How much money does a heart surgeon make a year?

Written by dan ketchum
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How much money does a heart surgeon make a year?
Heart surgeons work hours well over full time, but are rewarded with high salaries. (three surgeons image by Volodymyr Vasylkiv from

Though becoming a surgeon of any sort requires years of expensive education and training, heart surgeons make a conscionable living helping the ill and making good money doing it. In fact, physicians and surgeons are among the highest-paid professionals of any occupation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 22 per cent job growth rate between the years of 2008 and 2018, with healthy pay and benefits starting at the entry level.

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Entry-Level Salaries

According to 2010 figures from the global compensation database PayScale, the salary of a starting cardiac surgeon is about £98,420 per year, or up to £100,153 with added bonuses. Entry-level cardiothoracic surgeons make about £92,056 per year as of late 2010. In comparison, cardiovascular advanced registered nurse practitioners in 2011 earn a median annual salary of about £46,075. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median annual compensation of a physician practicing a medical speciality was £220,829 in 2008, while 2011 PayScale reports list the median annual salary of a heart surgeon at £182,000 with cardiothoracic surgeons earning £149,217 annually.

High-Level Salaries

Experience greatly influences the salary of heart surgeons. Top-level heart surgeons in 2010 earned about £251,017 per year. Similarly, cardiothoracic surgeons received annual salaries of about £233,341. With bonuses factored in, high-level heart surgeons in 2010 earned about £260,871 per year according to PayScale reports. The American Medical Group Association reports even higher numbers, placing the average salary of experienced cardiac and thoracic surgeons at £346,504 in 2010. At the very top tier, the University of North Carolina paid an experienced heart surgeon an annual salary of £390,000 in 2010.

Salary Bonuses

Some cardiac surgeons receive commission, adding an additional £322.2 to £3,832 to their salary every year. Others receive profit-sharing bonuses ranging from about £655 to £7,935 as of late 2010.


As of 2010 data, 87 per cent of cardiac surgeons received medical benefits. Similarly, 60 per cent of those medical professionals had dental benefits while 47 per cent received vision coverage. Only 12 per cent of all heart surgeons in 2010 did not have any sort of health benefits. This figure contrasts with the number of Americans without health insurance in 2010, about 16.7 per cent or 50.7 million.

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