People who are interested in entering psychiatrist-related programs must attend a 4-year Doctor of Medicine program at a medical school followed by a 4-year residency. Medical schools require a bachelor's degree and give strong preference to applicants who took pre-medicine classes like chemistry, biology, or physics. A very high GPA is a must, and applicants are required to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Program specializations include pediatrics, geriatrics, forensics, addictions, and neuro-development disabilities. Every state requires a license to practice psychiatry; state licensing requirements may vary.
Psychiatry Degree Programs
After completing medical school, prospective psychiatrists must serve a residency in a hospital psychiatric ward for four years. Under the supervision of experienced psychiatrists, residents diagnose and treat patients. After completing residency psychiatry programs, residents typically take a board certification examination that is administered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). Before beginning studies in psychiatry programs, medical students take basic courses in medicine. These courses include:
- Medical statistics
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The career outlook for psychiatrists is good due to the stresses of modern life, the aging U.S. population, and the increasing public acceptance of mental health treatments. Employment for psychiatrists will grow 15% in the period from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Psychiatrists earned a mean annual salary of $193,680 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
After completing residency programs, psychiatrists may pursue additional training in specific areas by applying for a fellowship. Hospitals, universities, and clinics offer fellowships in several specialties. These including psychiatric research, as well as emergency, consultation, and forensic psychiatry.
Students who attend a 4-year medical school program followed by a 4-year residency in a hospital psychiatric ward can pursue successful careers as psychiatrists.