A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in neurology and diagnoses and treats disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. While this is common knowledge, a lot of aspiring neurologists and people interested in this line of work are unaware of the other particulars of this profession, like the job description, the certifications and qualifications needed, and the average neurologist salary. In this article, you’ll learn about all of these essential details. But before we delve into that, let’s understand what neurology is.
Neurology is a branch of science that deals with the anatomy, the functions, and the organic disorders of the nerves and the nervous system in the body. Neurology also involves the diagnosis and treatment of all kinds of conditions and diseases of the central and peripheral nervous systems, and their subdivisions, the autonomic and somatic nervous systems.
This branch of medicine also extends to include the blood vessels and all effector tissues, such as muscles. Neuroscience, which is the scientific study of the nervous system, forms the basis of neurological practice.
JOB DESCRIPTION AND DUTIES
The job description for a neurologist varies from medical practice to research. Irrespective of whether a neurologist works in a hospital, has their own practice, is employed in a university, or is carrying on research, there is never a quiet day in this job. Let’s take a look at the various job descriptions of a neurologist.
NEUROLOGISTS IN DIAGNOSTICS AND TREATMENT
Neurologists who work in hospitals and clinics typically diagnose the neurological problems in patients and offer treatment options to manage or cure neurological conditions and diseases. The list of responsibilities and the neurologist salary for these kinds of jobs depend on the hospital or the clinical establishment the medical professional is employed in. The typical job description for neurologists who diagnose and treat neurological conditions include the following responsibilities.
NEUROLOGISTS IN RESEARCH
Neurologists can also choose to work in the line of neurological research, which involves the practice of studying existing neurological disorders to find methods to treat and cure them. The neurologist salary for medical professionals involved in neurological research also varies from one research study to another. Some of the general responsibilities in the job description of a neurologist involved in research are listed below.
Neurologists may also choose to teach in universities and medical colleges, either as a full-time job or as a part-time vocation.
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS
Good education forms the basis for an aspiring neurologist to have a successful career. The kind of education determines several factors like the line of work a neurologist works in, the neurologist salary, and the overall success of a medical professional. Details about the general outline of the education and certifications necessary for a neurologist include.
As with most other medical professions, an undergraduate degree is one of the first requirements to become a neurologist. Although there’s no particular subject that a student needs to major in, aspiring neurologists will find that biological sciences, physics, chemistry, or premed may make it easier to gain admission in medical schools later.
Premed courses required by medical schools typically include subjects like human anatomy, microbiology, and biochemistry. So, an undergrad degree with a major in one of these branches of science can be incredibly helpful. Students need to appear for and pass the Medical College Admission Test in their junior year of the undergrad program. Also, completing the necessary hours of volunteering at a hospital or a medical environment can help an aspiring neurologist gain an edge in their medical school application.
Once a student gains admission to a medical school, they are required to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree. The typical medical school course spans over four years. The first two years involve the study of the basics of human anatomy and physiology, nutrition, immunology, and ethics. The third and fourth years are when med students generally receive clinical training and participate in a clerkship that includes medical specializations like family medicine, neurology, or radiology.
In order to begin practicing medicine in the United States, medical students are required to pass one of the following two exams.
After they’ve graduated from medical school, students generally need to complete a one-year internship program in internal medicine or surgery, followed by a three-year residency program that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. In neurology, residents attend lectures, participate in patient rounds, and complete case studies of various clinical scenarios.
Although it’s optional, aspiring neurologists will find that completing a fellowship program can grant a definite boost to their career scope and their neurologist salary. A fellowship program generally last 1-2 years, and it offers extensive opportunities for neurologists to work and research conditions like epilepsy, neurophysiology, behavioral neurology, headache medicine, movement disorders, neurocritical care, and other specialized areas of practice.
Certification programs are another set of optional career-boosters. The American Board of Psychology and Neurology (ABPN) offers a few voluntary certification programs for qualified neurologists. Only candidates who have completed an accredited medical school program, earned a medical license and satisfied the ABPN training requirements can take the certification exams.
Neurology is a high-paying profession that is as taxing as it is rewarding. Most clinical neurologists work 60 hours a week, on an average. In research, neurologists typically have 40-hour work weeks. The pay, therefore, is high enough to compensate for the effort and expertise involved in the job.
Although the actual neurologist salary varies from one medical professional to another, depending on a variety of factors, the average neurologist salary in the United States, as of July 31, 2018, is $246,788. The typical range, however, lies between $215,685 and $289,761. The typical neurologist salary in the United Kingdom ranges between £29,7458 and £104,053, as of August 2018.
Several factors have a great influence on the neurologist salary as discussed below.
Neurology is a constantly evolving field of science and medicine, and consequently, offers a great scope for building a successful career. The demand for neurologists is fast increasing, with research positions and clinical jobs growing at a rapid rate. Naturally, the outlook for a career in neurology seems positive, because the demand for neurologists and the neurologist salary all predict a positive, upward trend.