A Thoracic Surgeon is often grouped with cardiac or heart specialists for cardiothoracic surgery. He/She is a surgeon who specializes in surgery that involves the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other major blood vessels inside the chest as well as surgery of the chest wall. As a thoracic surgeon, your job is to evaluate a patient's medical history and educate him or her about her condition as well as available options. Generally, you are expected to diagnose and treat diseases in the chest, and you'll do it sometimes by working closely with the primary care doctor or other specialists.

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Thoracic Surgeon Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real thoracic surgeon resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Room patients, check vitals, verify meds, H+P on new patients, EKG as requested by provider.
  • Coordinate with patients and medical staff at civilian and military treatment facilities to schedule medical appointments and retrieve medical documentation.
  • Apply all HIPPA guidelines to everyday office procedures

Thoracic Surgeon Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a thoracic surgeon does, you may be wondering, "should I become a thoracic surgeon?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, thoracic surgeons have a growth rate described as "faster than average" at 7% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of thoracic surgeon opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 55,400.

On average, the thoracic surgeon annual salary is $437,281 per year, which translates to $210.23 an hour. Generally speaking, thoracic surgeons earn anywhere from $217,000 to $880,000 a year, which means that the top-earning thoracic surgeons make $351,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Once you've become a thoracic surgeon, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include an eye physician, surgeon's assistant, foot and ankle surgeon, and neurosurgeon.

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Thoracic Surgeon Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 57% of Thoracic Surgeons are proficient in Patient Care, CME, and Lung Cancer. They’re also known for soft skills such as Communication skills, Compassion, and Detail oriented.

We break down the percentage of Thoracic Surgeons that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Patient Care, 57%

    Advanced patient care by continuously expanding core knowledge associated with surgical and technical procedures.

  • CME, 21%

    Maintain personal CME and training logs.

  • Lung Cancer, 14%

    Focused on lung cancer, esophagus cancer and mediastinal tumor treatment.

  • Surgical Procedures, 5%

    Experience extracting procedure codes from surgical procedures as well as assigning diagnosis codes and auditing for correct E/M services.

  • Community Hospital, 4%

    Answered phones, scheduled appointments, scheduled surgeries at the Irving Community Hospital (Baylor Hospital of Irving).

  • EKG, 0%

    Roomed patients, checked vitals, verified meds, H+P on new patients, EKG as requested by provider.

"patient care," "cme," and "lung cancer" aren't the only skills we found thoracic surgeons list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of thoracic surgeon responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Communication skills can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a thoracic surgeon to have. According to a thoracic surgeon resume, "physicians and surgeons need to be excellent communicators" thoracic surgeons are able to use communication skills in the following example we gathered from a resume: "strengthened knowledge of the importance of communication skills between physicians and patients"
  • Another trait important for fulfilling thoracic surgeon duties is compassion. According to a thoracic surgeon resume, "patients who are sick or injured may be in extreme pain or distress." Here's an example of how thoracic surgeons are able to utilize compassion: "calm and educate patients regarding procedures performed, using special care and techniques with compassion to young children. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among thoracic surgeons is detail oriented. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a thoracic surgeon resume: "patients must receive appropriate treatment and medications" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "obtain detailed historical data from patients and perform focused physical examinations. "
  • In order for certain thoracic surgeon responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "leadership skills." According to a thoracic surgeon resume, "physicians who work in their own practice must manage a staff of other professionals." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "delivered advice to surgeon general and executive leadership on public health policies, project implementation, and milestone establishment. "
  • Another common skill for a thoracic surgeon to be able to utilize is "physical stamina." Physicians and surgeons should be comfortable lifting or turning disabled patients, or performing other physical tasks a thoracic surgeon demonstrated the need for this skill by putting this on their resume: "general physicals of children and adult surgical patients.diabetic rotations"
  • Another skill commonly found on thoracic surgeon resumes is "problem-solving skills." This description of the skill was found on several thoracic surgeon resumes: "physicians and surgeons need to evaluate patients’ symptoms and administer the appropriate treatments" Here's an example from a resume of how this skill could fit into the day-to-day thoracic surgeon responsibilities: "solved many problems with patients accounts if any. "
  • See the full list of thoracic surgeon skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming a thoracic surgeon. We found that 51.9% of thoracic surgeons have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 11.1% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While most thoracic surgeons have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every six thoracic surgeons were not college graduates.

