Cardiovascular surgeons are undoubtedly one of the highest paid medical professionals in the world. This can be attributed to the fact that they enjoy an entry-level salary of approximately $360,000 annually in the US. This is according to the latest estimates from recruiting firm Profiles. The salary goes up when cardiovascular surgeons have gained more than 6 years of experience. At this stage, the surgeons have an average salary of $523,000.
Other sources i.e. the AMGA (American Medical Group Association) indicate a slightly higher average salary of $533,000 for cardiovascular surgeons with more than 5 years experience. Another American association i.e. The Medical Group Management Association also gives a different figure i.e. $561,000. The variance can be attributed to the fact that many factors affect cardiovascular surgeon salary i.e. experience, employer and specialization. In regards to specialization, Pediatric cardiovascular surgeons are the highest paid cardiovascular surgeons in the US with an annual salary of $763,000.
From the above cardiovascular surgeon salary information, it is accurate to conclude that cardiovascular surgeons are among the highest paid medical professionals in the US and the world at large. There are very few medical professionals who enjoy such a salary after working for less than 10 years.
Pay scale in different parts of the US
Out of the most popular states for cardiovascular surgeons in the US, New York offers the highest average entry-level salary of $485,000. New Jersey comes in second with an average entry level salary of $481,000. Los Angeles and Massachusetts offer an average annual salary of $449,000 and $434,000 respectively. Pennsylvania offers the lowest annual average cardiovascular surgeon salary i.e. $396,000 of all the states in America popular among cardiovascular surgeons.
Cardiovascular surgeon job description
Cardiovascular surgeons are charged with the responsibility of operating on the human heart as well as the blood vessels to repair damages caused by disorders or diseases of the cardiovascular system. In most cases, general practitioners diagnose heart disease or disorders. They then refer patients to cardiologists who determine whether you need surgery. In case you need to undergo surgery, your cardiologist will refer you to a cardiovascular surgeon. After surgery, you remain under your cardiologists care unless there is need for any further surgeries.
Cardiovascular surgeons perform a number of different surgeries i.e. heart defect repair, heart valve replacement and repair, aneurysm repair, coronary artery bypass, heart transplant and transmyocardial laser revascularization. They also perform surgeries on blood vessels like the aorta which is the body’s main supplier of blood. Heart surgery today also encompasses implantation or use of VADs or ventricular assist devices which are devices which assist failing hearts by taking over the blood pumping process throughout the body.
Cardiovascular surgeons usually work for long hours. Surgeries can take between 4 and 6 hours or longer. Cardiovascular surgeons can also be called at any time to attend to emergency situations. In the US, cardiovascular surgeons handle congenital heart defects more than any other surgical heart procedures. The procedures therefore dominate their job description. It is however important to note that cardiovascular surgeons also have the option of venturing into the teaching field. This option is always open for surgeons enjoy teaching and want a less stressful but equally rewarding medical career.
How to become a cardiovascular surgeon
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To stand a chance of becoming a cardiovascular surgeon in the US among many other countries in the world, you must go through medical school which entails; acquiring a bachelors degree in Medicine. After medical school, you will need at least 5 years to go through a general surgery residency program which is aimed at combining didactic teaching, clinical experience and research work to qualify a general practitioner or doctor into a general surgeon. After general residency, you will need a few more years to specialise as a cardiovascular surgeon. You will also require certification which will be discussed below.
Apart from the educational requirements, potential cardiovascular surgeons also need to posses certain skills traits and qualities. For instance, you must be able to work under pressure to qualify as a cardiovascular surgeon. You must also be a creative thinker to be able to deal with unexpected problems effectively in case they occur in the operating room. Good communication skills also come in handy. A cardiovascular surgeon should also be mentally and physically fit since the job description requires long hours of concentration while standing or in awkward positions. The above qualities come in handy when you want to become a cardiovascular surgeon without facing any problems.
The above educational requirements aren’t adequate enough to make you a cardiovascular surgeon. You must be certified by your respective state medical board to be able to practice as a cardiovascular surgeon in the US. You must pass a board certification exam in general surgery practice and another separate board certification exam in cardiac surgery to start practicing. Cardiovascular surgeons who wish to specialize in heart transplantation or pediatric surgery must also pass board certification exams in those areas. Cardiovascular surgeons also need to continuously meet annual medical education requirements to maintain their practice licenses.
Cardiovascular salary in Canada, Australia and UK
America offers cardiovascular surgeons the best salaries in the world. This is evident when you compare with what countries like Canada, Australia and UK pay their surgeons. For instance, Canada pays its cardiovascular surgeons and average annual salary of $293,000. Australia on the other hand pays the same surgeons $362,000. UK offers the lowest average annual salary i.e. $192,000 according to the latest estimates. It is however important to note that the salaries vary depending on factors such as employer, specialization and experience.
In summary, there is no doubt that cardiovascular surgeons are among the highest paid medical professionals in the world. This is considering they have a potential to earn more after gaining at least 6 years experience in the job. The capacity to earn more also increases further for surgeons working in the private sector. Considering cardiovascular surgeons train for more than a decade to do very sensitive work, the high pay is definitely justified.