The median annual cardiothoracic surgeon salary in the United States is a hefty $412,000. This equates to about $198 per hour. This is well in the range of the middle 50% of surgeons, which is between $332,000 and $514,000. The hourly rates for these ranges can be between $164 and $247 respectively. Cardiothoracic surgeons working in the lower 10th percentile make around $259,000 or less annually, or $124 per hour or less. This is still a big sum of money. The top cardiothoracic surgeons, those working in the top 10th percentile, can see an annual income of about $605,000 or higher. These surgeons work for at least $291 per hour. Yes, these surgeons make over half a million dollars every year.
Many factors can contribute to the annual incomes of cardiothoracic surgeons. These factors may include experience, education, geographic location, and type of employment. States vary in how much they pay their cardiothoracic surgeons. Reasons for this may include demand for the surgeries performed, as well as standards of living within that state. The states with the highest reported incomes for these surgeons are Illinois and Pennsylvania. Education is also important. Doctors with Ph.D.s will normally be paid more than those doctors with only M.D.s. Type of employment is also extremely important. Doctors who work for non-profit agencies saw the highest reported salaries, with doctors within hospitals coming in behind them.
The total compensation package for the average cardiothoracic surgeon is around $514,000. This includes salary and any paid benefits by the employer. Paid benefits may include health insurance, time off, pension, and social security, among others.
Job Description of a Cardiothoracic Surgeon
Since the job title involves the word “cardio,” many people believe cardiothoracic surgeons perform surgeries on the heart. This is very true, but this is not the only type of surgery a cardiothoracic surgeon will perform. Other areas of the body worked on by these surgeons include the lungs, esophagus, chest cavity, and major blood vessels in the chest.
When a patient contracts an illness or receives an injury in the chest anywhere near the heart, a cardiothoracic surgeon will be called in. Before surgery, the surgeon is required to examine the heart and its surrounding regions to deduce if there are other problems that will cause complications during surgery.Some surgeries performed by a cardiothoracic surgeon may include inserting a pacemaker, bypassing blocked coronary arteries, and treating various illnesses such as valvular heart disease, lower extremity occlusion, and aortic aneurysms.
Cardiothoracic surgeons will also administer anesthesia and prescribe pain medication on top of performing the surgery.
How to Become a Cardiothoracic Surgeon
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Cardiothoracic surgeons have one of the longest training regimens of any doctor in the medical field. This is due to the delicacy of the procedures they must complete. Undergraduate school must first be completed for basic education. Next, four years of medical school will have to be completed
After all this, a residency program will begin. After completing a general surgery residency program, aspiring surgeons must take a one to two year residency in their respective field. Some schools will offer an integrated residency program that will last for six to eight years. This way, only one program must be completed, rather than two. Cardiothoracic surgeons must be trained during these programs in general cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, and pediatric cardiac surgery. Many other surgeries may be involved in the training process.
All applicants must then be board certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. There are requirements for this certification, including the proper residency training programs and an exam to be taken upon completion of the residency.
Cardiothoracic Surgeon Salary in Other Countries (Australia, UK and Canada)
While salaries for cardiothoracic surgeons are not quite as exuberant in other countries as in the United States, they are still large sums of money. A Canadian cardiothoracic surgeon should bring home on average about C$325,000 every year. The same surgeon working in Australia should make an average annual income of about A$401,000.
Cardiothoracic surgeons are some of the highest paid doctors in the United Kingdom. Of course, their income over there does not truly equate to the income they’d be making in the United States. U.K. cardiothoracic surgeons should expect an average annual salary of £120,000. This is roughly equivalent to $192,000 in the U.S.
Verdict on Cardiothoracic Surgeon Salary
Cardiothoracic surgeons are some of the highest paid doctors in the medical field. Some of the top physicians, those with years of experience and working in the highest paying areas, will bring home more than half a million dollars every year. Of course, cardiothoracic surgeons also perform very delicate surgeries, so many years of training must be done before they can become certified surgeons. These doctors are also on call, so they may put in crazy hours. The money is definitely worth it, though.