Neurologist - How to Become a Neurologist

Neurologist

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Neurologist Job Description

 

Neurologists are trained to diagnose and treat conditions of the central, autonomous, and peripheral nervous systems. These include sleep disorders, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, migraines, Parkinson's disease, strokes, comas, and traumatic brain injuries.

Neurologists may choose to specialize in areas such as pediatric neurology, vasuclar neurology, neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, sleep disorders, interventional neurology, neurophysiology, behavioral neurology, neurogenetics, neuroimmunology, or sleep disorders.

They must be educated and trained extensively and are responsible for a wide array of duties.

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Responsibilities

 

A neurologists responsibilities vary depending on the specialty they choose, but some common duties include:

  • Examining patients suffering from varying neurological disorders and identifying symptoms.

  • Ordering blood and spinal fluid tests, imaging tests including MRIs and PET scans, or biopsies.

  • Developing treatment plans for individual patients after a diagnosis has been reached.

  • Consulting with neurosurgeons on possible procedures and treatments.

  • Supervising teams of medical professionals and non-medical staffers.

  • Treating patients with traumatic brain injuries and epilepsy.

  • Keeping themselves educated on new research regarding the structure of the brain and nervous system.

  • Using electrodes, dyes, and brain scans to conduct experiments.

  • Recording, analyzing, and reporting findings.

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Skills

 

Communication

Must effectively communicate with your co-workers to ensure the best care and the proper procedures. Must be able to communicate in high-stress environments.

Active Listening

Offering your full attention to an individual person or group in order to fully understand problems and their nature.

Critical Thinking

Must use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making

Needs to be able to act autonomously and make difficult decisions that would benefit the patient or make corrections. Must consider all benefits and repercussions of potential actions and choose the appropriate one. 

Complex Problem Solving

Must be able to identify complex problems and develop and evaluate corrective options and implement solutions. 

Stress Management

Must be able to endure intense situations and handle pressure that comes with extreme situations you may encounter.

Trustworthiness

Must be trustworthy because you have people's lives in your hands and what you do could help or hurt them. They are entrusted with a great responsibility and must live up to it. 

Perceptiveness

Gauging how people react and read their body language to decipher their feelings and predict their actions. They must be able to determine if people could be a risk to themselves or others and to distinguish truths from lies.

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Working Conditions

 

Neurologists are typically employed in hospitals, private practice, or as sole practitioners. Others perform research at academic institutions or laboratories.

Hours-worked depends largely on the position of the individual neurologist.Senior neurologists working in hospitals may work a 50/hour week and 24/7 on-call schedule while those in research may work as little as 3 - 4 days per week, depending on the project they happen to be assigned to.

 


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How to Become a Neurologist:

 

1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree (4 Years)

 

Aspiring family physicians must first complete a bachelor's degree program in order to continue on to medical school. Traditionally, premed programs offered by nearly all major universities, but are not necessarily required to enter medical school.

Programs that emphasize science, such as biology, physics, or physiology, may also be sufficient as medical school qualifications. However, those that are certain they want to enter this, or any other, medical profession should pursue a premed program.

 

The preparation timeline below offers an example premed curriculum: 

 

Grade Level

Example Courses

Freshman Year

 

  • Health Care Systems

  • Biology I & Lab

  • Biology II & Lab

  • Calculus I

  • Chemistry I & Lab

  • Chemistry II & Lab

  • English I

  • Psychology 

  • Humanities Requirements

  • Electives

Sophomore Year

  • Public Health

  • Anatomy & Physiology I & Lab

  • Anatomy & Physiology II & Lab

  • Statistics

  • Organic Chemistry I & Lab

  • Organic Chemistry II & Lab

  • Basic Skills for Healthcare

  • Nutrition

  • Humanities Requirements

  • Electives

Junior Year

 

  • Healthcare Communication

  • Healthcare Professional Writing

  • Genetics & Microbiology I & Lab

  • Physics I & Lab

  • Physics II & Lab

  • Problems in Healthcare

  • Healthcare Research

  • Biochemistry I & Lab

  • Humanities Requirements

  • Electives

Senior Year

  • Health in the US

  • Health Education and Planning

  • Healthcare Management

  • Health Policy

  • Capstone

  • Remaining Requirements

  • Remaining Electives

 

2. Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

 

To be admitted into medical school, candidates must first take the MCAT, or Medical College Admission Test, a 7.5 hour, standardized, multiple choice exam used to assess the applicant's knowledge of science, reasoning, communication, and writing skills.

