After watching all those TV dramas, you might be wondering how to become a cardiac surgeon. A cardiac surgeon is a heart doctor that performs operative cardiac procedures on the heart and great vessels. These include open heart surgery, defibrillator implant, heart bypass surgery, pacemaker implant, heart valve repair or heart valve replacement. These procedures are performed using general anesthesia, which puts the patient to sleep so he can't feel or remember anything. It could take up to fifteen years to become a cardiac surgeon.
The steps to become a cardiac surgeon are as follows:
- Attend College. You will have to complete a term of four years in college or university to get on the road to become a cardiac surgeon. A bachelors degree in science is usually a top choice, however, you need to get the most out of science and math. Focus your attention on earning a G.P.A. of at least 3.75 or higher in order to get yourself prepared for medical school.
- Attend Medical School. Before you can get into medical school, you must first take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). This test is computer based and is designed for problem solving, written analysis, critical thinking and writing skills, as well as for knowledge of scientific principles and concepts. In your first two years of medical school, expect classes in health sciences and designed instruction. When you reach your senior year, it will consist of preparing and applying for general surgery residency.
- Surgical Residency Training. Usually five years of clinical rotations are prominent in the early years of training. Once you have gotten your medical degree, you will be training and practicing under the supervision of licensed physicians, who will evaluate you for your experience, judgement, knowledge, skills, abilities and responsibility. These settings are usually in a clinic or hospital.
- Fellowship. If you want to advance your knowledge and training, obtaining a fellowship will reward you. A fellowship is a fixed payment for services rendered. Getting extra training like this is a necessary additional two or three years before you can become a cardiac surgeon.
Get Your License. Wheew! All that training has surely paid off, but you still have to take your license exam in order to become a cardiac surgeon. Once you pass your written exam, you can go on practicing in the specialty. Happily, cardiac surgeons make about $285,000 after a year of specializing. Cardiac surgeons with over ten years experience make over $400,000.