The Pathway To A Career In Psychiatry

Career In Psychiatry

Are you interested in mental health? Do you want a career helping people? Are you fascinated by the medical science behind mental illnesses and psychiatric disorders? Then you may want to consider a career in psychiatry.

Psychiatry is a field that blends medicine and psychology to assist patients living with mental illnesses. It is an important field for the modern society and requires quite a bit of education. If you are interested in becoming a psychiatrist, read on to learn what it takes to create a career in this fascinating field.

What Is A Psychiatrist?

Ultimately, psychiatrists are medical doctors that specialize in mental illnesses and disorders. They diagnose, treat, and prevent mental illnesses and psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. A variety of treatment options are used, including typical psychotherapy and medication.

Psychiatrists share some commonalities with psychologists and therapists. For example, they can conduct talk therapy to help their clients when needed. However, psychiatrists typically take a more scientific or medical approach to their treatments. Furthermore, they are the only ones who can prescribe medication since they are also doctors.

Types Of Psychiatrists

When people think of psychiatrists, they may get images of lying on a couch in a cozy office while the psychiatrist asks about their childhood. And while that is one aspect of psychiatry, the fact is that this field much broader than that. There are many types of psychiatrists, and they all do various tasks to help the mental health of their patients. Some of these types include:

  • Child psychiatry
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Disability psychiatry
  • Addiction psychiatry
  • Emergency psychiatry
  • Military psychiatry

It’s important to learn about and decide on one of these pathways early on so that you can get the appropriate education and experience to prepare for this path. You can learn more about these specific paths by heading over to BetterHelp.

Pathway To A Career In Psychiatry

The pathway to a career in psychiatry is a long one and requires determination, patience, and hard work for success. Psychiatrists spend many years in school and then spend even more years working under supervision and training to get their license. Read on to learn about all the necessary steps to becoming a psychiatrist.


You will first need to get a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field to prepare for your career in psychiatry. The most optimal education path at this point is pre-med, as you will be going to medical school next. In order to be accepted into medical school, you will need a solid background in chemistry, math, biology, and other scientific subjects. At the end of your four years, you will need to take the MCAT exam. You must do well on this exam in order to be accepted into medical school.

After this step, you will enter medical school for another four years of education. This is the time when you learn the basics of becoming a physician while considering what you want to focus on. In the end, you will either receive a Doctor of Medicine, M.D., or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, D.O., degree.


After graduating from medical school, you will enter residency to earn some experience under supervision. The length of residency depends on what focus you plan on going into. For psychiatry, the average residency is about four years.


After completing residency, you can apply to get a license. This is required to practice psychiatry without supervision. Once you receive your license, there may be continuing education requirements that you must fulfill to keep renewing the license every few years. These requirements will vary based on where you live. Furthermore, some psychiatrists continue their studies to become trained in a subspeciality, such as some of the aforementioned niches.

Bottom Line

Psychiatry is a demanding but rewarding career path. Once you decide on this journey, you must commit as it is a decade-long process just to get your license. However, once you receive your license, you can fully commit your life to help people reclaim their mental health.


Author Biography

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.

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