I heard someone say that economics is not brain surgery. But what if brain surgery is your career choice? In the United States, there are around 3,500 practicing 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, we will first look at what it takes to become a neurosurgeon. Later, we will go international and see how much neurosurgeons make in various countries.
1. Who is a Neurosurgeon
We cannot start our article without first explaining what a neurosurgeon is.
Neurosurgeons do more than just surgical treatment of 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 range.
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, interfering with your personal life. It is difficult to pursue, and it takes a long time to accomplish.
Next, in this article, we will look at why you should consider pursuing a career in neurosurgery.
2. Why Should You Become a Neurosurgeon
There are several reasons why you should consider practicing neurosurgery. In particular, if you wish to help hospitals with their sickest patients with life-threatening neurological disorders worldwide.
Among these causes are:
- You can become a neurosurgeon if you wish to operate on intriguing and complex anatomy in a technically challenging setting.
- 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 tumors. Their scope, however, is significantly broader, and it encompasses all types of spinal cord surgeries, brain tumors, 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 advise on non-invasive treatments, physical therapy, neurological disorders, and other drugs. They 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.
3. The Path to Becoming a Neurosurgeon
In this section, we will examine what 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.
3.1 High school
All doctors must understand 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, concentrating on biology, chemistry, and physics.
3.2 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.
They must complete a bachelor’s degree program that covers pre-medical prerequisites such as microbiology and biochemistry.
3.3 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.
3.4 Medical School and National License
Neurosurgeons graduate from medical school and obtain a national license 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.
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.
3.7 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 and continuing education.
3.8 Optional Board Certification
Getting a Board Certification is completely optional. That said, it will help you advance as a specialized surgeon. Board certification is available through the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS).
While it is unnecessary, passing the board’s test and obtaining the credentials demonstrates a surgeon’s commitment to excellence in the field and increases credibility and marketability in the medical community.
3.9 Specialized training
This is also optional. A “fellow” is a physician who decides to pursue extra training or a “fellowship” in a specialty after or near the completion of a residency.
Whoa! Becoming a neurosurgeon is not easy at all. As we earlier mentioned in our article, it can take up to 15 years to become a neurosurgeon.
After so much work, it is justified to ask, We have no intention of keeping you waiting. So, let’s dive into it and see how much neurosurgeons make.
4. 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 percent 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.
Although this is not a tiny sum of money, many say 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 your calling.
Now, let us look at how much neurosurgeons make in other countries.
5. In Switzerland
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.
6. 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.
7. In Japan
Japan boasts 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 equivalent in dollars.
8. 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 yearly.
9. In Canada
Surgical professionals in Canada receive an annual average salary of around CAD450 000. ($340,000).
10. In Denmark
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.
11. In the Netherlands
Neurosurgeons working in non-academic institutions have one of the highest salaries per the national average. The base pay is between €85,000 and €175,000 a year at the start of their careers. After ten years, the average salary can rise to more than €175,000 (194,000).
12. 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.
Many individuals desire to know 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.