Unlocking the Secrets: Neurosurgeon Salary in the USA

The average Neurosurgeon salary in the United States is $657,801 as of May 01, 2023, but the range typically falls between $495,301 and $832,401.

What is a Neurosurgeon?

A neurosurgeon is a highly-skilled medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of disorders and conditions that affect the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and the entire nervous system. These specialists undergo extensive education and training, typically completing a medical degree followed by a rigorous neurosurgical residency program. Neurosurgeons perform complex surgical procedures to address issues such as brain tumors, spinal deformities, neurological injuries, and nerve-related pain.

They also collaborate with other medical professionals to develop treatment plans and provide expert consultations for patients with neurological concerns. In the United States, neurosurgeons earn an average base salary of $657,790, with additional incentives bringing the average total cash compensation to $684,600. This lucrative compensation reflects the high level of expertise and dedication required for this specialized medical field.

Overview of Neurosurgery as a Career Path in the USA

  • High Demand: Neurosurgery is a sought-after specialty in the USA due to the complex nature of the brain and nervous system, making neurosurgeons valuable assets in the medical field.
  • Extensive Education: Neurosurgeons typically undergo 7 years of residency training after completing 4 years of medical school, making them some of the most highly-trained physicians.
  • Impressive Salaries: Neurosurgeons are among the highest-paid medical professionals, with an average salary of well over $600,000, according to various sources.
  • Varied Practice Settings: Neurosurgeons can work in private practice, hospitals, or academia, with differing compensation and benefits packages.
  • Geographic Considerations: Top-paying states for neurosurgeons include, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, while places like Mississippi, Florida, and New Mexico have lower average salaries.
  • Wide-ranging Procedures: Neurosurgeons address a multitude of disorders, including brain tumors, spinal deformities, and nervous system injuries, making the specialty both challenging and rewarding.
  • Longevity & Financial Security: Neurosurgeons can benefit from a stable, high-income career path, and should consider wealth protection and financial stability measures to protect their hard-earned assets.

Factors Influencing Neurosurgeon Salaries

  • Experience: Neurosurgeon salaries tend to increase as they gain more experience in their field. Starting out, they may have lower initial salaries, but with time, these professionals can achieve the same salary range as their more experienced counterparts.
  • Reputation: A neurosurgeon’s salary can be influenced by their professional reputation. Those known for being the best in the field may earn higher salaries than those who have not gained as much recognition within the medical community.
  • Facility type: Salaries can vary depending on the type of facility where a neurosurgeon works. Private practices often have different pay scales than those set by employers in hospitals or other healthcare settings.
  • Incentives and bonuses: In addition to their base salary, neurosurgeons can increase their overall income by earning commissions, receiving incentive payments, and participating in profit-sharing programs.
  • Geographic location: The region where a neurosurgeon works can also have an impact on their income. Some countries, and even regions within the same country, may offer higher salaries due to factors such as demand, cost of living, and availability of skilled professionals.

Average Neurosurgeon Salary in the USA

The average neurosurgeon’s salary in the United States can vary depending on factors such as experience, geographic location, and certifications. According to Salary.com, as of May 2023, the typical salary range for a neurosurgeon in the US falls between $495,301 to $832,401 with an average base salary of $657,801. This data is also supported by Comparably, which states that the average neurosurgeon earns about $778,846 per year with bonuses of around $150,666, making up 19% of their annual income. Moreover, physicians specializing in neurosurgery tend to make the most in San Francisco, where the average compensation reaches up to $936,221. When considering factors such as living costs, rent, and taxes, a neurosurgeon’s take-home pay can be estimated to be around $52,498 per month.

Neurosurgeon Compensation Models

  • Annual Salary: Neurosurgeons in the US earn anywhere from $473,301 to $795,501 per year, with the median salary at $628,701. Factors such as experience, location, and practice type can influence income.
  • Private Practice: Neurosurgeons in private practice can earn an average of around $889,000 per year, depending on their business skills and patient demand.
  • Hospital Employment: Neurosurgeons working in hospitals make an average yearly salary of $786,000, supplemented by benefits from their employment contracts.
  • Academia: Those involved in academic roles can expect approximately $647,000 per year as their compensation.
  • Subspecialty Focus: Neurosurgeons focusing primarily on spine surgeries tend to have higher compensation, averaging at $796,000 per year.
  • Geographic Differences: While state-to-state differences in salary are less noticeable, the gap between rural and urban neurosurgeon compensation is growing. Top-paying states for neurosurgeons include Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, while lower-paying states are Mississippi, Florida, and New Mexico.

Factors to Consider When Negotiating a Neurosurgeon Salary

  • Experience and Residency: As a neurosurgeon, your salary increases with experience. Residents typically earn around $64,000 per year, which increases throughout their residency. After completing residency, salary jumps significantly during entry-level years and continues to grow as experience is gained.
  • Geographic Location: The cost of living and demand for neurosurgeons in a particular area directly impacts the salary. States like Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island offer higher salaries, while Mississippi, Florida, and New Mexico tend to have lower salaries.
  • Type of Practice: Private practice neurosurgeons may earn around $889,000 per year, while those in hospital settings make approximately $786,000 per year. Academic neurosurgeons have the lowest average salary at around $647,000 annually.


In conclusion, the career of a neurosurgeon in the United States is undoubtedly rewarding and lucrative. With an average salary ranging between $188,000 to $709,000 annually, neurosurgeons are among the highest-paid professionals in the medical field. Factors such as location, education, and experience contribute to the variations in earning potential. The demand for neurosurgeons is expected to grow, owing to the increasing prevalence of neurological disorders and an aging population.




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