Neurologists are specialists trained to diagnose and manage diseases of the nervous system. In that system, we have the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and muscles.
Neurology is a non-surgical field, different from neurosurgical physicians that do brain surgery. In neurology, think of Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Huntington’s Chorea.
Neurologists generally practice in the clinic with call duties in the hospital. They are qualified to read EEGs (brain wave studies) and perform EMG’s (poking fine needles into your skin and shocking your muscles to assess function). Neurologists can also interpret sleep studies and nerve conduction studies. Being able to perform and interpret these tests increases the compensation a neurologist can receive.
Just how much do neurologists make?
The median expected salary is $205,831. Straight out of residency, you might make $185,000. But after a few years of experience, you’ll be able to make much more. The majority of neurology physicians make between $183,160 and $244,419.
15% of neurologists report earning over $300,000. Some even report a salary greater than $500,000!
Can you wonder why? Although neurology is not a surgical procedural field, it has it’s own procedures and tests they can do. Take for example obstructive sleep apnea. Millions of people suffer from this disorder on a daily basis. How much can you get to perform a diagnostic test for it? Just one sleep study performed by an EEG tech can be reimbursed $721 dollars in NY.
Neurology is a specialty that does not require you to go through internal medicine first. You train directly in neurology from the start of your first year all the way to the end of of your fourth year.
After 4 years of residency in neurology, you have the option of further subspecializing. Neurology fellowships can last 1-2 years.
Some of the fellowship opportunities for neurologists include :
- autoimmune neurology
- behavioral neurology
- clinical neurophysiology, EEGs
- critical care neurology
- deep brain stimulation
- movement disorders
- multiple sclerosis
- neuromuscular disorders
- pediatric epilepsy
- vascular neurology
Currently, there are 127 residency programs offering training in adult neurology. If you are interested in pediatric neurology, there are currently 68 residency programs.
Neurologists are an important part of care for patients suffering with complex neurological diseases. These diseases often impacts patients with their activities of daily living so much that it debilitates them. Neurologists can help. The training may take 4 years but the emotional and financial rewards are worth it.