How Much do Neurosurgeons Make: Your Best Guide [2022]

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How much do neurosurgeons make
Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash/Copyright 2022

I heard someone say that economics is not brain surgery. But, what if brain surgery is your career choice? In the United States, in 2021, there will be around 3,500 practising board-certified neurosurgeons and slightly more than 100 resident training programs. 

If you want to be one of them and wonder how much neurosurgeons make? You have come to the right place.

In this article on “How much do neurosurgeons make?” we will first look at what it takes to become a neurosurgeon. We will look at how much do neurosurgeons make in the USA, and later we will go international and see how much do neurosurgeons make in various countries.

Let’s begin!

Who is a Neurosurgeon

We cannot start our article on “How much do neurosurgeons make?” without first explaining what a neurosurgeon is.

Neurosurgeons do more than just surgical treatment on the brain. These doctors treat disorders affecting the neurological system, including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves in the face, arms, legs, hands, and feet.

Neurosurgeons are the most highly trained doctors, having studied for at least 15 years before being allowed to do unsupervised surgical treatment on a patient. Because of the complexities of their work, they are among the highest-paid surgeons as per the national average salary ranges.

How much do neurosurgeons make?
By sussexcareers/ Flickr. Copyright 2022

Neurosurgeons work in the field of the human nervous system, performing surgery on patients suffering from head trauma, brain aneurysms, herniated discs, spine and brain cancers, and peripheral nerve issues.

Typically, neurosurgeons undertake more spine procedures than brain operations, while emergency operations for head injuries are still prevalent. Neurosurgeons may also be part of a broader team that provides non-surgical therapy and rehabilitation for neurological illnesses like Parkinson’s disease.

The job is difficult and stressful, and it interferes with your personal life. It is difficult to pursue, and it takes a long time to accomplish.

Next, in this article on “How much do neurosurgeons make?” we will look at why you should consider pursuing a career in neurosurgery.

Why Should You Become a Neurosurgeon

There are several reasons why you should consider practising neurosurgery. In particular, if you wish to help hospitals with their sickest patients with life-threatening neurological disorders all around the world.

Among these causes are:

  • If you wish to operate on intriguing and complex anatomy in a technically challenging setting, you can become a neurosurgeon.
  • If you desire, you can train to be a neurologist. There are several nervous system study possibilities. It allows you to study various disorders and trauma.
  • Becoming a neurologist also requires you to take on this technical challenge. It provides the surgeon with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to distinguish himself from the rest of the surgical team.

Many individuals assume that a neurosurgeon only treats brain diseases like brain tumours. Their scope, however, is significantly broader, and it encompasses all types of spinal cord surgeries, brain tumours, and other surgical procedures. Indeed, neurosurgeons diagnose and treat more spinal injuries than brain lesions.

Furthermore, surgeons do far more than merely do surgery. They can also advise on non-invasive treatments, physical therapy, neurological disorders, and other drugs. There also do pediatric neurosurgery.

In most situations, they collaborate with other doctors to find the best strategy to address specific conditions. Every patient’s therapy necessitates a one-of-a-kind strategy.

If this lifestyle seems intriguing to you and you’d like to learn more about becoming a neurosurgeon, keep reading our article on “How much do neurosurgeons make?”

The Path to Becoming a Neurosurgeon

In this section of our article on “How much do neurosurgeons make?” we will look at the things you need to do to realize your dream of becoming a neurosurgeon.

The first step in deciding on a vocation is determining whether or not you are willing to commit yourself to it. You don’t want to waste your time on something you dislike.

Anyway, these are the procedures for becoming a neurosurgeon.

High school

How much do neurosurgeons make?
By Images/Flickr. Copyright 2022

All doctors must have a basic understanding of how the human body works, how chemicals interact with it, and how forces impact it. As a result, students who want to be physicians should study science in high school, with a concentration on biology, chemistry, and physics.

Bachelor’s Degree

While no specific degree is required for undergraduate study, prospective neurosurgeons often concentrate their coursework in advanced biological sciences to achieve medical school entrance criteria.

By Joe Hall/Flickr. Copyright 2022

They must complete a bachelor’s degree program that covers pre-medical prerequisites such as microbiology and biochemistry.

Medical School Admissions Exam

During their junior year of undergraduate studies, prospective neurosurgeons must take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) given by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM)

Through a series of MCQs, this standardized exam assists medical schools in evaluating a candidate’s training and skill set.

Many institutions disclose the average MCAT score of their incoming students on their websites to assist first-year students in understanding how well they need to score to compete with other candidates.

Medical School and National License

Neurosurgeons graduate from medical school and obtain a national licence as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Medical school is a four-year curriculum that is divided into two halves.

The first two years of study are spent on courses and lab work that cognitively prepare students for patient interaction. This education is in biological and medical sciences.

Students aspiring to be neurosurgeons are frequently involved in advanced coursework in medical diagnostics, clinical research, surgical practice, and sickness treatment.


After graduating from medical school, graduates who wish to work in neurosurgery must spend one year as hospital interns.

Interns are not permitted to practice medicine without supervision and must adhere to the restrictions of the training program in which they are enrolled.


After finishing an internship, surgeons undertake a residency program in neurological surgery, which normally lasts six to seven years.

