Whats a Cardiothoracic Surgeon?

By: Lauren Coutoumanos


Have you ever wanted to be a surgeon, but you don't know what field to go into? Are you interested in how the heart or other organs in the chest work? Well then Cardiothoracic surgery could be the perfect job for you.

Cardiothoracic surgery is a field of medicine in which doctors preform surgical procedures of organs in the chest, including the heart, lungs, and the esophagus. The different types surgeons in the Cardiothoracic field include cardiac surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, general thoracic surgeons, and congenital heart surgeons.

Job Skills

Anyone could do this job if they work hard enough. Communication skills are needed because they'd have to be able to communicate easily with patients or it will make the job difficult. Also crisis management skills are crucial because anything can happen and they need to be able to handle a crisis well and not panic. Diagnosis skills are necessary to be able to diagnose a patient correctly so the patient receives all of the correct care they need.

Education and Training

To become a cardiothoracic surgeon, the surgeon will need to complete 4 years of college, 4 years of medical school, 5-year general surgery residency, and a 2-3 years of specialized cardiothoracic fellowship. The educational process to become a Cardiothoracic surgeon is one of the longest and most rigorous in the medical field. Some high ranked medical schools to attend are Harvard, UT Southwestern, and Northwestern.


The entry-level salary is about $345,000; however, after more experience the average salary is about $430,000. Then some of the most experienced cardiothoracic surgeons can get up to $636,000.

The median salary of what surgeons got in 2011 was $300,000, since then the salary has gone up.


Surgeons have the potential to make a difference, they also get the thrill of working on a beating heart. A cardiothoracic surgeon gets the excitement and rewarding rush of saving lives everyday.

One of the big benefits of being a cardiothoracic surgeon, or a surgeon in general, is fantastic medical insurance.

Typical Day as a Cardiothoracic Surgeon

-save lives

-meet patients

-scrub into long lasting surgeries of the heart and lungs

-get rest when possible

-discover and diagnose diseases

-learn new ways to preform surgery

-keep up to date on all new diagnosis

-stay on top of patient care