Psychiatrist Career Information

A psychiatrist career cannot only be a rewarding profession but also a highly profitable career choice if you enjoy spending time with people and helping them solve their problems.

What You Will Need

Many psychiatrists decide to start their career paths by taking various science courses during their four years of undergraduate school. During the junior year in college, you should opt to take your Medical Admission Test (MCAT) in order to be accepted into a medical school. After spending four years in medical school to become a psychiatrist, you will need to follow it up by a training period or psychiatry residency. The training period can be performed at a hospital, in a clinic, in a private practice or even at a school. While immersed in your training, you will need to take your medical examination in order to practice in the state where you plan to set down roots. After receiving these credentials, a psychiatrist may apply to become certified by the American Board of Psychiatrists and Neurology.

Typical Duties

When deciding on becoming a psychiatrist, be aware that there is a difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor and thus can write and prescribe medications. A psychologist is someone who holds either a Ph.D. or Psy.D and cannot prescribe medications. A psychiatrist is someone who deals with patients who have emotional and mental disorders through therapy and often prescription medications. A psychiatrist can address such issues as anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, various addictions and substance abuse. A psychiatrist also often spends long periods, sometime even years, with a patient trying to get to the root of what the problem is and a strategy for dealing with the issue at hand. A psychiatrist is someone who must possess a lot of patience, sympathy, and expert knowledge about mental disorders and the mental mind to help someone appropriately.

Earnings and Wages

The average salary for an accredited psychiatrist can be from $200,000 and up depending on location and facility. Psychiatrists who work in private practices alone or with other doctors usually earn more than a psychiatrist working at a hospital because they can make their own hours, set their own hourly wages and see as many patients as they choose.  

Where the Jobs Are

A psychiatrist can work in various settings once he has all of the appropriate training under his belt. For example, psychiatrists work in clinics, hospitals, senior facilities, secondary schools and criminal justice settings, as well as in private practices. Many psychiatrists attend continuing education courses throughout their careers to help keep abreast of new medications, therapies and changes in the field. They also read and write numerous papers for medical journals about their patient findings, as well as attend seminars and lectures throughout their career. A psychiatrist must be re-certified every 10 years while practicing in the field.