What Is the Employment Outlook for a Psychiatrist Career?

Psychiatrists attend medical school and are fully trained in psychotherapy, psychopharmacology and electroconvulsive therapy. They prescribe and administer medications, as well as treating more intense mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The market for all physicians and surgeons is expected to grow quickly over the next several years. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Growth

There were an estimated 28,200 psychiatrists practicing in the country in 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The number of physician and surgeon jobs, which includes psychiatrists, is expected to grow faster than most fields, increasing 15% between 2014 and 2024. Although the BLS expects job prospects to be good overall, rural areas might have more job opportunities.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Professional Certification The American Board of Physician Specialties offers board certification in psychiatry.
Key Skills communication, patience, organization/recordkeeping and tracking the details of patient care
Work Environment clinics and private offices are most common, assisted by nurses and clerical personnel; long and irregular hours are common
Similar Occupations Registered Nurses, Physician Assistants and Dentists

Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Reasons for Growth

The expansion of the healthcare industry and improved access to health insurance due to healthcare reform are two factors that will drive growth for all physicians and surgeons. More professionals will be needed to treat the aging population and newly insured patients who are gaining access to healthcare. However, there may be less demand due to out-of-pocket costs for some health services. In addition, hospitals might hire other professionals who can provide routine services at a lower cost, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Salary Information

Like many physicians, psychiatrists have relatively high incomes. The BLS reported that the median salary for these professionals was $182,700 in May 2014. The lowest-paid psychiatrists earned an annual wage of $61,600 or less.

Salary by Employer

Out of the five top industries that employed these workers, salaries for those working for outpatient care facilities were the highest, at $196,820 on average in May 2014, reported the BLS. Average salaries were $175,140 for physicians' offices, $177,960 for psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals and $171,660 for general hospitals. Psychiatrists working for local government earned an average wage of $195,510.

Salary by Location

According to the BLS, states paying psychiatrists the highest average wages in May 2014 included Wyoming ($260,820), Alaska ($232,480), Indiana ($229,980), Mississippi ($229,060) and Alabama ($228,850). States paying the lowest average wages included Arkansas (102,390), New Mexico ($119,440) and Louisiana ($122,480).

Training Requirements

Psychiatrists may prepare 9 years or more after their undergraduate degree. Before being licensed to practice, they must complete four years of medical school, participate in one year of rotations and undergo 4-6 years of residency in psychiatry. Psychiatrists may choose a specialty, such as child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry or neuropsychiatry.

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