Aspiring psychiatrists must earn a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree and complete a residency program in psychiatry to become licensed psychiatrists. Prospective child psychiatrists need to complete additional training or fellowships in the specialty. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology offers relevant certifications. Not including residency, these programs will generally last about four years.
Before entering medical school, students must have a bachelor's degree and completed prior coursework in biology, chemistry, and physics. They must also submit their scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) test. Admission to medical school programs can be highly competitive, and applicants may be evaluated on personal statements, extracurricular activities, transcripts, and letters of recommendation.
Child Psychiatrist Diploma and Certifications
Preparation in this field combines classroom study with laboratory and clinical work. Students participate in clinical rotation in various fields, such as pediatrics, obstetrics, surgery, internal medicine, and psychiatry. Typical course topics include the following:
- Overview of clinical medicine
- Cellular and molecular biology
- Infectious diseases
- Physiology and pathophysiology
Salary Information and Employment Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the physician employment rate, including that of psychiatrists, is expected to grow at a 14% rate during the period from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Psychiatrists earned a 2015 mean annual salary of $193,680. The majority worked in private offices of physicians, psychiatric hospitals, and general medical hospitals.
Certification and Continuing Education
Child and adolescent psychiatry certification is granted by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Certification applicants must hold current medical licensure. Additionally, applicants must have at least two years of residency training in general psychiatry along with two years of child and adolescent psychiatry residency training. Residency programs need to be accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. Applicants meeting these requirements may sit for the certification exam series, which consists of an oral and a written exam. Continuing education is required in order to maintain certification.
By completing a medical program, a residency, and further training in child psychiatry, graduates will be able to help children and young adults understand and cope with issues affecting them mentally and emotionally in safe and effective ways. Job prospects are plentiful, and continuing education courses must be taken in order to maintain specialized certification.