The removal of brain tumors, repair of back or spinal problems and other neurological procedures form part of a neurosurgeon’s work. Depending on the country, neurosurgeons rank among the highest-paid specialists in the medical field. The average neurosurgeon salary in the United States is around $396,000 per year, while neurosurgeons in Canada make on average C$308,000 (US$248,013) per year. In the United Kingdom, pay for neurosurgeons generally runs from £26,350 (US$35,675) to £350,217 (US$474,036). Earnings range from AU$99,729 (US$78,053) to AU$584,718 (US$458,120) for neurosurgeons in Australia and NZ$70,000 (US$50,169) to as high as NZ$600,000 (US$430,848) for those in New Zealand.
How Much Does a Neurosurgeon Make?
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Neurosurgeon Salary Determinant Factors
Salaries for neurosurgeons generally depend on factors such as the type of employer and experience. In countries such as New Zealand and the United Kingdom, neurosurgeons work under the auspices of government-operated boards or agencies. Typically, but not in all cases, earnings rise with more experience. Skill sets and specialties within neurosurgery can also affect the pay.
1. How Much Does a Neurosurgeon Make by Country?
Neurosurgeon Salary in the US
PayScale states that neurosurgeons in the United States earn around C$308,000 per year. Total pay ranges between $102,296 and $815,084 per year. A 2015 survey by the American Medical Group Association states that the median compensation in 2014 at $728,006, according to Neurosurgery MarketWatch.
Neurosurgeon Salary in Canada
According to PayScale, neurosurgeons in Canada earn an average salary of C$316,813 per year and the total pay ranges between C$103,316 and C$546,525 per year. The Canadian Medical Association reports that, as of 2013-2014, average gross earnings for neurosurgeons stood at C$415,051.
Neurosurgeon Salary in the UK
The National Careers Service states that surgeons in the United Kingdom, who are classified as specialty doctors, earn between £26,350 and £102,500, but consultants who work in the private sector typically earn more. For specialists, the range is £37,547 to £70,018, while consultants in the Service make between £76,001 and £102,465.
PayScale reports the mean salary of a brain surgeon working in the UK at ₤100,000 and the total pay range between £39,339 and £350,217 per year.
Neurosurgeon Salary in Australia
According to PayScale, Australian neurosurgeons averaged earnings of AU$272,000 per year. Total pay for brain surgeons working in Australia ranged between AU$99,477 and AU$584,718. According to the Australian Tax Office, as of 2013-2014, male neurosurgeons made on average AU$577,674 and female ones earned AU$323,682 per year.
Neurosurgeon Salary in New Zealand
The New Zealand Government reports that surgeons overall earn between NZD$70,000 and NZD$600,000 per year mostly depending on experience and their field of choice.
2. How Much Does a Neurosurgeon Make According to Experience?
PayScale says that, in the United States, the median pay for entry-level neurosurgeons is $303,000 and rises to $400,000 at five years of experience. The median at ten years is $414,000, while the median for late-career neurosurgeons is $445,000 per year. At 10 years of experience, the median salary peaks at $445,000 per year and, thereafter, declines to $442,594 past 20 years. However, depending on employer and responsibilities, a neurosurgeon can take home as much as $883,743 per year.
PayScale indicates that salaries for Australian neurosurgeons do not rise significantly with experience until after 10 years. Entry-level neurosurgeons have median salaries of AU$162,778, while median figures are at AU$300,000 after 10 years. From there, median pay rises significantly to AU$485,704 by 20 years’ experience.
Neurosurgeons who are still in training in the UK earn between £26,350 and £45,750 per year, while experienced or specialty brain surgeons have salaries between £37,500 and £70,000 per year. Highly experienced neurosurgeons, also known as consultants in the NHS, earn between £76,000 and £102,500 yearly. Those working in the private sector earn significantly more.
According to the New Zealand Government, trainee surgeons are paid between NZD$70,000 and NZD$175,000. At the “experienced” level, salaries generally run from NZD$151,000 to NZD$600,000 per year.
3. How Much Does a Neurosurgeon Make According to Work Environment?
Generally, neurosurgeons who work in private practices or for private health care providers can make more than those in government. In New Zealand, qualified surgeons who work for a district health board fetch earnings between NZD$151,000 and NZD$212,000. Those in the private sector in New Zealand make up to ND$600,000.
The type of specialty or practice within neurosurgery can shape earnings. For example, according to PayScale, U.S. neurosurgeons in the spine specialty make 42 percent above the national average. Neurosurgery MarketWatch says that single-specialty neurosurgery practices held a median salary of $752,141 in 2014, while the median figure for multi-specialty practices was $737,849.
Neurosurgery is a full-time occupation and often requires work on nights, weekends, pre-dawn hours and other irregular shifts. The need for emergency surgeries can arise at any time from traumatic incidents such as automobile crashes and falls.
Canadian neurosurgeons averaged 51.5 hours per week, with another 56 hours worked on call caring for patients. In Australia, the average workweek for surgeons is 48.7 hours per week, versus 40.2 for occupations overall.
Bonuses and Benefits
Depending on the employer, neurologists may receive bonuses for entering a “high-demand” occupation or relocating to rural or underserved areas. PayScale reports that neurosurgeons in the United States have earned bonuses between $1,101 and $116,484. Commissions averaged $93,060. In Canada, bonuses have reached C$19,653.
Neurosurgeons, especially those who are members of group practices, may participate in profit-sharing. For example, PayScale reports that earnings for U.S. neurosurgeons from profit-sharing range from $391.98 to $365,841.
Those employed in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service participate in its pension program and can draw starting at age 55, but with reduced benefits. At age 65, National Health Service employees generally can draw without penalty. In Australia and New Zealand, neurosurgeons have their retirement and pensions funded through superannuation. These consist of mandatory contributions by employers. Benefits in these countries also include paid annual and holiday leave.
Overall, the increased diagnosis of neurological disorders will spur more demand for and employment of neurosurgeons. According to a Global Neurosurgery Market 2015-2019 report, as cited by PRN Newswire, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease account for approximately 12 percent of deaths worldwide.
Shortages could also play a role in prospects for neurosurgeons. As of 2015, Canada had 314 neurosurgeons, representing approximately one per every 100,000 Canadians.
Citing a shortage of surgeons, the New Zealand Government rates employment prospects in that country as good. Other contributors include the aging population and the aging of surgeons and other specialty doctors. In New Zealand, almost one in three of these doctors are at least age 55 and expected to retire within the next ten years.
The Australian Government projects 5,000 or fewer job openings through November 2019, though employment is expected to grow “very strongly” by November 2020. With 7,200 surgeons as of November 2015, the Australian Government opines that job opportunities in some areas may be limited.
Neurosurgeons offer services in high demand due to the aging population, instances of traumatic brain injuries and other demands to treat neurological conditions. In many locations, opportunities may arise due to shortages in neurosurgeons.
Those willing to locate in underserved areas may find signing bonuses and other incentives. Pay for neurosurgeons can increase with experience, gaining supervisory duties or positions, and practicing in offices or for privately-run health providers.
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