Extensive education and training is required when you want to become a brain specialist, a career that involves treating illness, diseases, and injuries that affect the brain. You will need to complete high school, college, and medical school, which generally means a total of 12 years of schooling. Then, you will typically have to complete a residency and perhaps a fellowship, which provides training first in the general practice of medicine and then in the neurology specialty. Finally, you will usually have to pass additional examinations to gain medical licensing and become board certified.
Before you can begin the education required to become a brain specialist, you will usually have to earn a high school education or take examinations required for earning an equivalency diploma in order to gain admission to college. The academic courses you take in college and a high grade point average (GPA) will help you gain admission to the college of your choice. All of the high school courses you take will prepare you for college, but those you take in science, math, and health can provide particularly important preparation for rigorous undergraduate and medical school programs.
You will usually need to complete four years of college, and since you will need a medical degree to become a brain specialist, your college years can be thought of as preparation for medical school. It is common for people who are interested in this career to major in pre-medicine, or at least focus on sciences such as biology or chemistry. Many medical schools will accept students who majored in other subjects, however, particularly if they have high GPAs and perform well on standardized testing. Regardless of which major you choose, you will likely do well to include several science class credits in your program as preparation for medical school and to demonstrate that you can excel in these types of courses.
Attending medical school is the typical next step you will have to take when you want to become a brain specialist. Medical school generally lasts for about four years and provides the in-depth education required to become a doctor. Your studies in medical school will likely include in-classroom learning as well as a good deal of learning in laboratory settings. You will usually also have an opportunity to observe doctors examining, diagnosing, and treating patients, and may have some supervised interaction with patients.
Once your years of medical school are over, you will still need on-the-job training to prepare to work in this field and to secure the licensing your jurisdiction requires. You will usually get this training in the form of a residency in which you care for patients with ever-decreasing levels of supervision from other medical staff. Residency lengths depend on the country in which you are training, but often last for about six to eight years. You might also participate in a year or two of fellowship training, which is on-the-job training in a sub-specialty.
Most jurisdictions will require you to pass a licensing exam to become a brain specialist. You can also seek board certification in your specialty. Peer evaluation is often a part of the board certification process as well.