 

The MCAT is divided into four sections:

 

Section/Category

 Section Breakdown

Biological & Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems

  • 59 multiple-choice questions

  • 95 minutes

  • Tests biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and biochemistry

Chemical & Physical Foundations of Biological Systems

  • 59 multiple-choice questions

  • 95 minutes

  • Tests biochemistry, biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics

Psychological, Social, & Biological Foundations of Behavior

  • 59 multiple-choice questions

  • 95 minutes

  • Tests introductory psychology, sociology, and biology

Critical Analysis & Reasoning Skills

  • 53 multiple-choice questions

  • 90 minutes

  • Tests reading comprehension, humanities, and social sciences

 

You can find study materials, MCAT registration, and your test scores on the AAMC website here.

 

3. Earn a Medical Degree (4 Years)

 

A list of accredited medical education programs is available through the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). For more information and advice on successfully getting into medical school, you can check with the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Medical school consists of four years of studying the basics in science and participating in clinical “rotations.” These are hands-on clinical experiences in real health care settings. In most med schools, the first two years are taken up with classroom studies before students are assigned to do rotations. The current trend, however, finds a number of medical schools exposing students to early clinical experiences that continue throughout the four-year program.

Most medical schools base their curriculum on a system-based approach that focuses on one physiological system at a time, such as the respiratory system or the nervous system. Still others may use a case-based curriculum that teaches about the human body’s normal functioning and disease processes by assigning students to following individual patient cases from start to finish. Still other med schools use a combination of these approaches to educate their students.

The most common lines of coursework among medical schools consist of the following subjects:

  • Anatomy

  • Biochemistry

  • Ethics

  • Pharmacology

  • Physiology

  • Psychology

During the last two years of schooling, students are required to obtain hands-on experience at hospitals and clinics, learning to diagnose and treat patients while working under the supervision of licensed physicians.

Upon completion of four years of med school, a student is awarded a medical degree, or M.D. Another popular trend is for schools to offer combination degree programs, such as MD/MPH, MD/PHD or MD/JD. The AAMC’s website on Medical School Admission Requirements offers more information on this option.

 

The preparation timeline below provides an example medical school curriculum:

 

Year

Example Courses

Year 1

 

  • Cells and Tissues

  • Molecular Foundations of Medicine

  • Applied Biochemistry 

  • Genetics

  • Disease Mechanisms & Development

  • Cardiac Life Support

  • The Nervous System

  • Immunology

  • Gross Anatomy of Head & Neck

  • Microbiology

  • Pulmonary System

  • Cardiovascular System

  • Microbiology

Year 2

  • Renal/Genitourinary System

  • Gastrointestinal System

  • Skin/Endocrine Systems

  • Reproduction & Women's Health

  • Microbiology

  • Behavior & the Brain

  • Hematology

  • Systemic Diseases

  • Microbiology

  • Clinical Clerkship

Year 3, 4, 5

 

  • Internal Medicine

  • Pediatrics

  • Surgery

  • Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Family Medicine

  • Psychiatry

  • Neurology

  • Critical Care

  • Ambulatory Med

  • Research, Reflections and Advances in Patient Care

 

4. Take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

 

In order to practice medicine, aspiring geriatricians must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). This exam is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).

The exam consists of three steps:

Step & Purpose

Format & Other Info

Step 1

Assesses the ability to apply scientific concepts, basic to practicing medicine, emphasizing mechanisms underlying health, disease, and therapy.

  • 310 multiple-choice questions

  • Divided into 7 60-minute blocks

  • Administered via computer

  • One day session

Step 2

Divided into 2 sub-steps: clinical knowledge (CK) & clinical skills (CS).

 The clinical knowledge section assesses the ability to apply medical knowledge, skills, and clinical science to patient care.

The clinical skills section assesses the ability to gather information from patients, perform physical exams, and communicate findings with colleagues.

  • Clinical Knowledge

    • 350 multiple-choice questions

    • Divided into 8 60-minute blocks

    • One day session

  • Clinical Skills

    • 12 patient cases

    • 15 minutes per patient case 

    • 10 minutes to record each patient note (PN)

    • Administered at 6 test centers in the US: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, & Philadelphia.

