Doctors should be commended for the great work that they do. One of the ways that hospitals show their appreciation for the work that doctors do is through financial reward. Numerous countries around the world pay their doctors well, while other countries have a lot of catching up to do. Since heart surgeons are highly sought after, they should get paid top dollar. First world countries reward their heart surgeons generously, but some third world countries are lagging. So lets see how countries pay their heart surgeoons. The heart surgeon salary is considered one of the highest in healthcare. Specialists in this field can bring home one of the highest starting salaries in medicine, and the pay only keeps getting better with time spent on the job. The highest heart surgeon salary of 2017 is registered in the US, with $298,000 per year. The US is followed by New Zealand with NZ$325,000 (US$229,970), Australia with AU$202,261 (US$150,805), Canada with C$184,000 (US$136,635), and the United Kingdom with ₤65,000 (US$83,616) per year.
The lowest salaries for heart surgeons are registered in South Africa with R687,845 (US$52,436) and India with Rs2,948,000 (US$45,592) per year.
What Is a Heart Surgeon?
Heart surgeons are physicians that have continued training in surgery and then further advancing specialization in surgery of the heart. They are equipped to perform surgery on the esophagus, blood vessels, heart, and lungs, including other organs in the thoracic cavity. It is a growing field with high salary potential.
They are physicians who choose to focus their surgical practice on the heart and blood vessels of the chest cavity. Becoming a heart surgeon requires extensive education and training, including an undergraduate degree, medical school, residency, and internship. After completing a general surgery residency, aspiring heart surgeons is required to complete an additional 2 or 3-year internship in cardiothoracic surgery. Interns focus on their chosen specialty and enhance their knowledge and technical skills in the field of thoracic surgery.
The job is gratifying both financially and emotionally. The surgery of the heart has to be accurate and perfect. The role of a heart surgeon is very demanding and needs working under high-stress and pressured situations.
Primary areas of a Cardiothoracic Surgery:
- Adult cardiac surgery
- General thoracic surgery
- Congenital cardiac surgery
- Heart and lung transplant surgery
How Much Does a Heart Surgeon Make per Year?
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Heart surgeons generally perform very difficult surgeries, recommend therapy to patients suffering from an array of heart conditions, analyze and interpret different kinds of tests, recommend diets to patients pre- and post-surgery, complete coronary bypasses, and interact with patients and the families of patients.
Factors that Influence the Heart Surgeon Salary
One of the biggest factors that usually influence the heart surgeon salary is the geographic location of the place of employment. Be it a university, a hospital, a clinic, a diagnostics and medical lab, or any other setting, it will always influence the average salary of a heart surgeon.
Heart Surgeon Salary in the US
While payscale.com estimated the average heart surgeon salary at around $298,000 a year in 2014, lower than other estimates, this salary can vary greatly depending on several factors. There are many factors which influence the salary of a heart surgeon, including their specialization, level of experience, number of surgeries, and geographic area of the place of employment.
Being one of the highest salaries in healthcare, the beginner heart surgeon salary is about $98,059 per year. In time, a professional in this field can get to earn up to $593,725 per year including bonuses, commission, and profit sharing opportunities.
However, because of the extremely long formation period, many heart surgeons drop out of the process before becoming accredited doctors. If they do keep going, however, they will get the chance to practice one of the most respected and well-paid jobs in the world.
In Illinois, the heart surgeon salary is usually between $101,800 and $477,000. Meanwhile, a New York-based heart surgeon would bring home a salary ranging from $60,000 to $450,000. The Florida heart surgeon salary is usually ranged from $58,000 to $490,000 per year, while the New Jersey salary is anywhere between $142,000 and $300,000.
Since the differences in pay from state to state are so major, it only proves that the heart surgeon salary varies even more in other countries, and even more so from country to country. So, let’s look at the heart surgeon salary as it is offered in a few other countries.
Heart Surgeon Salary in Canada
The Canadian heart surgeon salary averages at C$184,000, or US$136,635 per year. a beginner in this field can earn as little as C$97,515 (US$72,413) per year, while an experienced professional with more than 15 years in this field can take home up to C$497,931, or US$369,763.
Heart Surgeon Salary in the UK
In the UK, heart surgeons make an average salary of ₤65,000 (US$83,635) per year. A beginner heart surgeon can earn as little as £35,759 (US$46,011) depending on location and industry of employment, while an experienced professional can earn as much as £338,742 (US$435,859) per year. Bonuses can account for up to £27,500, or US$35,373, or that amount.
