Becoming a Cardiac Surgeon
Cardiac Surgeons specialize in the treatment of heart diseases and disorders of the cardiovascular system through operations. They perform coronary artery bypass surgery, aneurysm repair, heart transplants, valve replacements, widening clogged arteries and repairs of congenital heart conditions. In addition, they conduct operations on the lung and blood vessels in human body. They are also responsible for patients’ post-operative care to promote their good health.
Cardiac Surgeons work at variety of settings such as hospitals, academic medical centers, community hospitals, private individual or group practices, medical clinics. These professionals also have to be on-call frequently.
To become a Cardiac Surgeon, the aspiring candidates need to study biology, chemistry or other health-related major in bachelor’s degree course. Then, they must have to earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from a medical school. In the first two years, the students receive class room studies and laboratory learning while they work extensively with patients during last two years during M.D. Degree Course. Then they need to pursue a 5-year general surgery residency and a 2-3 year specialized cardio or cardiothoracic fellowship.
The surgery residency program usually develops surgical skills that focus on a particular specialty, such as adult, pediatric or thoracic cardiovascular surgery. Accomplished cardiac surgeons earn the Fellow of the American College of Cardiology (FACC) designation.
Licensure and Certification
Since the practice of a Cardiac Surgeon in USA requires a license, the aspiring candidates must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). In addition, these professionals must obtain a certification from the American Board of Medical Specialists.
Besides the knowledge in surgery and patient care, Cardiac Surgeons possess variety of skills such as dexterity to perform procedures, empathy towards patient, high medical ethics, attention to detail, physical stamina to stand for hours at a time, ability to perform duties with accuracy, work with compassion, pleasant communications and interpersonal skills, computer knowledge etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Cardiac Surgeon remains excellent in USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 18% from 2012 to 2022, higher than the average for all occupations. The average annual salary of a Cardiac Surgeon was $288,274 in 2014.