So, you want to be a psychiatrist, but you don't know where to start. Well, you've come to the right place. In this article, we will walk you through everything you need to know before you embark on this professional journey. Follow along, and you will know what the job entails, what education you must pursue, what the average psychiatrist salary is and more.
Psychiatry is a noble calling, and no matter where you go in the world, you'll find people to help with your unique skill set. So, if you're serious about this, let's dive right in. Here are the essentials for working as a psychiatrist.
JOB DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Psychiatrists are medical doctors, and they specialize in treating mental disorders, such as clinical depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and more. Psychiatrists need to have a strong background in both psychology and sociology so they can identify patterns in behavior. Perhaps the most important qualification for this job is excellent communication skills. To diagnose mental disorders accurately, a psychiatrist may need to interview not only the patient but also teachers, children, spouses and other important individuals in the patient's life.
A psychiatrist will complete the initial psychiatric assessments, create care plans based on individualized needs and implement treatment for the patient by way of personal counseling, also known as psychotherapy, hospitalization, psychoanalysis and medication. Furthermore, the psychiatrist will monitor treatment results including the side effects of medications and recommend any necessary changes.
SKILLS REQUIRED TO EXCEL AS A PSYCHIATRIST
There are several specialties within psychiatry, but there are some skills that are applicable to any specialty you may find interests you.
EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATIONS
One reason the average psychiatrist salary is so high is the lengthy, intense education requirements. First, prospective psychiatrists must complete a minimum of three years of undergraduate school, although many complete Bachelor's degrees in psychology or another related field like sociology. If they get into medical school, they can look forward to four more years of higher education.
The first two years include studying in depth the major body systems and diseases and being introduced to the practice of medicine. This is the same coursework completed by doctors. Classes taken include pharmacology, pathology, anatomy and physiology. In addition to classwork, psychiatrists work in laboratories as part of their curriculum and learn how to conduct medical examinations and diagnose patients.
The next two years known as the clinical years involve performing clinical rotations in healthcare facilities also known as clerkships. Psychiatry is a required rotation. Next, psychiatrists go through a four-year residency program. This highly involved work experience allows them to further develop major techniques and specialties used in the field. The first year of residency involves learning and practicing crucial skills like interviewing, diagnosing and treating patients and interviewing friends, family and those with a professional relationship to the patient.
Finally, psychiatrists will go through one to two years of a fellowship program. This is sometimes a prerequisite for board certification and sometimes can only be completed after receiving a certification from a board. Psychiatrists are given the opportunity to hone techniques relevant to their specialty, conduct research and attend seminars. Common specialties for fellowship programs include geriatric psychiatry, psychosomatic medications and child and adolescent psychiatry. This adds up to a significant eight to ten years of higher education.
Besides extensive education, states require different professional certifications. All states require a potential psychiatrist to pass either the United States Medical Licensing Examination or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam. Many psychiatrists choose to become board certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists. They offer general psychology certifications along with specialty certifications. These include sleep medicine, clinical neurophysiology, epilepsy, addiction psychiatry and forensic psychiatry.
Accord to the United States Bureau of Labor Services, in 2015, the average psychiatrist salary was $193,680. In 2014, the 10-year job growth outlook was 14.9% which compares favorably to the projected national job growth of 6.5% for the same time period. Comparatively, as of July 31, 2018, the average psychiatrist salary was $219,606 per annum before benefits.
The range was mostly populated between $196,784 per annum and $245,657. The most significant factors affecting this difference were education, certifications, the number of years of experience and additional skills. Including benefits such as health care, retirement and bonuses, the average psychiatrist salary climbs to $223,236, with most psychiatrists earning between $201,752 and $253,185 each year.
PSYCHIATRIST SALARY BY FIELD:
Psychiatry is a noble profession and not one you enter lightly. It takes years of extreme dedication, but if you want a career revolved around helping people, psychiatry is definitely a field to do it in. Expect around 10 years of higher education with a solid average psychiatrist salary of nearly $194,000. If you excel at documentation skill, analyzing information, decision making and people skills and can effectively blend these soft skills with knowledge you put into practice, you may make an excellent psychiatrist.
The field of psychiatry is expected to grow at a faster rate than the overall job market in the United States for the next several years to come and even before benefits, from 2014 to 2018, compensation has increased nearly $26,000. That is a year-over-year raise of about $6,500 per year. If you do not fall victim to lifestyle inflation, you can enjoy both job and financial security for many years to come.