Many high school and college students often wonder what the neurosurgeon salary is when choosing a career to pursue.
Most people know that neurosurgeons are some of the most highly paid professionals in the country.
Their remuneration is commensurate of the role they play in the health care industry.
There is no sure way of estimating the hourly, monthly or annual salaries of neurosurgeons.
All that can be done is estimation of average salaries based on real facts on the ground using various statistical formulas.
The salary of a neurosurgeon depends on a number of factors. For instance, experienced neurosurgeons earn much more than entry-level practitioners.
Surgeons who work in private medical facilities also earn much more compared to their counterparts who work in the public sector.
There are also surgeons who teach in medical schools. The salaries of these professionals differ greatly.
The median and average salaries are usually given a lot of emphasis when talking about the annual incomes of neurosurgeons.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is usually responsible for collecting data from different sectors of the economy and calculating the highest, lowest, median and mean salaries of different professions.
For instance, the BLS estimates the average neurosurgeon salary to be $173 per hour. According to this bureau, the lowest 10 percent of neurosurgeons earn an hourly wage of $49, while the highest 10 percent earn $336 per hour.
The BLS assumes that every neurosurgeon works for an average of 40 hours a week.
This translates to an annual salary of $101,920 and $698,880 for the lowest and highest earning 10 percent of neurosurgeons respectively.
The mean salary for these professionals is estimated to be $359,840.
While the annual salary may seem too high, it is important to note that training a single neurosurgeon takes a very long times.
Prospective surgeons have to obtain a bachelors degree first then complete medical school.
After graduating medical school, graduands usually have to complete an internship program under close supervision of a qualified neurosurgeon.
This is often followed by a residency program and fellowship.
This training process may take up to 17 years.
In addition to the years spent on training, prospective neurosurgeons also spend thousands and thousands of dollars on tuition, accommodation and upkeep.
Many of them go into residency with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid student loans.
There are many other sources of data, such as the private sector and research groups, but none can claim to have the exact figure.
Neurosurgeons can be paid higher salaries in some states and metropolitan areas than in others.
For instance, California, New York and Florida are the highest paying states for neurosurgeons. On the other hand, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA, are the highest paying metropolitan areas.
Others include Miami, FL and Baltimore, MD.
There is a huge shortage of neurosurgeons in the world, so a certified neurosurgeon can choose to work anywhere in the world. However, the United States offers the highest salaries in the world.
Canada, United Kingdom and Australia also offers some of the highest salaries in the market.
While money is always a motivating factor, some neurosurgeons also want to work in a conducive environment that offers a high quality of life, while others want to work in the most remote corners of the planet where neurosurgeons are unheard of.
That said, the country and types of facilities that neurosurgeons choose to work in will ultimately influence their salaries.
As neurosurgeons gain more experience, their salaries also increase. Senior surgeons with over 20 years of work experience usually take home over $800,000 annually.
Entry level surgeons and those with less than 2 years of work experience usually get an average of $68,000 annually. In the fifth year of their practice these surgeons usually earn around $411,038.
Neurosurgeons with over a decade, but less than two decades, of work experience get an average of $501,000 annually.
In addition to these salaries, there are many other benefits and bonuses that neurosurgeons normally get. These benefits can add up to a substantial amount.
Few careers offer the kind of benefits that neurosurgery offers. The job outlook for this profession is promising with a projected 24 percent growth rate, much higher than most professions.
Neurosurgery, like other professions, has several areas of specializations.
Salaries usually vary with the chosen specialty. The specialties include: pediatric neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, gamma-knife neurosurgery, cranial nerve disorders, complex spinal neurosurgery, cerebrovascular neurosurgery, stereotactic and functional neurosurgery among others.
Since the job descriptions of surgeons who specialize in these fields are a little bit different, their salaries are also not the same.
The average salaries of professionals who specialize in neurosurgery is usually calculated with the assumption that each surgeon works 40-hour weeks. However, this is hardly ever the case.
A single surgical procedure may take even 10 hours to complete. Surgeons may spend more than 15 hours a day in an operating room, so the number of hours may be much more than 40 per week.
There are also days when neurosurgeons may not perform any procedure. It is therefore difficult to estimate the annual incomes of neurosurgeons.
Government data from the BLS is deemed to be more reliable since the Bureau of Labor Statistics has access to IRS records, so they are in a better position to calculate the average neurosurgeon salary.
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