    Those thoracic surgeons who do attend college, typically earn either a nursing degree or a business degree. Less commonly earned degrees for thoracic surgeons include a medicine degree or a sociology degree.

    Once you're ready to become a thoracic surgeon, you should explore the companies that typically hire thoracic surgeons. According to thoracic surgeon resumes that we searched through, thoracic surgeons are hired the most by UPMC, Integrity Locums, and Utah Valley University. Currently, UPMC has 4 thoracic surgeon job openings, while there are 3 at Integrity Locums and 3 at Utah Valley University.

    If you're interested in companies where thoracic surgeons make the most money, you'll want to apply for positions at Allina Health, Altru Health System, and SSM Health. We found that at Allina Health, the average thoracic surgeon salary is $574,088. Whereas at Altru Health System, thoracic surgeons earn roughly $541,571. And at SSM Health, they make an average salary of $506,148.

    View more details on thoracic surgeon salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at United States Army Corps of Engineers, Us Navy, and D-R SERVICES. These three companies have hired a significant number of thoracic surgeons from these institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious thoracic surgeons are:

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    What Eye Physicians Do

    A Neurosurgeon is responsible for diagnosing conditions related to the nervous system, determining treatment plans, and administering medications. Neurosurgeons perform surgeries and conduct further laboratory tests to track their progress and adjust treatment plans as needed. They also discuss the medical procedures and processes with the patients and advise them about the treatments. A Neurosurgeon must have excellent communication and organizational skills, pervasive knowledge of the medical expertise to help patients with accurate recovery plans and development.

    In this section, we take a look at the annual salaries of other professions. Take eye physician for example. On average, the eye physicians annual salary is $149,111 lower than what thoracic surgeons make on average every year.

    While their salaries may differ, one common ground between thoracic surgeons and eye physicians are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like patient care, patient charts, and consent forms.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a thoracic surgeon responsibilities require skills like "cardio-thoracic," "cme," "lung cancer," and "ecmo." Meanwhile a typical eye physician has skills in areas such as "exam rooms," "eye drops," "patient appointments," and "field testing." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    On average, eye physicians reach similar levels of education than thoracic surgeons. Eye physicians are 0.6% less likely to earn a Master's Degree and 5.3% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Surgeon's Assistant?

    The next role we're going to look at is the surgeon's assistant profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $69,324 lower salary than thoracic surgeons per year.

    A similarity between the two careers of thoracic surgeons and surgeon's assistants are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "cme," "surgical procedures," and "ekg. "

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real thoracic surgeon resumes. While thoracic surgeon responsibilities can utilize skills like "patient care," "cardio-thoracic," "lung cancer," and "ecmo," some surgeon's assistants use skills like "patients," "ortho," "emr," and "epic."

    When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, surgeon's assistants tend to reach similar levels of education than thoracic surgeons. In fact, they're 4.7% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 5.3% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Foot And Ankle Surgeon Compares

    Let's now take a look at the foot and ankle surgeon profession. On average, these workers make higher salaries than thoracic surgeons with a $3,491 difference per year.

    By looking over several thoracic surgeons and foot and ankle surgeons resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "patient care," "cme," and "surgical procedures." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from thoracic surgeons resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "cardio-thoracic," "lung cancer," "ecmo," and "st." But a foot and ankle surgeon might have skills like "private practice," "emr," "physical therapy," and "hospital surgery."

    Foot and ankle surgeons are known to earn lower educational levels when compared to thoracic surgeons. Additionally, they're 5.6% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 27.8% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Neurosurgeon

    Now, we'll look at neurosurgeons, who generally average a lower pay when compared to thoracic surgeons annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $71,870 per year.

    According to resumes from both thoracic surgeons and neurosurgeons, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "patient care," "cme," and "surgical procedures. "

    Each job requires different skills like "cardio-thoracic," "lung cancer," "ecmo," and "st," which might show up on a thoracic surgeon resume. Whereas neurosurgeon might include skills like "patients," "medical care," "neurosurgical," and "icu."

    In general, neurosurgeons reach similar levels of education when compared to thoracic surgeons resumes. Neurosurgeons are 3.2% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 27.5% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.