USA Career Guide- Psychiatrists

Education and Training Required to be Psychiatrists

To become psychiatrist you must have either a M.D. or D.O. degree from an accredited school of medicine or osteopathy. In addition to this, a four year residency must be completed with at least three of these years specifically in the practice of psychiatry.
A few medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 rather than the customary 8 years.

Premedical students must complete undergraduate work in physics, biology, mathematics, English, and inorganic and organic chemistry. Students also take courses in the humanities and the social sciences. Some students volunteer at local hospitals or clinics to gain practical experience in the health professions.

Graduates typically must pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before applying to medical school ( The MCAT assesses a student's ability to complete a medical degree program.

Post-graduate education in psychiatry consists of 4 years of residency training, of which at least 3 are in psychiatry. Following residency, you must select a sub-specialty.  Most sub-specialties require a one-year fellowship, although some (such as child/adolescent psychiatry) require two years.  Sub-specialty fellowships culminate in a certificate of added qualification in one of the following fields:

     Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
     Geriatric Psychiatry
     Addiction Psychiatry
     Forensic Psychiatry
     Psychosomatic Medicine

 Licensing and Credentialing

In all 50 states and the U.S. Territories Physicians are regulated. Physicians who have completed the specialty residency training requirements are eligible to take the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) certification examination. The ABPN also issues certificates on psychiatry subspecialties in addition to the general certification.

The usual method to be a credentialed and licensed family or general psychiatrist is:
1) Possess the amount of training and/or a degree from an accredited school of medicine
2) Complete an accredited program of psychiatry
3) Pass a national exam
4) Apply for licensure in the state you wish to practice in.

Job Prospects of Psychaitrists

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for psychiatrists is expected to grow at a rate faster than the average through the year 2020.  There are excellent job prospects in this field. Recent advances in the neurosciences have led to significant new technologies in the diagnosis and treatment of many mental illnesses. Among other innovations, brain imaging and new pharmaceuticals have led to mental illness treatments that are just as effective as treatments in other medical specialties.

Pay of Psychiatrists

In May 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that the average hourly wage for psychiatrists was about $84, which amounted to an average yearly salary of around $175,000. The top-paying employers of psychiatrists included state governments, individual and family services, employment services and outpatient care centers.

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