Heart Surgeon Salary 2023 | How Much Does a Heart Surgeon Make?

Becoming a heart surgeon is one of the most important healthcare professionals in the world. Although a tad tough career to pursue, it is quite a fulfilling and lucrative – but how much does a heart surgeon make? Here is all you need to know about the heart surgeon salary in 2023.

Heart surgeons are cardiac surgeons. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of issues in the heart.

Continue to read to find all you need to know about heart surgeons.

Heart Surgeon

A heart surgeon specializes in surgical procedures on the heart.

Basically, they specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions involving the cardiovascular system by examining the heart and the blood vessels to identify potential problems, monitor existing issues, and reduce cardiac threats.

Heart or cardiac surgeons primarily specialize in diagnosing, surgical treatments, and medical management of most organs and tissues in the chest.

What Does a Heart Surgeon Do?

Generally, a heart surgeon diagnoses and treats diseases and conditions which involve the cardiovascular system. They may:

  • Conduct physical exams to determine general cardiac health.
  • Diagnose patients and create surgical treatment plans.
  • Reviews patient history and confirms the need for surgery.
  • Prepare patients for surgery and communicate with them about their concerns.
  • Perform complex and lengthy heart surgeries.
  • Heart and lung transplant surgery.
  • Performing robotic cardiac surgery.
  • Monitoring patients in intensive care.
  • Offer dietary recommendations for the management of existing heart conditions.
  • Work with nurses and anesthesiologists to guarantee safe treatment.
  • Spread awareness about practicing good cardiac health.
  • Prescribe medication and other lifestyle changes that can help enhance existing conditions.
  • Adequately and professionally communicate with patients’ families about diagnoses.
  • Collect, manage, document, and update patient records as well as complete other administrative tasks.
  • Research surgical techniques and publish new findings.

While you’re here, you may want to check out: How Much Money Do Surgeons Make?

What is the Average Heart Surgeon Salary?

According to Salary Expert, the average heart surgeon salary in the US is $457,200 per year, $20 per hour, and an average bonus of $109,957 per year.

The average heart surgeon salary by experience is as follows:

  • Heart Surgeon entry level salary (1-3 years of experience): $274,420.
  • Heart Surgeon senior level salary (8+ years of experience): $720,005.

Source: Salary Expert

Also, according to ZipRecruiter, the average heart surgeon salary in the US is $277,019 per year, $133.18 per hour, $5,327 per week, and $23,085 per month.

According to Zippia, the average heart surgeon salary is $157,07 per hour and $326,000 per year.

According to Glassdoor, the national average heart surgeon salary in the US is $400,285 per year

The average heart surgeon salary in the US is between $274,420 and $720,000 per year, $220 per hour with an average bonus of $109,957 per year.

What are the Top Highest Paying Cities for a Heart Surgeon?

Below is a table showing the top highest paying cities for a heart surgeon in the US:

CityAnnual Salary
Barnstable Town, MA$327,797
Sunnyvale, CA$327,368
Santa Cruz, CA$319,774
Santa Rosa, CA$319,277
Manhattan, NY$316,308
Cambridge, MA$307,672
Arlington, VA$304,409
San Mateo, CA$302,960
New York City, NY$302,516
Williston, ND$301,975

How Can I Become a Heart Surgeon?

Heart surgery or cardiothoracic surgery career path is one of the most demanding careers in the medical field. The field requires extensive education and experience, taking up to 16 years or more to complete.

Here are the steps to becoming a heart surgeon:

1. Earn an undergraduate degree

To become a heart surgeon, you must first earn a bachelor’s degree and meet the course requirements needed to apply to an accredited medical school. You may need to pursue a degree in science focusing on biology, chemistry, and math. Also, you must maintain a Grade Point Average (GPA) above 3.5.

2. Volunteer at hospitals and clinics

The purpose of this step is to help you gain experience as it can e essential for your resume and determine if you are truly passionate about the medical field.

3. Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

You will also need to complete the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). It covers four sections:

  • Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  • Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  • Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  • Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

The exam helps to challenge your critical thinking, problem-solving, writing, and scientific principle knowledge.

4. Graduate medical school

The next step will be to earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree This involves completing a four years this degree in a medical school. In the first two years, the medical school will focus on lectures and labs in a classroom setting and it may involve an elective in surgery.

The last two years will focus on clinical practice to seek out surgery, cardiothoracic or other rotations that will impact your cardiothoracic career path.

5. Become a licensed physician

Now go ahead and become a licensed physician, and afterward, you continue your post-medical school education. Meanwhile, the requirements to become licensed may vary across states but most schools will require you to pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).

6. Complete a general surgery residency

A general surgery residency blends clinical experience, research opportunities, conferences, and operating room experience. The residency lasts for five years; the first two years focuses on the critical areas of surgery like cardiovascular and the rest of the years focuses on assisting and performing surgeries as well as pursuing opportunities for rotations in specialized surgery.

7. Complete a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship

This fellowship offers advanced training as well as education through hospital experience and it helps you to gain the required experience with cardiothoracic surgery as well as meeting the requirements set by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS).

8. Obtain board certification

A certification in thoracic surgery through the ABTS may provide you more job opportunities. To earn certification, you may need to earn a state medical license first, complete te general and thoracic surgery residencies and then earn satisfactory scores on a board exam.

Also, see: Trauma Surgeon Salary in 2023 | How much does a Trauma Surgeon make?

What are the Requirements to Become a Heart Surgeon?

Educational requirements to become a heart surgeon:

  • Obtain a 4-year undergraduate degree in pre-med with an emphasis on science
  • Complete a 4-year medical school
  • Complete a 5-year medical school
  • Also, complete a 2 or 3-year cardiothoracic surgery residency program. If not, then a 6-year integrated cardiothoracic surgery residency.

What Skills are Required to Become a Heart Surgeon?

Becoming a heart surgeon requires that you possess a blend of unique skills and personal qualities such as:

  • Detailed knowledge of the physiology of the cardiorespiratory system
  • The ability to read complex aCT scans as well as other radiological information
  • The ability to keep ypdadted with the newest forms of surgical equipment and technology
  • Manual dexterity
  • Exceptional hand-eye coordination and anxiety
  • The ability to work for long hours without a break
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • The ability to work with a team
  • A high perception of spatial relationships between objects.
  • Undivided focus in spite of potential distractions.
  • Calm and level-headed
  • Sound judgement
  • The ability to inspire confidence in others.
  • The aptitude to monitor developing conditions in and outside the operating room.
  • A supportive disposition for patient, their family and team in problematic circumstances.
  • The proficiency to lead and direct a team.
  • The resilience to cope with enexpected changing circumstances.


Although becoming a heart surgeon can be a tad difficult, it is one career you can take a step at a time when you are determined. Also, as much as it is a fun career to pursue, it is one of the highest paying careers in the United States.

We hope this article has answered all the questions you had prior to reading.

FAQs Heart Surgeon Salary

What do a heart surgeon specialize on?

A heart surgeon specializes in surgical procedures on the heart.

What do a cardiothoracic surgeon specialize in?

A cardiothoracic surgeon specializes in surgical procedures inside the thorax – the chest. This involves the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest, while a heart surgeon specializes in surgical procedures on the heart.

What is the average heart surgeon’s salary in the US?

The average heart surgeon salary in the US is between $274,420 and $720,000 annually, $220 per hour, with an average bonus of $109,957 annually.

What are the top-paying states for heart surgeons?

According to Zippia, Oregon, Idaho, Minnesota, Maryland, and Washington are the top-paying states for heart surgeons.

What is the average heart surgeon’s salary in the US?

The average heart surgeon’s salary in the US is between $274,420 and $720,000 per year.


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