What is a Neurologist

The brain is amazing, isn't it? We use it in everything we do, even when we think we are not doing anything at all. The brain processes everything around us, everything we see, smell, taste, feel, and hear. It also allows us to respond appropriately to different stimuli. We don't even realize how much and how fast it is processing because most of the time, we act swiftly. When we encounter problems related to the brain, we go to the neurologist.

Neurologists are doctors who specialize in the brain. Aside from the brain, they also specialize in the spinal cord and the nerves. They treat diseases related to these organs and act urgently, especially if surgery is required. Aside from treating diseases, they are also expected to conduct further research on the brain, spinal cord, and nerves to add to the knowledge of the medical community. It is important for neurologists to be meticulous and careful but to also act swiftly. There are times when decisions need to be made on the spot.

If you are an aspiring doctor who is very much interested in the brain, the spinal cord, and nerves, this is the specialization for you!

What Does a Neurologist Do

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. Physicians examine patients; take medical histories; prescribe medications; and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They often counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.

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How To Become a Neurologist

Physicians and surgeons have demanding education and training requirements. Almost all physicians complete at least 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and, depending on their specialty, 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.


Most applicants to medical school have at least a bachelor's degree, and many have advanced degrees. Although no specific major is required, all students must complete undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, physics, math, and English. Students also take courses in the humanities and social sciences. In addition, some students volunteer at local hospitals or clinics to gain experience in a healthcare setting.

Medical schools are highly competitive. Most applicants must submit transcripts, scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and letters of recommendation. Schools also consider an applicant’s personality, leadership qualities, and participation in extracurricular activities. Most schools require applicants to interview with members of the admissions committee.

A few medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 or 7 years.

Students spend most of the first 2 years of medical school in laboratories and classrooms, taking courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics, and the laws governing medicine. They also gain practical skills, learning to take medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses.

During their last 2 years, medical students work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians in hospitals and clinics. Through rotations in internal medicine, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery, they gain experience in diagnosing and treating illnesses in a variety of areas.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Physicians and surgeons need to be excellent communicators. They must be able to communicate effectively with their patients and other healthcare support staff.

Compassion. Physicians and surgeons deal with patients who are sick or injured and may be in extreme pain or distress. Physicians and surgeons must be able to treat patients and their families with compassion and understanding.

Detail oriented. Physicians and surgeons must ensure that patients are receiving appropriate treatment and medications. They must also monitor and record various pieces of information related to patient care.

Dexterity. Physicians and surgeons must be good at working with their hands. They may work with very precise and sometimes sharp tools, and mistakes can have serious consequences.

Leadership skills. Physicians who work in their own practice need to be effective leaders. They must be able to manage a staff of other professionals to run their practice.

Organizational skills. Some physicians own their own practice. Strong organizational skills, including good recordkeeping, are critical in both medical and business settings.

Patience. Physicians and surgeons may work for long periods with patients who need special attention. Persons who fear medical treatment may require more patience.

Physical stamina. Physicians and surgeons should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting or turning disabled patients. Surgeons may spend a great deal of time bending over patients during surgery.

Problem-solving skills. Physicians and surgeons need to evaluate patients’ symptoms and administer the appropriate treatments. They need to do this quickly if a patient’s life is threatened.


After medical school, almost all graduates enter a residency program in their specialty of interest. A residency usually takes place in a hospital and varies in duration, generally lasting from 3 to 7 years, depending on the specialty.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All states require physicians and surgeons to be licensed; requirements vary by state. To qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete residency training in their specialty.

All physicians and surgeons also must pass a standardized national licensure exam. M.D.s take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). D.O.s take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). For specific state information about licensing, contact your state’s medical board. 

Certification is not required for physicians and surgeons; however, it may increase their employment opportunities. M.D.s and D.O.s seeking board certification in a specialty may spend up to 7 years in residency training; the length of time varies with the specialty. To become board certified, candidates must complete a residency program and pass a specialty certification exam from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS).

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Average Salary for a Neurologist

Neurologists in America make an average salary of $257,555 per year or $124 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $414,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $160,000 per year.
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Neurologist Demographics

Neurologist Gender Statistics


59.9 %


35.5 %


4.6 %

Neurologist Ethnicity Statistics


65.3 %


18.0 %

Hispanic or Latino

9.1 %

Neurologist Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics


43.1 %


19.6 %


5.9 %
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Neurologist Education

Neurologist Majors

29.0 %

Neurologist Degrees


27.1 %


23.3 %


18.3 %

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High School / GED

Top Colleges for Neurologists

1. University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Case Western Reserve University

Cleveland, OH • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Connecticut

Storrs, CT • Private

In-State Tuition

5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

6. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition

7. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH • Private

In-State Tuition

8. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

New Brunswick, NJ • Private

In-State Tuition

9. University of Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of Missouri - Kansas City

Kansas City, MO • Private

In-State Tuition
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Voice Disorders: What Patients and Professionals Need to Know

Welcome to Voice Disorders: What Patients and Professionals Need to Know Knowledge regarding vocal production physiology and management options for voice disorders have experienced rapid growth over the past 40 years. This growth has resulted in a knowledge gap amongst patients and practitioners. Entirely new subspecialties of laryngology under otolaryngology and vocology under speech-language pathology have developed in response to this gap. This MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is designed to...

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This Cannabis, Mental Health, and Brain Disorders course is designed to have you think critically about the health effects of cannabis (i.e, marijuana) in the context of several mental health and neurocognitive disorders. You'll be able to identify key features of several anxiety disorders (e.g, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, PTSD), major depression, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseas...

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Top Skills For a Neurologist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 35.9% of Neurologists listed Neurology on their resume, but soft skills such as Communication skills and Physical stamina are important as well.

12 Neurologist RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Neurologist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Neurologist. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Neurologists make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $207,205. Whereas in North Dakota and Minnesota, they would average $206,290 and $204,364, respectively. While Neurologists would only make an average of $196,031 in Wisconsin, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. North Dakota

Total Neurologist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Alaska

Total Neurologist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Wisconsin

Total Neurologist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Neurologists

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