Graduate Degrees in Neurology: Program Information
While graduate degrees in neurology aren't common, qualified students who already hold a medical degree might consider applying to a neurology fellowship program. Intended for already licensed doctors wishing to focus on neurological research, post-doctoral fellowship programs offer advanced education and research opportunities for students interested in a specialization in neurology.
Fellowships in neurology emphasize development of laboratory research and research administration skills, as well as acquisition of teaching experience. Fellows spend the majority of their time working closely with other physicians and peers in a professional laboratory environment while conducting research studies.
- Prerequisites: Completion of an M.D. (Medical Doctor) or a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) program, letters of recommendation, academic achievements, professional experience
- Some Program Specializations: Critical care neurology, epilepsy, pediatric neurology, cell and gene therapy or neuro-oncology
- Program Length: 2-3 years
Post-doctoral Fellowship in Neurology
Fellowships are largely self-directed endeavors where students, along with advisors, devise their own unique courses of research study within the field of neurology. Instead of a set schedule of courses, students engage in the design, execution and analysis of directed research projects and acquire advanced knowledge and skill through close interaction with doctors and patients in a professional environment. Students are expected to accompany physicians on rounds and master medical technologies used in diagnostic testing and research.
Possible Career Options
Although neurology is a specialized and focused career path, a variety of specializations are available within the field itself. Fellows often pursue a specific career path in neurology. Some possible career paths are:
- Behavioral neurologist
- Critical care neurologist
- Geriatric neurologist
- Epilepsy specialist
- Neurological surgeon
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected job growth of 14%, faster than the average for all occupations, for all physicians and surgeons from 2014-2024. The BLS reported the mean annual salary for all of these professionals regardless of specialty was $197,700 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) offers a recognized professional certificate in neurology or neurology with a specialization in child neurology. Currently practicing doctors can obtain a certificate in neurology by passing the nationally standardized examination, which is typically offered during one week each year.
Practicing neurological physicians and surgeons are required to obtain new certificates every ten years, as mandated by the ABPN, and must adhere to the ABPN's maintenance of certification program. This program promotes life-long learning, and it ensures neurologists achieve a minimum set of basic skills and keep abreast of new studies, procedures and technologies.