The Starting Salary for a Cardiothoracic Surgeon

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Cardiothoracic surgeons operate on the heart and lungs to improve patients' cardiovascular conditions.
Cardiothoracic surgeons operate on the heart and lungs to improve patients' cardiovascular conditions. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A cardiothoracic surgeon is a trained professional who specializes in the medical management, diagnosis and surgical treatment of patients who have conditions of the lungs and heart. These surgeons must determine which tools and methods of surgery would be most effective in improving the conditions of theIr patients. In addition to a degree in medicine, cardiothoracic surgeons require at least two to four years of cardiothoracic surgery experience.

Salary Range

According to Salary Wizard, the median salary for cardiothoracic surgeons in general was $400,312 as of April 2011. A starting cardiothoracic surgeon is likely to earn in the bottom 25 percent of the profession, which was below $324,323. The middle 50 percent of the profession in general earned between $324,323 and $497,720. The bottom 10 percent of the profession earned below $255,139, while the top 10 percent of the profession earned above $586,404.

Location

Location can have a major impact on the earning potential of a cardiothoracic surgeon. According to a report compiled by Salary Expert, of the 10 cities surveyed, the top two cities salary-wise for cardiothoracic surgery were Dallas, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, at $363,180 and $355,724, respectively. The bottom two cities of the 10 surveyed were Houston, Texas, and Orlando, Florida, at $171,222 and $303,849, respectively.

Comparison

While cardiothoracic surgery is one of the top-earning positions in medicine, a few surgery positions earn more. A surgeon in the field of neurology earned an average annual base salary of $469,219, according to Salary Wizard. A surgeon who specializes in heart transplants earned an annual base salary of $432,308 on average. An orthopedic surgeon earned an average annual base salary of $408,379. Several surgical subtypes that cardiothoracic surgery earned more than included pediatric surgery at an average of $354,775, trauma surgery at an average of $328,165, and vascular surgery at an average of $323,582.

Industry

The mean annual wage for surgeons in general was $219,770 as of May 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest-earning industry for surgeons to work in was the offices of physicians at an annual mean wage of $227,860. Those who worked in the offices of other health practitioners earned $215,530. Surgeons in outpatient care centers earned wages of $214,090. General medical and surgical hospital surgeons earned $191,200. Those who worked in colleges, universities and professional schools earned the lowest average salary at $166,710.

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