Cardiothoracic Surgeon Salaries

According to American Board of Thoracic Surgery(ABTS), thoracic surgery “encompasses the operative, perioperative, and surgical critical care of patients with acquired and congenital pathologic conditions within the chest.  Included are the surgical repair of congenital and acquired conditions of the heart, including the pericardium, coronary arteries, valves, great vessels and myocardium. It also includes pathologic conditions of the lung, esophagus and chest wall, tumors of the mediastinum, and diseases of the diaphragm and pericardium.Management of the airway and injuries to the chest are also within the scope of the specialty.”

There are four pathways to establish eligibility for  ABTS certification exam. They are:

  1.   The  successful completion of a full residency in General Surgery( 5 years) approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), followed by the successful completion of an ACGME-approved Thoracic Surgery residency( 2 or 3 years).Successful completion of a 4/3 General Surgery/Thoracic Surgery Joint Training Program approved by the ACGME also fulfills the requirements .
  2.   The successful completion of a full residency in General Surgery or Cardiac Surgery approved by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, followed by the successful completion of an ACGME-approved Thoracic Surgery residency. 
  3.  The successful completion of a six-year integrated Thoracic Surgery residency(recently introduced) developed along guidelines established by the TSDA and approved by the ACGME (RRC-TS). There are 14 such approved programs as of January 2011.
  4.  The successful completion of an ACGME-approved Vascular Surgery residency that can lead to primary certification followed by the successful completion of an ACGME-approved Thoracic Surgery residency.

 Cardiothoracic Surgeons Salary at an Academic Center

Professor $1,013,500
Professor $527,900
Professor $502,200
Professor $475,000
Associate Professor $463,500
Professor $393,500
Assistant Professor $370,800
Assistant Professor $308,300
Assistant Professor $300,000
Professor $300,000

According to a 2003 survey, the cardiothoracic surgeon salary ranged from $196,000–496000. The america’s most famous  cardiothoracic surgeon  Dr. Oz, however, must be earning in millions.

Employment  opportunities for a cardiothoracic surgeon are low. They struggle with finding job but once they get it they are highly paid. In a 2008 survey, 19.9 % of the graduates disagreed with recommending cardiothoracic surgery to potential trainee. One of the comments from a graduate was ““There are better job opportunities and financial salary packages for general surgery … . I think there will be a … shortage (of) CT surgeons in 5 to 10 years.”

US Income Tax 2013

The higher the salary the greater the tax. Here is a sample tax rate for married couples filing jointly.

US Income Tax Physician Salary


1. American Association of Thoracic Surgery.
2. American Board of Thoracic Surgery. 
3. The Texas Tribune
4.Cooke DT, Kerendi F, Mettler BA et al.Update on cardiothoracic surgery resident job opportunities.Ann Thorac Surg. 2010 Jun;89(6):1853-8; discussion 1858-9.[Pubmed]
5.Salazar JD, Lee R, Wheatley GH 3rd, Doty JR.Are there enough jobs in cardiothoracic surgery? The thoracic surgery residents association job placement survey for finishing residents. Ann Thorac Surg. 2004 Nov;78(5):1523-7.[Pubmed]
6.Internal Revenue Service [Income Tax ]

2 Responses to Cardiothoracic Surgeon Salaries

  1. So, I am interested in the reason for a range of salaries in the “median” column? How to interpret that? Median salaries in different states? What a bout a single measure, just for comparison?

  2. Thanks for this information. I have been compiling information about cardiac surgeon salary. I noticed that what you have posted here is for the academic setting. Cardiac surgeon salary in the hospital setting typically runs from $100,000 per year to more than $400,000 per year depending on the state, years of experience, and the hospital itself.