Becoming a Neurologist: A Complete Guide

Path to Becoming a Neurologist or Neurosurgeon
  1. Step 1: Obtain an Undergraduate Degree. …
  2. Step 2: Take the MCAT and Apply to Medical Schools. …
  3. Step 3: Attend Medical School and Obtain a Medical Degree. …
  4. Step 4: Complete an Internship or Neurosurgical Residency Program. …
  5. Step 5: Get Board Certified and State Licensed.

So You Want to Be a NEUROLOGIST [Ep. 20]

What does a neurologist do?

A neurologist is required to carry out a variety of tasks throughout their career, including:

Conduct patient examinations

Neurologists regularly interact with patients and conduct examinations to make sure their nervous system and brain are functioning normally. Neurologists can perform tests during routine exams that don’t require specialized heavy equipment, like checking reflexes, verbal responses, and motor functions.

Perform specific tests

A neurologist can also administer specialized exams that produce detailed reports on the patient’s nervous system’s operations. These examinations may include computed tomography (CT), spinal fluid analysis, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Neurologists can better understand their patients’ conditions thanks to each test and analysis, which helps them find treatments or other solutions for their illnesses.

Conduct procedures

Neurologists may perform specialized procedures like nerve conduction studies, lumbar punctures, and seizure monitoring. These procedures can assist neurologists in identifying patterns in the illnesses of some of their patients in order to discover potential treatments or ways to help them.

Consult with other physicians

Additionally, neurologists can share their experience and knowledge with other medical professionals to assist them with patients and inquiries about specific neurological issues. For instance, if a surgeon is concerned about damaging a patient’s nervous system during surgery, they may consult a neurologist. In order to assist neurosurgeons with brain surgeries and procedures, neurologists may also collaborate with them. They do this by diagnosing and identifying neurological disorders using their knowledge and expertise.

What is a neurologist?

A neurologist is a doctor who focuses on identifying and treating conditions that affect the brain and nervous system. For example, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and strokes may be among these illnesses and conditions. To practice their specialty, neurologists frequently devote many years to their education while gaining invaluable medical knowledge and experience.

Skills required to be a neurologist

Neurologists use a variety of skills in the course of their daily duties, including:


Neurologists use strong critical thinking to identify potential patient ailments and identify potential treatments for any diseases after conducting tests and analyzing test results.


Some tests and procedures carried out by neurologists demand a very steady and deft hand. Neurologists need to be skilled at performing lumbar punctures as well as skin and muscle biopsies.


When they consult with other physicians and go over crucial information with patients and patient family members, neurologists put their strong verbal communication skills into practice. They also maintain patient records and write procedure reports using strong written communication skills.


Neurologists frequently collaborate with a medical staff to carry out their duties. Neurologists must demonstrate strong leadership skills to communicate tasks and occasionally physically demonstrate how to perform procedures when their team assists them with tests and treatments.

Benefits of becoming a neurologist

There are many benefits to becoming a neurologist. Some of those benefits include:

What is involved in becoming a neurologist?

The qualifications necessary to become a neurologist include:

How to become a neurologist

You can take the following seven steps to become a neurologist:

1. Earn an undergraduate degree

Although you can pursue a career as a neurologist with a variety of undergraduate degrees, some of the most important degrees are in biology, physics, and chemistry. Pre-med degrees are also offered by some universities and colleges, and they cover a wide range of topics related to the medical field.

It can be beneficial to discuss opportunities to further develop your CV and skills for medical school with your professors and school faculty while you are enrolled in a college or university. These opportunities may include helping out at homeless shelters and community centers in your neighborhood and job-shadowing doctors or other medical professionals.

2. Gain valuable internships

Finding internships or other relevant experiences can help your resume stand out to application departments before submitting an application to medical school. Look into internships that provide you with clinical experience, patient interactions, or laboratory research exposure. These kinds of internships can not only give you valuable knowledge and skills that will help you as a doctor, but they can also demonstrate to medical schools your commitment and enthusiasm for the field.

3. Attend medical school

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is required for admission to medical school. The results of this test are frequently taken very seriously by medical schools, so you will benefit greatly from using tools like a test-preparation class, hiring a tutor, or participating in a study group. Typically, medical school lasts four years, during which you will study medicine’s theory and practice in the classroom for about half of the time and spend the other half under the supervision of licensed doctors in a teaching hospital.

4. Complete a medical residency program

The medical residency program consists of a one-year internship where you learn the skills needed to practice medicine, followed by a full residency at a hospital where you train with a working neurologist for three to four years. You will practice examining patients, carrying out procedures, and making diagnoses while in residency.

5. Pass license and certification tests

You must pass certification exams and obtain a state license in order to work as a neurologist full-time. These tests may include written and oral components. You can apply for and obtain your certificate and license to practice medicine and become a neurologist in the state of your choice once you pass these exams.

6. Consider a fellowship or subspecialty

Some neurologists prefer to spend a few more years studying specific subspecialties after completing their residency to advance their knowledge and skills in the field of neurology. Through a fellowship program, neurologists can acquire these subspecialties, which can include an emphasis on autonomic disorders, neural repair and rehabilitation, neuroimaging, and more. Subspecialties can help you advance as a doctor and neurologist, as well as expand your employment options and possibly open doors to more senior administrative positions.

7. Decide on a specific profession

You can choose where you want to work as a neurologist once you have obtained your certification and licensing. Although many neurologists assist patients in hospitals, there are other options, such as:

How long does it take to become a neurologist?

It can take between 12 and 13 years to become a neurologist who is fully qualified and licensed. However, a neurologist can add two to eight years to their education if they choose to pursue a fellowship. The general timeline of becoming a neurologist looks like this:


How long does it take to become a doctor of neurology?

Typically, neurologists need a bachelor’s degree, a medical school degree (which takes four years to complete), and three to seven years of internship and residency training. Medical schools are highly competitive.

Is becoming a neurologist hard?

Nearly as difficult as becoming a neurologist is actually working as one. This is especially true when studying to become a neurologist in medical school. According to a survey of US medical students and residents, neurology is one of the most challenging medical specialties.

What does it take to be a neurology?

The standard route to becoming a neurologist entails a four-year college degree, the MCAT exam, attendance at medical school, residency, board certification, and fellowship, followed by a broad professional career.

Is being a neurologist worth it?

Medical Students One of the most prestigious and highly regarded medical specialties, neurology provides opportunities unlike any other. The need for neurologists is greater than ever with one in six people affected by a neurologic disease.

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