Becoming A Psychiatrist | Dedication & Commitment

While a psychologist is a person trained to understand human behavior and help people adapt through counseling and therapy, a psychiatrist is an actual medical doctor with additional training beyond medical school.

A psychiatrist generally spends four years completing an undergraduate degree, then four years in medical school, followed by four years in residency. Then, a budding psychologist must be licensed and board certified, finally culminating in being a practicing psychologist.

The Role of the Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are mental health professionals who diagnose and treat serious mental illness. While psychologists tend to work with intact personalities who are going through temporary emotional issues or life set-backs, psychiatrists often work with those who have serious personality disorders, usually those which require intensive psychotherapy or medication.

The job description of a psychiatrist is varied. Psychiatrists evaluate and diagnose patients for a variety of emotional, personality, cognitive distortions, mental and behavioral disorders. They provide in-depth analysis with their diagnosis, looking at the origin, nature and extent of the disorder.

They can then prescribe medication and/or begin a regimen of therapy. Psychiatrists can treat disorders as varied as anxiety, depression, developmental disabilities, psychosis, and substance abuse. Psychiatrists can order and interpret lab tests, conduct physical exams, and admit patients to medical or mental hospitals.

Salary and Job Security

According to a study published in Money Magazine in 2009, being a psychiatrist is the 24th best job available. In 2019 the salary report is more than 20% higher. There are 20,000 jobs in the field, currently, with an expected growth rate of 14% over the next 10 year.

Those in the field of psychiatry reported high job satisfaction, a feeling of productivity as they contribute to people’s mental health, good job stability and growth. It is important to note, however, that psychiatrists have reported that their job is extremely stressful.

The median salary for an experienced psychiatrist is upwards of $199,664 to $249,254 a year in the USA according to USA salary report. Some highly experienced and sought after psychiatry professionals reportedly earn nearly $249,254. Even beginning pay is often over $100,000 a year.

Becoming a Psychiatrist

The road to becoming a psychiatrist is a long one, but the rewards at the end are vast. A student hoping to go into psychology must be dedicated throughout their undergraduate program, earning the grades and knowledge necessary to get into medical school. At that point, psychiatry students will take the same medical school training as medical doctors, learning all they can about the human body through coursework and cadaver labs.

As with any medical school student, the psychiatrist will take courses in anatomy, biochemistry, ethics, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology, physiology, and psychology. The student will likely have to do an internship in a variety of medical fields, not just mental health. They may spend time as in emergency room residency, surgical residency, pharmaceuticals and more.

Towards the end of their program, the psychiatry student will settle on the field of psychiatry, beginning their residency in that area. Upon completion of the residency and certification by all fifty states as well as the American Board of Psychology and Neurology (ABPN), the psychiatrist can finalize the road to becoming a psychiatrist by going into practice either privately, within a hospital, or in a variety of other private and public organizations.

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