Psychiatrist Advancement Opportunities

Jun 13, 2018

Psychiatrists hold a highly responsible position working with individuals with mental health or behavioral disorders. To move forward in the field, psychiatrists may consider developing a subspecialty or becoming a director of other psychiatrists.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists play a crucial role in providing health care services. They are medical doctors who specialize in treating mental health conditions through means such as medication and therapy. Psychiatrists have received a medical degree and specialized training in psychiatry. As professionals grow in this field, they may seek advancement opportunities. Further growth may be found by specializing in one particular field of psychiatry, or in taking on a position where one is responsible for other psychiatrists.

Job Title Salary (2018) Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education/Experience
Child Psychiatrist $211,172 (median)** 11% (psychiatrists) Fellowship in this specialty
Forensic Psychiatrist $215,255 (average)*** 11% (psychiatrists) Fellowship in this specialty
Addictions Psychiatrist $215,255 (average)*** 11% (psychiatrists) Fellowship in this specialty
Medical Director, Psychiatry $225,999 (median)** 20% (medical and health services managers) Healthcare work experience

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale, ***Glassdoor

Career Information

Child Psychiatrist

Some psychiatrists who particularly enjoy working with young people may specialize as a child psychiatrist. Psychiatrists work with young people who are diagnosed with behavioral or mental illnesses. They may prescribe medication to the children, or offer therapy services. Child psychiatrists must be able to interact well with children, their parents, and other professionals such as schools or juvenile justice employees. Beyond medical school and a psychiatric residency, the potential child psychiatrist must usually complete a two year fellowship.

Forensic Psychiatrist

Another possible area of specialization is that of forensic psychiatry. Forensic psychiatrists play an important role in the criminal justice system. They examine and diagnose clients to determine if they are fit to stand trial for accused crimes. They also examine defendants to determine their mental state at the time a crime was committed. Forensic psychiatrists may be required to testify in court regarding their findings. Candidates must commonly complete a fellowship specific to forensic psychiatry beyond a residency.

Addictions Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists may also choose to specialize in addictions psychiatry. Addictions psychiatrists specialize in helping people recover from substance abuse disorders. Many addiction psychiatrists are now working with those who are recovering from opioid addictions. Psychiatrists support recovery by aiding with medication-assisted treatments. Those who wish to become an addictions psychiatrist must usually complete a one to two year fellowship in addition to their initial medical training.

Medical Director, Psychiatry

Rather than choosing a subspecialty, psychiatrists may wish to advance by taking on a leadership role in psychiatry. This can occur by becoming a medical director of psychiatry. Medical directors work in hospitals or behavioral health treatment facilities. They are responsible for overseeing the team of professionals that are involved in treating patients, including nurses, counselors, and other psychiatrists. They must attend meetings of the treatment teams and be well-versed in hospital policies as well as laws and regulations concerning health care. Typically, a psychiatrist may move into this role after having extensive experience as a psychiatrist.

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