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As we become more health-conscious as a society, we have started to appreciate the medical professions that are essential to our wellbeing. One such profession is that of a neurologist. Neurologists are medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system. In this article, we will explore what it takes to become a neurologist, the various specializations within the field, and the pros and cons of pursuing a career in neurology. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.


Introduction to Neurologist as a Profession

Neurology is a branch of medicine that deals with the study and treatment of disorders of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders. Neurologists work with patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, and treat a wide variety of conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, migraines, and multiple sclerosis.


Neurology is a broad field with many different subspecialties. Some of the most common subspecialties within neurology include clinical neurophysiology, neuromuscular medicine, neurodevelopmental disabilities, and neuro-oncology. These subspecialties allow neurologists to focus on specific areas of the nervous system and develop expertise in those areas.

Tasks and Responsibilities

The tasks and responsibilities of a neurologist can vary depending on their area of specialization, but some common responsibilities include:

  • Evaluating patients and diagnosing neurological conditions
  • Developing treatment plans and prescribing medication
  • Performing and interpreting diagnostic tests such as EEGs, EMGs, and MRIs
  • Providing patient education and counseling
  • Collaborating with other medical professionals such as neurosurgeons and physical therapists to develop comprehensive treatment plans

Pros and Cons

As with any profession, there are pros and cons to pursuing a career in neurology. Some of the pros include:

  • Making a positive impact on patients' lives
  • Continuously learning and staying up-to-date with advancements in the field
  • Job security and stability
  • High earning potential

Some of the cons include:

  • High levels of stress and responsibility
  • Long hours and on-call duties
  • Extensive education and training requirements


The demand for neurologists is expected to grow in the coming years due to an aging population and an increased focus on neurological research. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physicians and surgeons (including neurologists) is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029. The demand for neurologists is particularly high in areas with aging populations, such as Florida and California.

Salary Ranges

The salary range for neurologists can vary depending on factors such as location, years of experience, and area of specialization. According to the Medscape Neurologist Compensation Report 2020, the average annual salary for neurologists in the United States was $273,000. In Canada, the average annual salary was CAD 243,000, while in the United Kingdom it was £95,000, and in Australia it was AUD 237,000.

Where do Neurologists Work?

Neurologists can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, private practices, and research institutions. They may also work in academia, teaching medical students and conducting research. Neurologists are needed to help diagnose and treat a wide range of neurological conditions, from common disorders such as migraines to rare conditions such as Huntington's disease.

Important Qualities of a Successful Neurologist

Successful neurologists share certain qualities that enable them to provide high-quality care to their patients. Some of these qualities include:

  • Strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Empathy and compassion for their patients
  • Attention to detail and a meticulous approach to patient care
  • Patience and the ability to work well under pressure

It's important to note that not everyone is suited to a career in neurology. Individuals who struggle with science or who are uncomfortable working with patients who have serious medical conditions may not be well-suited for this profession.

Step-by-Step Career Path

The path to becoming a neurologist can be a long and challenging one, but for those who are committed to the field, it can be a rewarding career. Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a neurologist:

  1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree: The first step to becoming a neurologist is to earn a Bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as biology, neuroscience, or pre-med.
  2. Attend Medical School: After completing a Bachelor's degree, aspiring neurologists must attend medical school and earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree.
  3. Complete a Residency: Neurologists must complete a residency in neurology, which typically lasts four years. During the residency, neurologists gain hands-on experience diagnosing and treating patients with neurological conditions.
  4. Optional Fellowship: After completing their residency, neurologists may choose to complete a fellowship in a subspecialty area of neurology, such as neuro-oncology or neuromuscular medicine.
  5. Obtain a License: All physicians must obtain a license to practice medicine in their state. The requirements for obtaining a license vary by state but typically involve passing a licensing exam.

How to Become a Neurologist

In the United States, aspiring neurologists must complete a Bachelor's degree, attend medical school, and complete a residency in neurology. The entire process typically takes around 12 years. While higher education is not strictly necessary in other countries such as the UK, Canada, and Australia, a medical degree is still required.

Where to Become a Neurologist

There are many excellent medical schools and residency programs that offer training in neurology. Here are five examples of top programs in each of the following countries:

United States:

  1. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  2. Harvard Medical School
  3. Stanford University School of Medicine
  4. University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
  5. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis


  1. University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine
  2. McGill University Faculty of Medicine
  3. University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine
  4. University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
  5. University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine

United Kingdom:

  1. University of Oxford Medical School
  2. University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine
  3. Imperial College School of Medicine
  4. University of Edinburgh College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
  5. University College London Medical School


  1. University of Melbourne Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences
  2. Monash University Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
  3. University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine and Health
  4. University of Queensland Faculty of Medicine
  5. University of Adelaide Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Can You Enter the Profession with a Different Degree?

It is possible to enter the medical profession with a different degree, although it will require additional education and training. For example, individuals with a Bachelor's degree in a non-medical field may choose to attend a post-baccalaureate pre-medical program to complete the necessary prerequisites for medical school. Additionally, some medical schools offer joint degree programs, such as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in neuroscience, which may be a good fit for individuals with a background in neuroscience or a related field.


Neurology is a challenging but rewarding field that offers the opportunity to make a real difference in patients' lives. Aspiring neurologists must be prepared to commit many years to education and training, but the job security and high earning potential make it a worthwhile investment. By following the step-by-step career path outlined in this article and honing the important qualities of a successful neurologist, individuals can enter this important profession and help make a positive impact on patients' lives.

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