Neuropsychiatrist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a neuropsychiatrist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

The journey to become a neuropsychiatrist is a long one; it involves completion of a pre-med major, medical school, residency, and a potential fellowship. Certification can follow if one chooses, and state licensure is mandatory.

Essential Information

Neuropsychiatrists receive extensive education and training in the field of neuropsychiatry, a subspeciality of psychiatry. These medical professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating injuries and disorders related to the nervous system, such as head injuries. Aspiring neuropsychiatrists must follow an education plan that includes undergraduate and medical degrees. State licensure is required.

Required Education Medical degree
Other Requirements Residency and/or fellowship program in neurology or psychiatry
Licensure/Certification Medical licensure is required by state law; Optional board certification is available after completion of fellowship in neuropsychiatry and passing exam
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 15% for all psychiatrists
Mean Annual Salary (2015)* $193,680 for all psychiatrists

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Neuropsychiatrists typically work in hospitals, clinics or research facilities. They diagnose and treat behavioral and mental disorders caused by conditions affecting the nervous system, such as head injuries, epilepsy, dementia or obsessive compulsive disorder.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted the employment of all psychiatrists, would increase by 15% during the 2014-2024 decade ( In 2015, the BLS stated that psychiatrists received a mean annual salary of $193,680.


Neuropsychiatrists perform neurological exams, which involve evaluating a patient's motor functions, coordination, reflexes, cranial nerves and gait posture. Neuropsychiatrists can also conduct interviews with a patient to determine his or her mental status and perform neuropsychological assessments, such as the Stroop Test or the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. After assessing a patient's neurological condition, a neuropsychiatrist develops a treatment plan that can include medications and therapy.


According to the BLS, all psychiatrists must complete an undergraduate degree program and medical school, as well as earn state licensure, before they can practice in the field.

Bachelor's Degree

Aspiring neuropsychiatrists must earn a bachelor's degree and complete undergraduate courses required by medical schools. These courses generally include two years of chemistry and one year each of physics, math, biology and English composition. Since most colleges and universities do not offer a pre-med major, students often major in biology or chemistry to prepare for medical school.

Medical School

Upon completing a bachelor's degree, aspiring neuropsychiatrists must take the Medical College Admission Test and apply to an accredited medical school. Aspiring neuropsychiatrists should complete clerkships and electives in psychiatry or neurology during their medical training. Medical school graduates must obtain a state license to practice medicine, which requires passage of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX).


After medical school, an aspiring neuropsychiatrist can complete a residency program in neurology or psychiatry. Residents work in clinical settings under the supervision of experienced neurologists or psychiatrists. Those who have completed a residency can pursue certification from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.


Neuropsychiatrists also have the option of completing a fellowship in neuropsychiatry. Upon passing a certification exam, they can earn board certification in behavioral neurology and neuropsychiatry from the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties.

Neuropsychiatrists undergo a great deal of training and education, entailing coursework and job experience. Then they must become licensed. Neuropsychiatrists can work in several settings in which they perform neurological tests on patients to diagnose and treat any issues.

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