Average Salary for Heart Surgeon and Job Requirements

Physicians that pursue education and training in surgery and take a specialization in heart surgery afterward, are called heart surgeons. They have the qualifications to operate surgery in thoracic cavity areas such as the heart, blood vessels, esophagus, and lungs. Also commonly referred to as cardiovascular surgeons, the salary for heart surgeon is on the higher side compared to other types of surgeons due to the risk it carries. It’s definitely an intense job with a high-stress level, one that requires persistent training and great skill to make a difference in the living and dying of their patients.

Average Salary for Heart Surgeon According to Years of Experience

The salary for heart surgeons corresponds to their grueling, stressful, and long working hours. Surgery alone typically lasts for 4–6 hours, even longer and it is done while standing so great physical shape is a requirement as well. They have to be prepared for on-call, because heart emergencies may occur during unexpected times.

To be a professional and proper cardiovascular surgeon, the doctor must be able to work under pressuring condition, make quick decisions, and improvise in minutes in the event of unexpected situations during surgery. However, their works don’t stop at the operating room, heart surgeons should be able to communicate with patients to help them recover and receive treatments optimally.

As mentioned in prior, the salary for a heart surgeon surpasses the salary of typical surgeons. The average annual salary for heart surgeon in the United States is $353,627, while for other surgeons the median is $208,000. The average number is taken by measuring the median between highest to lowest wage for each profession annually.

The salary for heart surgeon varies based on a few factors, for instance, location. Heart surgeons in rural areas tend to earn more than surgeons in urban areas. Other considerable factors are training levels, skill levels, and reputation.

It’s definitely not an easy feat to become a cardiovascular surgeon, since the education, training, and education can take up 12–15 years. To compensate for the demanding requirements, the starting salary for a heart surgeon is already high and will increase as they gain more experience. Here is the approximate amount of salary according to years of experience:

  • 5 years of experience: $200,000
  • 10 years of experience: $300,000
  • 20 years of experience and above: >$500,000

Job Description for Each Level of Salary for Heart Surgeon

Cardiovascular or cardiothoracic surgeons have a major role within a team of healthcare. They encounter immediate results, and often also life-changing outcomes, of their work. The demand for this profession has increased since the end of World War II, at a similarly rapid pace as advancing technology. Despite the high rate of salary for heart surgeons, the field is still relatively young and evolving these days.

Now before diving into the salary for a heart surgeon, you may want to learn further about the profession first. Heart surgeons typically focus on the chest cavity areas to practice surgery on the heart as well as blood vessels. They deal with numbers of chest conditions, such as endocarditis, heart valve leakages, atrial fibrillation, and arterial block leakages. The types of surgery performed including stents fitting and bypass operations. The majority of their work involves performing in situations with urgency, for example, when the patient is undergoing heart failure.

Cardiovascular surgery is based on teamwork, where the heart surgeons often work with other medical specialists such as pulmonologists or cardiologists. They usually hired in hospitals with both scheduled and emergency operations, along with performing patient care pre-and post-surgery. The cardiothoracic surgeons will receive training in teaching hospitals or university hospitals.

This profession requires you to face situations between life and death continuously. You have to be someone who can make quick decisions or else you might put the patient’s life in danger. It has long working hours and presents plenty of stress on a daily basis.

To summarize, here are the responsibilities of a cardiovascular surgeon.

  • Making examinations of patients’ conditions with heart issues
  • Creating proper diagnoses
  • Deciding the appropriate procedures and treatments
  • Delivering procedures of surgery in order to improve or correct the heart issues
  • Giving recommendations of lifestyle changes after surgery

Not only the salary for heart surgeon is high, but also its education costs. It is a profession that requires years of education and training, which include a degree from undergraduate school, medical school, post-graduate training (residency), and internship. It also requires a medical license issued by the state government, along with board certification in cardiovascular surgery.

There no specific major required for undergraduate students, but it must be completed before joining medical school. However, the students must have the knowledge and pass the course requirements in biology, mathematics, physics, chemistry, and organic chemistry. They also have to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and accomplish a high score in it.

Similar to other types of surgeons, heart surgeons should complete education in medical school prior to joining residency for the field. The medical school education spans four 4-year. They should complete a 5-year program in general surgery before taking specialization through a residency program of cardiovascular surgery for another 2 to 3-year. In addition, to practice medicine, the students should pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

After the students have completed a residency for general surgery, they need to take a specialized internship in heart surgery for 2 to 3-year. This is where they expand their knowledge and technical skills in the specific field of cardiovascular surgery. The surgeons then should take an examination of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery after completing an internship to be certified by the board.

Heart surgeons’ job prospects are predicted to rise 13% from 2016–2026, which outpace the average projection for most occupations – and so does the salary for heart surgeon. This major rate of growth is caused by the growing amount of aging population, thus increasing demands in the cardiovascular field. With the technology that’s always advancing, it would benefit cardiovascular surgeons. They will be able to perform surgeries with lower risks for patients thanks to surgical innovations in the future, by using technologies that weren’t impossible in the past times. It allows more patients to receive better heart-related operation more than before.

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