How Long Does It Take To Become A Neurosurgeon?

Neurosurgery may be what you desire if you want a career in a specialized area of medicine. 

A specialty of medicine called neurosurgery focuses on identifying and treating conditions that affect the brain, spine, and other parts of the nervous system. 

Knowing the basics of neurosurgery can help you learn everything you need to know to become a neurosurgeon. 

In this article, we outline how long it takes to become a neurosurgeon and address salary and working conditions.

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What is Neurosurgeon School Like? 

Prepare for a further four years of medical school after finishing four years of college. 

Even if you go to state colleges rather than a prominent institution like Harvard Medical, just a small number of qualified applicants will be accepted because studying medicine is a competitive area. 

Maintain strong test scores and keep on top of your studies to increase your chances of being accepted. Residency is what comes after medical school. 

The longest residency program, a neurosurgery residency, lasts seven years, and only two to three residents are accepted annually at some schools due to the restricted openings. 

Before being accepted to their top-choice institution, some applicants might need to wait a year or two.

There are opportunities for finishing a fellowship for an additional year or two after completing residency. 

This allows for specialization in a particular area, such as functional neurosurgery, pediatric neurosurgery, spinal surgery, or neuro-oncology (brain cancer).

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be a Neurosurgeon? 

It takes a significant dedication to years of education and training to become a neurosurgeon. 

The first phase entails finishing a demanding pre-medical undergraduate program that normally leads to a bachelor’s degree. 

Advanced math classes including calculus and statistics, English, and lab courses in biology, physics, and chemistry make up the core curriculum for pre-med schools. 

A student’s grade point average (GPA) is crucial. 

The average GPA for applicants to medical school in the United States is 3.55; for prestigious institutions, it may even be 3.75 or higher. 

Pre-med students also need to pass the six-hour Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which measures their critical thinking and scientific knowledge. 

After earning a bachelor’s degree, four more years of study are required for medical school. 

In the first year, students attend lectures and participate in laboratory courses, taking coursework in anatomy, pathology, biochemistry, and histology. 

The second year is dedicated to clinical studies, while the third and fourth years are spent having students perform clinical rotations. 

Students can start concentrating on their areas of interest after gaining knowledge and experience in a variety of disciplines. 

Before graduating, medical students must pass a national exam and get grades for their studies and clinical experiences.

Students start the application process for residencies at the conclusion of their third year of medical school. 

To practice medicine in the US, you must have graduated from medical school. 

A one-year minimum residency is required for new doctors, during which time they work under a licensed physician’s supervision and gradually take on greater responsibilities. 

Most medical school graduates stay in residency for at least three years. The length of time needed to finish a residency varies. 

For example, residency programs in family practice, internal medicine, and pediatrics take three years to complete. 

Five years are required for general surgery. Neurosurgery takes seven years to master. 

A doctor can begin practicing medicine after completing residency training successfully or pursue extra education with a fellowship in a subspecialty that can last up to a year.

For neurosurgeons to keep their state licenses and board certifications, continuing education is necessary. Professional associations and medical colleges both give seminars and lectures.

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How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Neurosurgeon in 2023? 

Before receiving their practicing license, neurosurgeons must complete many years of intensive training.

The first stage in becoming a neurosurgeon is to finish four years of pre-medical school.

You will then need to enroll in medical school, which will require you to complete an additional four years of study.

Also, you must undergo a one-year general surgery internship after earning your medical degree, followed by five to seven years of neurosurgery residency.

You could also need a fellowship if you wish to focus on a particular area of neurosurgery.

In conclusion, you will need to complete 14–17 years of postsecondary education before becoming a neurosurgeon.

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Neurosurgeon? 

Before receiving their practicing license, neurosurgeons must complete many years of intensive training.

The first stage in becoming a neurosurgeon is to finish four years of pre-medical school.

For out-of-state students, pre-med programs at public schools typically cost $41,000 a year.

Students must first take the Medical College Admission Test in order to apply to medical school (MCAT).

For out-of-state students, one year at a public medical school typically costs roughly $58,000.

You must undergo a one-year general surgery internship after earning your medical degree, followed by a five to seven-year residency in neurosurgery.

If you wish to pursue a specific area of specialization, a fellowship may also be required.

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Salary and Job Outlook for Neurosurgeon after Study 

Starting pay for neurosurgery residents is between $40,000 and $50,000 annually. 

Expect the income to remain in this range up until being employed as a full-time neurosurgeon. 

According to the 2008 AMGA Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey, engaged neurosurgeons get an average compensation of $581,000 per year. 

You will be paid more in salary and bonuses the more experience you have. 

