To become a neurological surgeon, or neurosurgeon, a student must undergo a rigorous period of academic and hands-on training, beginning with earning a premedical undergraduate degree, according to NYU School of Medicine, the Houston Chronicle and About.com. The student then must complete a four-year doctoral program at medical school before applying to residency training programs in neurosurgery. While attending residency training, which typically takes six to eight years, the student gains hands-on experience working in the field of neurosurgery.
Neurosurgery is one of the best-paying subfields of medicine, with neurosurgeons earning an average income of $660,664 as of 2009, so the field is very competitive, says About.com. To maximize chances of getting into a good medical school and residency program, students should maintain the highest GPA they can throughout their education. A student who participates in and publishes research and obtains excellent letters of recommendation also has a better chance of getting into the residency program of his choice, according to NYU School of Medicine.
Because interacting with patients is such an integral part of a neurosurgeon's job, a neurosurgeon needs to have strong interpersonal skills such as empathy, understanding and respect, says NYU School of Medicine. Neurosurgeons also must be mentally and emotionally resilient and able to withstand the intensity of a job which is often fast-paced and stressful.