Neurosurgeon Salary

Neurosurgeon performing brain surgery.  Neurosurgeons correct disease and injury of the brain and spinal column using surgery and various procedures.

Neurosurgeon performing brain surgery.  Neurosurgeons correct disease and injury of the brain and spinal column using surgery and various procedures.

A neurosurgeon salary is calculated by the US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from a variety of sources. Neurosurgeons work in a number of settings including hospitals, clinics and schools. A typical salary varies depending on the location and the setting.

The assumption was made that the Neurosurgeons reflected here were working an average of 40 hours per week with a total of 2080 hours per year. The BLS lumps neurosurgeons in with a variety of other specialists including orthopedic and vascular surgeons. Taken as an aggregate this gives a much lower salary estimate than other sources.  


The average neurosurgeon salary is $173 per hour. The lowest 10% earn $49 per hour and those in the upper 10% earn more than $336 per hour.   The hourly rate is subject to a number of factors including actual hours per week worked, number of surgeries performed, and what the billing rate is for services and surgery.


On an annual basis the median neurosurgeon salary is greater than $359,000. The lowest 10% earn $102,000 per year while the upper 10% earn more than $700,000 per year. These salaries are calculated as a mean or average.   Exact data can be difficult to calculate due to a wide variability between government data services and private sources salary reporting methods.

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Hourly Wage Median Hourly & Annual Data

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Lowest and Highest Neurosurgeon Salary

The lowest paid Neurosurgeons earn less than $102,000 annually while the highest paid Neurosurgeons earn as much as $700,000 or more per year as reported by various online sources.  

Top 5 States

The five best paying states for neurosurgeons are:  California, New York, Florida, Massachusetts, and Illinois  

Top 5 Metropolitan Areas

The top five paying cities for surgeons are:  San Francisco CA, Miami FL,  Los Angeles CA,  Boston MA,  and Baltimore  MD.

Click here to see salary for Neurosurgeons in all 50 states

Where They Work

The American Association of Neurosurgeons represents over 8,000 Neurosurgeons worldwide with approximately 43% of them being in private practice and 32% working full time for colleges and universities. 2% are employed by the federal government.

Other Industries that Employ Neurosurgeons

A small percentage work in multi-specialty practice settings or in private practice. Universities, Government and Military employ a small number of neurosurgeons.

Employment Data

According to the US Department of Labor nationally there are over 42,000 surgeons who earn an average salary of over $356,000 per year. The exact number of neurosurgeons working in the U.S. is difficult to determine but some estimates are as low as 3000 and as high as 7500.

Private Practice vs. Employment

A rapidly growing trend in the healthcare arena is the use of the locum tenens. This is a doctor who agrees to a short term contract to fill in for a doctor who is on leave or extended absence. These contracts can be arranged individually by the doctor or through an intermediary such as an employment agency.

The majority of most physicians are in private practice rather than employed by others. The majority of doctors in the U.S. are considered as self-employed and/or small businesses. As such they operate a private practice or clinic. However, when they engage in a locum assignment with an agency they may qualify as employees of the agency.


Fringe benefits will vary depending on business size and other factors. A typical benefits package can be worth over $20,000 for someone earning $100,000 per year.  Most physicians create self funded benefits packages. 

International Salary

United Kingdom (UK)

The average pay for a neurosurgeon ranges between £53.00 and £56.75 per hour. This brings to an average of £113,500 per month, however though different regions across UK offer different salary amounts to the neurosurgeons.


The annual salary for Neurosurgeons in Canada ranges from C$178,000 to C$351,000. The salary depends on various factors like the type of practice, location and experience.


The average wage for a neurosurgeon in Australia is $280,000 AUD per year.  This approximately $135 per hour.  The highest posted salary is over $329,000 AUD per annum.   


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