 18 years of my life in school, but I also don’t want to be a danger to any future patients.
      Thank you,

    34. hi im aneesa
      i wanted to know whether you have to know the name of all the tools you use when doing a surgery

      • Yes – indeed. Sometimes we give them nicknames. Your assistant often knows by experience what you want and what you will use next – so often you simply hold out your hand and receive the correct instrument…

    35. It has always be my dream of becoming a cardiovascular thoracic surgeon. Currently, I am a MBBS(Bachelor of medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) student of Jinggangshan University-China. Can you tell me the next level of education I have to enter before achieving my dreams? Is there also any road map you could share with me that will be useful and serve as a guide?

    36. I am currently in med school my first year, and I’m really aspiring to be a successful CT surgeon, but, could you please tell me a good GPA score that can be good enough to apply for my residence ? thanks a lot!

      • This is just my opinion – maybe someone else can comment as well. I don’t think there is a specific GPA -varies somewhat from one medical school to the other – but as a competitive residency it should be in the upper 20% at least.

    37. My ambition is to be a cardiovascular thoracic surgeon and i want to know what I have to do, the requirements both academic and general and most importantly how I can help people in this field of surgery. Thnxxx..

      • I hope it is your ‘vision’ rather than your ‘ambition’ – just to be technical for a moment. Vision looks outwardly while ambition is more driven by personal gratification.
        I will send you an email with a nice resource so you can prepare your career as a medical doctor – surgeon – and eventually as a cardio-thoracic surgeon.

    38. I want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon, but will it be more difficult as a woman? What should I do in high school and for volunteer work to begin to prepare myself? Is a highly mathematically oriented mind pretty much mandatory? And will strengths in communication and empathy work for me or against me? I really believe that I can do it, as I do not want a family. How can I make sure that I will be prepared and very sure of my specialty. I am still in high school, but I have always known I wanted to be a doctor and to help people. I feel that cardiothoracic surgery is a highly rewarding and incredible career. Where else could one fix broken hearts?

      • Will it be more difficult as a woman?
        No – but for those who want a fulfilling family life – lets just say it is enormously challenging!
        What should I do in high school and for volunteer work to begin to prepare myself?
        I have a med school preparation logbook I am working on – send me your email address and I will send you the guide book that I am working on.
        Is a highly mathematically oriented mind pretty much mandatory? Short answer – “Yes”!
        And will strengths in communication and empathy work for me or against me? Will work very much for you.
        I really believe that I can do it, as I do not want a family. Go for it!
        How can I make sure that I will be prepared and very sure of my specialty. It will become clear during your 4 years in med school – shadowing a cadiothoracic surgeon will be of great value!
        I am still in high school, but I have always known I wanted to be a doctor and to help people. Great.
        I feel that cardiothoracic surgery is a highly rewarding and incredible career. Where else could one fix broken hearts? Good point!
        Join us at the Tampa Camp:
        Best wishes for your future!

    39. What would be the best universities one can attend to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, and which one did you attend?

    40. At what point during this long journey does one get paid? Also is it REALLY possible for a woman to balance her life and family along with becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon? What’s the next best thing after cardiothoracic surgery that may not take as long but is similar and just as meaningful, and pays well?

      • The year after qualifying as a doctor is usually referred to as your intern year – and one gets paid form your intern year onwards…
        If you want to have a reasonable family life – the probably cardiothoracic surgery is not the career to follow.
        Have you thought about anesthetics?

    41. Hi…i am rounding up my medical programme and i have been considering this aspect of surgery..but is it advisable for a woman who wants to keep a family?

    42. I appreciate those cardiothoracic surgeon for their paticience n hard work. And my dream is also to become a cardiologist so that i can help those poor people from death. I am also a medical student so near future i have todo so. But the thing is if anyone sponser for me by porviding scholarship i will obviously fulfill my dream job a cardiothoracic surgeon.

    43. I really love your article and i’m interested in the career.See i’m a 15 year old girl in grade 9,who would love to become a cardiac surgeon one day,but dont know were to start,which medical school to attend and which scholarship to apply for,my question is were can i apply for my further education.

    44. How many hours would you expect to work per week? Could you potentially take lower pay for lower hours? Lastly, is the stereotype true that cardiothoracic surgeons are always on call (aka, waking up in the middle of the night to perform surgery)? No need to fluff the answers, I am determined to go enter this field, nonetheless!

      • Employed: The days of unlimited hours are very much over as it is all the more regulated – and one would be able to work civil hours – like 40-48 a week – (at least in theory – but in reality 50+) and one will be on an after-hours call roster every 2-4 weeks – possibly on a first and second call arrangement.
        Self employed: Your weekly hours will be more your decision but probably in the region of 60 hours – and one wound team up with other Cardiothoracic surgeons in the area for an after-hours call roster to help referred/emergency patients. Unfortunately one is 24/7 on call for your own patients – you won’t expect another surgeon to get up in the middle of the nigh to stop a bleed on a patient on whom you operated during the day for instance. As a cardiothoracic surgeon you will probably get much more night sleep hours as compared to an Obstetrician.
        Of course you can work less hours – but somehow one gets in a mode of working hard – as this is the way it goes during your long residency years…
        (My comments are based on observation over years rather than personal experience (I am a MFOS Surgeon) – any cardiothoracic surgeons want to comment?)

      • Hey what if you are not doing all the science subject at school? Like I only did perquisites to get into the course I want for example, the course I want to do only says I need a study score of 25 for Chemistry and Math Methods that’s it. Can you still become a Cardiothoracic surgeon with these?

      • What is important is that you show a trend toward taking science courses in high school and then focusing on them in college. Not having a lot of science in high school doesn’t prevent you from becoming a cardiothoracic surgery. But it may cause you to be a little less prepared when you enter college. Medical school candidates who do well in sciences in high school tend to do well in college. Nevertheless, once you are in college, take as many science courses as possible to catch up and ensure you maintain high grades. You can overcome a lack of science courses in high school with careful and intentional science course selection early in your college career. With that plan you can still become a cardiothoracic surgeon.

      • A pediatric surgeon is someone is who specializes in performing surgery on infants, children and young adults (teenagers). As a pediatric surgeon you may choose to focus your career in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery.

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