How do I Become a Neurosurgeon?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
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  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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It takes a lot of education and training to become a neurosurgeon. This type of surgeon specializes in diagnosing and treating medical conditions that involve the brain, spinal chord, and nervous system. A person who wants to become a neurosurgeon typically has to attend college and then graduate from medical school. After medical school, a person interested in this field usually completes a residency program, and he usually has to pass a licensing exam as well.

An individual who wants to become a neurosurgeon plans to work on some of the most delicate and important parts of the body. A doctor in this field works to diagnose and treat a range of conditions and diseases that involve the brain as well as those that affect or impair a patient's nervous system or spinal chord. A person in this field may treat people with epilepsy or brain tumors, for example, as well as those with paralysis and patients who have suffered strokes. He may also help patients who have suffered trauma to their heads or spines as well as those who have conditions such as spinal stenosis, which is marked by narrowing of the spine. Sometimes a neurosurgeon is also called on to treat patients who have malformed brains, nervous systems, or spines.


An individual who wants to become a neurosurgeon usually has to complete college in preparation for this job. A person interested in this field may pursue just about any bachelor's degree major and still gain admission to medical school. Many, however, find it advantageous to take pre-medicine or science majors, as they provide a good foundation for a career in the medical field.

The requirements a person may have to meet for medical school admission may depend on the school he wants to attend. Usually, medical schools require applicants to take admission exams, provide official college transcripts, and secure recommendations from their college professors. Often, a person has to write and submit a personal essay as well. Once enrolled, an aspiring neurosurgeon usually attends medical school for about four years.

Once an aspiring neurosurgeon graduates from medical school, he still has a good deal of training to complete in order to become a neurosurgeon. An individual interested in this career also has to complete residency training, which is essentially hands-on training in a hospital. In many places, residency training lasts for more than six years. An aspiring neurosurgeon also has to pass a licensing exam to practice medicine. Some people pursuing careers in this field of medicine go on to complete fellowships as well, which help to prepare them for neurosurgery specialties.


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