Learn About Being a Neurologist

By | May 14, 2024

What Does a Neurologist Do? – If you want to know how to help people who have neurological diseases, you need to learn about neurology. Neurology is the study of the nervous system. It’s the branch of medicine that deals with problems in the brain and spine. Neurology can help you find out how your brain works, how your spine feels, and what’s wrong with your eyes, ears, and other organs. You can also get help treating neurological diseases by using surgery or by using treatments that are made specific to each disease.

What Does a Neurologist Do? - Learn About Being a Neurologist 

No one knows more about being a neurologist than Dr. James Fenton. He is the author of The Neurologist’s Bible, which is the first comprehensive guide to neurology. In this blog post, we’re going to learn about one of the most important jobs in medicine – being a neurologist.


When you enter medical school, you may be inspired to become a doctor. But before you can become a doctor, you need to complete an undergraduate degree. And before you can complete an undergraduate degree, you need to pass the National Board of Medicine examinations. These exams are designed to certify that you have the skills and knowledge needed to practice medicine as a neurologist.

After completing undergraduate medical education, you will then need to complete additional residencies and/or primary care fellowships in order to practice Neurology. You will also need to pass the National Board of Medicine examination in order to become a licensed Neurologist.

What Does a Neurologist Do?

Do you know what a neurologist does? They are people who specialise in diagnosing and treating Neurological Disorders. Neurological Disorders are a group of diseases that affect the brain. They can include things like Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, and stroke. A neurologist will also help treat these diseases by performing tests to help diagnose them and by providing treatments that can help improve the symptoms.


Related: Learn About Being a Toxicologist

A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the brain and spine. They work with patients to diagnose, treat, and manage symptoms. Neurologists can also help to prevent conditions that might lead to problems in the brain or spine.

What Does a Neurologist Do? - Learn About Being a Neurologist 

A neurologist is a specialist physician who treats conditions that relate to the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. Neurologists often treat conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and strokes. On a day-to-day basis, neurologists have many tasks that enable them to diagnose cases and work with patients to improve their condition, such as:

  • Counsel patients on their medical history and any neurological disorders they are experiencing

  • Order neurological tests for patients and interpret the results of neuroimaging studies

  • Prescribe and/or administer medication and other forms of treatment. Monitor the behavioral and cognitive impact of any medication or treatment prescribed to patients

  • Order supportive services to care for patients and their needs throughout management or treatment of their condition

  • Maintain an up-to-date understanding of the ever-changing treatments and approaches in neuroscience. Take part in research activities to contribute to the growing knowledge about various management and treatment techniques

  • Interact with other medical professionals, hospitals and community boards to share and garner knowledge relevant to specific conditions and cases

  • Research and understand the fields that explore how neuroscience relates to the immune system (neuroimmunology), brain and spinal cord neoplasms (neuro-oncology), behavior, memory, cognition (behavioral neurology) and human genetics (neurogenetics)

Related careers

Typical salary

Most neurologists hold a full-time position. Besides their salary, the average neurologist also receives benefits including paid health care and a retirement plan. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $206,641 per year

  • Some salaries range from $77,000 to $550,000 per year.

Neurologist requirements

As with any position in medicine, it takes many years of study to practice as a neurologist, including a degree in medicine or osteopathy.


To practice as a neurologist, you must earn a degree in Medicine or Osteopathy, which includes four years in an undergraduate program and four years in medical school.

Most aspiring neurologists choose biology, chemistry or physics as their major during undergraduate school, and maintaining high grade point averages is essential to gaining acceptance into medical school. It can also be beneficial to pursue extracurricular activities that will reflect your interest in neurology when you apply for medical school.


Following university, prospective neurologists must obtain three years of specialty training in an accredited neurology residency program. Throughout the residency, an individual will accompany a supervising physician as they make their daily rounds, monitor and examine patient behavior and attend lectures relevant to their work. Residency also provides the opportunity to work through various real-world scenarios and take part in case studies.


