How Long to Become a Neurosurgeon?

The journey to become a neurosurgeon is not only difficult, but it is also long which requires dedication of time and effort. Understanding the timeline and components of a career in neurosurgery can help transform this aspiration into patient, strategic planning.

Southeast Missouri State University - Bachelor's Degree UWellington correlates organizational activities related to program administration against competencies required by the atlas of Board On Forward Foundation Educational Programs.

The trek starts with a bachelors degree. Students who plan to go into neurosurgery usually major in biology, chemistry or a related field, but the more important factor is that they complete the prerequisite courses medical schools require. The premedical phase typically lasts for 4 years, in which students also need to study for and do well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Medical School: Learning Your ABCs or How to Acquire Medical Knowledge

The next step is medical school if you are an undergraduate and that lasts four years as well. The first two years consist almost entirely of classroom work, diving into more detailed subject matters in the biological and medical sciences. The remaining two years are more clinical, consisting of clinical rotations in different disciplines including surgery.

Internship: Neurosurgical Fellowship

Neurosurgeons work in their field as well after graduating medical school, working through a residency program in neurosurgery which provides the bulk of their extensive training. Neurosurgery residencies have a fierce reputation for being some of the longest and most challenging residencies, ranging from six to eight years. Residents experience thorough training in neurosurgical diagnosis and surgery for a vast array of neurological diseases from brain tumors to spinal injuries throughout this time.

Fellowship: Subspecialization

While not mandatory, many neurosurgeons elect to complete a fellowship in order to further focus their area of expertise, be it pediatric neurosurgery, spine surgery or neuro-oncology. Fellowships are usually 1-2 years in duration and focus on advanced training within the chosen subspecialty.

Fulfillment of Board Certification

After completing their residency, those who want to become a neurosurgeon must also pass the American Board of Neurological Surgery exam to earn board certification. Certification poses a necessity to independent practice, it serves to establish the completeness of their training as well as excellence in their respective fields.

Total Time Commitment

This totals 14 to 16 years after high school before a neurosurgeon can begin practising: four years for an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school, six to eight residency training and possibly longer if fellowship trained. This timeline demonstrates the level of expertise and commitment necessary to succeed in this complex medical specialty.

For those fascinated by all the hoops through which one must hop to land a career in neurosurgery, how long to become a neurosurgeon digs deeper into that rabbit hole.

The road to becoming a neurosurgeon is truly not a sprint, it is decades of education and training that all are necessary for entering the most rigorous and life changing field in all of medicine. So check out the article, which provides a very clear timeline of both the facts and necessary steps for entering into neurosurgery.

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