Pediatric Psychiatrist: Job Description & Facts

Explore the facts and background information of a pediatric psychiatrist. This article will provide you with this career's education requirements, job description, certifications needed, salary and suggested skills to help you determine whether this is the right choice for you. Schools offering Clinical Psychology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Pediatric Psychiatrist Information at a First Glance

A pediatric psychiatrist, or child and adolescent psychiatrist, is a qualified physician that specializes in diagnosing and treating a variety of psychological matters in children. These disorders include emotional, behavioral, and/or thinking process problems that affect these age groups and their families. Check out the information below for a few facts about this career:

Degree RequiredDoctorate
Education Field of Study Medicine, child and adolescent psychiatry
Job DutiesEvaluate problems; establish a diagnosis; treat components that are affecting the child or adolescent; prescribe medication
Certification/Licensure Certification in General Psychiatry by ABPN, optional certification in child and adolescent psychiatry
Median Annual Salary (2017) $216,090* (all psychiatrists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% Growth* (all psychiatrists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Statistics

What does a Pediatric Psychiatrist Do?

A pediatric psychiatrist uses their acquired knowledge of the social, psychological, and biological factors to access how they impact a child's mental health. By performing an individual comprehensive exam, they are able to arrive at a diagnosis and develop the best treatment plan for their patient. Their psychotherapy sessions could be conducted in an individual, group, or family format. This could even extend to working with other physicians and professionals in this field from schools, agencies, outside community organizations, and juvenile courts, and/or prescribing the child medication.

What Degree is Required?

According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, a psychiatrist with this specialization must attend four years of medical school. After graduating from medical school, they must have at the minimum three years in an approved residency program that provides them with the background knowledge and training in neurology, medicine, and general psychology with the adult population. Additionally, two years are required for working with children, adolescents, and their families with an approved child and adolescent psychiatry residency program.

During the child and adolescent psychiatry residency program, they will study a variety of topics such as understanding the theory of psychiatry, psychopathology, autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, mood disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety disorders. Certifications are not required to become a psychiatrist, but those who are certified by the Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc. (ABPN) can stand out in their job search. There is also an opportunity to take an additional specialty exam in child and adolescent psychiatry.

How Much Will I Earn?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), found in May 2017 that the median salary of a psychiatrist was $216,090 per year. The highest paying industry for psychiatrists is the local government, but most psychiatrists work in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals. This salary is well above the average American job wage!

What Skills do Pediatric Psychiatrists Need?

Pediatric psychiatrists must have a non-judgmental tone and professional attitude toward their patients and their patients' families. Additionally, someone who desires to be a pediatric psychiatrist should have the ability to listen to and observe the needs of their patient with compassion, patience and empathy. Finally, but potentially most importantly, pediatric psychiatrists should be great with kids, as they will be working with them daily!

Are There any Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in psychiatry, but don't want to focus on pediatrics, there are other specializations available to you. You could choose to become an addiction psychiatrist or an organization psychiatrist. If you want to work with children, but not necessarily in the psychiatric field, you could look into becoming a child and family social worker or a school counselor. A child and family social worker helps deal with problems in everyday life, ranging from assisting families in housing placement, to intervening when there is a child that is being abused, or arranging adoptions. As a school counselor, you would work with students to help with social development, career options, academic achievement, and even daily life issues.

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