Besides formal education and training, many neurologists also need special board certifications to practice. These certifications need to be renewed periodically through additional study and testing.

Medical licensing

Before a neurologist can sit for a specialist exam, they must pass the Medical Licensing Exam. This is the only requirement to practice neurology in the United States beyond the prerequisite education and training.

ABPN certification

Many neurologists receive an initial certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) to advance their careers. Following initial certification, a neurologist can then take a specialty exam or a subspecialty exam. These certifications are especially valuable for neurologists seeking a specialty position.

Additional coursework

Neurologists seeking a specialty position may also pursue additional certification through the American Board of Physician Specialties or the American Board of Medical Specialties. Besides examination, some certifications require additional board-sanctioned coursework to receive certification, but these are optional for general practice.

What Does a Neurologist Do? - Learn About Being a Neurologist 


Neurology can prove to be a rewarding career choice for any individual who is prepared to put in the time to receive the needed certifications and accreditations. One must have the following skills to succeed:

  • Counseling: Providing expertise and actively listening to supervisors, colleagues, patients and other points of contact who will help diagnose and treat conditions is necessary for neurologists.

  • Organization: Superb organization is a critical requirement since neurologists need to keep accurate patient records. They will also need to manage time effectively while going from task to task without distraction.

  • Research: Researching topics and trends in their field can make neurologists aware of effective treatments that they can use with their patients.

  • Decision making: Many conditions that neurologists treat require timely decision making. Basing each decision on relevant research and background knowledge helps ensure positive outcomes for patients.

  • Communication: Professionals in this position must communicate decisions and be able to answer questions easily, especially complex questions that require an explanation in simple terms.

  • Management: Managing and directing a team while taking on a leadership role is part of the daily responsibilities of a neurologist.

Neurologist work environment

The average neurologist works about 55 hours per week, which is five hours more than the average physician. Regardless of where they work, neurologists can expect to:

  • Spend most of the day moving around

  • Dedicate up to 14 hours per week to non-patient work

  • Devote a substantial amount of time to researching and discussing new findings

Neurologists have the option to work in different environments, including:

  • Private practice: Many neurologists work in or even own their own private practice where they operate as a specialist. These neurologists handle non-emergency cases that require ongoing management and treatment.

  • Hospital: Neurologists can also work in a hospital setting where the pace is quicker and more demands are placed on every professional. In this setting, a neurologist may see emergency cases that require treatment.

How to become a neurologist

Here are the most common steps to follow to become a neurologist.

1. Pursue education.

Prioritizing your education is necessary if you wish to become a neurologist. High grades throughout high school are required to gain admittance to college and, eventually, into medical school.

2. Hone relevant skills.

Beyond being capable of researching and comprehending various medical topics, neurologists also need to practice the same active listening, communication, and educated decision-making skills that other medical professionals have to utilize.

3. Build a network.

As with any profession, having a strong network of educated colleagues is important to success. When studying to become a neurologist, students should seek as many internships and shadowing opportunities as they can. Even after securing a job in the field, it’s important to continuously seek experiences to grow your network.

4. Seek new opportunities.

The average tenure of a neurologist is one to three years, as most navigate through multiple clinics and settings to improve their knowledge and experience. A wealth of experience and years on the job are key requirements for becoming a successful neurologist, so maintaining an up-to-date resume is always important.

5. Set specific goals.

Many neurologists hope to one day open their own private practice, while others wish to specialize in a particular aspect of neuroscience. Setting specific goals is important to gaining relevant experience and utilizing your skills to the fullest.

Neurologist job description example

Our clinic is seeking a board-eligible or board-certified neurologist who is experienced with movement disorders, multiple sclerosis and neurotrauma (concussion) care. As part of our growing practice, you will take on a leadership role to direct treatment and care for a portion of the more than 300 patients we see each week. Our outstanding facilities are ready to support you in gaining experiencing and advancing your career in the field of neurology. We welcome fellowship training and have a competitive salary on offer for a dedicated and motivated individual who expresses a passion for their work.


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