With the fact that every year, around 1,170,000 people living in the US are diagnosed with neurological disorders, there is a high need for neurologists in the country. Right from Alzheimer’s to meningitis, traumatic brain injury, strokes, dementia, muscular dystrophy, and epilepsy, various neurological disorders are responsible for the increase in the demand for neurologists in the country. No doubt, becoming a neurologist is quite demanding, as it needs lots of dedication, education, time, and money.
The degree takes at least 12 years after high school to complete. Moreover, to work as a neurologist, you have to be licensed by the medical board and ABPN.
ABPN stands for American Board Of Psychiatry. Well, the details here tell you everything about the educational requirements and what you need to make sure of in order to be a successful neurologist.
It takes a minimum of 12 years to get a degree as a neurologist. In order to be a successful neurologist, you have to make sure that you have lots of dedication and motivation to study for at least 12 years after completing high school. Let us first focus on who is a neurologist before looking at the step-by-step procedure to become one.
Who is a Neurologist?
Those MD or DO doctors who have completed their neurological residency are called neurologists. MD stands for Doctor of Medicine, and DO stands for Doctor of Osteopathy. Well, a neurologist is a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathy who is licensed and specializes in diagnosing, researching, and treating diseases related to the human body’s nervous system.
The diseases and disorders that neurologists deal with are related to the brain, spinal cord, muscles, and peripheral nerves. Neurologists can deal with neurological disorders and can provide patients with the help they need to live their lives healthily.
Steps To Become A Neurologist
You have to spend 12 years getting an education after you graduate to become a neurologist. The list includes four years of Undergraduate Degree, four years of Medical School degree, one year of internship or transitional year, three years of the neurology residency program, and one or two years of optional fellowship in a subspecialty if you want so.
Following is the step-by-step guide that will let you know what you have to do to become a neurologist.
- Get a bachelor’s degree
- Take the Medical College Admission Test MCAT
- Now, get enrolled in an osteopathic medical college or allopathic Medical College
- Get your license in the state where you are doing your internship
- The next step is to complete a year of internship
- Now, take part in the neurology residency program and complete this three-year program
- Here is an optional step: You can attend a subspecialty of neurology to become a specialist in any of your favorite fields of neurology
- Get the certificate from the board
1. Get A Bachelor’s Degree
To get enrolled in medical school, you need to make sure that you have completed your graduation. Most medical colleges require the completion of a bachelor’s degree to enroll students there.
Moreover, to get a bachelor’s degree to enter a medical college, you must make sure that your majors are either biology, chemistry, math, or other science subjects. After completing the degree, you must take the Medical College Admission Test.
2. Take the Medical College Admission Test
Getting enrolled in a medical college is quite tough. If you want to be admitted to a medical college, you must ensure you are taking the MCAT test beforehand. This Medical College Admission Test is generally taken in the third year of an undergraduate degree.
The test is quite long and is designed in a way to check the critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and familiarity of the student with the concepts of science. The concepts that are evaluated are the ones that are necessary to study medicine.
Then, the medical staff reviews the test, checks the abilities of the student, and finalizes whether he can complete his education in the medical field or not. Try your best to score as much as possible, as getting admitted to medical school is quite tough in the US. After taking the test and if you succeed in the test, you then have to attend medical school.
3. Getting Admission In Osteopathic Medical Program Or Allopathic Medical Program
The study at medical school is four years in total. The course is divided into two parts. The first two years and the last two years; in the first two years, the subjects that the student has to study in the medical school are the introductory courses and primary medical science education that includes biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, microbiology, and anatomy.
In the first two years, students must learn the basics of history-taking from the patient and how to examine the patient. On the other hand, the last two years of medical school involve complex studies. The students have to complete their clinical skills portion.
Here, the students have to complete their rotations at hospitals and clinics. The direct patient and student encounter occurs when students carry out general medical procedures and take the patient’s history. One thing that you must keep in mind is that to get this medical school degree; every student must have to complete the required set of rotations.
The required set of rotations is known as core rotations. Moreover, students in their third year will do this core rotation, including the rotation set of students through various medical specialties, including family medicine, psychiatry, general surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB-GYN, and neurology. You must complete this third step of graduating from medical school to get a license in the state from where you are doing your internship.
