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What to Expect From a Neurology Residency

Graduates of accredited medical school programs can enroll in three-year training programs to prepare for careers as neurologists. Learn about admissions and clinical requirements for these neurology residencies.

Residents in a neurology program undergo several years of extensive classroom and clinical training. There are rigid requirements for acceptance into a neurology residency, though neurologists are in high demand and earn salaries significantly higher than the national average for all occupations.

Expectations for Neurology Residencies

A neurology residency is a three-year training program for prospective neurologists interested in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders associated with the nervous system and muscles. Program requirements include clinical rotations, didactic coursework and research opportunities, and residents are given an increasing level of patient care responsibilities as they progress through their training.

Year One

The first year of training is designed to familiarize residents with the diagnostic and treatment procedures used in this field. Residents complete rotations in hospital neurology wards and clinics that provide care to stroke victims and patients with epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases. Residents also spend time in neurocritical care units designed to treat patients who need emergency surgery.

Years Two and Three

Years two and three allow students to complete additional rotations in such areas as neuro-radiology, neuro-oncology and child neurology. During this time, students also learn how to read and interpret an EEG (electroencephalography) and EMG (electromyography) and complete elective rotations in several subspecialties, including:

  • Aging and dementia
  • Neuroethics
  • Movement disorders
  • Neurosurgery
  • Interventional vascular neurology

Admission Requirements

Admission to a post-graduate residency program is extremely competitive. Minimum requirements include the following:

  • Graduation from an accredited medical school
  • Acceptable scores on steps one and two of the USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination)
  • Licensure as a physician
  • Completion of a one-year internal medicine internship or transitional internal medicine training

Career Info

In addition to becoming practicing neurologists, physicians who complete neurology residency programs can pursue voluntary certification through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physicians who earn board certification could improve their employment prospects.

A 14% increase in job opportunities was projected for physicians overall between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS, which is much faster than average. Additionally, PayScale.com reported that the median salary for neurologists as of January 2017 was $204,111.

Licensed doctors interested in the field of neurology must complete both one year of internal medicine training and a 3-year neurology residency. Job growth is expected to be high for this field, though entrance into a residency program can be competitive.

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