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How to Become a Neurosurgeon

Rahul Pandita
Interested in studying the brain? Delve into the world of medicine. This post provides some helpful information on the requirements on becoming a neurosurgeon. Have a look...
A specialist who focuses on treating disorders of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and other disorders of the central nervous system is a neurosurgeon. He is a physician who has specialized in the surgical treatment of the nervous system.
Job description involves performing a variety of surgeries, helping patients with medications, assisting psychiatrists and therapists on a case. Becoming a neurosurgeon, means dedicated hard work for a number of years, with an extensive training experience proceeding simultaneously.
Most of the students who aspire to be a neurosurgeon have one common question; how long does it take to become one? Well, unlike engineering, law, arts, etc., you are looking at a minimum of ten years, but the compensation for this profession is among the highest in the US.
The kind of skill and training that goes into being a neurosurgeon is highly specialized, and ensures strong financial stability. A prelude to this line of profession begins after the completion of an undergraduate school.

Undergraduate Degree

Aspiring candidates should carefully choose their coursework, and should take subjects like biology, biochemistry, and human anatomy. The GPA that is expected is 3.5, and you have to rank among the top in your college to get admission in a medical school.
Apart from these requirements, you also need to score highly in the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). MCAT tests the skills of the candidate through a series of multiple answer questions.

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Then, the aspiring students need to apply with the American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Medical schools also look at the student's character certificate, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

Medical School

Aspirants typically spend the first two years of their medical school attending lectures and performing practicals in laboratories. The various fields they specialize in are anatomy, physiology, pathology, medical ethics, etc. In the last couple of years of their college degree, they work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians.

Neurosurgery Residency Program

After the completion of medical school, you will have to complete a residency in which you will be gaining experience on the various aspects of neurosurgery.
Many neurosurgeons believe that a residency program is one of the most grueling stages. The first year that you spend at the residency goes into acquiring fundamental skills, and the next five years are spent in studying various neurological sciences.

Licensing and Certification

After completing your residency, you can apply through your state's medical board and get a license. After a few years of practice, you will also become eligible for a certification, and you will become a certified neurosurgeon with the American Board of Neurological Surgery.


Neurosurgeon salaries are among the highest in the United States. Experienced professionals can make as much as $400,000 pa. New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are the cities that pay the highest, and among the states, California and Texas are the best places to work.
Neurosurgeons with less than one year of experience can earn anywhere between $60,000 to $255,000. Apart from the annual salary, they are also entitled to profit-sharing, bonuses, pensions, and various kinds of insurance plans.
If you really have the passion to excel in this highly specialized area of medical science, perseverance, determination, and a lot of hard work will be some of the key factors.
There are many people who opine that to become a neurosurgeon, you must be highly intelligent, and it is something that the average student should not dream of. While there may be some weight to their claims, dedication and an urge to succeed will make sure that you are able to tackle the obstacles that come your way.