4. Getting The License In The State Where You Are Doing Residency Program
To complete the degree in neurology, you must become a graduated medical student after passing the United States Medical License Examination (USMLE) if you are studying in allopathy medical school and complex level 1 and level 2 examinations; if you are studying in osteopathy medical school. Ensure you have completed your medical school graduation in 4 years to get that license from the state where you are doing your internship. This is important to achieve a one-year internship.
5. Intern Year
Intern Year is the year in which students complete a one-year-long internship program. Those who are looking to become a neurologist have to make sure that they are completing their 1-year internship program.
If you want to become a neurologist, complete your internship in internal medicine. Well, this is not compulsory because you often have to come across frequent rotations because of the terms and conditions of the internship that say you must have exposure to various medical specialties in your internship.
6. Take Part In The Neurology Residency Program
Now is the primary step. After completing a one-year internship, you must participate in a 3-year residency program in neurology. In residency, you will learn everything about neurology and practice as a neurologist in hospitals and clinics.
No doubt, attending a residency program is one of the most adventurous and fun times for a medical student. This is because here, they are developing their clinical expertise and have to work hard. That makes it quite adventurous, though tough and challenging, but also necessary, as your degree is incomplete without attending a residency program.
Residents not only have to deal with the patients but also have to attend their lectures and have to take part in the objective case report discussions. Residents also have to go on hospital rounds and have to observe patients on their own by performing examinations. Studying neurology in these three years of the residency program makes the resident knowledgeable about various neurological conditions.
7. Attend A Subspecialty Of Neurology
If you are willing to attend a fellowship program to become a specialist in some specific field of neurology, here is what you have to do. Fellowship programs last up to 4 years. When it comes to neurology, you have the option of selecting some specialties from,
- The 1-year duration of the course for brain injury medicine
- Two years of pediatric neurology or Child neurology education
- One-year clinical neurophysiology duration
- 1 to 2 years of epilepsy
- 1 to 2 years of neurocritical care
- One year of pain medicine
- One year of sleep medicine or
- 1 to 2 years of vascular neurology
8. Get A Board Certification
If you have already received your license or internship, getting board certification is unnecessary. But one thing that you must have to keep in mind is that most of the hospitals and clinics often need board certification from higher neurologists. Getting bored accreditation not only provides neurologists with making them stand out among others but also makes them dominant and gives them a competitive advantage in medical specialties.
How Much Does It Cost To Be A Good Neurologist?
To become a neurologist successfully, you have to keep in mind that the average expense that you have to do is around $ 360 966. The price is calculated as a whole, right from getting admission to an undergraduate college to earning a bachelor’s degree and getting admitted to a medical college to get a medical degree.
The research says that the average cost of education for undergraduate programs is $ 142,204. And the average cost of medical school is somewhere around $ 218 762.
Both of these, when combined together, give the total sum of $360 966, which is considered as a whole expense that you have to do in order to become a neurologist. Well, keep in mind, these are not the exact figures as facts may vary from state to state and from institute to institute.
What do neurologists do?
Neurologists mainly focus on treating the health conditions that are related to the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves, and muscles. They deal with neurology problems and diagnose diseases and disorders related to the brain and spinal cord in the patients. They mainly deal with seizures, dementia, headaches, epilepsy, and other brain diseases.
How many years does it take to become a complete neurologist?
At least 12 years are spent to get the education and physical training to become a neurologist. This mainly includes four years of undergraduate degree and four years of medical degree. Then, you have to complete a one-year internship and have to take part in a three years neurology residency program.
Does a neurologist perform surgery?
No, a neurologist does not do any surgery. They deal with diseases and disorders related to neurological conditions and work with other specialists who actually perform surgery. They refer their patients for surgery to other specialists and do not perform surgery on their own.
I hope your career path is now clear for you and you know all the steps that you have to take to become a successful neurologist. Well, all thanks to my friend George, who helped me get the required facts and figures about how to become a neurologist. He has helped me immensely as he has practical experience studying neurology and working as a neurologist for the last five years.