What Is the Average Salary of an Entry-Level Psychiatrist?

Psychiatrists provide counseling services and prescribe medicine to treat and prevent mental illnesses. People must earn a doctorate degree before they can legally work in this career, and many states have additional licensing requirements. Read on to learn about the average salary for entry-level psychiatrists. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Description

Psychiatrists are responsible for using psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and medication to assess, prevent and treat mental illnesses. They administer tests to patients to assess their mental condition and discuss patients' behavior and state of mind. If the patients' problems can't be resolved through these techniques, psychiatrists often prescribe medicine to help the patients cope with their mental issues. They also often advise medicinal therapy for issues like anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Required Education Doctoral or professional degree
On-the-Job Training 3 to 8 years in a residency program
Licensure Required by all states; must pass the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
Professional Certification Voluntary specialty certification may increase job prospects; must pass an exam by the American Board of Medical Specialties
Key Skills Organizational, leadership, communication and problem-solving skills; stamina, dexterity, compassion, patience and attention to detail
Similar Occupations Chiropractor, optometrist, dentist, podiatrist, registered nurse

Average Salary Overview

Overall, psychiatrists in the United States had a mean salary of $182,700 in May 2014, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that the bottom 10% of these professionals made $61,600 or less, and the top 10% made $187,199 or higher. Since entry-level professionals usually earn lower salaries than more experienced employees do, entry-level psychiatrists are likely to earn salaries in the lower range.

Data collected by PayScale.com indicated that those with less than five years of experience made salaries ranging from $81,018 to $226,307 in September 2015. The average salary also depends on factors like employer, state and city.

Salary by Industry

According to the BLS, psychiatrists working for home health care services made the highest average salary of $216,730 in May 2014. High average salaries were also found in state government ($201,520); community food and housing, and emergency and other relief services ($197,030); individual and family services ($197,030); and outpatient care centers ($196,820). Average salaries were lower for those working for the offices of physicians ($175,140), general medical and surgical hospitals ($171,660) and psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals ($177,960).

Salary by Location

Psychiatrists in Wyoming, Alaska, Indiana, Mississippi, and Alabama earned the highest average salaries in May 2014, according to the BLS. Average salaries ranged from $87,890-$162,620 in states with the lowest pay, including New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Illinois and Florida.

On the community level, psychiatrists in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA metro areas and in the Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, CA metropolitan division earned the highest salaries.

Job Outlook

The BLS includes psychiatrists in its category for physicians and surgeons. It estimates there will be 18% employment growth for all physicians and surgeons over the 2012-2022 decade. These professionals may have better prospects if they work in areas that are low income or rural.

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