Average Salary of a Neurosurgeon

Average Salary of a Neurosurgeon?
Average Salary of a Neurosurgeon?

Average Salary of a Neurosurgeon?

The purpose of this article is to delve into the complexities surrounding the topic of neurosurgeon salary. With their specialized set of skills and knowledge, neurosurgeons are highly regarded professionals in the medical field. We will explore the average salary for this demanding and complex profession in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the financial aspects of this career path.

The human brain is a fascinating and complex organ that requires the expertise of a neurosurgeon to diagnose and treat neurological conditions. Neurosurgeons are highly trained medical professionals who specialize in the surgical treatment of conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system.

What is a Neurosurgeon?

A neurosurgeon is a highly skilled medical professional who has received extensive training in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of a wide range of conditions that can affect the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system. As central healthcare team members, they collaborate closely with other specialists, including neurologists and radiologists, to provide patients with comprehensive and personalized care. With their expertise and cutting-edge technology, neurosurgeons play a critical role in helping patients achieve the best possible outcomes and regain their quality of life.

Neurosurgeon Education and Training

To become a neurosurgeon, one must undergo years of rigorous education and training. First, one must obtain a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. After this, aspiring neurosurgeons must attend medical school, where they will receive specialized training in neurosurgery. Following medical school, they must complete a neurological surgery residency program, which typically takes 7-8 years to complete. During this time, they will gain hands-on experience working with patients under the guidance of experienced medical professionals. This rigorous training ensures that neurosurgeons are well-equipped to handle their profession’s complex procedures and challenges.

Neurosurgeon Job Description

Neurosurgeons play a critical role in the healthcare industry by specializing in diagnosing, treating, and preventing conditions that impact the brain, spinal cord, and nervous system. Through surgical techniques, these skilled professionals can remove tumours, repair damage caused by injury, and alleviate pressure on the brain and spinal cord. With a deep understanding of the nervous system’s complexities, neurosurgeons can provide patients with the highest level of care and support as they navigate these challenging conditions.

Neurosurgeon Salary Overview

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for physicians and surgeons, including neurosurgeons, was $208,000 as of May 2020. However, neurosurgeons can earn significantly more than the median salary, with some earning upwards of $500,000 annually.

The average salary range for a neurosurgeon in the United States is relatively high, from $471,000 to $642,000 annually. Some key details:

  • According to Medscape’s 2020 Neurosurgeon Compensation Report, the average neurosurgeon salary in the U.S. is $557,000 per year.
  • The highest average neurosurgeon compensation was in the Northeast region at $637,000. The lowest was in the West at $495,000.
  • Neurosurgeon salary depends on several factors like experience, speciality, practice setting, hospital affiliations, location, productivity, etc. More experienced neurosurgeons typically command higher salaries.
  • On the lower end, neurosurgeons just starting can expect to earn around $471,000 per year. As they gain more experience, pay usually increases up to $642,000 per year or more for the most experienced neurosurgeons.
  • Many neurosurgeons earn a significant portion of their pay through bonuses, incentives, profit sharing, and base salary. This can boost total compensation significantly.
  • Neurosurgeon jobs usually require long years of training (college, medical school and residency) as well as maintenance of board certification. But the specialized skills and responsibilities result in one of the highest-paying medical jobs.

While the $500,000 to $600,000 range seems to represent average neurosurgeon salaries, pay varies widely based on many factors. The most experienced neurosurgeons at the highest-paying institutions can reach the $600,000 to $800,000 total compensation range.

Factors Affecting Neurosurgeon Salary

The salary of a neurosurgeon is subject to a variety of factors, including their level of experience, geographical location, and the employer they work for. Neurosurgeons with a wealth of expertise typically garner higher salaries than their less-seasoned counterparts. Those working in metropolitan regions or specializing in high-demand areas may also receive increased compensation. These circumstances can ultimately lead to a broader range of salary options within neurosurgery.

Neurosurgeon Salary by Experience

Based on industry data, it has been found that the annual salary of neurosurgeons can vary greatly depending on their level of experience. For those with less than five years of experience, earning between $300,000 and $400,000 annually is expected. However, for those practising for 5-10 years, the earning potential can increase to upwards of $500,000 annually. For the most experienced neurosurgeons who have been in the field for over a decade, it is not uncommon to make $700,000 yearly. It is important to note that these figures may vary based on factors such as location and employer.

