Is A Career In Neurology Right For You?

If you’re fascinated by the human brain and how it serves as the command center for the entire body, then a future in neurology may be for you. 

Although a neurologist must complete many years of dedicated scientific and medical training, the growing job market and impressive salary opportunities make this one of the most exciting specialties in medicine.

Job Description

Neurologists are licensed medical doctors that specialize in the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and sensory organs like eyes and ears. Working within a hospital or research lab, these doctors will examine patients and diagnose neurological disorders. These may include stroke, dementia, certain infections, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, among others. 

Neurologists may also work in universities, conducting important research and clinical trials to further study the central nervous system. This research may then be published in scientific journals, and can contribute to treatment of the above diseases and conditions. 

As with all physician and surgeon specialties, neurologists may have to work long hours on their feet. So physical stamina is a requirement for this job. 

Neurologist Salaries

Neurologists are highly paid. The average salary for a neurologist in 2020 is $257,300. Keep in mind that many neurologists have to repay extensive student loans for their undergraduate and medical degrees (See Training and Job Requirements, below). 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a good job outlook for physicians in general, with the field expected to grow by 7% between 2018 and 2028. 

Career Explorer anticipates even better growth for neurological specialists, expecting an 11% growth rate between 2016 and 2026.

For Instance

MPOWERHealth is often hiring for neurologist jobs in Columbus, OH. These neurologists work directly with patients dealing with brain and spine issues in order to improve patient health and promote positive outcomes.  

Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, a top U.S. hospital according to U.S. News and World Report, has several vacancies for general neurologists, as well as multiple sclerosis specialists and neuropsychiatrists. The medical center is the primary teaching hospital for Rush University.

Training and Job Requirements

As a speciality of medicine, neurology requires extensive education and training. 

After completing their high school degree, aspiring neurologists must first attend a four-year college and receive their undergraduate degree. There is no specific major required, but a science background will be helpful in the future, and may aid in gaining admission to medical school. Biology, chemistry, neuroscience, and physiology could all be useful majors. 

After completing an undergraduate degree, some future neurologists get their Master’s degree before moving on to medical school, although it’s not required. Master’s degrees in biology, neuroscience, or neurobiology could all be helpful in the field of neurology. 

To be accepted to medical school, students must first take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). They must also attend an interview, where they’ll be expected to demonstrate professionalism and leadership.

After completing four years of medical school, graduates will have to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination. And following that exam, they will usually complete at least a one-year internship program. Then, they will be eligible for a neurological residency, which will last for three to four years. 

Finally, neurologists can receive their board certification through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.