Medical Professions Resources Directory: Neurologist

How To Become a...

How to Become Neurologist


A neurologist trained to diagnose and treat patients of nervous system disorders, including diseases of the brain, spinal cord nerves, and muscles. A neurologist performs neurological examinations of the nerves of the head and neck; muscle strength and movement; balance, ambulation, and reflexes; and sensation, memory, speech, language and other cognitive abilities. A neurologist can also perform diagnostic tests like CAT (computed axial tomography) scan, MRI/MRA (magnetic resonance imaging/magnetic resonance angiography), lumbar puncture (spinal tap), EEG (electroencephalography), and EMG/NCV (electromyography/nerve conduction velocity).

To become a neurologist you need four years of premedical education in a college or university, four years of medical school resulting in an MD or DO degree, one year internship in either internal medicine or medicine/surgery, at least 3 years of specialty training in an accredited neurology residency program. There is a residency programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education provide supervised experience in hospital and ambulatory care settings as well as educational conferences and research training. After residency training neurologist can enroll in a fellowship program to get more expertise in a sub-specialty like stroke, dementia or movement disorders.

Medical doctors can then seek certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). You need to have an unrestricted state license to practice medicine, complete the required years of residency, and successfully pass both a written and oral exam administered by the ABPN.

To get a certification by the American Board of Osteopathic Neurologists and Psychiatrists requires a high degree of competency in the practice of neurology at the time of certification. To get the certification you need to have gradate from approved college of osteopathic medicine, have an unrestricted state license, meet ethical standards established by the American Osteopathic Association, and be an active member of the American or Canadian Osteopathic Association for 2 years prior to certification.


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