Psychiatry was founded in the late 1800s and was quite different then than it is now. Back then, treatment was only provided to patients in the worst of conditions and unable to function. It wasn’t until about 70 years ago that psychiatrists learned how to make use of more medicines and different treatments to aid more people.
Every year, millions of people are diagnosed with a mental illness. Who do those people go see to be diagnosed? They go see a psychiatrist to be diagnosed and treated for their mental illness. If you have an interest in how the human mind works and how mental illnesses can be treated and diagnosed, then read on to learn how to become a psychiatrist.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have gone through medical school and are able to treat, diagnose, and work on patients with mental health issues.
What does a psychiatrist do? Every day, a psychiatrist completes numerous tasks for their patients. They listen to them, observe their behavior, and try to figure out the right diagnosis for them. They can prescribe medications and also determine the best treatment plan for their patient.
Some people think a psychiatrist and psychologist do the same thing. In some cases, the jobs can be similar but they are also different.
A psychiatrist is a medically certified mental health professional who can treat, diagnose, and prescribe medications.
Psychologists are also mental health professionals, but they are not medically certified. They can provide talk therapy to patients and diagnose them with a mental illness. They are not able to do any other treatments or prescribe medications.
While you start your career as a psychiatrist, you can look into joining different psychiatric associations. For example, you could join the American Psychiatric Association. Joining associations provides great benefits because you will be able to network with other psychiatrists and remain updated on current trends.
The American Psychiatric Association also hosts large events and meetings you can attend to connect with other psychiatrists, see what current medications are being released, and what treatments are being used. This is a great opportunity for you to advance your career and stay updated regarding the world of psychiatry.
On top of medical training, there are quite a few personal skills you need to succeed as a psychiatrist. The skills listed below make for a well-rounded psychiatrist who can perform their job effectively.
Psychiatrists must possess the medical skills necessary to correctly diagnose a patient and treat them. Knowing different mental illnesses is a must. Some of the patients you will deal with will have:
To treat patients successfully, you must know different types of treatment plans. Here are some of the plans:
In case you must prescribe medication to a patient, you must know what each medication does and what it is used for.
Psychiatrists make great money when they start their careers. During their residency, they make an average of $59,000 per year. After you finish your residency, the low end of the pay scale is $149,000 per year. The average salary a psychiatrist makes in the United States is $208,000 per year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be a 15.8 percent increase in jobs for psychiatrists between by 2028. A psychiatrist can specialize in many different areas depending on their interests. Some of those areas are:
It takes 12 years to become a psychiatrist. You must get a four-year bachelor's degree, then go to medical school for four years, then complete four years of a residency.
The first step is to get a bachelor’s degree. Most psychiatrists get an undergraduate degree in psychology, human services, pre-med, or some science-related field such as biology or chemistry since they have to go on to medical school.
Choose a school based on the best programs and what you can afford financially. Here are some schools with the best programs for an undergraduate degree in psychology.
After completing your undergrad, you will then go on to medical school and obtain a medical degree. In medical school, you will learn about the different areas of psychiatry you can get into, different types of medicines, and which psychological tests to use on patients. Toward the end of medical school, you will have to take and pass an exam to receive board certification allowing you to practice psychiatry.
Here are the best schools to get your medical degree in psychiatry.
After medical school, you must complete a residency. During your four-year residency, you will take the knowledge you learned in the past eight years of school and put it to the test. You will be working with other mental health professionals in a hospital setting as you treat patients.
After your medical residency, you will start your career. You have gone through all the proper training to start treating patients on your own. Psychiatrists work in clinics, hospitals, private practices, and rehab programs.
If working with patients suffering from mental illnesses is something that interests you, then this might be the right career path for you.
Becoming a psychiatrist does take time and effort, but if this interests you and is something you see yourself doing, then take the initiative and go to school.