How to Become a Neurologist

How to Become a Neurologist

Neurology is a medical discipline that focuses on the study and treatment of conditions related to the nervous system. A neurologist is a medical physician that specializes in neurology and has received intense training on examining, diagnosing, and treating a variety of neurological conditions.

What does a neurologist do?

Neurologists are experts in treating disorders and diseases affecting the nervous system. They perform neurological examinations and administer tests to diagnose problems related to the brain, spinal cord, central nervous system, and related muscles and tissue. They perform many different tests including Computed Axial Technology (CAT) scans and Magnetic Resource Imaging (MRI). They review the medical history of the patient and discuss test results and treatment options. Neurologists also participate in research to gain a better understanding of the neurological conditions and develop new treatment options. They work with patients with many different conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, brain trauma, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy.

What kind of training does a neurologist need?

Neurologists must complete an undergraduate degree, medical degree, and internship and residency training. Medical school provides intensive classroom and laboratory instruction as well as a variety of clinical rotations. After medical school prospective neurologists complete internships in a related area and residency training in neurology. Some neurologists complete additional fellowship training to specialize in a specific area. All physicians must be licensed to practice. Requirements include graduation from an accredited medical school, completion of post-medical school training, and passing a written examination. Neurologists must also become board certified in neurology from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Neurologists must stay up to date on advancements in the field and often complete continuing education throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a neurologist?

Employment of all physicians is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1).

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for neurologists with extensive experience and specialty training. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace neurologists that retire, transfer, or leave the occupation for other reasons.

How much do neurologists make?

As of December 2009, the middle 50% of neurologists earn annual salaries between $174,766 and $244,865. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $280,252 (2).

A career as a neurologist is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in providing care for patients experiencing a variety of neurological conditions. Neurologists must have a solid understanding of the brain, central nervous system, and related areas and the diagnosis and treatment of many different conditions. They must have excellent bedside manner and be able to put patience at ease. Manual dexterity, patience, eye-hand coordination, motivation, and detail orientation are desirable characteristics. Neurologists must have excellent communication and ability to work as part of a team. They must also be able to work under stress and make effective decisions in emergency situations.

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