What Is The Average Heart Surgeon Salary?

People with the heart surgeon salary are basically physicians who focus their practice on the heart and on the blood vessels in the chest cavity area. Getting to practice the heart surgeon job description takes extensive training and education. These include medical school, an undergraduate degree, an internship, and residency. Also required is a state-issued medical license.

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.

heart surgeon salary

The heart surgeon salary is considered to be 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. In May of 2016, the median annual heart surgeon salary was estimated at around $430,000 a year.

Factors that Influence the Heart Surgeon Salary

While payscale.com estimated the average heart surgeon salary at around $340,000 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 typical heart surgeon salary can be anywhere between $150,000 and $520,000 according to payscale.com. 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.

Geographic Area

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.

But the geographical factors that influence the heart surgeon salary are more complicated than that. But it’s not just the actual physical location of the place of employment that matters. In fact, the average heart surgeon is influenced by factors such as the country and state where the job is located.

Let’s take the USA, for example. 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 stands to reason 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.

First of all, in the UK, heart surgeons make an average salary of anywhere between £20,760 and £184,336, while London heart surgeons generally bring home between £54,938 and £120,100 a year. Similarly, the Canadian heart surgeon salary can be anywhere between C$25,168 and C$310,972, while Ontario heart surgeons make between C$52,500 and C$250,000 a year.

Moving further away, Australian heart surgeon salaries are between AU$61,674 and AU$206,450, New Zealander salaries are between NZ$70,000 and NZ$175,000, and South African heart surgeons make around R181,499 a year.


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.

  • From $260,000 to $300,000 over the first five to ten years of experience
  • From $300,000 to $403,000 over the first ten to twenty years of experience
  • From $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 time period when most doctors start making a name for themselves and getting a certain renown.

Not coincidentally, during the same time period, 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.

Working Hours

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.

Job Outlook

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.

Able to diagnose any heart disease, make the transplant, and 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.

Image source: Pixabay

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