How Many Years of Schooling Does It Take to Become a Neurosurgeon?

The Long Road to Become a Neurosurgeon

The training program to become a neurosurgeon is very lengthy, requiring both an undergraduate and medical degree. It is one of the most challenging paths in medicine as it requires the highest level of competency to operate on anything related to the human brain and nervous system.

Educational Milestones

Undergraduate Education

It starts by getting your four-year undergraduate degree. Most future neurosurgeons major in a science (e.g., biology, chemistry or physics) as an undergraduate to get ready for medical school.

Medical School

A bachelor's degree is generally required to begin medical school, as are good grades and at least a 30 on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).If they win a coveted spot in an American medical school and survive training there--a process that takes 4 years--they're eligible for state licensing. Medical school curriculum has two phases; a pre-clinical phase covering basic medical sciences and a clinical phase where you will be exposed to direct patient care and rotations in different specialties.

Residency Training

After medical school, neurosurgeon is qualified through the residency program and becomes a long and challenging one. Seven-year program; there is no neurosurgery residency that lasts any less. During this time, residents are trained in all different aspects of neurosurgery including pediatric neurosurgery, neuro-oncology and spinal surgery.

Further Study In Their Specialization


Certain neurosurgeons may elect to seek a more specialized practice after finishing their residency. For instance, pediatric neurosurgeons will seek further training in a fellowship that only accepts pediatric cases. This fellowship is generally one to two years long and focuses on the specific skills required to care for pediatric patients with neurologic disease.

Total Educational Timeline

In other words, the time it takes to become a neurosurgeon is somewhere between 14 and 17 years after high school. This includes:

And 4 years of college

4 years of medical school

I was 7 years into a neurosurgery residency.

Additional 1-2 years may be spent completing a fellowship in a subspecialty such as pediatric neurosurgery


The path to becoming a neurosurgeon is incredibly challenging and requires passion, perseverance and an overall dedication to the field of medicine. The payoff, however, is tremendous; neurosurgeons are required for the care of conditions that affect our central nervous system.

More informative information on how long does it take to be a pediatric neurosurgeon is also present to those who will like to know the pathway on how long does it take to become a pediatric neurosurgeon? Because this is a complex yet rewarding specialty, this resource delves further into the unique training that forges the careers of these committed individuals.

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