How do I Become an Epileptologist?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

It takes time and dedication to become an epileptologist. This is a physician who specializes in the treatment of seizures, very often as resulting from seizure disorders like epilepsy. These doctors do much more than simply going to medical school; they have to train in several specialties after medical school to earn this title.

Doctor taking notes
Doctor taking notes

The person interested in epileptology or any work in medicine is best served by beginning serious studies in high school. Special focus should be paid to studies in math and science, and good grades are needed in all areas to get into a decent college. In places like the US, people complete four years of undergraduate studies, majoring in subjects like pre-med or microbiology. The UK model combines undergraduate studies with medical school, but both programs take about the same time to complete, when medical school is added to the US model.

While students complete a bachelor’s degree to become an epileptologist, they’ll likely have to spend significant in their last two years of college studying for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The MCAT is important when it comes to getting admitted to a medical school. College grades should also be good since these can be equally considered with the MCAT.

With successful admission to medical school, the person is one step farther on the road to become an epileptologist. Students need to complete three years of study and one of internship prior to becoming board-certified physicians. During the year of internship, students will have to determine if they plan to specialize. When someone wants to become an epileptologist, he must find training in a neurological specialty.

Generally people become an epileptologist after specializing in either pediatric neurology or neurology. A few people also come to epileptology after training as neurosurgeons. For neurology, training can be three to four more years. Pediatric neurologists might have six years of training first, and neurosurgeons have even more.

This still isn’t enough to claim this specialty and additional studies or fellowship are required to become an epileptologist. Usually, doctors will need to complete two to three more years of training specifically in treating seizure disorders, and some do more than this. They may earn PhDs or master’s degrees in this area, though this may not be a required step.

Epileptologists are in high demand due to frequency of seizure disorders. These doctors may work with the toughest cases that result in seizures, where the efforts of other medical experts have not been successful in calming them. Many of these physicians are employed by tertiary hospitals, but other times an epileptologist works in private practice, either alone or in neurology practices with other specialists.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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