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Interventional Neurologist: Salary, Duties and Career Outlook

Sep 28, 2019

Interventional neurologists require extensive formal education. Learn about the education, responsibilities, and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Interventional neurologists need to complete many years of formal education, including medical school, a residency, and a fellowship. Their job includes diagnosing and treating patients with neurological disorders, and performing minimally invasive procedures. They often work with other doctors to coordinate care for patients.

Essential Information

Interventional neurologists are physicians who diagnose and treat patients with disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. These specialized doctors need to complete a substantial amount of education, including medical school, a residency and a fellowship.

Required Education Medical school, a residency in neurology, and a fellowship in interventional neurology
Licensure Physician licensure and board certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% for all physicians and surgeons*
Median Salary (2019) $254,809 annually for physician/doctor, stroke neurologist**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

Salary and Career Outlook

According to PayScale.com, the median salary of neurology physicians in general was $254,809 as of June 2019. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of physicians and surgeons was anticipated to increase slightly faster than average from 2018-2028. The need for physicians is expected to increase as the health care system expands and the baby boomer generation ages. However, the increasing use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants, along with technological advances, may somewhat decrease the demand for physicians.

Job Duties and Education

An interventional neurologist is a physician that specializes in diagnosing and treating patients with disorders of the nervous system and brain. They perform minimally invasive surgery of the spine, neck and brain. They also diagnose problems such as tumors, strokes, aneurysms, spinal disease and neck disorders.

By conducting less invasive types of surgeries, interventional neurologists can sometimes provide shorter recovery times and fewer complications for patients than with traditional surgery, which opens the patient up to access internal organs. Examples include percutaneous procedures, which involve inserting a needle through the skin, or the insertion of a catheter into a blood vessel in order to remove blood clots or plug an aneurysm (aneurysm coiling). Interventional neurologists may also work with other physicians or surgeons, such as neuroradiologists or neurosurgeons, in order to provide the best care for patients.

Education and Requirements

Interventional neurologists have to undergo extensive training before they are qualified to practice. In addition to attending medical school for four years, interventional neurologists need to complete a residency program in neurology. Depending on the program, a residency can take from 3-8 years. They are also required to complete a fellowship in the sub-specialty of interventional neurology.

In addition to training, all doctors are required to obtain licensure to practice unsupervised. MDs (Medical Doctors) take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). DOs (Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine) take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX). Both exams are split into four steps. Medical students generally complete the first three steps while in medical school and the last step after completing a 1-year internship or the first year of a residency. After completing a residency in a specialty, the physician may seek board certification in neurology. Board certification must be renewed every ten years.

Interventional neurologists work with patients to treat brain, nerve, and spinal cord disorders, and they perform minimally invasive surgeries, so that their patients often have shorter recovery times. They become licensed to practice after attending medical school and completing a residency and fellowship, and are required to renew their certification periodically. Physicians and surgeons will see above average growth through 2028, and the median salary for neurologists was approximately $255,000 in 2019

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