Doctors who specialize in the brain and nervous system treat illnesses as varied as strokes, headaches, brain infections and Parkinson's disease. Neurological medicine encompasses several specialties.
Neurologists are physicians who specialize in treating the central nervous system, which includes the brain, the spinal cord and the peripheral nerves running throughout the body. Neurologists must complete a bachelor's degree, a doctorate in medicine and post-graduate training, including an internship and several years of residency. All physicians, including neurologists, must also complete certification exams and qualify for state licensing. Although the education is time-consuming, neurologists earn an average of $240,000 per year as of 2013, according to Profiles, a physician staffing organization.
Neurosurgeons specialize in the surgical correction of neurological problems. There are also several sub-specialties of neurosurgery. For example, some neurosurgeons focus on areas such as spinal injuries, brain tumors, peripheral nerve damage or even back surgeries. The majority of neurosurgeons have private practices, but about 20 percent practice under the sponsorship of a university practice plan, according to Healthcare Salary Online. A neurosurgeon must complete a bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school, an internship in general surgery and five to seven years of neurosurgery residency.
Neuroradiologists diagnose and treat illnesses of the brain, spinal cord, head, neck and vascular lesions using X-rays, magnetic fields, radio waves and ultrasound. They use machines to conduct procedures like computed tomography, or CAT scans, and magnetic resonance images, or MRIs. The educational requirements for neuroradiologists include four years of radiology residency after medical school and two additional years of fellowship training under the supervision of experienced neuroradiologists. To become board certified, neuroradiologists must complete written and oral examinations.