How Long Does It Take to Become a Certified Neurosurgeon?

To attain this title, on the pathway to becoming a neurosurgeon there is a massive investment of hundreds of thousands of pieces to an intricate puzzle. It is a path not for the faint-hearted, and an intellectual and emotional musculature must be developed. The timeline to becoming fully certified in neurosurgery is long, reflecting the complexity and gravity of brain and spinal operations.

Educational Foundation

1 Undergraduate Degree: The journey on your way to be an Neurosurgeon begin with an undergraduate degree. Most medical schools are a four year program with some form of pre med track, majoring in the sciences, i.e. biology, chemistry or physics.

Undergrad: As I mentioned, you will first need to earn an undergraduate degree before moving on to medical school, which is an additional four years on top of a 4-year undergrad. The first two years are typically classroom-heavy, working on the basic building blocks of medical knowledge. The final 2 years are spent in clinical rotations with the opportunity to rotate through (among others) neurosurgery.

Specialized Training

Resident: The longest and most important part of neurosurgical training is residency. The program lasts about seven years and most of it consists of the specialized training in neurosurgery. Residents train through working with experienced neurosurgeons in a graduated process where they assume more and more responsibility as they advance.

The fellowship is not necessary to practice as a neurosurgeon, but many opt to participate in one so that they can go on to specialize even further. This can lead to an additional one to two years of specialized training in areas such as pediatric neurosurgery, spine surgery, or neuro-oncological surgery.


Once they have completed their residency, neurosurgeons must become board certified before practicing on their own. To do this, one must take a series of extremely demanding exams that are protected by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. The just described certification process evaluates the knowledge and skills of the surgeon to enssure that he/she is competent in all aspects of advanced neurosurgery.

Continuous Education

Neurosurgeons are required to engage in life-long learning even after becoming certified. They must follow any new medical technology or latest surgical procedures to give the best treatment to their patients. Better still, attend workshops, conferences and other follow-up training work.

How educational funding works

If you are curious about financing, this is why it is so important to know what Fully Funded means on this very long educational adventure. Full-funding makes these programs accessible to all students, relieving pressure and taking significant financial burdens away from their shoulders so that they can focus solely on their classes.

Total Time Commitment

Including time for an undergraduate degree, medical school, residency and perhaps fellowships, it often takes anywhere from 14 to 16 years to become a fully trained and certified neurosurgeon. These chronological values highlight the dedication needed to enter this arduous and fulfilling profession.

To sum up, the journey to become a board-certified neurosurgeon is no small feat and takes 10-11 hard-working years. A progression of different educational and career milestones leads you to this level of specialization that prepares you for this important, life-saving labor.

what does fully funded mean

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