Psychiatrist Education and Training

Delve into psychiatry's specialized medical education and certification processes. Probe the ins and outs of the residencies that train future psychiatrists. Learn about certification exams and job and salary prospects. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Can I Pursue Training in Psychiatry?

Psychiatry is usually studied at the post-graduate level after you complete a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program. You'll need to earn a bachelor's degree before enrolling in an M.D. program. You'll complete eight total years of schooling through both a bachelor's and medical program before you can pursue a psychiatry residency.

A pre-medical degree isn't required in order to enroll in an M.D. program. However, admissions prerequisites include undergraduate coursework in calculus, literature and composition, biology, chemistry and physics. Some medical schools also recommend completion of psychology, humanities, social sciences, statistics and biochemistry classes. While psychiatry and M.D. programs can't be completed online, some of these bachelor's-level courses may be available in a distance learning format.

The first two years of an M.D. program deal mostly with advanced scientific and medical education. You'll study human physiology and anatomy, the medical practice and clinical medicine. In the last two years, you'll enroll in multiple clerkships designed to give you training in various medical specialties, like family medicine, neurology and surgery. You might choose psychiatry as your medical focus by enrolling in elective clerkships. Upon completion of medical school, you'll take the United States Medical Licensing Examination.

Education RequirementsBachelor's degree with required courses for medical school, medical school completion, psychiatry specialty, pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam
Psychiatry Residency DutiesRecognize symptoms of addiction, perform outpatient and inpatient treatments, understand psychiatric medications, perform clinical duties
Salary$193,680* (mean annual wage for psychiatrists in 2015)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect From a Residency?

After you complete medical school, you'll be required to participate in residencies focusing on psychiatry. You'll need to enroll in a program that's accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. During a residency, you'll perform inpatient and outpatient treatments, rotate through different departments and learn how to recognize mental symptoms of addiction and other disorders. Your program may require you to work nights, days and weekends.

You can choose from a few different specializations, including general, child and triple board residencies. A triple board residency includes pediatric, child and general psychiatry. These residency programs require you to partake in research projects, perform clinical duties, understand different psychiatric medications and assist in consultations. A residency usually takes four years to complete.

What Should I Do After I Complete My Residency?

In order to practice as a psychiatrist, you'll be required to pass the general psychiatry certification exam offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN). If you have training in a psychiatric sub-specialty and possess general psychiatry certification, additional ABPN certification exams are available in addiction, geriatric and forensic psychiatry, as well as other sub-fields. License renewal is required every three years.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of employed psychiatrists was expected to increase by 15% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, the mean annual wage for psychiatrists was $193,680.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Capella University

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    • Doctoral
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