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Neurologist

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Summary of occupation

A neurologist is a physician who specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and management of disorders of the nervous system, including diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles.

The scope of a neurologist is wide and can include involvement in the treatment of epilepsy, stroke, cerebral palsy, neural tube defects, muscular dystrophy, autism spectrum disorder, movement disorders, acquired brain injury, and speech, language and memory problems.

There are approximately 30 neurologists in Western Australia all of who are based in Perth.

ANZSCO description: Investigates, diagnoses and treats diseases and injuries of the human brain, spinal cord, nervous system and muscle tissue. Registration or licensing is required.
Alternative names: Internal Medical Specialist, Medical Practitioner, Physician, Specialist
Specialisations: Neurogeneticist, Neurophysiologist, Neuroradiologist, Neurosurgeon, Paediatric Neurologist
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A neurologist needs:

  • the intellectual ability to apply the concepts of neurological medicine
  • to enjoy finding solutions to problems, dealing with people and directing the work of others
  • to be confident and a strong decision maker
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • to empathise and be compassionate towards others
  • emotional strength and maturity
  • to be able to work under pressure and have the stamina to work long hours
  • strong ethics
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Working conditions

Neurologists work in hospitals, private practice or a combination of both. Some neurologists work 60+ hours a week which can include shift, weekend and on-call responsibilities.

A typical day involves seeing patients and time spent doing paperwork. Although the job can be emotionally demanding it can also be emotionally rewarding.

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Salary details

On average, neurologists can expect to earn between $2 692.31 and $3 461.54 per week ($140 000 and $180 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a neurologist develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.​ 

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Tools and technologies

Neurologists use specialised equipment including computerised axial tomography (CAT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electronencephalography (EEG). Others tools include molecular biology, electrophysiology and neuroimaging.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a neurologist, you must first become a qualified medical practitioner and then specialise in neurology.

In Western Australia, postgraduate courses in medicine are offered by the University of Notre Dame and the University of Western Australia. These degrees usually take four years to complete. Entry requirements include completion of a bachelor degree in any discipline, although studies in neuroscience are recommended. You must also sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test and attend an interview at your chosen institution. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

On completion of the postgraduate medical degree, you must work in the public hospital system for two years (internship and residency). To specialise in neurology, doctors can apply to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians to undertake further training and ultimately receive fellowship. 
  
  
  

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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