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Become A Cardiothoracic Surgeon

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Working As A Cardiothoracic Surgeon

  • $300,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Cardiothoracic Surgeon Do At Catholic Health Initiatives

* Demonstrates a commitment to service, organization values and professionalism through appropriate conduct and demeanor at all times
* Adheres to and exhibits our core values

How To Become A Cardiothoracic Surgeon

Physicians and surgeons have demanding education and training requirements. Almost all physicians complete at least 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and, depending on their specialty, 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.


Most applicants to medical school have at least a bachelor's degree, and many have advanced degrees. Although no specific major is required, all students must complete undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, physics, math, and English. Students also take courses in the humanities and social sciences. In addition, some students volunteer at local hospitals or clinics to gain experience in a healthcare setting.

Medical schools are highly competitive. Most applicants must submit transcripts, scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and letters of recommendation. Schools also consider an applicant’s personality, leadership qualities, and participation in extracurricular activities. Most schools require applicants to interview with members of the admissions committee.

A few medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 or 7 years.

Students spend most of the first 2 years of medical school in laboratories and classrooms, taking courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics, and the laws governing medicine. They also gain practical skills, learning to take medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses.

During their last 2 years, medical students work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians in hospitals and clinics. Through rotations in internal medicine, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery, they gain experience in diagnosing and treating illnesses in a variety of areas.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Physicians and surgeons need to be excellent communicators. They must be able to communicate effectively with their patients and other healthcare support staff.

Compassion. Physicians and surgeons deal with patients who are sick or injured and may be in extreme pain or distress. Physicians and surgeons must be able to treat patients and their families with compassion and understanding.

Detail oriented. Physicians and surgeons must ensure that patients are receiving appropriate treatment and medications. They must also monitor and record various pieces of information related to patient care.

Dexterity. Physicians and surgeons must be good at working with their hands. They may work with very precise and sometimes sharp tools, and mistakes can have serious consequences.

Leadership skills. Physicians who work in their own practice need to be effective leaders. They must be able to manage a staff of other professionals to run their practice.

Organizational skills. Some physicians own their own practice. Strong organizational skills, including good recordkeeping, are critical in both medical and business settings.

Patience. Physicians and surgeons may work for long periods with patients who need special attention. Persons who fear medical treatment may require more patience.

Physical stamina. Physicians and surgeons should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting or turning disabled patients. Surgeons may spend a great deal of time bending over patients during surgery.

Problem-solving skills. Physicians and surgeons need to evaluate patients’ symptoms and administer the appropriate treatments. They need to do this quickly if a patient’s life is threatened.


After medical school, almost all graduates enter a residency program in their specialty of interest. A residency usually takes place in a hospital and varies in duration, generally lasting from 3 to 7 years, depending on the specialty.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require physicians and surgeons to be licensed; requirements vary by state. To qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete residency training in their specialty.

All physicians and surgeons also must pass a standardized national licensure exam. M.D.s take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). D.O.s take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). For specific state information about licensing, contact your state’s medical board. 

Certification is not required for physicians and surgeons; however, it may increase their employment opportunities. M.D.s and D.O.s seeking board certification in a specialty may spend up to 7 years in residency training; the length of time varies with the specialty. To become board certified, candidates must complete a residency program and pass a specialty certification exam from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS).

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Cardiothoracic Surgeon jobs

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Real Cardiothoracic Surgeon Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Cardiothoracic Surgeon University Hospitals Medical Group, Inc. Cleveland, OH Apr 15, 2016 $600,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon The Medical College of Georgia Physicians Practice Group Foundation Augusta, GA Sep 22, 2015 $575,000 -
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Anderson Regional Medical Center Meridian, MS Jan 07, 2016 $530,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Henry Ford Health System MI Jan 10, 2016 $499,990
Cardiothoracic Surgeon The Methodist Medical Center of Illinois Peoria, IL Feb 01, 2013 $490,000
Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon Spectrum Health Hospitals Grand Rapids, MI Jun 15, 2016 $450,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Mount Sinai Medical Center of Florida Miami Beach, FL Jun 25, 2012 $450,000
Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon Spectrum Health Hospitals Grand Rapids, MI Jun 30, 2015 $450,000
Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon Spectrum Health Hospitals Grand Rapids, MI Jun 15, 2015 $450,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon IU Health Care Associates, Inc. Indianapolis, IN Mar 01, 2015 $425,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon IU Health Care Associates, Inc. Indianapolis, IN Jan 03, 2015 $425,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon IU Health Care Associates, Inc. Columbus, IN Mar 01, 2015 $425,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Reading Health System West Reading, PA Feb 09, 2015 $400,000
Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon Stanford University Sacramento, CA Apr 15, 2012 $400,000
Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgeon Stanford University Stanford, CA Apr 15, 2012 $400,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Reading Health System West Reading, PA Mar 29, 2016 $400,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Reading Health System West Reading, PA Mar 02, 2015 $400,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Allina Hospitals and Clinics Minneapolis, MN Nov 19, 2012 $373,118 -
Cardiothoracic Surgeon University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation Madison, WI Apr 01, 2012 $365,225 -
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Ochsner Clinic Foundation New Orleans, LA May 28, 2012 $360,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Kansas Medical Center LLC Wichita, KS Jul 28, 2014 $295,000 -
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Kansas Medical Center LLC Hutchinson, KS Jul 28, 2014 $295,000 -
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Kansas Medical Center LLC Andover, KS Jul 28, 2014 $295,000 -
Cardiothoracic Surgeon St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center New York, NY Mar 15, 2010 $280,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Allegheny Clinic Pittsburgh, PA Jul 01, 2015 $275,000
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Florida Advanced Cardiothoracic Surgery, Inc. Tampa, FL Sep 15, 2010 $250,000

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Top Skills for A Cardiothoracic Surgeon


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Top Cardiothoracic Surgeon Skills

  1. Patient Care
  2. Award Presentations
  3. Baptist
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Educated in treatments and surgical procedures for patients with problems regarding their heart and lungs.
  • Initiated and led programs in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery and Adult Cardiac Transplantation

Top Cardiothoracic Surgeon Employers