Neurosurgeons in private practice might make up to a seven-figure salary. Working in large cities will also result in higher incomes than working in smaller cities.

Job Outlook 

Through the year 2022, we anticipate that demand for physicians and surgeons, which includes the profession of neurosurgeon, will increase significantly.

Through 2022, job possibilities are predicted to increase by about 19%.

This expected increase in employment results from healthcare law changes that have made health insurance available to a larger population of people.

The aging population, which is predicted to live longer due to medical advancements, is also responsible for this development.

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What is a neurosurgeon? 

A neurosurgeon is a professionally trained physician who treats and diagnoses diseases of the neurological system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. 

Your neurological system is operated on by neurosurgeons, but they can also offer nonsurgical therapies. 

Before suggesting surgery, they frequently exhaust all nonoperative treatment options, including prescription drugs, steroid injections, and physical therapy.

In addition, neurosurgeons can identify and manage diseases that damage the tissues that support your neurological system, such as:

  • Your skull.
  • Spinal vertebrae.
  • Spinal disks.
  • Blood vessels.
  • Protective membranes and soft tissues.

Due to their vast experience in the nervous system, other healthcare professionals frequently consult neurosurgeons.

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What does a neurosurgeon do? 

The neural system of your body, which includes your brain, spinal cord, and spinal column as well as all of your nerves that branch out from your spinal cord, is assessed, diagnosed, and treated by a neurosurgeon.

Although neurosurgeons are skilled in performing intricate procedures on the spine and brain, they frequently advise nonsurgical or conservative treatment first. 

For instance, your neurosurgeon could first advise anti-inflammatory medications and/or physical therapy if you have persistent back discomfort. 

If these remedies are ineffective for your discomfort, your neurosurgeon might, if it is an option, advise surgery.

A neurosurgeon is proficient in a variety of surgical and procedural methods, such as: 

  • Open surgery.
  • Minimally invasive surgery.
  • Endoscopic surgery.
  • Microsurgery.
  • Radiosurgery.
  • Endovascular surgery.
  • Chronic pain interventional procedures. 

Additionally, neurosurgeons have received extensive training in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for neurological diseases. 

They are adept at using and interpreting the following testing equipment:

  • CT scans, or computerized tomography.
  • Scans using an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
  • Scans using PET (positron emission tomography).
  • Magnetoencephalography (MEG) (MEG).
  • Electroencephalograms (EEG) (EEG).

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What is the demand for neurosurgeons? 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 1 percent employment growth for surgeons overall from 2018 to 2028, which is slower than the average for all occupations.

A healthcare provider will need to hire fewer surgeons as a result of new technologies that will enable them to serve more patients.

Employment prospects are anticipated to be high for neurosurgeons who focus on treating diseases that impact aging baby boomers, while demand varies depending on the specialty.


Many people ask, “How much do neurosurgeons make?” without considering other, more significant factors. 

The salary is undoubtedly large enough for the majority of people to live comfortably, but it has a cost.

As previously stated, you should only consider a career in neurosurgery if you’re prepared to commit yourself to more than ten years of intensive school and training. 

It can be incredibly stressful, but once you’ve finished it, you need to be prepared to give your all in any situation. 

In addition to formal education, this necessitates the right mindset and strong interpersonal abilities. 

All of this will be worth it if you can achieve those and decide to devote your life to practicing neurosurgery.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is a neurosurgeon? 

A doctor who focuses on performing operations on the central and peripheral nervous systems is known as a neurosurgeon.
Trauma, tumors, congenital malformations, degenerative spinal disorders, strokes, and many more conditions are just a few of the conditions that neurosurgeons can treat.
Numerous neurosurgeons put in lengthy, erratic hours, frequently working nocturnal shifts.
Neurosurgeons require dexterity, patience, leadership abilities, and physical stamina in order to properly execute procedures on the brain and spine.
Other crucial characteristics a neurosurgeon needs include empathy, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills.

How much does a neurosurgeon make? 

As of May 2018, the average yearly salary for surgeons, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was about $255,110.
The specialty, the area of work, and the level of expertise of the surgeon are only a few of the many variables that affect salaries in this field.

How much does it cost to become a neurosurgeon? 

Prior to receiving their practicing license, neurosurgeons must complete several years of intensive training.
First, you must complete four years of pre-medical coursework if you wish to become a neurosurgeon.
For students from outside the state, pre-med courses at public schools typically cost $41,000 a year.
the Medical College Admission Test before they can apply to medical school (MCAT).
For students from outside the state, one year in a public medical school typically costs about $58,000.
A one-year general surgery internship must be completed after graduating from medical school, and a 5- to 7-year neurosurgery residency must follow.



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