    • One day session

Step 3

Divided into 2 sub-steps: Foundations of Independent Practice(FIP) & Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM)

 Foundations of Independent Practice assesses the knowledge and principles essential for effective health care.

Advanced Clinical Medicine assesses the ability to apply knowledge of health and disease to the context of patient management and an evolving disease.

  • Foundations of Independent Practice

    • 260 multiple-choice questions

    • Divided into 6 60-minute blocks, each w/ 44 questions

    • One day session

  • Advanced Clinical Medicine (ACM)

    • 200 multiple-choice questions

    • Divided into 6 45-minute blocks, each with 33 questions

    • 13 computer-based case simulations, each allotted 10 or 20 minutes

    • One day session

 

5. Complete an Internship (1 Year)

 

Neurologists are required to complete a 1 year basic training year prior to beginning their residency program. These are designed to train graduates in both surgical and internal medicine rotations while preparing them for entry into their chosen specialty.

Transitional programs can be found on the FREIDA online database.

 

6. Complete a Residency Program (3 - 4 Years)

 

After completing med school, you aren’t finished yet. Now it’s time to choose your specialty and complete your residency. These residency programs are offered in conjunction with intensive clinical training experiences. Depending on the specialty, residency can last from three to eight years.

The American Medical Association’s online FREIDA service is an interactive database of over 9,400 graduate medical education programs. These programs are all accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. There is also information on over 200 combined specialty programs.

 

7. Earn the Required Certification

 

Neurologists can become certified by passing the examination offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. Although certification is not mandatory, it is highly advisable as it further establishes the neurologist as a professional in their field and provides a competitive advantage when searching for a new position.

Click here for more about the certification examination and its requirements

 

