Career Development

What Does a Neurologist Do?

Find out what a neurologist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a neurologist.

A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles. They are trained to treat conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurological disorders.

Neurologists may also provide long-term care for patients with these conditions by helping them manage symptoms or adjust to living with their condition.

Neurologist Job Duties

Neurologists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Performing diagnostic tests such as MRIs, CT scans, electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and positron emission tomography (PET) scans
  • Providing care to patients in acute care settings such as hospitals or nursing homes
  • Participating in interdisciplinary meetings with other healthcare providers to discuss patient cases
  • Providing patients with diagnoses, treatment plans, and follow up care for chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • Performing surgery to treat brain tumors or lesions caused by stroke or trauma
  • Prescribing medications to treat symptoms such as pain, seizures, or muscle spasms
  • Conducting research to advance knowledge about diseases or treatments
  • Providing consultations to other medical professionals who are treating patients with similar conditions
  • Recommending changes to policies or procedures that impact treatment methods or patient care

Neurologist Salary & Outlook

Neurologists’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the type of patients they treat.

  • Median Annual Salary: $255,000 ($122.6/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $495,000 ($237.98/hour)

The employment of neurologists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

An aging population is expected to drive demand for neurologists, as people age 65 and older have a higher risk of stroke and other neurological disorders than younger people. In addition, the increased survival rate of premature babies has led to a greater number of adults living with conditions that can affect the brain, such as strokes or cerebral palsy.

Related: 17 Neurologist Interview Questions and Answers

Neurologist Job Requirements

A neurologist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Neurologists need to complete medical school and a neurology residency program. Medical school takes four years to complete and includes classroom and laboratory instruction. During the first two years, students study basic science subjects like anatomy, biochemistry, physiology and pharmacology. The final two years of medical school are spent in clinical rotations.

During the neurology residency program, which takes three to five years to complete, residents learn to diagnose and treat patients with neurological disorders. They also learn to perform diagnostic tests and procedures, including taking medical histories, performing physical examinations and ordering diagnostic tests.

Training & Experience: After graduating from medical school, a neurologist will spend three years in a residency program. During this time, they will work under the supervision of a neurologist to gain practical experience in diagnosing and treating patients. They will also learn how to manage a patient’s care after they leave the hospital.

After completing a residency, a neurologist will spend a year in a fellowship program. During this time, they will learn more about the specific areas of neurology they want to specialize in. They will also learn how to manage a patient’s care after they leave the hospital.

Certifications & Licenses: All physicians, including neurologists, must earn their medical license by passing the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). To earn this license, a doctor must demonstrate knowledge of medicine and health in a clinical setting, as well as a comprehensive understanding of medical science. A doctor can earn a license to practice in a specific state by passing that state’s medical licensing examination.

Neurologist Skills

Neurologists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Medical knowledge: Neurologists need to have a strong understanding of the human body and how it functions. They need to know how to diagnose and treat neurological conditions and diseases. They also need to know how to interpret medical tests and scans to determine the source of a patient’s symptoms.

Communication skills: Neurologists often communicate with patients and their families about the diagnosis of a neurological condition. They also communicate with other medical professionals about treatment options and the prognosis of a patient. They may also communicate with patients about the importance of following treatment plans and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Technical skills: Neurologists use technical skills to read and interpret medical records, scan and interpret brain scans and perform medical procedures. They also use technical skills to understand and interpret medical research and apply it to patient care.

Problem-solving skills: Neurologists use their problem-solving skills to determine the best treatment for their patients. They may use their problem-solving skills to determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms and how to treat them. They may also use their problem-solving skills to determine the best way to communicate with patients about their conditions.

Teamwork skills: Neurologists work with other medical professionals, such as psychiatrists, to treat patients. They also work with other medical professionals to diagnose patients and determine the best treatment plan. This requires strong teamwork skills, as they must be able to work with others to provide the best care for their patients.

Neurologist Work Environment

Neurologists work in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. They work long hours, including evenings and weekends. They are on call to see patients who have neurological emergencies. Neurologists may be exposed to infectious diseases and need to take precautions to avoid exposure. They also may be exposed to radiation when they perform certain diagnostic procedures.

Neurologist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how neurologists work. Neurologists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Use of Technology in the Healthcare Industry

The use of technology in the healthcare industry is becoming increasingly common, as hospitals and clinics look for ways to improve patient care. Neurologists can take advantage of this trend by becoming familiar with the latest technologies and how they can be used to improve patient care.

This includes learning how to use electronic medical records, which are now standard in most hospitals and clinics. It also includes learning how to use telemedicine tools, such as video conferencing, to connect with patients who are located far away.

The Importance of Collaboration

The importance of collaboration is a trend that is quickly gaining traction in the medical field. This is because it allows doctors and other medical professionals to work together to provide the best possible care for their patients.

Neurologists can utilize this trend by forming partnerships with other neurologists in order to provide better care for their patients. They can also collaborate with other medical professionals, such as therapists and nurses, in order to provide a more comprehensive treatment plan.

A Greater Focus on Preventative Care

As health care costs continue to rise, neurologists are beginning to focus on preventive care. This means that they are looking for ways to identify problems early on and prevent them from becoming worse.

Preventative care is especially important for neurological disorders, as they often have no obvious symptoms until they have progressed significantly. By identifying these disorders early on, neurologists can help patients get the treatment they need before it is too late.

How to Become a Neurologist

A neurologist career path can be very rewarding, but it’s important to consider all the factors that will influence your success. One of the most important things is to choose a specialty that matches your interests and skills. There are many different specialties within neurology, including neurosurgery, clinical neurophysiology, and neuropsychology.

Another important factor is location. Some areas have more opportunities for neurologists than others, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision. You should also think about how you want to practice medicine. Do you want to work in a hospital or clinic setting, or would you prefer to work in private practice?

Advancement Prospects

Neurologists can advance their careers by taking on more responsibility, such as heading a department or becoming a partner in a practice. They can also advance by becoming involved in research or teaching. Some neurologists move into administrative positions in hospitals, clinics, or other health care facilities. Others become consultants to industry, government, or insurance companies.

Neurologist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we provide our patients with the highest quality of care possible. To continue this tradition, we are looking for a highly skilled and experienced neurologist to join our team. The ideal candidate will have experience in diagnosing and treating neurological disorders, as well as experience working with patients of all ages. He or she will be expected to provide compassionate care to patients and their families, as well as work collaboratively with other members of the healthcare team. The neurologist will also be responsible for keeping up to date on the latest advancements in the field in order to provide the best possible care for our patients.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • To provide comprehensive and compassionate care for patients with neurological disorders
  • To collaborate with other members of the healthcare team to ensure optimal patient outcomes
  • To participate in research studies to contribute to the advancement of knowledge in the field of neurology
  • To educate patients and their families about their condition and treatment options
  • To maintain up-to-date knowledge of advances in the field of neurology through continued medical education
  • To provide consultation to other physicians on cases involving neurological disorders
  • To perform diagnostic testing such as EEGs, MRIs, and nerve conduction studies
  • To interpret test results and use them to make treatment recommendations
  • To perform neurosurgical procedures when necessary
  • To prescribe medication for patients with neurological disorders
  • To provide follow-up care to monitor the progress of patients
  • To keep detailed medical records of all patients

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • M.D. or D.O. degree from an accredited medical school
  • Completion of a four-year residency in neurology
  • Board certification or board eligibility by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • Current, valid license to practice medicine in the state where employed
  • DEA registration
  • Excellent communication skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Subspecialty training and/or certification in a particular area of neurology
  • Research experience
  • Teaching experience
  • Leadership experience


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