How to Become a Neurologist: Education, Job Description & Salary

Neurologists have dedicated their work lives to treating certain brain and nervous system dysfunctions. Find out how to become a neurologist with this step-by-step guide. Schools offering Anatomy & Physiology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

A Glance at Neurology

Neurology is a specialized branch of medicine which studies the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in the nervous system, specifically the brain, nerves and spinal cord. Neurologists work as doctors, while neurosurgeons would perform any related surgeries. The table below gives more facts about becoming a neurologist.

Education required Undergraduate degree or pre-med program; four years of medical school; one-year internship; three-year (minimum) residency in neurology; possible fellowship
Licensure/Certification U.S. Medical Licensing Exam; state licensing requirements will vary; certification isn't required, but may be desirable
Key Skills Excellent problem-solving skills, good communication skills, critical thinking
Median Wages (2017) $208,000+ (physicians and surgeons, all other)
Job growth (2016-2026) 10% to 14% (physicians and surgeons, all other)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What are the Requirements to Pursue This Career?

The first step to becoming a neurologist is to acquire an undergraduate degree in an accredited college or university with a major in sciences such as biology, biochemistry or chemistry. One can also complete a pre-med program that has classes in these sciences. After obtaining an undergraduate degree, the student needs to enroll in a four-year accredited medical course.

How Does One Enroll in a Medical School?

Many schools prefer to accept students with a GPA of 3.4 or higher. The student must also pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to enter medical school. There are a lot of medical schools in the country which offer undergraduate medical degrees, pre-med programs and medical degrees to prepare for a career in neurology.

What Other Training is Required?

An internship program must be completed for the student to gain first-hand experience in the field. After the internship is done, the student can proceed to fulfill a residency and concentrate on his or her specific field of interest. The last part of the training program will be a fellowship where the student could gain more extensive training in neurology or a chosen sub-specialty.

Where Shall I Get Certification?

There are various organizations that provide board certification in neurology. One example is The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides and maintains certification for neurologists in the United States and Canada. One must have a valid physician license in at least one state of the United States or a province of Canada and must have completed the training accredited by ABPN.

Where Can a Neurologist Work and How Much is the Salary?

Many neurologists work full time in hospitals and health care centers, while there are others who work in government or private organizations doing research. The BLS doesn't publish statistics specifically about neurologists, but considers these medical professionals as a part of 'physicians and surgeons, all other.' The annual salary in 2017 was listed as $208,000 and above. Several factors such as years of experience, certifications and specialized skills may also impact earnings.

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