What Are the Helpful High School Courses to Become a Neurosurgeon?

by Joy Dora

A neurosurgeon is a specialized doctor who surgically operates on the nervous system. Neurosurgeons also examine patients for neurological disorders, remove brain tumors and treat people with spinal injuries. People who want to become neurosurgeons should take as many science and math courses in high school as possible to prepare them for this challenging career.

Science Classes

The career website ExploreHealthCareers.org recommends that students who want to become physicians take four years of science in high school, including biology, chemistry and physics. Medical school is competitive, with a limited number of spots for many applicants, and taking four years of high school science classes shows an early dedication to the study of medicine. All doctors need to understand how the human body works, how chemicals react with it and and how forces act on it. A broad study of science is useful because in medical school you will learn about general medicine before choosing a specialization.

Math Classes

Doctors need to know how to calculate dosages of medicine, read graphs and understand trends in a patient’s recovery. A strong understanding of math is needed for these skills. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook says that pre-med students should complete undergraduate work in math. High school students who anticipate becoming a neurosurgeon should take as many math classes as possible to prepare for college.

Foreign Language Classes

You might be surprised to see foreign language on a list of helpful high school classes for becoming a neurosurgeon. But according to the American Medical Women’s Association, taking foreign language classes is useful for doctors because many patients don’t speak English. As reported in The Michigan Daily newspaper, the 2007 U.S. census revealed that one in five people living in the United States don’t speak English at home. Also, knowing Latin can help students understand unfamiliar medical words that often have Latin roots.

Advanced Placement Classes

Students who intend to be doctors usually have rigorous college schedules. That’s why the American Medical Women’s Association recommends taking as many advanced classes as possible. Peterson’s, a company that produces educational resources, also suggests taking advanced placement courses in high school as a way to know if you are really able to handle more in-depth biology and chemistry courses in college. If you do well in advanced placement high school science classes, you may also be able to earn college credit and skip introductory courses in college.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images