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Neurologist Job Description

What does a neurologist do? Neurologists are specialized doctors who treat patients suffering from disorders of the brain and central nervous system. They often work with patients afflicted with Parkinson's disease, Autism, Alzheimer's, and those who experience seizures. Neurologists assess patients through examinations and various diagnostic tests.

Neurologists work alongside other physicians and medical professionals. The majority work in hospitals and in private practices. Those who work in hospitals are required to work a schedule decided on by the hospital. Although the schedule is typically during regular business hours, neurologists in hospitals are often on call at night and on the weekends. Those neurologists employed in a private practice have more flexibility in their scheduling, but it is generally more difficult to become established and build up a patient base.

Neurologist Duties

On a daily basis, a neurologist might perform the following duties:

  • Meet with and examine patients
  • Order diagnostic tests
  • Perform tests on patients measuring cognitive abilities

How To Become A Neurologist

The process to become a neurologist is lengthy. First, one must complete a bachelor's degree. Before graduating with their bachelor's degree, students will need to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and apply to medical school. Medical school must then be completed, followed by an internship, and then a residency program. After all of these educational requirements have been met, prospective neurologists can take their state boards to become licensed and begin practicing as a neurologist.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Neurologist?

It typically takes about 12 years to become a neurologist. 4 years are spent as an undergraduate working toward a bachelor's degree, and then another 4 years are spent in medical school. After medical school, graduates will then undertake a one year internship, followed by a 3 year residency program.

Education Requirements

Becoming a neurologist involves many years of intense schooling. Those wanting to become a neurologist must first complete a bachelor's degree. Although there is no mandatory undergraduate degree needed to be accepted to medical school, it is always beneficial to major in a scientific field where one can satisfy the biology, chemistry, and physics prerequisites. Students can also choose to major in pre med which will offer them a degree that encompasses all necessary classes required to apply to medical school.

It is highly competitive to gain acceptance into medical school, so it is imperative that prospective neurologists maintain a high grade point average during their undergraduate career, obtain excellent letters of recommendation, gain medical work experience, and receive an above average score on the MCAT which is the test prospective medical students need to take before applying to school.

During medical school, students can expect to spend the first few years taking courses in such subjects as pharmacology, anatomy, and physiology. The last two years of medical school involve clinical rotations where students work in medical facilities under a licensed physician. There are mandatory rotations that a student must complete in different areas such as pediatrics and geriatrics.

After graduating from medical school, those who would like to go into the field of neurology must then complete a one year internship gaining experience in many different areas of medicine. After the internship is finished, prospective neurologists go on to complete a three year residency where they will learn more about neurology, working with patients under the supervision of a licensed neurologist.


Neurologists can become board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Becoming board certified shows a level of professionalism and instils confidence in patients. Neurologists can also obtain specialized certifications in various areas of neurology such as brain injury medicine, sleep medicine, and epilepsy.


All 50 states mandate that all physicians and surgeons must be state licensed. In order to qualify for a state license, all education requirements must be met and then candidates will need to pass an exam. In addition, all physicians will need to take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination to become nationally licensed.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for all physicians and surgeons is expected to increase by 18 percent between the years of 2012 and 2022. This rate of growth is faster than other occupations. The new health care reform will allow more people access to medical services. In addition, the aging portion of the population will need more medical care as they get older, and because of these reasons, more doctors in all fields will be needed. Detailed Neurologist salary data is available here.

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