Neurosurgeons are medical doctors who specialize in performing surgeries on the brain and spine to correct neurological problems. They diagnose and treat brain tumors, spinal injuries, and many other neurological issues. There are many sub-specializations of neurosurgeons such as pediatric, peripheral, and spine neurosurgery.
Those in the field of neurosurgery work closely with other neurosurgeons and other types of physicians including neurologists and psychiatrists. They generally work in private or group practices and often work long hours, sometimes more than 60 per week. Since they deal with emergencies and are frequently on call, it is likely that they will work erratic hours during the night, on weekends and on holidays. Some neurosurgeons opt for a career in research and spend their time developing advances in the field.
Neurosurgeons need to have a strict attention to detail and excellent hand-eye coordination because they are performing extremely intricate surgical procedures. In addition, the complicated surgeries they perform involve a high degree of skill, so neurosurgeons will need to possess the ability to work well under pressure. Physical stamina is another important quality neurosurgeons should have since much of their job will entail standing for many hours during lengthy surgical procedures.
On a daily basis, neurosurgeons might perform the following duties:
- Examine patients for neurological conditions
- Recommend and order diagnostic tests
- Discuss treatment options with patients and their families
How To Become A Neurosurgeon
Becoming a neurosurgeon involves many years of schooling and training. Those interested in a career as a neurosurgeon will begin with a bachelor’s degree and completion of the appropriate medical school prerequisite classes. Once that is finished, it is necessary to apply to and get accepted into medical school. After completing medical school, graduates will spend the next six years in a residency program training to become a neurosurgeon. Finally, after residency is completed, prospective neurosurgeons must pass an exam and apply for state licensing. At that point, one can legally practice as a neurosurgeon. A Neurosurgeon can make up to $336 an hour.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Neurosurgeon?
The process to become a neurosurgeon can take 14 years or longer. The steps in the progression include four years of studying as an undergraduate and earning a bachelor’s degree. Next, prospective neurosurgeons will need to apply to and get accepted into medical school which will take another four years. The last portion of the process is a six-year residency program.
How many years of college? Neurosurgeonsbegin their education obtaining a bachelor’s degree. A pre-med degree is often the degree of choice for future doctors, but there is no mandatory major needed to get into medical school. If the degree chosen is not pre-med, then students will need to complete prerequisite coursework in biology, chemistry, and math.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, one must apply to a medical school. It can be quite difficult to gain entry into a medical program; therefore, it is essential that students attain excellent grades throughout their undergraduate careers. When applying to medical school, students must provide letters of recommendation and receive above average scores on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Once accepted into medical school, students will undergo about two years of coursework and then two years performing clinical rotations in areas such as surgery, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. For those wishing to specialize in neurosurgery, choosing coursework during medical school in surgical practice and clinical research could be beneficial.
After finishing medical school, graduates who wish to pursue a career in neurosurgery will need to spend one year as an intern in the field, and then complete another four or five years as a neurosurgery resident.
Neurosurgeons can obtain board certification through the American Board of Neurological Surgery after several years of being in practice. Although it is not mandatory to do so, being board certified as a neurosurgeon establishes a surgeon’s commitment to excellence in the field and increases marketability and credibility in the medical community.
All physicians in every state need to be state licensed. Once completing all of the necessary elements of medical school and a residency program, prospective neurosurgeons can take an exam and upon passage, can apply for state licensing as a medical doctor. Licenses must be renewed periodically. Each state has different rules and regulations regarding licensing, so medical doctors must follow the guidelines put forth in their respective states.
The job outlook for neurosurgeons is expected to be good. The demand for all medical doctors and surgeons is projected to increase by 18 percent from 2012 until 2022. The best reasons for the positive job outlook are due to the large number of people who now have access to healthcare services as a result of healthcare legislation, and because of the aging population of the country who have a greater need for medical services. Detailed Neurosurgeon salary data is available here.
Well Known Neurosurgeon
- Dr. Jonathan S. Hott
- Dr. Andrew V. Beykovsky
- Dr. Christopher King
- Dr. Keith Black
- Dr. Ben Carson ran for President in the 2016 election and now works in the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Annual Neurosurgeon Job Salary
|City/State||Annual Mean Salary|
|Colorado Springs, CO||$241,545|
|Cape Cod, MA||$489,839|
|San Antonio, TX||$235,518|
|Los Angeles, CA||$337,503|
|Little Rock, AR||$222,983|
|Jersey City, NJ||$687,993|
|Salt Lake City, UT||$228,527|