Child Psychiatry PhD Program Information

Students interested in child psychiatry doctoral programs should consider first completing medical school in order to prepare for residency programs focusing on such topics as the fundamentals of child psychotherapy.

Essential Information

Since there are no specific Ph.D. programs in child psychiatry, the most common academic route for training in child psychiatry involves completing a relevant bachelor's degree program and a Doctor of Medicine program. In order to then gain board certification in child psychiatry, individuals must undergo at least three years of general residency training in psychiatry and neurology after earning a medical degree, followed by two years of specific residency training in child psychiatry.

Residents must also undergo clinical rotations, where they will gain supervised, first-hand experience in dealing with patients. Some residency training programs allow students to select a particular specialty in child psychiatry.

For admission into a child psychiatry residency program a current medical license, transcripts of undergraduate and professional medical education, a curriculum vitae and letters of recommendation are often required.

Doctoral Programs in Child Psychiatry

Residency programs in child psychiatry are offered through university hospitals and medical schools and provide the specific levels of competency needed to diagnose and treat children and adolescents suffering from emotional and developmental issues. In a residency program, students participate in interactive seminars to gain a thorough understanding of neuroscience, psychopharmacology and psychotherapy as they relate to children and adolescents.

The bulk of a residency in child psychiatry revolves around clinical training, but there are a few didactic courses included in most programs. These courses include:

  • Child development and psychopathology
  • Pediatric psychopharmacology
  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Forensics
  • Research methods and statistics
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy in children and adolescents

Employment Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, employment opportunities for psychiatrists are expected to grow by 15% between 2014 and 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The BLS reported that the annual mean income of all psychiatrists was $193,680 as of May 2015.

Students who want to work in child psychiatry will need to earn a Doctor of Medicine and then participate in a residency program in child psychiatry to gain the necessary knowledge and clinical background in child development and psychology.

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