How Much Do Heart Surgeons Make In 2024?

Heart surgery is a sub-specialty of cardiothoracic surgery, which is where you’d go if your heart, lungs, or chest arteries needed an operation.

If you require a heart bypass or a treatment to address a congenital heart problem, you will visit heart surgeons to get the best treatment possible.

Being a heart surgeon, though, as you can imagine, is not easy as it is one of the hardest jobs in the world, operating on the most important part of the human body, the heart.

Specialist cardiac surgeons must have completed at least 15 years of school and training in their chosen field.

The tremendous demands of this labor result in some of the highest compensation in the surgical area, and you might wonder how much do heart surgeons make? We are here to explain that.


GuideHow Much Do Heart Surgeons Make?
Average Income$490,000 per year
Highest Income$750,000 per year

Who Are Heart Surgeons?

Heart surgeons work on the heart and the “plumbing” that feeds it, such as the valves, arteries, and blood vessels.

They use a combination of planned and emergency procedures to restore a patient’s heart’s function after or if it fails due to a heart problem like a heart attack or some other life-threatening event that triggers something on their heart.

The hours you have to work are extremely long, the job itself is exhausting, and the job is demanding; you could be in surgery for double-digit hours.

Successful surgeons possess some traits that aid them in doing successfully in emergencies.

They, work for long periods with complete focus, and have the utmost regard for human life.

The education that you need to be a heart surgeon is not just a normal medical education; you need to add way more on top of that to be a heart surgeon.


How Much Do Heart Surgeons Make?

How Much Do Heart Surgeons Make

A heart surgeon’s salary is significantly more than that of a standard surgeon.

Heart surgeons’ median annual compensation was roughly $490,000 in 2020, far more than the $208,000 median for all surgeons.

The median salary is the income that falls in the middle of a salary range ranging from the highest to the lowest yearly compensation.

The good thing about heart surgeons’ salaries is that the potential to earn more than the average is high.

As you gain more experience with your specialty, the amount you earn substantially increases without any doubt.

1. How much do heart surgeons make an hour?

Heart Surgeons make a minimum of $14.42 an hour and a maximum of $191.59 an hour.

2. How much do heart surgeons make a month?

Heart Surgeons make a minimum of $2,500 a month and a maximum of $33,208 a month.

3. How much do heart surgeons make a year?

Heart Surgeons make a minimum of $30,000 a year and a maximum of $398,500 a year.


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Highest Salary Of Heart Surgeons In 2024

Highest Salary Of Heart Surgeons

As a heart surgeon, the more experience you have, the more money you will be making, no matter your location, as the salaries are substantially higher than the national salary average of all professions.

However, it is worth mentioning that the location plays a role but is not significant in your salary.

The highest salary of heart surgeons, which about 10% of heart surgeons in the United States gets, is around $750,000 annually.

This salary is way higher than the national average of heart surgeons.

This shows that the more you gain experience, the quicker and easier it is to earn more money and pass the average salary of heart surgeons in your career.

Is Being A Heart Surgeon Good Or Bad?

Choosing to become a heart surgeon is not an easy decision. Playing with the most subtle human body element and also making hours-long surgeries to save a patient’s life is not a job that many choose to do.

However, some people have the necessary talent for this job, such as perfect hand-eye coordination, leadership skills, and the durability to sustain hours-long surgeries in a day.

If you think you have all these qualifications for being a heart surgeon and you enjoy saving people’s lives, being a heart surgeon is a good thing, also considering the salary it comes with it.

Pros and Cons of Being A Heart Surgeon


  • You get to save lives
  • Handsome money
  • Reputable
  • Flexibility


  • Expensive medical school
  • Stressful
  • Takes a lot of time to complete education

A Day in the Life of a Heart Surgeon

How To Become A Heart Surgeon?

How To Become A Heart Surgeon

Here’s how you can become a Heart Surgeon:

  • The first step will be to earn a bachelor’s degree with a focus on biology, chemistry, and math.
  • During your bachelor years, you need to study and apply for MCAT to get admission into a good medical school.
  • Once you get admission into a medical school, you will have to complete 4 years of medical school and earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. 
  • After you obtain your degree, you will need to apply for a license and fulfill conditions as per your state.
  • Post this, you will need to complete five years of general surgery residency followed by a thoracic surgery fellowship.
  • The last step will be to obtain a board certification so that you can begin your practice.

You’ll also require a lot of leadership experience. A cardiothoracic surgeon must have exceptional hand-eye coordination and agility, a high perception of spatial relationships among and between objects, the ability to work long hours without rest, undivided focus in the face of potential distractions, and many other qualifications, in addition to the characteristics shared by all successful surgeons.


How Many Hours Does a Heart Surgeon Work?

Being a Heart Surgeon is not easy, and there are no fixed working hours to follow.

On average, a Heart Surgeon works for up to 60 hours a week which does not include the call hours. Heart Surgeons need to be available as and when an emergency arises.

What is the Starting Pay of Heart Surgeons?

Although heart surgeons need to put a lot of money into their education along with the investment of time, the return that they get once they become heart surgeons is incredible.

The starting pay of a heart surgeon is $14.42 an hour or $30,000 a year, but with more time and experience, you can make as much as $191.59 an hour or $398,500 a year.

Heart Surgeon Training Programs

To become a medical doctor, you must first get a bachelor’s degree in pre-medicine or a science-related discipline, then complete four years of medical school.

Most doctors then work as general practitioners for a while before deciding to specialize in surgery.

The next phase is a five-year general surgery residency before specializing in cardiac surgery, which takes another two or three years.

Some ambitious surgeons enter cardiothoracic surgery training right away, completing a six-year cardiothoracic surgery residency.

In any case, you’ll need at least 12 to 15 years of training to be adequately qualified, about 2 to 3 years more, at the very least, than a normal medical education which takes approximately a decade.

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Difference Between a Cardiologist and a Cardiothoracic Surgeon


To finish it off, being a heart surgeon takes decades, and even after your education, it is an extremely demanding job that requires you to work extra hours while doing hours-long surgeries with no room for error since you are dealing with a human being’s most delicate part that could end their life.

However, this demanding job comes with a highly competitive salary starting with a six-figure from the very beginning.

It has its upsides and downsides, but without a doubt, it is one of the most demanding jobs in the world.


How much do heart surgeons make when they first start off?

So heart surgeons start from the lowest bracket of the profession, which is around $220,000 annually.

How much do heart surgeons make if they have more than ten years of experience?

This depends on which percent they are in, thanks to their experiences and fame.

However, it is pretty obvious that they will earn more than the average amount.

How much do heart surgeons make when they do back-to-back surgeries?

So depending on your contract, if you get commission per surgery, you will earn those commission, but if you do not get paid for surgeries, your pay will not change.

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