Psychiatrist Career Path

Home » Blog » Career » Psychiatrist Career Path

Psychiatrist Career Path

1. What Does a Psychiatrist Do?

Psychiatrists are medical specialists entrusted with treating the patients after analyzing both mental and physical health conditions because the latter might affect the former. Substance addiction, melancholy, anxiety, suicidal tendencies or behaviors, schizophrenia, and other mental, emotional, or behavioral difficulties are among the main reasons people want or are required to seek psychiatric treatment. Psychiatrists may use psychotherapy, commonly known as talk therapy, drugs to treat their patients or a mix of the two. Therapy and medicine sessions are frequently separated during visits, with the first going longer than the next. A psychiatrist’s day is never the same, regardless of where they practice. Every day, you’ll be interacting with different patients, everyone with their own set of demands.

2. Steps to Be a Psychiatrist

To become a psychiatrist, you must first attend medical school. Obtaining an undergraduate degree, maybe in pre-med or psychology, is the initial step along the way. The individual must enroll in med school after graduating. After four years of medical school, the graduate is required to take an assessment in order to obtain a medical license. They then complete a four-year residency in psychiatry. To be a professional psychiatrist, most psychiatrists must work for at least 12 years. Extra training, such as specialized training in certain fields of psychiatry, is required of psychiatrists who wish to gain additional certification. While most psychiatrists work a conventional 9 to 5 routine, they are always on call in a patient emergency. Much depends on the characteristics of the patient the psychiatrist treats and the specialty of their specialist. While patients are admitted to a psychiatrist in a private or group practice, those working in mental hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, and other institutions must travel to the clients. Psychiatrists must perform a variety of functions in addition to patient counseling, such as developing individual plans for patients, reviewing and updating patient records, medicating and possibly administering medication, and transferring tests to laboratories to ascertain whether a patient has an actual physiological issue involving their mental health.

3. Get a Bachelor’s Degree

You’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree from a reputable school or university, preferably a bachelor’s degree in science. Because aspiring psychiatrists must receive a medical school diploma, undergraduates should pursue the types of programs specifically for medical school admission, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and arithmetic. Psychiatry, biology, and pre-med are all good majors to declare. Helping in mental health facilities, completing an apprenticeship at a medical center, and joining psychiatric and pre-medical groups can help a student boost his or her chances of admission into extremely competitive medical schools throughout this time. It is critical that the student has some experience working with patients who have mental health problems so that they are acquainted with their needs and are confident that psychiatry is the proper career for them. In order to be accepted into medical school, the applicant must also study for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

4. Enroll in a Verified Medical School

You’ll enroll in medical school after you finish your degree. You can anticipate investing four years acquiring either a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree after admission. The learners learn about anatomy, histology, pathology, physiology, and other aspects of the human body throughout this time. They also study legal ethics, chemistry, and other topics relevant to a career in psychiatry. A lot of people feel that this is not important for their psychiatry career. But the brain is an organ connected to all the other organs in our body. So, in order to study psychiatry, you will have to master the other aspects of the body too. Scientists have still not discovered the mysteries of the human body fully. This is why strange ailments and conditions can still pop up out of nowhere. So. enrolling in a medical school is mandatory for your career path as a psychiatrist.

5. Obtain a Medical Practice License

After completing their education, students will sit for a test to obtain a license to practice medicine. Regional governments issue such permits, and the procedure varies by state. The state licensing board will likely conduct a background check to confirm that the candidate is of high moral character. After passing the exam, applying online for a medical license and receiving approval should be 60 days. To qualify for a medical license, you must finish at least one year of internships or the first year of training. Depending on the state, you may need to stay longer than a year.

6. Residency

The next stage is to complete a four-year residency in a healthcare facility, ideally in the state where you intend to practice medicine. The applicant is educated in disciplines such as drug dependency, neurology, and psychometrics during this time. The trainee is assigned to either a mental ward or a psychiatric hospital. The first year of residency, however, is spent in general medical rotations, with a focus on family medicine. After that, expect to focus on neurology for a few months. The remainder of the residency is dedicated to psychiatry, with a year of hospitalized psychiatry followed by outpatient psychiatry. For the duration of their residency, the trainee can choose a specialist psychiatric field. Patients with a variety of psychological illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, dementia, clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other concerns, are likely to be encountered throughout the internship.

7. Obtain a Psychiatric Practice License

You’ll need to get a license to practice psychiatry at this stage. Because each state has its regulations and examinations, it is advisable to complete a stint in the state where you intend to practice. If you move out of the region, you must take a new test to qualify for a license in that state, as well as study the rules and laws that govern licensure in that province.

8. Certification

Finally, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology will require you to be certified (ABPN). While not required, a doctor’s career options are limited if he or she does not receive such accreditation. Before seeking accreditation, the ABPN needs prior registration to practice medicine in one state or territory. Certification testing is available in the United States. The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) also offers certificates in psychiatric subspecialties. The certification is valid for ten years. Psychiatrists must then retain their certification by attending continuing education courses and self-evaluation. Every year, a psychiatrist with a specialty must complete 30 hours of appropriate continuing education programs.

Psychiatrists can also consider joining the American Psychological Association (APA), the world’s largest professional association for people in the discipline. The American Psychological Association (APA) provides continuing education classes, research activities, think tanks, and a large community for socializing.

9. Where Will You Work?

Psychiatrists work in a variety of settings, including private and group practices, medical centers, psychiatric hospitals, mental health facilities, hospice programs, nursing homes, jails, courts, and rehab centers. The military, educational districts, and other public agencies use them as well. A psychiatrist often does not begin a private practice until they have a large number of patients through a group practice or recommendations. Psychiatrists who work in hospitals may not function every day, but the hours they do work are long. Psychiatrists can work everywhere, but metropolitan areas have the highest demand.

10. Career Paths to Consider in the Field of Psychiatry

While some psychiatrists practice general medicine, many others specialize in treating specific patients. Further expertise or training in specific subjects, as well as relevant certification, are frequently included in these specialties.

Some examples of such fields are:

Psychiatry of Addiction

Addiction psychiatrists can use this specialization to discover and treat the underlying mental disorders that cause addiction. Because there is a scarcity of properly qualified addiction specialists, this is one of the most in-demand psychiatric specialties right now.

Psychiatry in Children

This field is concerned with children’s mental health. Some psychiatrists treat both children and adolescents, whereas others specialize in either younger or older children and teens. This specialty necessitates at least two years of certified child and adolescent psychiatric residencies and practice. Childhood and adolescent psychiatrists may counsel and collaborate with juvenile courts, schools, and social care agencies in conjunction with assessment, evaluation, and therapy.

Emergency Psychiatry

As the name suggests, this area deals with patients in crisis, such as those who are depressed or otherwise directly threatening themselves or others. Patients who are violent or in psychosis are two other circumstances that emergency psychiatrists may encounter.


This job entails evaluating convicts’ mental health in jails and prisons and determining if they are fit to stand trial. They may also collaborate with the defense or prosecutors to evaluate if a defendant is incompetent to stand trial due to insanity. Psychometricians are allowed to testify in both criminal and civil cases.

Geriatric Psychiatry

Geriatric psychiatry analyses the aging process as it pertains to psychology and behavior, as well as the interplay of physical sickness and a patient’s mental condition, with an emphasis on the mental health difficulties of the elderly.


All in all, being a psychiatrist is a great career path if you have the taste of it. You will have to work hard but once you get there, you will flou.

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.