The Cardiothoracic surgeon performs heart surgery and other surgeries in the surrounding area. They may be needed to remove rib fragments, place stents, or do open heart surgery.
Years of preparation, schooling, and residencies get these physicians ready for what they will encounter once inside the field. The cardiothoracic surgeon salary is one of the highest in the medical field for many reasons.
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Schooling
The cardiothoracic surgeon will first have to major and get their undergraduate degree in a scientific field. This degree may be in microbiology, biology, psychology or anatomy. After obtaining their undergraduate degree, they will have to find a PH. D program to attend.
The ideal Ph.D. program will have an emphasis on being a cardiothoracic surgeon. If this specialty isn’t available at their school of choice, they will have to do an additional 2-3 years of training after their residency program.
Medical school comes after the undergraduate degree and after that is the residency. After the residency, they will take the additional training in cardiac and surgery.
It is at this education level that they obtain the necessary skill set to do open heart surgery and any surgery in or around that area. This includes placing heart stents and doing surgery on vascular arteries.
The Cardiothoracic Surgeon Salary
These physicians or surgeons make considerably more than their health care counterparts. The salary range for this job title is between $363,089-$567,769 This figure comes from recent data on the Salary website.
A cardiothoracic surgeon’s salary goes up in an area such as New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Huge cities with tons of people generally have more incidence of illness. This is why these areas pay more.
Although it takes a long time to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, their salary certainly compensates for lost time.
Malpractice insurance is necessary for any doctor or physician, but it becomes extremely important for cardiothoracic surgeons.
As you can imagine, things don’t always go right during surgery. The physician might make a mistake or have a lapse in judgment. When this happens malpractice, insurance gives the surgeon coverage in the case of a patient or their family suing the surgeon.
Malpractice also protects the patient from mistakes and lapses in judgment. Their yearly premiums usually hang around $27,000 per year.
There are certain surgeons and doctors who specialize in fields that may relate to cardiothoracic surgery. The following jobs have the most in common with the cardiothoracic surgeon.
A cardiothoracic surgeon may have a physician assistant to help them with their patient load on a day to day basis.
Physician assistants report to the physician and talk to family members about the diagnosis, surgery or other health-related issues. They may also coordinate with other healthcare professionals as needed.
Although they make about half of what a cardiothoracic surgeon makes, their job is both rewarding and lower in responsibility. If anything bad happens, it will most likely fall back on the physician in charge of them.
Generally, a physician assistant will not have to pay for malpractice insurance. They go through an undergraduate degree and then a graduate degree program which focuses on physician assisting.
The plastic surgeon makes a salary comparable to that of a cardiothoracic surgeon. They go through the same length of training and education.
The only difference is the kind of surgery they do. A plastic surgeon will do cosmetic surgery which may be medically necessary or at the patient’s request.
This includes surgeries on the face, stomach, neck, and virtually anywhere else on the body. Sometimes a plastic surgeon may be needed in the case of people who children who are severely deformed.
Most plastic surgeons report this job as being one of the most enjoyable. Unlike other surgeons, plastic surgeons usually aren’t under high-stress levels with sad or traumatic cases. They help people feel better about the way they look instead.
A Pediatric Surgeon will work with children and babies. You can usually find these healthcare professionals in a children’s hospital or outpatient setting.
The emphasis on pediatrics is necessary since children’s organs, bones, and other bodily structures aren’t completely done growing or the same as an adult.
These clinicians are trained to know all about the child’s body. For example, a child’s bones don’t fuse and finish growing until they reach teenage years.
Pediatric surgeons can also specialize even further by becoming knowledgeable in neurology, plastic surgery, bone surgery, and oncology (cancer).
Oncology means the one who studies cancer. These physicians learn how to do surgery on terminally ill cancer patients.
Usually, this surgery will have to be done to prevent the spread of cancers. The most common forms of these surgeries include breast cancer removal, lymph nodes, and tumors.
They will most likely have to partner with other surgeons to get the job done. An example of this is an Oncology surgeon pairing with a neurosurgeon (brain) to remove cancerous tumors from the brain.
A cardiologist is very similar to the cardiothoracic surgeon. This is because they study the same area, which is the heart. They will probably work together to make a diagnosis and give prescriptions to help those with heart failure.
The cardiologist makes a salary similar to the cardiothoracic surgeon salary. Even though a cardiologist won’t perform surgery, they may be the first physician to recommend it to a patient.
These two occupations are closely aligned and related to each other. They must also go through similar schooling as well.
These two professionals tend to make the highest salary of any healthcare workers.
Life As a Cardiothoracic Surgeon
The workplace of a cardiothoracic surgeon is pretty fast paced and somewhat unpredictable. Sure, these surgeries are usually scheduled, but there are times when emergency surgery is necessary.
The other unpredictable part of this job is how long the actual surgery will take. Healthcare works try to tell the patient and family an approximate time estimate, but the reality is it could take much longer or shorter.
This is because of unforeseen circumstances. They might encounter an issue they knew nothing about, make a mistake or have to search for a clot or other problem.
On the other hand, the surgery might go very well, and they could get everything fixed and stitched up pretty quickly.
These clinicians work closely with other physicians and nurses to make sure everything runs smoothly on the operating table. Often, a cardiothoracic surgeon will be on call which means even on off days, or in the middle of the night, they might have to come in and work.
Sometimes, the hospital will set aside a room or bed for the surgeon to sleep in so that they can stay on campus at night.
Top Schools for This Profession
Schools such as Harvard University, the University of California, University of Washington, John Hopkins Medical School and Standford are all known for having exceptional medical programs.
These schools are also pretty expensive to attend and take a great GPA and school history to be admitted.
These are the top schools in the nation because they produce the top graduates. People with degrees from these schools are sure to quickly get a job and offer an impressive resume, especially if they’ve done volunteer work within the field.
Overall, cardiothoracic surgeons salaries top that of most professions. They also have a stable workload and environment. There’s even room to grow and move on.
The healthcare professionals can become the chief of surgery after many years of experience. If desired, they may even sign a contract and travel almost anywhere in the world to perform lifesaving surgeries.
You can imagine why this would be such a rewarding job. Saving lives is no easy task, but the title of a surgeon comes with many benefits and honors.
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