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How to Become a Neurosurgeon

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Becoming a neurosurgeon isn't as easy as deciding to go to medical school and specializing in that field. Neurosurgery residency programs are competitive and the students chosen are usually in the top of their class. Neurosurgeons deal mostly with brain and spinal cord disorders. The general salary falls between $250,000 and $500,000 annually. Neurosurgeons can spend between six and eight years in a residency program, then three more in a fellowship.

Earn a bachelor's degree from an accredited undergraduate school. Choose premed or some type of science as your major.

Prepare to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), administered by the American Association of Medical Colleges. Many programs offer MCAT preparation courses.

Find research, shadowing and community-service opportunities. Many schools look for a commitment to the community and a healthy desire to help others.

Select the medical schools to which you will apply.

Complete and submit an application to the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), and include the required documents.

Wait for an invitation from the medical schools to complete their secondary application or continue on to the next part of the application progress, such as an interview.

Attend medical school, and work to stay at the top of your class. Only the top students are accepted into the neurosurgery programs.

Apply for neurosurgery residency programs in your senior year of medical school.

Take and pass the state licensing exam.

Complete the six to eight years of the residency program. You also may need to complete a fellowship as well.

Take the state board certifications, and get certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists.