It’s not easy being a neurosurgeon. As a surgeon who specializes in the treatment of conditions affecting the neurovascular system of the body, their job description is very sensitive. A problem with the peripheral nerves, spinal cord, spine or brain can quickly end a person’s life. If not death, a patient with such neurovascular problems could end up losing their functional ability or other primary characteristics such as personality.
Neurosurgeons can choose to specialize in a particular field like the brain, cervical spine, lumbar spine, or spinal cord injury. Others specialize according to age group. Neurosurgery is an intricate career specialty that calls for a lot of preparation. Their remuneration reflects the requisite expertise and the load of the job.
How to become a Neurosurgeon In Brief
First, you have to complete the fundamental requirements of being a physician; a bachelor’s degree and another four years in graduate school to attain an M.D. or D.O. degree. After acquiring a medical degree, med school alumnae have to be accepted into a residency training program for neurosurgeons.
The length of a neurosurgery residency is about six to eight years. If you want to be a neurosurgeon, you can see that you have a long way to go.
We have arrived at the most frequently asked question; how much does a neurosurgeon earn? Your guess is as good as mine; they make pretty much. In fact, they are the most highly paid physicians. Bear in mind that physician careers are the highest paid among all occupations.
Neurosurgery attracts only the finest in the medical field. You can be sure that this is not a career for everyone. Additionally, the job is very demanding in terms of time and handling of the cases. As a result, neurosurgeons are very scarce.
The MGMA Physician Compensation Report has the average neurosurgeon income at $775,968. The median income is $704,170. The lowest paid neurosurgeon earns at least $350,000 while the top 10 percent make up to $1,229,881 a year.
Hourly Payment Rates
A neurosurgeon in the United States makes $175 per hour on average. This rate is just the national average. However, there are those who make double that amount and others earn much lower. At the bottom of the salary scale, we have neurosurgeons making at a rate of $50 per hour while at the top of the scale we have the finest earning up to $350 an hour.
The hourly rate of pay is determined by many factors including the number of surgical procedures performed, the total hours worked in a week and the billing rates for each procedure.
Factors Affecting the Salaries
You must be wondering what accounts for such a significant disparity between the least and highest paid neurosurgeon. There are various factors responsible such as experience, the level of training and specialized fields of practice.
Experience- experience is the number one contributor to the difference in neurosurgeon’s salaries. While a starting neurosurgeon receives a salary of $350,000, six years down the line, the pay will have grown to $600,000. According to the Neurosurgery Market Watch, neurosurgeons with six to fifteen years of experience earn a median income of $914,796.
Training- We’ve already seen the basic qualifications required to become a neurosurgeon. Besides those qualifications, neurosurgeons can become board certified. This means being accredited by an organization that is accepted by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
Although requirements may vary, they can include oral and written exams, competency assessments, full-time practice, continuing education, an unrestricted license and acquiring certification at various levels.
Sub-specialties- is the neurosurgeon teaching, treating patients or conducting research? Some neurosurgeons can choose to narrow down to a particular subspecialty of neurosurgery, and this can influence their compensation. Some of the recognized sub-specialties include pediatrics, emergency trauma, cerebrovascular, stereotactic, spine and nerves, pain management and tumors.
Setting- While most people may think that neurosurgeons practice in a similar environment, they are wrong. In fact, the environment where one works could have the most impact on salary. A neurosurgeon who works in a specialty hospital will earn more than his counterpart at a similar level in an outpatient care center.
Neurosurgery is the most sought after medical specialty hospitals. Over the coming years, employment levels for neurosurgeons will rise to cater for the needs of an ever increasing population. To be precise, between 2012 and 2022 there should be an 18% increase in the employment of neurosurgeons. If you are interested in a neurosurgery career, the prospects have never been better.