Everybody knows the common running joke in our society of comparing things to rocket science or brain surgery. You may think something is hard, but at least it isn’t as hard as brain surgery! Everybody always talks about how hard these jobs are, but nobody ever talks about the people who do them. What about neurologists and neurosurgeons? What do they get in return for doing such a difficult yet necessary job?
The salaries of neurologists and neurosurgeons vary greatly depending on the location where you work. With that said, the respective salaries of a pediatric neurologist or neurosurgeon would vary just as much. Before you can analyze the salaries that people of these professions would earn, however, you must first identify the purposes that these professionals serve.
What is a Pediatric Neurologist?
What is a neurologist? A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in diagnosing, treating and handling brain disorder and problems with the nervous system in children. Neurologists of any kind go through years of schooling to become a professional.
This includes four years of medical school after receiving an undergraduate degree followed by an internship for one year and three years of training specific to the field. Most professionals choose a specific track to focus in (such as strokes, epilepsy, or movement) disorders and receive further specialized training in that area.
Common disorders that a neurologist might treat include:
- Sleep disorders
- Peripheral nerve disorders
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain tumors
When treating any of these disorders, a neurologist will commonly take the place of the primary physical care doctor regarding the issues at hand. They will diagnose and determine how to treat the given disorders. If surgery is deemed necessary, then the patient would be referred to a neurosurgeon.
What is a Neurosurgeon?
Neurosurgeons start where neurologists leave off. A neurosurgeon’s purpose is to will perform surgical procedures on patients who have suffered injuries to the brain, spinal cord, or nervous system. Their duties may also include non-surgical care depending on the patient’s specific needs.
Although a neurosurgeon may often be considered as just a brain surgeon, they are much more than that. Their training includes specialized preparation for procedures involving:
- Birth defects
- Brain trauma
- Head trauma
- Spine trauma
- Cerebrovascular disorders
- Chronic low back pain
- Brain tumors
- Spinal tumors
- Peripheral abnormalities
Salaries of Pediatric Neurologists and Neurosurgeons
How much do pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons actually make? With such an important purpose of caring for the brains of children, you would expect these professionals to make a large salary every year. In that case, you would expect correctly. However, the difference between the two salaries is notable.
Neurologists in the United States could expect to make anywhere between $96 thousand and $239 thousand, although the national average is around $183 thousand according to PayScale. Professionals can also expect an average bonus of approximately $20 thousand each year.
A pediatric neurosurgeon, on the other hand, can expect to make much more. The average annual salary is approximately $360 thousand. However, it can range from $101 thousand to $782 thousand. There are also many more additions to the salary for pediatric neurosurgeons. A bonus could range from one thousand to $114 thousand; profit sharing ranges from under one hundred to $347 thousand, and commission averages approximately $90 thousand.
Overall, pediatric neurosurgeons and neurologists can expect to make a decent amount of money in their professions, although a neurosurgeon will make slightly more (perhaps even by a couple hundred thousand dollars). With that said, pediatric doctors often make less than their adult physician counterparts, so this is child’s play compared to the salaries of doctors in other fields.
Factors that Determine Your Salary
There are several factors that could determine the salary of both pediatric neurologists and pediatric neurosurgeons. These factors vary from job to job depending on the circumstances in which they are interpreted, but the base of things will stay the same. Those determining factors include your education, experience, performance, certifications, cost of living, supply and demand and the reputation of the company.
Your education and experience typically go hand in hand, although they are looked at as separate factors. Usually, when a company is hiring, they specify a minimum amount of education or experience necessary to qualify for the position. If you exceed the minimum requirement stated, you will most likely be rewarded with a higher starting salary.
With that said, exceeding the minimum by too much can cause you to be over-qualified for the job. Those who are too qualified are often turned down. Onthe other hand, if you have less than the minimum requirements stated, you will likely be given a lower starting salary.
Just as your education can affect your salary, so can any additional certifications you may have earned. This factor does not come into play in every career field, so a little research is necessary. However, pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons have ample opportunity for additional certifications. Memberships of associations or other professional organizations could also help in this way.
You should always take a look at the requirements of a certain job to determine what certifications (if any) an employer may be calling for. Some employers request specific certifications while other request none.
Later on, in your career with a specific company, your performance could affect the increase or decrease of your salary. If you have been consistently performing well in your position, it is common for companies to reward you with a raise. On the other hand, it is possible to have your salary decreased or for you to be demoted if your performance is failing.
Other factors that may affect your salary are the cost of living in your area, the supply and demand of professionals in the field, and the general reputation of the company you would be working for. Cost of living has nothing to do with anything you can control, other than where you choose to live. If a certain area costs more to live in, it is likely the salaries given in that area will be higher to adjust. In the end, this doesn’t necessarily mean you will be making more, however, because you would be spending more, also.
The local supply and demand of professionals in the field is also a major factor. If there are plenty of professionals applying in your area, then there is no need for the company to provide competitive salaries. They might then be encouraged to provide higher starting salaries if there aren’t enough people applying.
The company’s reputation could also affect your starting salary. For example, a company in good standing with the public would be able to attract plenty of applicants at lower rates. However, a company might have a harder time getting people to apply if they have a bad reputation. In that case, they may offer higher starting salaries to attract people to the position.
Overall, there are many factors involved in deciding your starting salary and the money you will continue to earn during your time with a specific company. You should take these matters into account whenever you are preparing to apply for a new job to determine if the salary they are offering is adequate compared to other opportunities.