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
12.05.2016
Virginia Hospital Center has received official notification that our Stroke Program has been awarded the 2016 Gold Plus Achievement Award and placement on Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll from Get With The Guidelines-Stroke. Additionally, the Joint...
12.09.2016
DescriptionNeurologist - St. Anthony Physicians Neurology and Neuromuscular Center St. Anthony Physicians Group is actively recruiting a BE/BC general neurologist to join a busy, established neurology practice with 3 physicians. The practice is...
12.05.2016
The Physician provides direct patient care in a specialty care environment such as Cardiology, Endocrinology, Pain Management, Neurology, Pediatric Neurology, etc. Adheres to National Patient Safety Goals as appropriate based on the level of...
12.05.2016
The Physician provides direct patient care. Adheres to National Patient Safety Goals as appropriate based on the level of patient contact this position requires. INTEGRIS Health is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Essential...
12.05.2016
The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Department of Neurology is currently recruiting candidates for faculty positions in general neurology. Rank and appointment will be based on qualifications and experience....
12.05.2016
High School/GED Reports to Practice Management Director. Coordinates the activities of the Neurology (EEG Services). Performs EEGs and assists neurologist with performance of EMGs, including performing nerve conduction velocities. High school...
12.05.2016
The Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa seeks a BC/BE neurologist with fellowship training or equivalent experience in neuromuscular disorders. Appointment will be at the level of Associate (non-track), or Assistant Professor,...
12.05.2016
Neurology opportunity with a gorgeous lakefront view in upstate SC! Seeking adult neurologist for employed practice: AnMed Health Neurology Consultants Outpatient neurology CT and MRI reading privileges Impressive Neurosciences Unit...
12.05.2016
EEG - Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist 1 Year of Experience Required Under the direction of a Neurologist and Supervisor, performs neurophysiology studies at a technical level not requiring constant supervision of technical detail including...
12.05.2016
Virginia Hospital Center, a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, has a full time opportunity within our Neurology Department for a Medical Director of Stroke and Neurology Services. The position will offer a broad range of responsibilities...
12.05.2016
Opportunity for BC/BE Pulmonologist to join a department of three Pulmonologists, five Internists, two Rheumatologists, one Neurologist, and supported by the Internal Medicine Hospitalist Group. This is hospital-employed position with Mercy...
12.05.2016
Find more than a job. Find more in yourself. Find your calling. Essentia Health seeks employees who embrace our commitment to patient-and family-centered care in communities both large and small. Were looking for people who are committed to...
12.05.2016
Performs Long Term Video-EEG monitoring on patients with scalp or intra-cranially placed electrodes. Operates intra-operative monitoring with subdural and depth electrodes. Performs special studies such as Functional Brain Mapping (cortical...
12.05.2016
Opportunity for BC/BE Pulmonologist/Critical Care Physician to join department of three Pulmonologists, five Internists, two Rheumatologist, one Neurologist, and a 24-7 Hospitalist Program. This hospital-employed position with a 18-bed Critical...
  1. Neurologist Arlington, VA Virginia Hospital Center
    Virginia Hospital Center has received official notification that our Stroke Program has been awarded the 2016 Gold Plus Achievement Award and placement on Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll from Get With The Guidelines-Stroke. Additionally, the Joint...
  2. Physician - Neurologist Oklahoma City, OK St. Anthony Hospital
    DescriptionNeurologist - St. Anthony Physicians Neurology and Neuromuscular Center St. Anthony Physicians Group is actively recruiting a BE/BC general neurologist to join a busy, established neurology practice with 3 physicians. The practice is...
  3. Neurologist Oklahoma City, OK INTEGRIS Health
    The Physician provides direct patient care in a specialty care environment such as Cardiology, Endocrinology, Pain Management, Neurology, Pediatric Neurology, etc. Adheres to National Patient Safety Goals as appropriate based on the level of...
  4. Neurologist Oklahoma City, OK INTEGRIS Health
    The Physician provides direct patient care. Adheres to National Patient Safety Goals as appropriate based on the level of patient contact this position requires. INTEGRIS Health is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. Essential...
  5. GENERAL NEUROLOGIST Iowa City, IA University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
    The University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, Department of Neurology is currently recruiting candidates for faculty positions in general neurology. Rank and appointment will be based on qualifications and experience....
  6. Neurology Technologist Mattoon, IL Sarah Bush Lincoln
    High School/GED Reports to Practice Management Director. Coordinates the activities of the Neurology (EEG Services). Performs EEGs and assists neurologist with performance of EMGs, including performing nerve conduction velocities. High school...
  7. NEUROMUSCULAR SPECIALIST Iowa City, IA University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
    The Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa seeks a BC/BE neurologist with fellowship training or equivalent experience in neuromuscular disorders. Appointment will be at the level of Associate (non-track), or Assistant Professor,...
  8. Physician Anderson, SC AnMed Health
    Neurology opportunity with a gorgeous lakefront view in upstate SC! Seeking adult neurologist for employed practice: AnMed Health Neurology Consultants Outpatient neurology CT and MRI reading privileges Impressive Neurosciences Unit...
  9. EEG Technician Gainesville, GA Northeast Georgia Health System
    EEG - Electroneurodiagnostic Technologist 1 Year of Experience Required Under the direction of a Neurologist and Supervisor, performs neurophysiology studies at a technical level not requiring constant supervision of technical detail including...
  10. Medical Director of Stroke and Neurology Services Arlington, VA Virginia Hospital Center
    Virginia Hospital Center, a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network, has a full time opportunity within our Neurology Department for a Medical Director of Stroke and Neurology Services. The position will offer a broad range of responsibilities...
  11. PHYSICIAN Mason City, IA Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa
    Opportunity for BC/BE Pulmonologist to join a department of three Pulmonologists, five Internists, two Rheumatologists, one Neurologist, and supported by the Internal Medicine Hospitalist Group. This is hospital-employed position with Mercy...
  12. Regional Stroke Program Specialist (1.0 FTE) Duluth, MN Essentia Health
    Find more than a job. Find more in yourself. Find your calling. Essentia Health seeks employees who embrace our commitment to patient-and family-centered care in communities both large and small. Were looking for people who are committed to...
  13. EEG/LTM Tech II (Per-diem, Open Availability - Nights & Day Shifts, some Weekends) Miami, FL Miami Children's Hospital
    Performs Long Term Video-EEG monitoring on patients with scalp or intra-cranially placed electrodes. Operates intra-operative monitoring with subdural and depth electrodes. Performs special studies such as Functional Brain Mapping (cortical...
  14. PHYSICIAN Mason City, IA Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa
    Opportunity for BC/BE Pulmonologist/Critical Care Physician to join department of three Pulmonologists, five Internists, two Rheumatologist, one Neurologist, and a 24-7 Hospitalist Program. This hospital-employed position with a 18-bed Critical...