Heart doctors, which include general cardiologists and heart surgeons, are responsible for the care and treatment of the cardiovascular system, so their work is vital to a person's overall health. This intense responsibility translates into a much higher average salary than other professions, even the high salaries already earned by general physicians and surgeons. The job outlook for heart doctors also looks good because more people will be requiring their services as the population gets older.
Average annual salary estimates for heart doctors range from $220,000 to $240,000 per year, according to healthcaresalaryonline.com. Some of the highest paid cardiologists and heart doctors make annual salary of $700,000 or greater, according to www.pulsemed.org. Salary levels for heart surgeons are typically a little higher than they are for general heart doctors, averaging about $275,000 per year. Only 10 percent of cardiologists earn less than $150,000 per year.
Cardiologists and heart doctors will earn more money working in heavily populated metropolitan areas. The best locations for cardiologists are areas with a very high-income population, where they average wages of $200 per hour or better, according to healthcaresalaryonline.com. Average salaries for heart doctors working in New York City or Los Angeles surpass $300,000 per year, while cardiologists working in cities such as Phoenix, Atlanta and St. Louis earn about $280,000 per year. The lowest salaries for heart doctors are earned by specialists working in extremely rural areas.
Most heart doctors work in a private practice or group practice setting and can typically be found in private medical offices or clinical settings. Few cardiologists work for hospitals. Aside from private clinics and hospitals, cardiologists also find work with the federal government, universities with strong health departments and the military. Some heart doctors further specialize themselves as pediatric cardiologists, specializing in the care of children who experience cardiovascular health problems. About 19,000 cardiologists were employed in the United States as of 2010.
Job opportunities for cardiologists are expected to rise by 2020 due to the aging American population and the greater need for doctors who can address common problems associated with aging, many of which affect the cardiovascular system. Although salary levels are typically lower in rural areas, there will be ample employment opportunities in those settings as they are typically under-served by heart doctors. Some cities do experience shortages in heart doctors, so competition for higher paying jobs in those locations may be easier.