By Navy Medicine/Flickr. Copyright 2022

Neurosurgery, Neuropathology, and Neuroradiology are taught in years one and two. In years three and four, some schools include laboratory research or experience in a neurosurgical specialism.

Typical tasks during the last year or two include administrative management for all residents, functioning as chief resident in neurosurgery, and assisting in surgeries.

State Licensing and Continuing Education

All aspiring neurosurgeons must be licensed in their respective states. To take a state license test, candidates must have completed medical school and a residency program.

While licensing laws and regulations vary by state, most jurisdictions mandate license renewal regularly as well as continuing education.

Optional Board Certification

Getting a Board Certification is completely optional. That said, it will help you in advancing in your career as a specialized surgeon. Board certification is available through the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS).

While it is not necessary, passing the Board’s test and obtaining the credential demonstrates a surgeon’s commitment to excellence in the field and increases credibility and marketability in the medical community.

Specialized training

This is also optional. A “fellow” is a physician who decides to pursue extra training or a “fellowship” in a speciality after or near the completion of residency.

Whoa! Becoming a neurosurgeon is not easy at all. As we earlier mentioned in our article on “How much do neurosurgeons make?” it can take up to 15 years to become a neurosurgeon. 

After so much work, it is justified to ask, “How much do neurosurgeons make?” We have no intentions to keep you waiting. So let’s dive into it and see how much do neurosurgeons make?

How Much do Neurosurgeons Make in the USA

A neurosurgeon’s income ranges from $103,279 to $789,182, with the typical compensation in the United States being $397,757. The experience level is the most important aspect in determining a neurosurgeon’s remuneration. Here is a breakdown of average incomes by career level:

  • Entry-level – $341,658
  • Five years experience – $406,092
  • Ten years experience – $462,377
  • 20+ years experience – $490,243

Of course, when profit sharing, commissions, and incentives are included, actual compensation might be substantially lower or greater than this. The top ten per cent of late-career neurosurgeons earn the highest salaries in the ballpark of $883,000 and $900,000.

This makes a career in neurosurgery one of the highest-paying in the medical industry, according to the national average. This is mostly due to the time and effort required to become a neurosurgeon, the rigorous nature of the profession, and the extraordinarily high amount of responsibility that neurosurgeons have.

How much do neurosurgeons make?
By Pictures of Money/Flickr. Copyright 2022

Although this is by no means a tiny sum of money, many individuals say that the work is underpaid. Neurosurgeons deal with some of the world’s most lethal and complicated conditions, and the pressure is greater than in most other professions, both within and outside of medicine.

So, if you’re considering a career in neurosurgery, don’t let money be your primary motivator. Because the monetary rewards may not balance the difficult lifestyle, you should pursue this vocation only if it is absolutely your calling.

Now, let us look at how much neurosurgeons make in other countries.

How Much do Neurosurgeons Make in Switzerland

By Khairul Abdullah/ Flickr. Copyright 2022

The average neurosurgeon salary in Switzerland is approximately $300,000 per year. Consequently, after ten years of experience, their remuneration is around $615,000 per year.

How Much do Neurosurgeons Make in Norway

In Norway, Neurosurgeons earn an annual average salary of NOK 4.2 million, with incentives offered on occasion. This equates to $460,000.

How Much do Neurosurgeons Make in Japan

By Stefan Laketa/ Flickr. Copyright 2022

Japan boasts one of the world’s highest-paid salaries for surgeons, especially neurosurgeons. In Japan, a neurosurgeon earns an average salary of 45 million Yen a year. $413,615 is the equivalent in dollars.

How Much do Neurosurgeons Make in Australia

A surgeon in Australia is one of the highest-paid in the world. In Australia, neurosurgeons with extensive experience earn roughly AU$502,000 per year, with a bonus of up to AU$102,000 each year.

How Much do Neurosurgeons Make in Canada

Surgical professionals in Canada receive an annual average salary of around CAD450 000. ($340,000).

How Much do Neurosurgeons Make in Denmark

By Bill Smith/Flickr. Copyright 2022

The highest-paid surgeons in this medical field in Denmark make around 1.2 million DKK in annual salary. Those with several years of experience and working in more demanding areas can make on average around 2 million DKK per year, with some high-performing specialists earning up to 5 million DKK ($296,765) each year.

How Much do Neurosurgeons Make in the Netherlands

Neurosurgeons working in non-academic institutions have one of the highest salaries as per the national average. The base pay is between €85,000 and €175,000 a year at the start of their careers. The average salaries can rise up to more than €175,000 (194,000) after ten years.

How Much do Neurosurgeons Make in the United Kingdom

Neurosurgeons working for the NHS have a median salary of around £107,000 per year or 138000 in USD, making the United Kingdom the tenth-highest-paying country for neurosurgeons.

Final Thoughts

Many individuals desire to know “How much do neurosurgeons make?” without considering other, more essential factors. The salary is certainly sufficient for most people to live well, but it comes at a cost.

You should only seek a career in neurosurgery if you are ready to commit to more than 15 years of your life to comprehensive education and training. And once you’ve finished it, you must be prepared to give your all in any scenario.

Trust me, when I say it, calling it a stressful job is an understatement. All of this will be worthwhile if you can build those skills and think that neurosurgery is something you want to practice for the rest of your life.

Read more: Nursing before vs Now: Five ways nursing has changed.


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