Content updated on Nov. 9, 2021 by Riley Nisbet
Neurology is a medical specialty that deals with diagnosing and treating diseases that impact the nervous system. Individuals with coordination issues, muscle weakness, headaches, or changes in their physical sensations may need help from a neurologist. In some cases, these symptoms can be linked to spinal cord disorders, MS, strokes, seizures, or other nervous system infections.
To become a neurologist, medical school graduates must complete a four-year medical residency. While the first year concentrates on internal medicine, the final three years are specialty-focused.
Within neurology, there are various subspecialties. Some are well-known including child neurology, vascular neurology, geriatric neurology, and neuro-oncology. While this list is not exhaustive, not all organizations recognize all specialties. This can affect the types of education and license needed by an individual. For a complete list of neurology subspecialties and their recognition, consult the American Academy of Neurology. Depending on what subspecialty an individual pursues, they can expect to spend a year or longer in a fellowship.
During the 2020-2021 Match cycle, 715 positions were offered. Of those, 702 positions were filled. While the specialty ranked relatively low for U.S. IMGs, non0U.S. IMGs filled 179 of those 702 positions, accounting for a little over a quarter of all filled neurology residency positions. This ranked it the fifth friendliest specialty of the 2020-2021 Match cycle for non-U.S. IMGs.
Additional data on the 2020-2021 Match can be found here.
Practicing as a Neurologist
According to 2019 data from the American Association of Medical Colleges, there are 14,146 practicing neurologists in the U.S. According to experts, this is a significant shortage that will only continue to worsen as one of the largest-ever generations ages, creating a population more at risk for neurodegenerative diseases.
Matching this aging population is the rising cost of U.S. medical school and the relatively low-paying field of neurology. Currently, an entry-level neurologist can expect to earn roughly $255,000-$280,000. This has led to a cohort of medical graduates pursuing residencies in higher-paying specialties.
For neurology to meet its demand-for-care, the need for IMGs, who do not carry the debt burden of U.S. medical graduates, is as important as ever, and it is a major reason the field, like similar specialties, remains so IMG friendly.
Are you looking for a clinical experience in this specialty? AMO offers a handful of experiences in neurology.
To view and apply for these, create an AMO account!