Heart Surgeon Salary in Australia
Moving further away, the average Australian heart surgeon salary is AU$202,261, or US$150,805. A beginner in this field can earn as little AU$51,064 (US$38,058) but, with experience, will get to earn up to AU$430,634 (US$320,994) per year. Bonuses can account for about AU$20,000 (US$14,906) of this amount.
Heart Surgeon Salary in New Zealand
Even though no info is available on the heart surgeon salary in New Zealand, we can take the surgeon salary as a reference.
Knowing that heart surgeons earn some of the highest salaries in surgery, we can estimate that a beginner starts off at about NZ$151,000 (US$106,847) and that an experienced professional earns up to NZ$500,000 (US$353,232) per year. Therefore, the average heart surgeon salary in New Zealand is about NZ$325,000 (US$229,970) per year.
Heart Surgeon Salary in India
A heart surgeon working in India earns Rs2948,000, or US$45,592 on average. The beginner heart surgeon salary in India is around Rs963,205 (US$14,896). Nevertheless, mid-career and experienced professionals can take home up to Rs11,768,515 or US$182,007 in a year. Bonuses can account for about Rs50,868, or approximately US$786 of that amount.
Heart Surgeon Salary in South Africa
According to PayScale, South African heart surgeons make around R687,845 per year, which translates to US$52,436.
Experience is perhaps the biggest factor that influences the heart surgeon salary. The more experience one garners in the field, the better their chances of getting a higher salary. For example, a person getting the pediatric heart surgeon salary for years will have a much higher pay than somebody just getting started on their path of obtaining an open-heart surgeon salary or a cardiovascular surgeon salary.
The average estimated starting salary for heart surgeons, according to payscale.com, is $260,000 a year. Below, we have compiled the average salary path of a heart surgeon throughout their career. This doesn’t take into account any bonuses, profit sharing, or commissions.
- $260,000 to $300,000 over the first five to ten years of experience
- $300,000 to $403,000 over the first ten to twenty years of experience
- $403,000 to $424,000 after more than twenty years of experience
As one can notice, the biggest pay raise occurs between the first ten to twenty years of experience. This coincides with the timespan when most doctors start making a name for themselves and getting a certain renown.
Not coincidentally, during the same time span, most doctors attend dozens of conferences and symposiums, further cementing their status and bagging a higher pay. Low patient death rates and a reduced number of malpractice suits are also key to getting the highest salary for the profession.
Most heart surgeons work in general surgical and medical hospitals, but it’s not unusual for a heart surgeon to teach in a university.
The schedule that comes with the heart surgeon salary is perhaps what drives most people away from the position. Heart surgeons have perhaps one of the most tiring and full schedules in healthcare. With a 50-hour work week, the heart surgeon schedule is very chaotic. Not many actually manage to keep pace.
Since heart surgeons have to be on call, they often have to work weekends, holidays, and nights. This doesn’t really add to the salary, as it is part of the job description. However, the heart surgeon salary can benefit from overtimes just as much as that of any other healthcare professional.
Bonuses and Benefits Packages
As with most occupations in healthcare, particularly medical specialists, heart surgeons benefit from pretty much every type of insurance available. Life, health, vision, and dental insurance are the norm, while malpractice insurance is a must. The number of sick and paid leave days is more than adequate, and the 401(K) plan is usually satisfactory.
Speaking of benefits, one of the factors that make the heart surgeon salary so high consists of all the bonuses, commissions, and profit sharing. In an average year, bonuses can be as high as $100,000, profit sharing can add another $20,000 to the paycheck, and commissions can help heart surgeons bring home another $8,000.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate of all surgeons and physicians is estimated to grow 14% by 2024. This is much faster than the average for all occupations in the United States and definitely includes heart surgeons.
The increase in the number of heart surgeons is owed to several factors. These factors are mainly the constant increase of the elderly population, the onset of heart disease as the number one killer in the United States, and the elevated demand for healthcare services.
Final Thoughts on the Salary of a Heart Surgeon
Able to diagnose any heart disease, perform transplants and other sensitive heart procedures, as well as help the patients move on with their lives in a healthy manner, anyone with the heart surgeon salary and job description is definitely worthy of their wage. The job is very taxing and strenuous, but the pay is more than worth the downsides most of the time. If you are interested in other healthcare jobs relating to cardiology, you can also give our articles on the salary of a cardiologist and the salary of a cardiothoracic surgeon a read.
Heart surgeons do an incredibly important job and should be remunerated well. Their work is complex and the world needs more heart surgeons. People who are interested in this profession will find that some countries pay more than others, which means that students who study this field should carefully choose where they do their studies.
It’s a great field that could be emotionally and financially rewarding if you decide to pursue it.