Neurosurgeon Salary by Location

The compensation of a neurosurgeon can also be affected by their geographical location. The earning potential of a neurosurgeon practising in a metropolitan area or a state where their services are in high demand is typically higher than those working in rural areas or conditions where the need for their service is lower. Therefore, neurosurgeons need to consider their location and service demand when evaluating their earning potential.

Neurosurgeon Salary by Employer

Regarding compensation, neurosurgeons in private practice generally earn higher salaries than their counterparts in academic or hospital settings. However, it’s worth noting that those in educational or hospital settings may receive additional benefits such as comprehensive health insurance coverage and retirement plans. These benefits can ultimately offset the difference in salary and provide a more stable long-term financial outlook for these professionals.

How does a neurosurgeon’s salary compare to other medical specialities?

Neurosurgeon salary is among the highest for medical specialities. Here’s how it compares:

  • Neurosurgery is regularly ranked as one of the highest-paying medical specialities, along with orthopaedic, plastic, and cardiovascular surgery.
  • The 2020 Medscape Physician Compensation Report shows neurosurgeons earning a median compensation of $520,000, the 5th highest among all specialities.
  • According to the report, orthopaedic surgeons earn a median of $551,000, ranking as the highest-paying medical speciality.
  • Plastic surgeons rank 2nd with a median compensation of $496,000.
  • Cardiac surgeons rank 3rd at $489,000 median pay.
  • Neurologists, who diagnose and treat nervous system disorders, earn a median of $260,000. This is significantly less than neurosurgeons.
  • Primary care physicians and internists earn the least, with median compensation ranging from $212,000 to $235,000.
  • Other typical medical specialities like family medicine, paediatrics and psychiatry earn significantly less than neurosurgery, from $191,000 to $236,000 in median compensation.

The main reason for the high neurosurgeon salary is a combination of factors:

  • Very specialized skill set requiring many years of complex training
  • High demands and responsibilities involved in performing complex surgeries on the brain and spinal cord
  • A limited number of neurosurgeons compared to other specialities
  • Close hospital affiliations and supervision of residents/fellows

While neurosurgeon pay is among the highest-paying, it is similar to – and often slightly less than – fellow surgical specialities like orthopaedics and cardiothoracic surgery.

Neurosurgeon Job Outlook

The demand for skilled neurosurgeons is projected to continue to rise shortly. This can be attributed to a combination of factors, including an ageing population and advancements in medical technology. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that competition for residency programs and job opportunities in this field may be pretty fierce. Therefore, aspiring neurosurgeons must pursue their education and training with utmost diligence and dedication to succeed in this challenging but rewarding profession.

Neurosurgeon Work Environment

Neurosurgeons are medical professionals who typically operate within the confines of hospitals or private clinics. Due to the nature of their profession, their work can be quite physically and emotionally demanding. Often, they must work long hours and be on call for emergencies that may arise at any time. Despite these challenges, neurosurgeons remain committed to their patient’s well-being and strive always to provide the best possible care.

Average Salary of a Person in the U.S.?


  1. What is the average starting salary for a neurosurgeon?
    Neurosurgeons with less than five years of experience earn between $300,000 and $400,000 annually.
  2. How long does it take to become a neurosurgeon?
    Becoming a neurosurgeon requires extensive education and training, including a bachelor’s degree, medical school, and a residency program in neurological surgery, which typically takes 7-8 years to complete.
  3. What factors can affect a neurosurgeon’s salary?
    Several factors can affect a neurosurgeon’s salary, including experience, location, and employer.
  4. How does a neurosurgeon’s salary compare to other medical specialities?
    Neurosurgeons are among the highest-paid medical professionals, with only a few other specialities, such as orthopaedic surgeons and anesthesiologists, earning higher salaries on average.
  5. What is the job outlook for neurosurgeons?
    The demand for neurosurgeons is expected to remain high in the coming years, partly due to an ageing population and advances in medical technology. However, competition for residency programs and job openings may be intense.


To become a skilled neurosurgeon, one must undergo extensive formal education and training. However, the payoff can be immense in job fulfilment and financial compensation. The average annual salary for a neurosurgeon can surpass $500,000, with those practising in highly sought-after regions or with more experience potentially earning even more.


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