Answers to Common Cardiothoracic Surgery Questions

Premier Health providers answer frequently asked questions about cardiothoracic surgery.

How much education and training is involved with becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon?

Cardiothoracic surgery is a specialty, and the extensive training required to become a cardiothoracic surgeon reflects the complexity of this field.

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) outlines in detail the steps to becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. In order to gain the knowledge and experience to perform these procedures, you must complete:

  • A bachelor’s degree that includes prerequisite course work for medical school (biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, calculus)—4 years
  • Medical school, which typically involves two years of classroom study and two years of clinical practice—4 years
  • A general surgery residency—5 years
  • A cardiothoracic surgery residency—2 to 3 years

Becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon requires at least 15 years of post-secondary education. Some residency programs may require a year of research, and an individual may also elect to pursue additional education and training through a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship. (Cardiothoracic fellowships are often for sub-specialties like congenital heart surgery.)

Some medical schools around the country are devising alternative pathways to train cardiothoracic surgeons that take fewer years to complete.

If you are interested in entering this field, talk to a cardiothoracic surgeon at Premier Health to learn more about the training requirements.

Learn more:

Source: Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates

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