Neurologists are surgeons and physicians who treat and diagnose conditions of the nervous system and the brain. These professionals treat a variety of conditions such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, multiple sclerosis, strokes and epilepsy.

If you want to join this challenging field, then keep reading this article. It will discuss how to become a Neurologist in the U.S.

Should I Become a Neurologist?

If you are interested in learning more about the central nervous system, then you should consider becoming a Neurologist.

Since a Neurologist is a type of a Physician, therefore he/she has to meet the requirements that Physicians and Surgeons have to meet. These are outlined in the table below.

Education Required Doctoral/professional training is mandatory.
Training An internship or residency program has to be completed.
Licenses/Certifications Every state requires a license.
Key Skills Physical Stamina, Organizational Skills, Leadership Skills, and Dexterity.
Annual Mean Salary (2019) $203,450 (Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric)
Job Outlook (2018-28) 7% (Physicians and Surgeons)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

The overall employment of Physicians and Surgeons is likely to grow by 7% from 2018 to 2028.

Steps to Become a Neurologist

The process of becoming a Neurologist includes the following steps:

  1. Complete Post-secondary Education
  2. The first step involves researching about colleges that offer the best pre-medical curriculum and have a good academic reputation. Once you have shortlisted the college that you want to attend, you can then pursue a 4-year long Bachelor’s degree in a science related subject. Students generally major in courses like Biology or Chemistry. As part of your Bachelor’s degree requirements, you will have to study a range of courses related to Human Anatomy, Biochemistry and Microbiology.

  1. Take the MCAT
  2. All the medical schools in the U.S. have made it compulsory for students to take a standardized test, called the Medical College Admission Test. The admissions committee shortlists the applicants on the basis of their scores on the MCAT, along with other factors such as CGPA, interview score etc.

  1. Attend Medical School and Complete Training Requirements
  2. Once you make it to medical school, you will undergo four years of rigorous training. The traditional doctoral program usually takes four years to complete. Moreover, you will also have to complete an internship program and a residency program. Working under the supervision of experienced neurosurgeons or neurologists will expose you to real life medical situations.
    The internship period can last for one year and the residency period is usually three to four years long. In order to set yourself apart from other graduates, you can also complete a neurological specialty fellowship, which can be completed within one to two years.

  1. Attend Medical School and Complete Training Requirements
  2. Meet Licensure Requirements
    The medical licensing requirements usually vary from state to state. In order to get licensed, you will have to pass a licensing exam and will have to send a licensure application to your state Board.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Neurologist?

In order to become a Neurologist, candidates have to complete four years of full-time undergraduate study, four years of medical school, one year of internship, and three to four years of residency. Candidates may also want to pursue a one to two year-long Neurology fellowship. In addition to completing the training and education requirement, Neurologists also have to take the licensing exam. Therefore, the process of joining this field can take more than thirteen years.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Neurologist

In order to work as a Neurologist in the U.S, candidates have to:

  • Complete a Medical degree from an accredited school.
  • Complete the internship and residency requirements.
  • Clear the medical licensing exam.

How Much Do Neurologists Earn?

The broad category ‘Physician and Surgeons (All Other)’ identified by BLS also includes Neurologists. Therefore, we will use the salary data of this category. It has been reported that “Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric” earned an annual mean pay of $203,450 in 2019.